6 Things You Learn at Your First Local Blogger Bash + A GIVEAWAY!

Sure, I’m a travel blogger, sailor and writer, but I’m staying put for the moment as I plan my next adventure. So I was delighted at the chance to see what’s going on close to home, by heading down to Union Depot in St. Paul for the first annual Minnesota Blogger Bash sponsored by Lowertown Pop. I wasn’t sure what to expect from my first local blog event. Here’s what I learned:

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  1. There are so many local makers I didn’t know about! From vodka made from sugar beets to designers offering versatile apparel for travelers, people in Minnesota are kicking ass with their entrepreneurial spirit.
  2. From fitness to parenthood to travel to fashion, the Twin Cities is a haven for bloggers looking to collaborate. I only wish I could have stuck around long enough to meet more of them.
  3. Getting there early pays! The first 50 bloggers in the door received a goodie bag to pack with free stuff from every maker, and of course I wanted to be one of them.
  4. Food! Crave Catering showed up with a table full of treats.
  5. Don’t be shy. Striking up conversations is how you get tips and collaborations. (Believe me, as an ambivert, I’m still working on this myself).
  6.  You can win prizes!!

Wait, actually you don’t have to go anywhere to win prizes. You can win them right here. I have 2 tickets (normally a $30 value) to give away to the inaugural Lowertown Pop, an even bigger, bolder version of the bash, happening April 15 at Union Depot. Here’s the details:

 “A Minnesota Maker market featuring local artisans and craftspeople including brewers, bakers, distillers, artists and musicians. The annual market will be held on Saturday, April 15th, 2017 in the Waiting Room at Union Depot and will benefit River’s Edge Academy, a non-profit organization challenging students to discover their greatness by learning through experience in a small, supportive community. Lowertown Pop is a crowdfunding market, meaning 50 percent of ticket sales will be donated to River’s Edge Academy and 50 percent will be given to one lucky Minnesota Maker.”

So what do you have to do win these tickets? Leave me a message in the comments or on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram (“I want those tickets,” Gimme the tickets,” etc. etc.) I’ll choose a winner at random Monday, April 10.

 

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8 things you learn sailing on General Patton’s yacht

This past Sunday, I was delighted to make my debut in my other hometown newspaper, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, writing about my journey from Marquette to Duluth aboard the When and If, the yacht belonging to General George S. Patton. Click here to see the PDF and get all the history on this amazing boat, the oldest and most authentic to visit Tall Ships Duluth.

1. Making friends is easier when your boat is famous. Everywhere we went, from, people wanted to ask about the boat, talk about old Blood ‘n’ Guts, find out where we’d been, and learn our stories.

2. It helps to have a professional photographer on board. I wish I could have Emma Louise Wyn-Jones with me all the time! Check out more of her amazing photos on her Facebook page.

3. Even in August, swimming in the middle of Lake Superior is colder than you could possibly imagine, even when you’re diving headfirst from the legendary Black Rocks in the Upper Peninsula capital of Marquette.

4. A boat is the only way to get around the wild, unspoiled, and gorgeous Apostle Islands (which, despite living mere hours away, I had never visited before this summer).

5. Being a crewmember (even a guest one) at a Tall Ships Festival is like being a gorilla in a zoo (and I mean that in the best possible way). Luckily, we had intern Ben Shaiman (Official Blogger of Tall Ships America) onboard to show us the way.

7. Lake Superior is not to be taken for granted. The Edmund Fitzgerald is just for starters of shipwrecks.

8. Pasties are delicious for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

I Got Zika While Traveling: Here’s What No One Told Me

Did you know I got zika on my latest trip through Central American and the Caribbean? I knew it was a risk when I left, but I went anyway. I tried to spray myself with DEET as much as possible, but what most people don’t know is that in the tropics, it’s virtually impossible to protect yourself 24/7. The symptoms first kicked in in Rio Dulce, Guatemala, and followed me into Belize. It put me out of commission for a week, but I still wouldn’t trade my trip for anything. For me, it’s just part of being a traveler, but not everyone feels the same. My latest piece for Oyster explains everything: IMG_20160319_101644009