New York, New York: Adventures in solo travel, The Blogcademy, and new friends

As I write this, I’m sitting on a plane on the way back to Toronto (though this is actually getting published a few days later), after having spent four action-packed days in New York City. This was my second time ever in New York, and I’m happy to say that not only did I enjoy my time immensely, but I might even be starting to figure out the ridiculously complicated subway system. Trust me, this feels like a huge accomplishment since it’s actually insane.

A desire for a small adventure brought me to New York, as well as a blogging workshop that was being held this weekend. Now, it might seem a little strange that I attended a workshop about blogging with my own blog being so new and really just a hobby, but sometimes in life, it’s nice to say “what the hell, why not?” and just do something impulsive and a little random.

On Solo Travel

This trip was the first one that I really took entirely by myself, and now that it’s over, I can’t believe I didn’t do it sooner. Travelling alone probably isn’t suited to everyone, but to a semi-introvert like myself, it was really refreshing to be able to do whatever I wanted to do without having to make conversation (unless I wanted to talk to strangers, which I did sometimes!) or worry about pleasing anyone else. I was able to take as much time as I wanted at the Guggenheim, and I could leisurely browse as many clothes/jewellery/record shops as I wanted in Brooklyn. No one was around to judge the amount of sugar I consumed at Tu-Lu’s Bakery (aka the best gluten free bakery ever – we really need one here).

Nope, I’m not telling you how many of these I ate.

On the other hand, it was a little scary. No one else was there to make sure I knew how to get from place to place, and no one was there to make sure I made my flight on time. But you know what? It was kind of awesome. There’s no way to learn self-sufficiency like being forced into it, and it’s really empowering to have made it through on my own. And okay, I know that a long weekend in New York isn’t exactly roughing it in the wild, but hey, isn’t it nice to celebrate the little things?

On the Blogcademy

The workshop I attended was a lot of fun. Led by three super successful, interesting, and really fun bloggers (Gala Darling of, Kat Williams of Rock n Roll Bride, and Shauna Haider of Nubby Twiglet), we were taught all sorts of things from being your own spokesperson, to brainstorming potential sources of income, to deciding what to write about, to developing a brand. Oh, plus a bunch of photography tips by Lisa Devlin (who also uses Aperture, like I do. Aperture ftw!) A lot information was packed into two days, but it wasn’t too overwhelming or difficult to absorb.

So, as someone with a personal blog with no immediate (or, let’s be honest, any) intention of commercializing it, was all of this information valuable to me? Yep, I’d say that it was! Because I also run a business, I can actually apply a lot of the advice to that instead where it doesn’t perfectly apply to my blog. Also, not all of the material was directed at blogs with commercial interests. The core takeaway messages like being yourself, being consistent, being patient (no one became InternetFamous™ overnight, after all!) and working hard are good advice for anyone.

And I have to mention, as a designer, this was one of the best branded events I have been to. I tip my hat to Shauna, who pulled that part of the workshop together. I know I just wrote a post where I said that sometimes a product can succeed in spite of shitty branding, but now I’m going to go in the opposite direction and say that a well-executed visual identity is truly a beautiful thing.

Even the balloons were totes on brand.

On making new friends

I’m a very firm believer in the idea that good people can make or break any experience, and that new connections with people are the best souvenir that you can take back from any trip. With that in mind, I’m so happy that I met so many lovely, smart and charming ladies over the four days I was away. (Sadly, I didn’t run into the lovely, smart or charming gents of NYC on this trip — maybe next time?) I hope we’ll be in touch for a long time to come! ♥

14 thoughts on “New York, New York: Adventures in solo travel, The Blogcademy, and new friends

    • Thanks, Sara!!

      Your comment actually got mistakenly labeled as spam (I have no idea why that happened though since it’s clearly not spammy!) so I only just saw this now :o

  1. Hey girlie, Love the photos! ! Also didn’t realize you were traveling solo for the first time, it’s kinda great, right? I do a lot of solo trips. Hope you can make it back for another trip.

    • Thanks so much, Islandia! Traveling solo is totally great. I want to do it more often, and I definitely want to see lots more of New York, too. It was great meeting you, fellow Nikon girl!

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  5. Hi Dara, I found your blog from Gala Darling’s ad for the Blogacademy London edition. I am interested in attending and found your review very refreshing. Good luck with your new blogging powers…your design is beautiful! :-)

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