I hope that you, dear readers, will indulge me for a moment today as I shift the subject from travel to the people (like me) who write about travel. This past weekend, the 4th annual Travel Bloggers Exchange (TBEX) was held in Keystone, Colorado. TBEX brings together the emerging genre of new media travel writers (aka travel bloggers) for networking, education and (in more recent years) quality face time with potential sponsors. In just four years, TBEX has grown from a few dozen travel bloggers to more than 700-strong in Keystone this year. And it’s not just travel bloggers flocking to TBEX, the travel industry has suddenly awakened to the value of new media travel writers in an increasingly online world. Travel industry giants like Expedia, Starwood American Express and Trip Advisor were just a few of the many companies who supported the conference and were eager to explore partnerships with bloggers. Tourism bureaus from around the world (Jordan, Croatia, Australia & Canada, to name just a few) also came to TBEX to share information about their countries and invite bloggers to visit. The size of this year’s conference was overwhelming at times, but at the heart of it all, TBEX isn’t about parties and corporate sponsorships. It’s about coming together with fellow bloggers over a common, pure love of travel. Of seeing the world on your own terms and sharing it with others through your words and images. I attended TBEX for the first time last year in Vancouver and if you want to know what it feels like to be in a giant room surrounded by people living their dreams, check out that post (linked above). It’s powerful stuff. And it’s the kind of power that will keep me coming back to TBEX again and again.