You’ve seen the tweets. You know there are travel vouchers and trips to Aruba being given away. However, do you really know what Expedia Find Yours photo contest is really about?
You’ve seen all those words with the hashtags and the #ExpediaFindYours tag. You may have even seen the commercial on TV. You may have shared a photo. Yet deep down you’ve wondered:
“Why do these travel bloggers care so much about this Expedia Find Yours campaign?”
“Why have travel bloggers become partners with one of the biggest travel companies in the world?”
You’ve read the posts from each of the travel bloggers telling you about this campaign. You may have wondered why Expedia is doing this. Now it’s time to get personal about this campaign, tell the bloggers’ stories, and share why travel really matters.
I’m going to share some personal stories. I’m going to take you behind the scenes. I’m going to share some things that may surprise you.
My Expedia Find Yours story
“Travel isn’t about the destination. It’s about the journey, the people, and the experiences. Travel is one part of life that makes the rest of life better.”
That’s how I sum up my travel experiences. I’ve had ups and downs but my best memories are with the people that were part of my journey. Some of my best life lessons were ones that I learned from travel.
Why am I a part of the Expedia Find Yours campaign? Because every traveler has a story. Their experiences and memories with people remind us what really matters. Expedia Find Yours is about sharing those stories which connects us all, one traveler at a time as citizens of the world.
So here’s the part where I share an awesome travel story to inspire you to be a part of Expedia Find Yours right?
Instead, I’m sharing a few stories about the people that are a part of this campaign.
Expedia Find Yours – my personal connections
June 2011. I was attending my first TBEX travel blog conference. I arrived early at the train station in Seattle for the 4 hour train ride to Vancouver and met many of my travel friends for the first time in person.
One of those was Kirsten Alana.
On that train ride, Kirsten shared a little about her life. She went through a tough divorce and talked about the freedom and healing she found through travel and photography. While she didn’t go into much detail, I connected with her story in many ways.
While an interest in travel allowed our paths to cross, our stories connected us. I’ll never forget that train ride.
On Saturday night, I was part of a photo shoot for a Men of TBEX calendar. My shirt was off, the oil was out, and I was slicker than a greased pig. That night was a lot of fun. However, I had one serious conversation that I still haven’t forgotten.
Upstairs, Ben Reed and I talked about our blogs. I talked about my blog a lot that weekend but this conversation was different. Ben asked me a lot of questions. More importantly, he cared about what I was doing and where I was going.
He listened intently as he asked what my goals were and what was my message to travelers. At that moment, he may have cared more about my blog than I did. I haven’t forgotten that.
Fast forward to June 2012. This TBEX was bigger than ever and I was going to meet some of my favorite travel people for the first time.
Two of those people were Deb Corbeil and Dave Bouskill of The Planet D. It was the Thursday night Brewery kick off party when I met Dave. We connected immediately and talked for 20 minutes. A few minutes later I met Deb. Her enthusiasm and excitement were as genuine as anyone I had ever met.
Over the weekend, I talked to them a number of times. I attended their session on building relationships with brands and saw their dedication and passion for what they do. I competed with Deb in a bull riding competition. We traded stories and jabs, had fun, and connected.
Quite honestly, they are my two favorite travel people that I’ve ever met. Of all the things that happened that weekend, they were the highlight. I told numerous people how much I loved hanging out with them. I already considered them friends. I wish every person I met was as warm, genuine, dedicated, and hard-working as them.
Those are just a few of my stories. Of the 12 bloggers that are a part of this campaign, I’ve met 9 of them in person. I remember that first encounter with every one of them. I am honored to be a part of this with them.
Expedia Find Yours – travel bloggers share their inspiration
Trish Friesen – “To participate in a project that speaks to the heart and soul of travel is as a privilege. Travel is an opportunity—whether it’s backpacking in hostels, camping in the boonies or sipping Veuve Cliquot at a rooftop pool in Beverly Hills.”
Kirsten Alana – “I really love the idea behind Expedia’s FindYours campaign. I am so proud to be a part of the twitter version of the campaign not only because of the amazing group of bloggers who are my colleagues that are also participating, all who have a unique story to tell, but also due to the fact that it echoes sentiments I share in most of my blog posts and in everyday conversation all the time. I believe travel is a deeply personal thing and should be individual. There are different styles, motivating factors and visions for each of us and every trip we take or destination we visit. I think people should go find their _______ – whatever it is, and then share it with others so they can inspire other people and be a part of a world where we learn from one another. I have found perspective through my travels – so that’s what I am sharing and I love seeing and hearing other people’s perspectives as well.”
Kara Williams – “I’ve found my #bliss on so many vacations with loved ones I can’t even count them on all fingers and toes! I joined this #ExpediaFindYours campaign for one of the same reasons I started a travel blog — to inspire others to get out there and travel. And my mantra is this: Especially for families, sometimes it doesn’t matter if a vacation is halfway around the world, or in a hotel (with a pool!) a few towns away. It’s being together, away from carpools, computers and commitments, when that elusive ‘quality time’ takes place. That’s why I love to travel — and shake up daily life a bit. That’s how I find my #bliss — with my peeps, trying new-to-us activities, experiencing a new destination, sampling new foods. Happy place.”
Juno Kim – “Expedia Find Yours campaign is about inspiration. I found my #Calling through travel, and realized once more that I can’t live without inspiration. I found my calling to travel, to explore, and to challenge. By running Expedia Find Yours campaign with 9 other great bloggers, I got the inspirations every single day.
Also, I would love to be an inspiration to other bloggers, especially from Asia. Being involved with a well known company like Expedia is a good example. A girl from a different and little part of the world can participate a world-wide campaign align with all the people, that’s inspiring. I got a lot of emails from readers from all over Asia that how much they want to travel the world. They didn’t think they can do it, and now I see some of them are making their dream come true. That’s inspiring to me.”
Ben Reed – “When asked why I’m participating in the #ExpediaFindYours Twitter Photo Competition I had to think for a moment. The word I’m promoting is #Strength. And in just one week I’ve been awestruck at how people find their #Strength through travel.
On the very first day a participant tweeted a photo of herself spreading her mom’s ashes in NY, a travel dream fulfilled for both mother and daughter. The innocence of a child mesmerized by an aquarium brings #Strength to a mom while a lone lighthouse on the shore serves an iconic reminder.
I find my #Strength in a somewhat more light-hearted way. Sometimes it’s the satisfaction in reaching a personal goal of bungee jumping in a distant land, or daring the unexpected like drinking a shot with a mummified toe in it. It’s having the gusto to bare it all on a beach or respect local customs despite your eager desire to climb the sacred Uluru.
Why I’m glad to share in this community is to discover how truly special each of our travel moments are. We all have a story to tell and photos are the best way to share it.
#Strength through travel comes in many ways and to share your strength, gives others the same.”
Anne Taylor Hartzell – “I love all of the calm photos people have been sharing. They share the same passion for travel and family and it is something that seems to be universal!”
What’s your Expedia Find Yours story?
We care about your stories. We look at every photo. We ask questions. We want to know more about your story.
This is more than just a photo contest to give away prizes. It’s about sharing the stories of travelers as we connect with one another. We want to learn about your perspective, calling, strength, bliss, cojones, wonder, calm, purpose, freedom, and love.
This is so much more than just travel. We want you to share some of your life changing moments.
Now it’s your turn. What’s your Expedia Find Yours moment? Tweet your photos with the hashtag of the word you want to share and #ExpediaFindYours. It’s time to tell us your story.