My Biggest Learning from TBEX Finger Lakes (and My Big Hairy One-Year Goal)

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This is a travel blogger collaboration post on our biggest learnings from TBEX Finger Lakes and our collective big hairy audacious goals that we aspire to accomplish before the next TBEX North America conference in Montana.

This is also a sort of social experiment on publicly declaring your goals and how many will be able to achieve theirs in one year’s time.

The learnings and goals are classified into: YouTube Goals, Blogging Goals and SEO Goals. I shared my awesome goal at the end of the post.



The Jet Sisters

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What is your Biggest Learning from TBEX Finger Lakes:

We learned so much at TBEX about how to grow our fledgling YouTube channel where we focus on our adventures as jet-setting sisters. We’re not new to creating written content as we’ve been running for eight years already, but success on a video platform has been a challenge for us. And we had two key takeaways from the sessions:post video content consistently and DONE is better than PERFECT.

My Big Hairy Audacious 1-Year Goal:

Our content is well executed and tons of fun, so we’re hopeful if we post more often, we’ll be able to hit at least 2,500 subscribers by the next TBEX.

Angie Orth of | YouTube: The Jet Sisters


Deanna Troy Travels

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What is your Biggest Learning from TBEX Finger Lakes:

My biggest learning from TBEX Finger Lakes was from the seminar, “Video First Blogging”, by Anton Diaz. In his talk, I learned about the four “travel moments”—dreaming, planning, booking and experiencing. When discussing these moments, Diaz pointed out that the majority of travelers use YouTube, Facebook and Instagram to fulfill their “dreaming” moments. Up until this point, my YouTube channel, Deanna Troy Travels, has focused mostly on the planning, booking and experiencing moments. My videos showcase what I did, who I met and what I learned.

Related Post: TBEX 2018 – Newbie Tips!

My Big Hairy Audacious 1-Year Goal:

In order to target the dreaming moments, I will produce more videos with beautiful scenery montages, romantic music and dream-like destinations. Over the next year, I want to really focus on addressing all four travel moments in order to grow the reach of my channel.

Deanna Troy of Deanna Troy Travels


The Mamuchos


What is your Biggest Learning from TBEX Finger Lakes:

We had two things for takeaways. The first one was about the importance of branding. People need to recognize you by something, whether it’s a type of photo or a specific thing you provide them with., i.e. checklist for smarter traveling, cheapest tour lists, etc. The second thing was about finding the right music. Music not only guides your story, but it also expresses the emotions you want your audience to feel.

Our favorite part was the number of great people we met. We never imagined (as first timers) that we would meet so many kind people. We felt extremely welcomed and learned from everyone we met.

Related Post: Welcome Party at TBEX Fingerlakes (Video)

My Big Hairy Audacious 1-Year Goal:

We started this journey 8 months ago and currently have a little over 200 subscribers that we are extremely grateful for. In the next year, our goal is to have 10k subscribers with consistent engagement on our channel.

Indhira (Maria) and Bryan (Lieles) of Youtube: The Mamuchos 

Kathryn Anywhere

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What is your Biggest Learning from TBEX Finger Lakes:

My biggest learning moment from TBEX is that even though I do this on a very part-time basis, I haven’t taken what I’m doing seriously enough and turned it into the business that it should be. I am missing out on so much.

My Big Hairy Audacious 1-Year Goal:

To be earning revenue from my YouTube channel, so that means getting to 1,000 subscribers first (I’m at 345 today). I’m also going to quadruple my page views on my blog. I normally see around 40 page views a day, so that’s not great. I think SEO, together with lack of proper use of Pinterest, is my problem. So there’s a lot to be mastered in the next year.

Kathryn Dickson of | Youtube: KathrynAnywhere


Let’s Travel Family

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What is your Biggest Learning from TBEX Finger Lakes:

Attending my first TBEX was such an inspirational experience. I learned so much from many experts, and my biggest takeaway was that we are building a Travel Media Platform, not just a blog.

Let’s Travel Family includes our blog, YouTube vlog, social media presence and the connections we are making with our readers and viewers. I am SO motivated to grow our platform and continue to inspire families to live their dreams now and not let fear stand in their way.

Related post: Family Travel Blog Ideas – Moving Forward

My Big Hairy Audacious 1-Year Goal:

To grow our family travel blog and platform, Let’s Travel Family, into a business that produces enough income to fully support our full-time traveling family of 6 financially. We have already been living a nomadic life for 16 months, yet we want to continue to travel full-time and are determined to have Let’s Travel Family fully support us.

Jill Greising-Murschel of | YouTube: LetsTravelFamily


Traveling Mel

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What is your Biggest Learning from TBEX Finger Lakes:

This was my second TBEX. The first was in Ireland and it couldn’t have been prettier and more enjoyable. I left that conference with renewed inspiration for my blog. However, I didn’t network as well as I did this time around. In Finger Lakes, I made an effort to do the wholly uncomfortable—make conversation with people I don’t know. What I learned is that by stepping out of my comfort zone and chatting up bloggers, sponsors and everyone else at TBEX, I made connections that will benefit me both professionally and socially.

My Big Hairy Audacious 1-Year Goal:

To make enough money to live on from my websites and YouTube channel while seeing some amazing places with my family and friends.

Melynda Coble Harrison of | YouTube: @Traveling Mel


Family Off Duty

What is your Biggest Learning from TBEX Finger Lakes:

I have always been uncomfortable in front of the camera and disliked my videos specially because of my strong accent. My biggest learning from this TBEX was that nobody starts out making great videos from day one. It is a learning process and everyone has had their own embarrassing videos when they just got started. Also, talking to a few peers, I was encouraged to speak more in videos, to embrace and brand myself with my accent.

My Big Hairy Audacious 1-Year Goal:

My super ambitious goal is to be in front of the camera and speak in videos where I embrace my own accent. In one year’s time, I want to be making videos monthly for my travel channel and also weekly lifestyle videos for my new blog.

Thassia Dezan of



Thrifty Family Travels


What is your Biggest Learning from TBEX Finger Lakes:

From Dave and Deb’s presentation, I think my biggest learning from TBEX is that I try to do far too much and don’t focus enough on the most important tasks at hand—the ones that lead to generating an income or those that I am good at and enjoy doing.

My Big Hairy Audacious 1-Year Goal:

A year from now, I want to have a far better workflow system in place and spend 90% of my time on income generating tasks, with all other non-income generating tasks to either be outsourced or eliminated. I also plan to outsource all tasks that I am not good at to someone who is.

Melissa Delaware of


Prone to Wandering


What is your Biggest Learning from TBEX Finger Lakes:

This was my first year at TBEX!! Had an awesome time, met a ton of great souls on similar journeys and had a great start to my own honeymoon. 🙂

I think the two biggest takeaways this year came from “what I would do if I had to start fresh today” and from “being your own publicist”.

It hit me hard that I needed to be creating and posting consistent content that is useful to my reader in order to build authority and attract an audience. It was something I already knew, but it was important to see influencers I look up to to confirm it. I have struggled with consistency in the past.

I also learned a lot of interesting points about being your own publicist. I learned about leveraging traditional and new media to spread your story, and about building contacts and relationships. In the past, I’ve been worried about reaching out to brands or media out of fear that my blog is too small to interest them. However, if I have a  good idea or story, there’s no harm in reaching out. I learned I have to get the no’s to hear the yes.

My Big Hairy Audacious 1-Year Goal:

With that said, in a year’s time, I would have:
• Posted consistent, useful content and have 50 new posts on my site (going to start utilizing batching!).
• Pitched a story or collaboration idea to a brand or media outlet that I’m interested in working with.

Kate Williams of


Lisa Morales Photo

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What is your Biggest Learning from TBEX Finger Lakes:

My biggest takeaway from TBEX North America was the need to find a tribe. The social part of social media does not only apply to the readership. As a photographer, I can get into a zone behind a camera and not really interact with the end viewer of the images. Now I will reach out to collaborators, my tribe, for feedback and inspiration.

My Big Hairy Audacious 1-Year Goal:

My BHAG is a book project collaboration. It was wonderful to have so many creative and motivating people together in Finger Lakes. I’m looking forward to following their journeys this year!

Lisa Morales of


Unstoppable Stacey


What is your Biggest Learning from TBEX Finger Lakes:

My biggest learning at TBEX is to lead my blog posts with videos. WHAT??? Seems most videos fall at the BOTTOM of articles. This key learning from our own Anton Diaz of blew my mind and turned my apple cart upside down or, in other words, “shifted my paradigm”. Because I’m a writer first, my old paradigm was posting words first… with the obligatory wow-factor photo, of course.

My Big Hairy Audacious 1-Year Goal:

Since I lack confidence in my video abilities, it’s audacious for me to declare that I’ll begin adding videos to the top of my posts to help me reach my big hairy goal of 10K page views/month.

“Unstoppable Stacey” Wittig of


Outdoor Wonders

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What is your Biggest Learning from TBEX Finger Lakes:

My biggest Learning in TBEX is that attending such an event is a Great Investment.

No amount of ebooks, videos, courses can ever be on par with attending such an inspiring and educational event. Networking with friendly, like-minded, positive people is an amazing contributing factor to your overall growth. Learning from so many successful, award-winning speakers is a blessing.

It really didn’t matter that it took me 24 hrs to make to it Corning from the Caribbean region.

My Big Hairy Audacious 1-Year Goal:

To encourage more Diversity to the Outdoors Industry (50K+ followers, 5K monthly unique visitors).

Sylvia of



Euro Travel Coach

Euro Travel Coach

What is your Biggest Learning from TBEX Finger Lakes:

As I begin blogging, I should be writing for someone else 80% of the time; and for my own blog, 20% of the time. It’s my understanding that, in order to improve our SEO and improve it quickly, we should be writing guest blogs for other bloggers with high domain authority from the very beginning. We should be seeking out those opportunities and writing for others, 50 – 80% of the time, in order to get quality backlinks to our website. This will help grow our domain authority and our audience and, thus, our performance on Google. Then, once we are more established, we can write fewer guest posts—20% or so should be guest posts and 80% should be for our own blog as we become more established. This perspective was shared by the panel that talked about what they would do differently if they were to start all over again from scratch.

My Big Hairy Audacious 1-Year Goal:

To obtain a domain authority of 30+.

Betsy and Greg Ball of


The Common Traveler

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What is your Biggest Learning from TBEX Finger Lakes:

My biggest learning is that you’ve got to put the work into your blog (I was hoping to walk away with some neat tricks for shortcuts). This may mean hiring people to handle the things I don’t know/don’t like, so that I can concentrate on posts and forging relationships.

Related Blog Post: There’s more to Wine Country than Wine – New York’s Finger Lakes Region.

My Big Hairy Audacious 1-Year Goal:
To raise my DA from its current 18 to 40! I’ve got a lot of work to do!

Annick Lenoir-Peek of


Our Awesome Planet

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What is your Biggest Learning from TBEX Finger Lakes:

You need to be bold with your goals and publicly announce them. I was inspired by the stories of struggle and success shared by the Keynote Speakers: Cory Lee of  Curb Free with Cory Lee; Dave and Deb of the Planet D; and the trio of Ernest White of the Fly Brother, Mickela Mallozzi of Travel Bare Feet and Oneika Raymond of Oneika the Traveller.

My Big Hairy Audacious 1-Year Goal:

To launch the “50 Most Awesome Family Destinations in the World” with the aim of completing the list by 2022 before my eldest son Aidan goes to college.


That’s it!  I plan to publish and share the insights and learnings on success and failures in the next TBEX Conference in Montana.

Live an Awesome Life,

Disclosure: I wrote this article with my biases, opinions and insights.

P.S. The next TBEX North America will be in Billings, Montana on September 11-13, 2019. For more info, visit TBEX North America 2019

3 thoughts on “My Biggest Learning from TBEX Finger Lakes (and My Big Hairy One-Year Goal)

  1. Thanks Anton! Let’s see what heppens to our blogging lives between now and TBEX North America 2019! Wishing everybody all the best and hoping i can somehow make it to Billings!

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