It started as an idea…

“I’m leaving Edinburgh soon, do you want to get together for drinks with a few travel folks?” I asked my friend Abhishek (of Wild Navigator) via Facebook.

“Sure,” he said, “I’ll start looking into sponsors.”

It never ceases to amaze me how motivated travel industry folks can be when it comes to organizing events. Our business is to connect people to places and to the people who live in those places. So I guess it’s no wonder we jump at the chance to meet other travel professionals: we are curious by trade.

It was this enthusiasm that turned a casual meet-up between a couple of people into two full-fledged events.

And then I got in touch with Kash

I was introduced to Kash at TBEX Athens, by a friend who knew I lived in Edinburgh. Kash is possibly one of the busiest (and most sought after) travel bloggers I have ever met – he is constantly producing new work for his website and his clients. He was one of the masterminds behind #Blogmanay, and he’s recently created a project called Must Love Festivals that focuses on the lesser-known festivals throughout Europe. Needless to say, he’s very well-connected. Especially in Edinburgh.

But when I sent him a message on Facebook to see if he knew of any travel folks who might be interested in getting together, I expected a polite reply with maybe a couple of suggestions. Clearly I had not yet learned the way of the travel blogger.

Only a few hours later, Kash had posted a status on his personal Facebook page, introducing me to more than a dozen Edinburgh-based travel industry people.

And that’s how my “drinks with a couple friends” turned into two full-blown travel events.

Last Tuesday, Pilgrim Bar Hosted our Travel Meet-Up

Edinburgh Travel Meetup

Chris Davidson, of Haggis Hostels, put me in touch with Jamie Mullen, Pilgrim’s manager, who was more than happy to host us. Pilgrim has a “wanderer” theme, and the bar is made of vintage suitcases. Perfect for a travel-related event! Jamie even provided us with cheesy tortilla chips, sausages, sandwiches and other munchies. But the best surprise was three bottles of celebratory champagne. Celebratory because Haggis Hostel just launched their brand new concierge app. And anyway who needs a reason to drink champagne? Besides that, we received 25% off drinks with super cool VIP cards, and had several tables to ourselves.
When it came time to pop the champagne, Tanya from Tanya Traveller asked if I was going to do a speech. “Well, I have nothing prepared…but let me finish this beer.”

Edinburgh Travel Meet-Up

I rambled for a couple minutes (it may have made it to video…) and then suddenly everyone was double-fisting: beer in one hand, champagne in the other. Julie and Scott of Zurika, who have organized a few travel tweet-ups, congratulated me on a successful evening and said they were happy to pass the torch. “But I’m leaving next week,” I said, feeling the familiar sadness at the idea of my impending departure. It’s too bad I have started to become a part of this travel community just as I finish my time in Edinburgh. But there is talk of Travel Massive coming to Edinburgh (currently looking for volunteers – if you’re interested, please get in touch), and there’s always the possibility that I will come back, or at least come to visit.

This Week, Round Two at the Scotch Whisky Experience

Abhishek has arranged for our second, larger travel tweet-up to be at the Scotch Whisky Experience this Wednesday, and we’re all full up!

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