The first ever National Geographic Traveller Festival took place on Sunday 17 September 2017 at The Brewery in London.
As I absolutely LOVE to travel and am an avid reader of National Geographic Travel, I was very excited about attending this event… I was hoping it would provide me with ideas and inspiration as well as practical tips on travel writing and photography. So, would it deliver?
After a welcome from the Directors of NGT, the first speaker was explorer, Benedict Allen. His talk about his incredible journey through the Amazon and the time he spent with several remote tribes was gripping and he had the audience enthralled. He is an extremely engaging speaker – if you get the chance to hear him talk, go along and have a listen.
After that I grabbed a tea from Dilmah and headed to my first masterclass on the Dos and Don’ts of Travel Writing. This session went through 17 key tips for aspiring travel writers and I found it incredibly useful… there are definitely some points I need to work on! The session flew by and before I knew it, it was midday and I was heading into the courtyard for lunch…
Lunch was provided by Eat Drink Love Italian. The food on offer was delicious and the wine and the service were excellent. The only minor issue was that there were a lot of people and only a small counter to serve from so some people had a fairly lengthy wait for food (although the staff did their best by serving drinks to those waiting). As I had arrived early, it wasn’t an issue for me. Which was lucky, as the next session I had registered for was at 1215…
The Travel Geeks: How to be an Explorer session was made up of a panel of adventurers and explorers who discussed what they thought it meant to be an explorer and explained how everyone could do it if they put their minds to it… I left feeling that I was already an explorer according to their definitions and that there were definitely so many more places/things I had to get out and do! And, more importantly, that there was no reason that those things shouldn’t be within my reach!
After a quick trip into the Experiences room – during which time I watched some Taekwondo, admired some gorgeous photographs of Puglia and tasted a couple of wines – I headed to my next masterclass: Landscapes (by Tatra Photography). This was a very informative session and provided lots of tips on landscape photography, all of which I am itching to try out!
My next session in the main hall was Travel Geeks: The Modern Rambler with Julia Bradbury. As I am a keen hillwalker, I was excited to listen to the panels views on modern rambling and I was not disappointed. There were four panellists, all with slightly different views, but all equally passionate about getting out there and inspiring others to enjoy walking.
This was followed by a panel session on Slow Travel (which I hadn’t planned to go to but got confused and forgot to go to the session I was booked to do). Slow travel is not something I had ever really thought about (I don’t do anything slowly to be honest!). It basically means taking your time and really immersing yourself in your destination. The panellists provided food for thought and did make me wonder whether I should slow down more when I visit somewhere new in order to really get to know it. Look out for a post from me on this subject in the future…
The final session of the day was Explorer Paul Rose in Conversation. For someone who had left school with only one O Level in metalwork, Paul Rose has achieved more than most, working in both the Arctic and Antarctic. If he didn’t make you believe that it was possible to get out there and achieve what you want, no-one can! A very positive talk to end the day on!
I should point out that there were also many other talks, masterclasses and experiences to enjoy during the day, but sadly I didn’t have time to fit any more in!
And the day didn’t quite end there… everyone got a goody bag and there were free drinks on offer in the main hall after the talks and classes had finished. Unfortunately, it was time for me to leave but not before grabbing a quick drink on my way out!
Would I recommend the National Geographic Traveller Festival?
Definitely!! If you love travel and adventure, it is a fantastic day out. The venue was perfect and all your food and drink is included in your ticket price (and there was plenty of it: snacks, lunch, soft drinks, wine and cocktails) so you won’t spend another penny all day.
The highlights of the day for me were the two masterclasses I attended and the talk by Benedict Allen, as they were both useful and inspiring.
If it returns in 2018 I will definitely be there, will you?