In just under a week I am heading to London for my first ever blogger conference. Attending a blogger conference is something I’ve been meaning to do for a while but never quite got around to. Now that Baby Routes is gaining momentum it seems a good time to take the next step and finally get myself out into the offline blogger community. I would like to brush up on my self-taught blogging skills, gain some inspiration and learn what on earth Google + is all about. Most of all I’d like to finally have the time to meet and get to know some of those great, creative people out there.
There is one reason above all others though which made me bite the bullet and sign up for this particular event at this exact time. You see Blogfest is being held in Kings Place in London. The last time I was in Kings Place, it was wearing a suit and high heels in my former always-on-the-go role as an Operations Manager for the railways. Back then, there was no Baby Routes, just a bump, some uncertain and vague ideas about self-employment and a desire to spend plenty of time as a Mum during those pre-school years. I had no idea about the online world, had never knowingly read a blog (I don’t count the corporate one) and if you’d asked me what SEO was I’d probably have thought it was something to do with signalling, engineering and operations.
If I’m being completely honest, if you’d suggest blogging to me as a past-time back in those days I would probably have dismissed it outright. Pretty ignorant given the fact I have been a fan of the written word since a child, previously nearly ditched operations for a job in academic publishing and having passed the Guardian’s offices on the floor below at Kings Place daily with a vague sense of longing.
Blogfest run by Mumsnet looks set to be a great day out. With novelist Nick Hornby one of the speakers (let me know now if you’d like a signed copy of his books for Christmas…) and some other great names too, it should involve some inspiring stuff. That’s before you get to the break-out sessions and specialist workshops – if I don’t come back an expert on SEO (and not the railway type) then there is obviously no hope for me!
When I started Baby Routes, it was both as a tool to keep my mind from fogging over with baby fuzz and as a hobby to fit in with the lifestyle I was developing for myself and my new daughter. I’ve always been outdoorsy and a keen walker and I saw no reason to give up that identity in exchange for being a Mum. I’m also a researcher by training with an MRes to prove it, so using these skills seemed a no-brainer.
So it was I set about creating a website where people could find and share family walks and share tips on remaining outdoors and active as a new parent. As I sat rocking and feeding Roo in the very early days, it was with a book on how to make websites on one side and laptop on the other. I launched Baby Routes when she was nearly three months old. It soon transpired that a more personal approach suited Baby Routes best and so, little-by-little and without really realising it, I discarded my most rigid researcher’s hats and mellowed a little into an outdoors and family travel blogger.
Despite only being a few years, it’s been a long journey from being a big company employee to stay-at-home blogger. In my head, I still don’t think I’m quite there yet! Part of going to Blogfest in the office building where I used to work in my previous job is about facing this change head on. It’s about confirming to myself my identity as a blogger and travel writer. It’s about having the confidence to announce this to the world.
I’m heading to Blogfest 2014 solo and would love to get to know as many other bloggers as time allows! I read quite a few blogs but am not great at remembering names. To help me and others out there in the same boat, I’ve set-up a gallery for 2014’s Blogfest goers.
If you’re coming then please feel free to leave a photo of yourself. Make sure to include your name, blog name and type of blogging you do (e.g. lifestyle, travel, fashion & photography etc) in the white box above the upload box. If you’d like me to add a link to your blog and one social media profile then please leave the links and I’ll do my best to get them all added! Max pic size is 400×400 pixels. I can resize but would love it if you can help me save time & the website running by keeping images small. Thanks!
Don’t worry if your picture doesn’t appear in the gallery right away – it might take a few hours for me to verify it’s the real deal. Do leave a comment to say hello if you like too!
Blogfest 2014 Delegates Gallery