USA: Texas – Austin – TravelCon

Posted by on Sep 17, 2018 in Uncategorized | 8 Comments

TravelCon – A convention for travel bloggers/writers


After a momentous year of travel involving three wonders of the world and the Great Barrier Reef, it’s been a mixed bag that included chipped teeth, a torn rotator cuff, a stolen iPad, and a lost pair of Prada prescription dark glasses which blew overboard on a snorkeling trip. After chipping my teeth, busting my lip, and tearing my rotator cuff when I fell down in Guadeloupe in February, I was in so much pain that I considered shortening my travels for 2018.

As it turned out, I ended up going the distance and scored my 100th. country on May 22nd. when I touched down in the Maldives. I nursed my shoulder through the months, and managed to do quite a bit of scuba diving. Avoiding injury while getting in and out of the equipment was a tricky endeavor.

After traveling for almost four years, where do I lose my luggage? In the United States courtesy of American Airlines of course.

I arrive at TravelCon at a most opportune time to take my victory lap, meet my tribe, and figure out where I am going with all of this. Will I take the blog to the next level or just keep it as an amusing travelogue and hobby? How long will I continue to travel excessively? Hopefully, I’ll come up with answers to these questions during the convention.

It would be nice to become a published travel writer on top of all of my adventuring, but it is great to have so many open options at my disposal in my current status as international vagabond and person on permanent vacation. I pretty much travel around, meet people, have adventures, consume delicious and exotic foods, have weekends off, and I am my own boss. I could be living in an “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” proposition.

It’s sort of like what Harry Nielsen sings in “Everybody’s Talkin”

Everybody’s talking at me
I don’t hear a word they’re saying
Only the echoes of my mind

People stopping, staring
I can’t see their faces
Only the shadows of their eyes

I’m going where the sun keeps shining
Through the pouring rain
Going where the weather suits my clothes

Banking off of the northeast winds
Sailing on a summer breeze
And skipping over the ocean like a stone


NICK HUGGINS – The leader of our Austin Food Tour – Here he is cradling a bucket of chicken.

BURRO – Purveyor of spicy grilled sandwiches on sourdough bread.

Here we have Keir modeling a delicious sandwich. Her specialty is fashion and female solo travel.

TORCHY’S TACOS – One of Torchy’s Tacos minions offers up a tasty treat.

TripAdvisor – Everybody’s favorite travel search engine that is offering new features for its users.

NOMADIC MATT – Number one travel blogger and TravelCon founder with one million followers per month.

KIERSTEN RICH – The Blond Abroad

THE BLONDE ABROAD’S REVENUE – An exceptional blogger and inspiration in our community.






There are easily over a dozen bars within three blocks that offer live music. This is my kind of town. Tex-Mex and quality barbecue complete the package.

The unpleasant byproduct of dozens of bars is the large quantity of drunken douches.

AN EXCEPTIONAL DOUCHEBAG – Here we have a MAGA hat sporting, f#ck antifa t-shirt wearing, white supremacist shithead. His momma probably didn’t breastfeed him when he was a child, and he spent his time here trying to provoke confrontations so as to gain attention. A pretty pathetic specimen of a human being.

Most of the bands can be seen and heard from the street so you can shop around for the sound you prefer. The bar is set pretty high in Austin so there is a lot of quality and variety to be found here.






FLYTE – Foundation for Leadership and Youth Travel Education

The Foundation for Learning and Youth Travel Education (FLYTE) is a nonprofit organization that empowers youth living in underserved communities through transformative travel experiences. Today’s education system provides very little in the way of global education, and many struggling schools and teachers have little or no opportunity to offer their students access to resources that can provide any type of experiential international education. FLYTE was created to change that.

Being a Travel Zealot, this is a philanthropic initiative that truly resonates on a deep level. Having traveled for years, I believe that there is no better classroom than that of world travel and the resulting exposure to different cultures. It promotes accelerated learning, stimulates hope, and expands one’s horizons. I plan to get involved with this project in the near future. Travel changed my life, and it can make a difference in the lives of underprivileged youth.




Rolph Potts is the author of “Vagabonding”, one of the truly inspired pieces of writing covering long term travel with a philosophical bent. It could be considered a nomads bible, and it was nice to meet him after reading it five years ago, before embarking upon my journey.

TravelCon had copious cocktail parties with open bar, and supplied many tasty meals over the three days of the convention. It ran incredibly smoothy on its maiden voyage, and Matt and his team deserve a round of applause for their efforts.

The speakers were superb and it was nice to rub elbows with so many noteworthy bloggers. Frankly just hanging out with my peers here in Austin would have been worth the price of admission. I have already bought my ticket and booked my hotel for next years event in Boston.










FIREHOUSE HOSTEL – The Firehouse Hostel is a hostel in a repurposed firehouse. It features a speakeasy style bar behind the bookcase in the reception area.





  1. BigD
    September 19, 2018

    Cool. What kinds of things do you see and do at the travel convention? Is it specifically for travel writers?

  2. The Travel Zealot
    September 19, 2018

    Big D,
    It is specifically for travel writers and bloggers so I will be surrounded by world travelers. There will be many speakers including the top travel bloggers on the internet. It all starts tomorrow. There will also be writers workshops, vendors and tours. I’ll be here in Austin until Sept. 29th. and then it’s back to San Diego.

  3. Karen Devers
    September 25, 2018

    Hi John,
    I’m glad you are attending the con and I look forward to picking your brains when you are here. It’s nice when you can find little pockets of happiness such as Austin. Soak it up!

    I checked out the nomad cruises and it looks like they are focused on a younger crowd. It would probably suit me better to attend a travel con and then take a repositioning cruise on my own or with you. Before this year is out I want to get set up on a site for language sharing “conversing in English.”

    I’d like to get my feet wet and do an international house sit and language convo next year. Does that interest you? We can talk about it when you are here.

    When I lived in Seattle and the girls were little I sole fantasy art work at Sci-if cons all over the country. It was a fun way to make money and I won some awards.

    Have fun at the con!

  4. The Travel Zealot
    September 25, 2018

    Yes Karen,
    I am looking settle down for a month here and there next year, where I can limit costs and accumulate some savings so we’ll talk about the housesitting. They have some of the same stuff on

    Those Sci-fi Cons are great for that picking up a few extra dollars. Fantasy is all the rage these days in a country where reality has become so untenable. By the way my daughter, Dina, just completed her first two portraits of her babies, and I was stunned at her innate skills. I think she could eventually do portraits of children for a living with just a little training. She’s a flippin’ natural.

    Great mom, great cook, great baker, and now great artist.

  5. BigD
    September 27, 2018

    Wow, I could use some of that 650k travel blogger revenue. Where do I sign up! 🙂

    Give us a holler when you’re in San Diego.

  6. The Travel Zealot
    September 27, 2018

    Hey D,
    That kind of revenue is more the exception than the rule. In fact travel blogging is a pretty tough gig these days. That’s why I’m taking a slightly different approach to it. There are so many good sites that offer a lot of the same stuff so I plan to be more of a clearing house to help promote other blogs and products while drawing a large audience, offering interesting and offbeat content along with one stop shopping for travel, services, information, and products.

    It will be the sort of place that people will want to visit regularly for entertaining content, that will run the gamut of news, interesting destinations, festivals and events, and non-mainstream, compelling fare. I’ll be covering the otherworldly stuff hence the name, The Travel Zone. I’ve already got your mom working on the logo which will be modeled after the Twilight Zone font. I’m pretty jazzed.

    I have gathered plenty of content in the past four years to launch “The Travel Zone.” I just purchased the domain name at a painful price, but a good, easy to understand, and memorable name is worth paying for. I’ll be keeping The Travel Zealot as an ongoing travelogue for myself, family, and friends. It got very old having to define zealot, and spell it for the general public. But “The Travel Zone” will be my attempt at making some money through my passion for travel and having some fun at it along the way. Since so many mainstream destinations are overrun with tourists, this will offer a road less traveled, off-beat experience.

    I’ll be in San Diego at Dina’s on Saturday, and except for ten days in Portland, I’ll be in San Diego right up through New Years Eve getting the site up and running. Then on New Years Day, as is my tradition, I’ll embark on my latest adventure once again. Hopefully, I can launch the site on the same day.,

  7. BigD
    September 28, 2018

    “The Travel Zone” is a great name and the concept is intriguing, congrats on getting it.

  8. The Travel Zealot
    September 28, 2018

    Hi D,
    Thanks, a lot of the time you get what you pay for, and I think “The Travel Zone” was worth it. I appreciate the feedback, and the general consensus is that I have picked a winner. Zone has a nice woody sound, and the whole thing rolls off the tongue easily. It just happened to come available when I wanted it, and people were bidding on the thing so I slapped down the “buy it now” price so I wouldn’t miss out. Sometimes you just have to go for it. A good name and logo can make a huge difference.

    This is something you’ll be dealing with at some point with your endeavors. Fortunately you have your mom to help out with the logo issues. There is a nice feeling connected having a family member’s contribution to a project or production of a keepsake. The Travel Zealot is a great logo, and I will always enjoy it. Even though your mom and I aren’t married anymore, I still think of her as family.

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