You may have heard me talk about this thing called Bloghouse.
What might not have been immediately clear is what exactly it is, or what happens at one.
What Is It?
It’s an intimate weekend workshop for upcoming travel bloggers hosted by travel blogging veterans. It’s meant to help you reach the next rung on the travel blogging ladder, boost your progress, and help you build a sustainable career.
How Did I Apply?
Stephanie Yoder from Twenty-Something Travel told me about the open applications for this Bloghouse when I met her at the WITS in Boston last March. I thought it sounded pretty cool so I tidied up some of my work and then sent them off the link to my blog. A few weeks later I heard back that I was in. Voila!
Then I did a little happy dance in my living room and booked my plane tickets to Milwaukee.
What Happened Over the Weekend?
We drank the kool-aid.
During the weekend we participated in talks on writing, web design and management, income strategizing, photography, editing, branding, pitching, and working with travel boards.
We also asked our mentors absolutely anything we wanted, and I think they were very candid, honest and open with us in sharing their anecdotes.
Each person has a personal audit, where you sit down with a mentor and have a 1:1 review of your website. There’s also an optional 1:1 tech audit, where you can ask any WordPress, hosting, or other technical questions.
There was also a lot of eating delicious food together, and exploring our host city.
We were treated to several organized networking sessions between local tourism organizations and ourselves over (more) delicious food at fantastic locales. One was in the presidential suite of the Potawatomi Hotel, and another at the urban bar, The Rumpus Room.
Here’s a few shots of the presidential suite that you can rent at Potawatomi. Bartender not included.
I had a great time talking with tourism reps and learning what I could offer them, and what they could offer me in return. It was nice to hear what they look for in a blogger. Now knowing what they’re looking for, I’ll be able to craft better pitches.
Would I Do It Again?
Yes. And I would encourage anyone who thinks they have a future in travel writing to apply. Not only for the practical and pragmatic advice you’ll receive, but also to meet people from all over the world who are as serious about travel blogging as you are. It’s fun! You take pictures of your food together!
Don’t just take my word for it though; every blogger present that weekend is writing a recap and if you Google “Bloghouse Milwaukee” I’m sure you’ll come across a few. I’m also listing my cohort’s names and websites below, so be sure to check them out!
Unfortunately, there’s no Bloghouse ‘Grad School’ or Bloghouse 2.0 that I can go back to again someday because I would. One of the best ways to become great in your field is to surround yourself with other amazing people, and I definitely felt the love over the weekend.
They did give each of us a free membership to Travel Blog Success, which has ongoing education and workshops around travel blogging.
We were a group of wifi-locating, travel punning, food loving, frequent-stop-photographing, cellphone-in-hand, connected women (and two dudes – thumbs up to Barry and Mike).
The good humour of my fellow Bloghousers also helped us all to get through several delayed flights, and there was a lot of laughing to be had in general.
Since quitting my job at the law firm I’ve been asked a lot how I’m going to make my money while traveling the world, taking photos and writing. It was nice to be around other people with similar objectives, where I was given a break from feeling the need to explain all my motivations.
As you’ll see from a lot of the changes I’ve made to my blog, the weekend obviously really inspired me. The mentors do a great job of identifying each Bloghouse attendee’s unique strengths and specialties, and help them to amplify their voice.
I think my feelings about Bloghouse Milwaukee are well summed-up on this license plate I found upon exiting the Rumpus Room:
I’m Interested! When Is The Next One?
The next Bloghouse hasn’t yet been announced, but I’d watch their website and join their mailing list if you’re interested.
There is a vetting process and a limited number of spots, so if you do apply, make sure you’re showing your best content and make sure your website is in good shape before hitting submit.
Our hard-working mentors for this session were (as seen Left to Right in the picture above):
- Kate McCulley from Adventurous Kate @adventurouskate
- Lisa Lubin from LLworldtour @LLworldtour
- Cailin O’Neil from TravelYourself @cailinoneil (a fellow Halegonian and my 1:1 Site Audit Reviewer!) <3
- Michael Tieso from Art of Adventuring @michaeltieso
- Stephanie Yoder from Twenty-Something Travel @20sTravel
My fellow Bloghouse attendees were:
- Laura Leigh Goyer theculinarytravelguide.com @TravelCulinary
- Jessica Dawdy waysofwanderers.com @waysofwanderers
- Barry Best worldlynomads.com @worldlynomads
- Yadira & Yaimani Rivera thetworiveras.com @TheTwoRiveras
- Amy Truong genericdreams.com @generic_dreams
- Erin Southerland dontforgettoeat.com @forgettoeat
- Bethaney Davies flashpackerfamily.com @flashpackerfam
- Adelina Wong packmeto.com @packmeto
- Lauren Marinigh twirltheglobe.com @TwirlTheGlobe
- Megan Stetzel forksandfootprints.com @meganstetzel
- Pola Henderson jettingaround.com @jettingaround
I had never been to the American Midwest and really knew nothing about Milwaukee (“Mil-Where?”) before I went; so if you’re in the same boat now, be sure to check out my post, You Don’t Know What You’re Missing in Milwaukee.
As well, if you have any questions about my Bloghouse experience, or in general, feel free to ask in the comments below!