My roommates were probably really annoyed the morning I found out I’d been accepted into BlogHouse. Why? Because screaming, running, and phone calls ensued. After sending in my Blog House application (somewhat based on a last-minute decision), I sent it in and tried not to think about it. A few weeks later, when the email came, I was all smiles. Having the opportunity to work and learn alongside some of my all-time favorite bloggers was like a dream come true.
For the weeks leading up to Blog House, I didn’t really know what to expect. I looked through all of my fellow bloggers’ sites and tried to get a feel for who I’d be spending my time with. And, after about a month of hopping all around North America (from Guatemala to Orlando), I finally set foot in the gorgeous De La Salle Castle, our BlogHouse home base in the heart of Toronto. All of our amazing week (our stay and learning opportunities) were graciously provided by FlipKey and FlightNetwork.
But what did I actually end up doing once I got there?
On the first day, we all went around the long table and introduced ourselves, said where we were from, what our blog is about, and what we wanted to accomplish throughout the week. Shyly, I told them I wanted to learn everything. Little did I know that everything was actually quite a lot more than I thought it would be. Through Q&A sessions, one-on-one site audits, and informal seminars, we learned a thing or two about SEO, building an audience, newsletters, monetizing, photography, videography, and pitching prospective partners. Every day I ended up sitting in my bed, both exhausted from all I’d learned that day but also thrilled to work on my site and improve it even more.
None of my learning would have been possible without the help of some amazing, established bloggers: Pete and Dalene Heck, Michael Tieso, Stephanie Yoder, Michael Hodson, Sherry Ott, Cailin O’Neill, Lisa Lubin, and Matt Gibson. Every day, they filled my brain with more information than I think I’ve ever stored in there, sharing their expertise and answering all of our questions. Plus (the fan girl side of me is about to show) it was really cool to actually meet in person some of the people who inspired me to travel and write in the first place.
Pretty soon after I got to the house, I found out that I was the Blog House baby. At 20 years old, I was definitely the youngest person there. It was cool having such a diverse group of us, from my college student self to blogging moms to adventurous twenty-somethings and everything in between. My fellow junior bloggers were pretty much the coolest people ever, and they each have the most awesome, wild, and mind-blowing stories and advice to share.
Megan Smith – Megan o Travels
Noah Ledermann – Somewhere or Bust
Melissa Hogan – Suitcase and Heels
Emma Holliday – An Opportune Moment
Keryn Means – Walking on Travels
Alana Morgan – Paper Planes Blog
Mara Gorman – Mother of All Trips
Alouise Dittrick – Traveler Ahoy
Stephanie Spencer – Nerd At Large
Lindsay Lewis – The Traveluster
Cacinda Maloney – Points and Travel
I think what I came away from Blog House with was a sense of direction. Before, I felt like I was kind of just running around like a chicken with its head cut off, not really knowing where I was trying to go and not being able to accomplish much at all. Consequently, I didn’t get a lot done, wasn’t organized, and didn’t really know what I was doing. After Blog House, I felt like I had formed a solid plan for The Kay Days. And now that I’m on the path, I’m ready to get on my feet and go.
If you’d like to stay adrift of the next Blog House event, sign up for the email newsletter!