My weekly blether is a little late this week for two reasons. Firstly because I have just got back from The Destinations Show in London which you can read about below and secondly because I have something exciting to share with you that I haven't been allowed to publish until today...
A SPECIAL VISITSCOTLAND ANNOUNCEMENT AND LAUNCH EVENT
Today sees the launch of VisitScotland's biggest ever global campaign, ‘Scotland - A Spirit of its Own’ which will be accompanied by a brand new hashtag, #ScotSpirit.
The Spirit of Scotland campaign will herald a new era for VisitScotland, with a new website, marketing brand and television advert. The new #ScotSpirit hashtag launches today and VisitScotland has asked me to share what the Spirit of Scotland means to me and if you want to find out you better pop over to my social media channels!
Even more exciting is that I have been invited on a secretive VisitScotland media event to launch the new brand. All I know is that I have to meet a bus in Glasgow tomorrow, dress warm and comfy and I will be staying the night at the very lovely Dumfries House. The rest is a mystery so stay tuned to my social media tomorrow when I can hopefully share what I'm getting up and where I am in the country as soon as I find out!
Don't forget to check out #ScotSpirit posts and share what the Spirit of Scotland means to you.
THE DESTINATIONS SHOW
One down side to living in Scotland and having an interest in travel is the lack of big travel exhibitions. This is why I spent last Friday taking a ferry, train, plane, bus and tube to get to The Destinations Show in London, a rather adventurous journey which was ironically taken to visit an adventure travel show!
There was no shortage of unusual international travel inspiration from the 300+ stands at the show, however this was not my main reason for crossing water, land and sky on this occasion. I was enticed along by the other attractions such as the Stanfords Travel Writers Festival which had some particularly fabulous speakers, Meet the Experts Stages and workshops with National Geographic. If you have an interest in adventure travel or travel writing/photography, I highly recommend you add this to your diary for next year.
I enjoyed so many great talks at the show and came home feeling really inspired, so I thought I would share some of my personal highlights from the show with you.
What I love most about Simon's work is his genuine interest in telling the human story, he doesn't just focus on a place but tells the story of that place through its people.
The fact he gave me a spontaneous hug as a thank you for travelling all the way from a Scottish island to listen to him has made my year. Despite his TV and book success he was totally down to earth, happy to give people his time and just seemed like a really nice bloke who has ensured a fan for life.
For one moment I wondered if I was still at The Travel Writers Festival and not a One Direction concert when Levison Wood was due to appear. Queue jumping, pushing, shoving, people arguing with burly security and general chaos just to get a seat in the auditorium. I am the first to admit I am a big fan of Levison Wood and his talk was another big draw for me but I wasn't prepared for how fanatical some people seemed to be and needless to say I didn't bother joining the huge queue to get my books signed at the end, I'll wait until a saner occasion as some of those Levison Wood fans were a bit too hardcore for me!
Admittedly I hadn't heard of Tristan before the show but his talk on natural navigation sounded interesting and I took a gamble with joining the audience. The gamble paid off as his was probably the most interesting session and even a novice like me enjoyed learning some basic natural clues to help orientate myself if I was lost or predict weather changes if the day ever happens that I don't have a map or worse still, my Smartphone fails!!
I certainly left the auditorium inspired and thinking differently about the natural world and that can only be a good thing.
NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC TRAVEL WRITING SESSION
National Geographic were running some great little sessions throughout the weekend and I really enjoyed the chance to hear from and question 3 travel editors/writers from major publications in a small group environment. This is not an opportunity you get every day and I went away with so much useful advice.
Travel photography workshops, competitions and exhibitions meant that there was plenty of visual inspiration too. Whether you just enjoy looking at exotic images or want to improve your skills, the show has no shortage of opportunities to do both and I spent my down time listening to advice from photography pros and feasting my eyes on their amazing work.
i realise this has been a long weekly blether so I'll finish off with a quick link to my latest blog in case you missed it 10 more quirky places you can spend the night in Scotland
Until next week safe and happy travels!