I’ll be doing five posts on my Traverse 16 experience:
- Posts one to four are conference days: Friday Depot, Saturday Workshops, Sunday Sightseeing, Monday Castle Tour.
- Post five is attending with compromised health.
So it is finally Traverse 16. Having booked months ago when The Bimblers told me it was in Cardiff my hometown, I’m looking forward to the ‘UK’s biggest weekend travel blogging conference’. It is my first time and I am unsure what to expect.
Dragon Taxis arrive early for a welcome night at Depot. So I find myself wandering down a back street off Dumballs Road to get fresh air. I first heard of Depot through Cardiff Dining Out. Since November 2015 it hosts a regular indoor street food night, in contrast to last summer’s outdoor pop-ups of Street Food Circus. I am in a different position to most of the other attendees as I live in Cardiff. A godsend as it removes extra preparation of travelling to participate in Traverse 16.
At the door I spot a couple of tall rugby players. A Cardiff bus stops their passes. One has a definite Scottish accent! I hear the Scots banter with the Welsh over whose rugby is best. I enter Depot and a bouncer asks in his Cardiff accent am I here for ‘Travis’? Welcomed by Visit Wales I am asked to find my name and attach it to a lanyard. Unfortunately it’s not there. I quickly scrawl my details on to a card and hang it around my neck. I am also handed four vouchers for a drink, starter, meal and desert.
As I turn around there is a tall grey plaited Welsh lady leaning down offering me a Welsh cake. Always love a Welsh cake. Her and her counterpart are highly entertaining!
A few people stand around in groups seeming to already know each other. For a moment I feel nervous but make my way to the bar. I spot a girl filming the stilted rugby players so strike up a conversation with her. We have a chat about blogs. She is @itgirlworlduk and we share a love of performance. We decide to explore the street food and mingle along the way.
It’s the start of a sociable evening. At the bar we chat to a representative from host @VisitWales, @paulgauger of @VisitBritain, one of Traverse organisers @TravMonkey. Then fellow bloggers @eliscapade and @millymollydoes whilst tasting a gorgeous halloumi starter from @Bwydiful.
Aware I am only able to stay a limited time tonight, I need to taste all 3 courses before I leave. Whilst the others sit and talk, I continue to find a tasty fish pie from @thatfishguy1 and chat to one of the speakers: Sarah from @LiveShareTravel and fellow bloggers @vagabondbaker, @ellensayshola plus a few others.
@michaeleball another Traverse organiser introduces the night and an energetic @TheBigWhatBand begin with some classics including The Jackson’s: Blame It On The Boogie. It is an uplifting start to Traverse 16 and the informal setting gets people mixing. Chatting to bloggers, speakers and organisers who have travelled from all over Britain and abroad.
With an early start tomorrow for the workshops, I leave the party in full swing. Grabbing a desert on my way out. I would love to stay longer but need to conserve energy for the main day tomorrow.
Next post up soon: Traverse 16: Saturday Workshops