I’m excited to announce that I’m kicking off May with my first big trip of the year to Huntsville, Alabama to attend the TBEX travel writer’s conference, and immediately following, I’m headed down to Mobile, where they have a wonderful itinerary planned.
I’m attending TBEX with my friend and fellow Orlando blogger SeaWorld Mommy. It’s my first time at a TBEX event, so I’m looking forward to meeting other travel bloggers, and hopefully learning some new stuff at the daily sessions to help me grow this blog, and my other CitySurfing Orlando.
I’m also hoping to get a great seat for the keynote session by TV host Samantha Brown. She’s the first person who inspired me in my desire to go full-time as a travel writer. I kept watching her shows on the Travel Channel and thinking…”yeah, that’s what I want to do. Explore and enjoy the world, and then get others excited in doing the same.”
Another highlight of attending TBEX is I will be doing an afternoon FAM tour (the term for a familiarization tour) to NASA’s Marshal Space Flight Center, which is based in Huntsville. I’ve been a space nut since I was a kid, so I’m really looking forward to this tour.
I’ve driven past Huntsville a few times, but my exposure to the city has been staying at a hotel near the interstate, and taking numerous photos of the rocket at the rest area just south of the Tennessee border.
During the TBEX event, I’ll have the opportunity to check out two of the popular nightlife venues:
- A.M. Booth’s Lumberyard, a century old lumberyard that has been refurbished with multiple stages for live music, eight different restaurant/bar areas, and a games arcade
- Campus No. 805, a former school that has been completely transformed into 13 sprawling acres of craft breweries, retail, restaurants, arcades, and special event venues.
I’m looking forward to checking out the local breweries and entertainment venues, as well as enjoying the food. Plus of course, NASA, which will host another TBEX party on Friday night.
I’m hoping we get into town early enough the day before to at least do a quick drive-tour of the city and area around the hotel.
Immediately following TBEX, the great folks at Visit Mobile have invited me down to the Gulf Coast for a few days with a couple of other bloggers, to enjoy a FAM tour of the city. Again, I’ve driven through Mobile, but never had the chance to explore.
I’m happy with the sample itinerary they’ve come up with for us. We’ll be checking out some of the history of the city, taking a pontoon boat tour of the delta water and wildlife area, and even getting a quick tour of a brewery that will be opening this summer.
And of course, we’ll be enjoying a few of the city’s favorite restaurants, while staying at locally-owned boutique Malaga Inn. The location seems favorable for some short walks around the Downtown Historic District.
This will be the largest trip I’ve taken since beating cancer, and I won’t lie…I’m nervous as to how my MS will take this active schedule.
But I’m taking a few extra days of my meds, will keep hydrated, get as much sleep as possible, and if I have to sit down here and there during tours, i will do what I have to and not feel ashamed because my body won’t keep up at that particular point.
I really want 2017 to be the year I get myself back out there, doing what I love full-time. Don’t get me wrong…I love blogging about Orlando and Central Florida at CitySurfing Orlando, but there’s so much more of the world I want to write about.
You can also follow along with the hashtags #zengrrlatTBEX, #zengrrlinHSV and #zengrrlinMobile.
Then when I get back to Orlando, expect all kinds of posts at both blogs, as well as my freelance outlets.
And if you have any suggestions for either city, let me know in the comments, and I’ll try to fit them in.
See y’all on the flipside….
[photo credits: TBEX; Huntsville.org; and Mobile.org]
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