The life of a travel blogger is not only about traveling to dream destinations, active or passive recreation, snapping photos at every turn and writing interesting content. It’s also about meeting interesting people, workshops, training, education, and that’s what our last weekend in Gdynia was like.
We have a huge fondness for See Bloggers. Two years ago it was the first such event we attended. I remember how full of enthusiasm, with heads full of ideas we returned to Lodz with the hope that from tomorrow it will be our blog will be the most wonderful, beautiful, smartest and all :) Eh, naivety ;-)
A year ago we didn’t show up in Gdynia, but we absolutely wanted to look in this year – curious about the changes, the formula, the meetings, the presentations and the partners. A lot has changed over the past two years, starting with the blogosphere as a whole and ending with our perspective and expectations. We know that it really takes a lot of work and time to run a blog on a regular basis, and a weekend conference will not suddenly make readyforboarding.co.uk appear in the JasonHunt ranking as the most influential blog ;) That’s not what we mean. We measure our strength by our intentions and are realistic about what we want to do :)
We were delighted to read the email that we got to the event this year and booked accommodation in Gdynia with all haste. It wasn’t easy, because it was peak season and the leftovers that remained were those most expensive apartments and condos. We were a bit lucky, as we were able to find a new Airbnb property that simply didn’t have all the dates taken yet, and it had the definite advantage of being 5 minutes away from the Pomeranian Science and Technology Park in Gdynia, where the classes were held.
However, if you plan to stay in the Tri-City during the holiday rush, you’d better be patient or book places very far in advance :)
Table of contents
Weekend in the Tri-City
We decided to arrive a day early so that we could at least rest for a day. Of course, the rest day was probably the coldest day in July, it was all of 14 degrees, windy and rainy. Just dream weather for beachcombing. Fortunately, we had a plan B – to visit the World War II Museum, a facility that was still closed during our last visit to the Tri-City. Once we got there, it turned out that Plan B wouldn’t work out either…. Then we realized that there was no Plan C, so we would just stay in Gdansk, because fortunately the weather was improving a bit.
World War II Museum
However, we feel obliged to write something about the MIIW. Why didn’t we succeed? Because a limited number of people can enter the museum at a specific time. When we arrived around 12 o’clock, the nearest entrance was not until 3 o’clock!
We already had other plans for the afternoon, so the tour was a no-go. And there would be nothing wrong with that if the big distaste that remained after entering the place. It started with the parking lot itself – there are simply not enough parking spaces. OK, we can park farther away, walk, no problem for us, but the moment we drove down to the underground garage, the car in front of us took the last ticket, and we were no longer allowed in, because the system indicates no free spaces, despite the fact that there were with 4 available spaces in our sight!
A phone call to the service did not help, we did not get any information that this could be the cause and we are to wait. And we had to wait, because it was impossible to withdraw. When a car finally left we were able to get in, but another driver had the same problem. And an electronic board in front of the entrance indicating that there are no more spaces (it is above the garage entrance itself, but it does not show the correct information) would suffice.
Unfortunately, due to lack of spaces, cars park wherever they can, which makes the street jammed, there is no way to leave, and two cars are unable to pass each other. In addition, one has theoretically 3 hours of parking for free, but only with a ticket. What if you don’t get a ticket? At the information desk they will bounce your ticket and you have 15 minutes to leave.
And great, but it’s a shame that these 15 minutes are not enough, because you have to take into account: the queue for the elevator – yes! There is one elevator to the garage and no stairs! So far we don’t believe it, because somewhere surely the escape stairs must be, but no one from information and security could point them out, and we had to wait 4 rounds for the elevator itself! Seriously :)
In addition (yes, we thrive on this complaining ;-)), there is a queue to exit the garage, because not everyone knows that the card has to be bounced and then it starts that drivers get out, fly to pay, etc. etc. and the next cars in line time flies and they will be the ones blocking the exit next. This just made our exit from the parking lot as difficult as our entry into it.
Well, then, in traditional Polish custom, we grumbled. Why am I writing about it? To warn you: if you can park further away and buy your ticket online LONG in advance. We regret very much, because we hoped that the Museum itself would make up for this organizational chaos, but there was not even such a possibility.
So Friday’s rest was limited to a walk in Gdansk and Gdynia, but the important thing is that the beach passed (no matter that in a sweatshirt, that it was windy, that it was cold…:-)).
See Bloggers 2017 Conference
But let’s return to the title event. Over the course of two days, a host of panels, workshops, demonstrations and contests awaited bloggers, youtubers and other online creators. We took part in several panels and workshops related to, among other things. with photography, workflow, affiliate programs, cleanliness in the blogosphere and running your own business. It is impossible to describe and evaluate this event without comparing it to another conference we attended this year – Blog Conference Poznań and previous editions of SeeBloggers.
Let’s start with the organization. From the participant’s point of view, things definitely worked out better on the organizational side at SeeBloggers: there was an app where you could check where, what and when things were happening (I’m overlooking some inaccuracies and the lack of automatic uploading of workshops you were signed up for). Everyone got a map of the event in their entry packet, along with listed booths. There were a lot of events going on at the same time, a lot of activities awaited the participants during the breaks: both culinary and entertainment, the children’s zone was nicely arranged (although it was terribly stuffy at the beginning). I also have to pay bows to the security guards: as soon as they saw that I was carrying the stroller immediately one gentleman came to my aid, started asking what about the elevator (which, by the way, broke down), as well as intervened in the toilets when the queues were too long.
Substantive part. I must point out that we were only at a few panels and workshops, and it is on this basis that the following evaluation is based, but in our opinion (and that of many other participants) the meetings in Poznan were of greater merit. In Gdynia, organizers focused on panels, discussions and promotion of sponsor brands during the workshops. We missed more substantive content, although on the other hand we are not surprised, because, however, the level of participants was baaavery diverse and it is clear that some topics need to be moved from the very basics. However, there was a lack of travel-related topics – theoretically there was a photo&travel zone, but it was practically only photo. Fact, many of the lectures or panels were just fun and nice to sit in on, but they didn’t bring anything new to our blogging life.
Fortunately, this time around, we didn’t hear the touchy-feely stories of how you can make millions from blogging, and there were more voices about hard work, self-denial and perseverance (for which a huge plus!). It’s becoming more and more common to hear “To take out you have to put in” ;) This famous classic appeared two years ago during a meeting with Tasteaway, and this weekend it was repeated by Kasia Ogórek of Twojediy.pl. At the time, it stuck in my head a lot and made me realize that a blog is an investment, but not just an investment of your time. You need to invest real money, not fly on free hosting, servers, templates (something Paweł has been telling me about for years…). The panel about running a business alongside a blog and organizing a blogger’s work was also very inspiring, although I regret that it was so short.
As a matter of fact, of greater value to us were the behind-the-scenes conversations, we met many interesting, inspiring people, there were many new blogs to follow and, finally, we had the opportunity to meet in person the authors we follow on a regular basis and love to read.
We returned with our heads half full of ideas and thoughts. A few inspired us, some helped us see through and pointed out interesting tools to work with. We don’t want to throw ourselves in at the deep end and suddenly do a 180-degree turn. We continue to do what we love, and in the process bring you a handful of inspiring information and photos! :-)
Thank you for all the kind words we heard during See Bloggers!
P.S. we call ourselves a travel blog, and we did not think about the fact that returning from the sea on a holiday Sunday afternoon can be a bad idea ;) We do not recommend it! Instead of 3 hours, we drove 5…. But at least it was nice to come back :)