Italy: Getting Carried Away at TBU Umbria


I adore Italy – it is one of my favourite countries.

I’ve travelled to Italy three times but I had never visited Umbria and this begs the question….uh, why?

The reason I was in Umbria recently was to attend the Travel Bloggers Unite conference. Travel writers/photographers and travel industry representatives from all over the world met to attend workshops and presentations, and to liaise with others involved in this new world of professional ‘travel blogging’.



Basilica di San Francesco. Assisi.

Basilica di San Francesco. Assisi.



It was all very convenient that it happened to be held in one of the loveliest places in Italy.


Coincidence? No, not at all. Well, no one in is going to hold a travel conference in an ugly place now are they?


The conference week was a whirlwind of inspiring guest speakers, professional networking and new friendships, culminating with a series of three-day post-conference trips sponsored by the Umbria Tourist Board.



Hotel Valle di Assisi.

Villa at the Hotel Valle di Assisi.


While I am not new to travel and photography, the move into travel blogging and online publishing is a relatively recent one. I learned a great deal at TBU and came away feeling inspired and motivated to pursue this ‘thing’ I started as a way of channeling my two great passions: travel and photography.


I was particularly motivated by a workshop hosted by the fabulous Deb and Dave from The Planet D, and a dynamic keynote address by the lovely Jodi Ettenberg of Legal Nomads. These guys sure know how to woo a crowd and it was a pleasure to meet them, and loads of other inspiring people, in person.



Getting carried away...

Getting carried away…



The 200 or so delegates attending the conference were hosted at the Hotel Valle del Assisi who surprised us all with a special welcome gift: the opportunity to take a scenic helicopter ride over Umbria.


I do so love it when someone decides to welcome you with a nice helicopter ride….


Actually, it was my first time flying in a helicopter and given my aversion to confined spaces and a tendency towards motion sickness, I wasn’t sure how I would manage.



Assisi from above.

Assisi from above.


Lucky for me (ha, and the other two people in the chopper!), Umbria is rather beautiful…and the view from the air wasn’t too bad either, which served as an excellent distraction.


This warm welcome to Umbria carried through into the evening with a traditional flag throwing ceremony in our honour followed by a lavish dinner, which turned out to be only the beginning of week-long indulgence in amazing food and wine.


Flag throwing ceremony.

Flag throwing ceremony.


There were many high points to the conference weekend, but one of most exciting events for me was one particular guest speaker who took time out from his busy schedule to talk to us.


Photographer, Steve McCurry  has long been one of my great inspirations. I especially love his photographs from South East Asia but his travel photography in general, and his portraits in particular, are some of the best you will ever see.

Oh, and National Geographic just happens to agree with me :)



(Image: Steve McCurry) Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India.

(Image: Steve McCurry) Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India.



(If you are not familiar with Steve McCurry’s work, you may remember the iconic image of the ‘Afghan girl’ that appeared on the cover of National Geographic in 1985 during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan.)


It was such a pleasure to hear him speak so humbly and passionately about his career and his love for photography.



Todi, Umbria.

Todi, Umbria.


Spending a week with so many people who are passionate about travel was incredibly fulfilling. If there is one thing most travel bloggers have in common (besides an obvious love for travel) it’s they’re enthusiasm.


I think it’s safe to say that after our week in Umbria we all left on a bit of a high. And for me, it has only reaffirmed my love for Italy.



The next TBU conference will be held in Porto, Portugal in September and looks to be a great line up. If you are interested in attending check out the official website of the conference and sign up!


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Thanks so much to Travel Bloggers Unite, the Hotel Valle del Assisi and the Umbria Tourist Board for making this trip to Umbria possible!

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Quiet Wanderings

Comments (11)
  • Avatar

    Ellen Jun 5 2012 - 7:24 pm Reply

    Great photos! And they bring back such nice memories.
    Ellen recently posted..Turkish Language and Culture: Privacy is SpecialMy Profile

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    David Jun 7 2012 - 1:53 am Reply

    Wow…..a helicopter ride over Umbria….what an experience!! I was wondering if you were gpoing to the TBU….sounds like a great experience. Did I tell you taht I love Venice & Bellagaio…???

    • Avatar

      Quiet Wanderings Jun 23 2012 - 12:24 pm Reply

      Yes, the helicopter ride was definitely a nice surprise…not something you have the chance to do every day! And yes, you MAY have mentioned that you loved Venice 😉

  • Avatar

    Meg Jun 7 2012 - 1:27 pm Reply

    Great post Cherina and thanks so much for linking to our food article! I laughed hard when I saw the picture of the villa you took – It brought back fond memories of when Tony didn’t realize we were neighbors and just thought you greeted us at the door every morning…. Classic!

    • Avatar

      Quiet Wanderings Jun 23 2012 - 12:27 pm Reply

      Haha, I have a giggle whenever I think of that too. Poor Tony, he will never live that one down! I do hope we get the chance to be ‘neighbours’ again some day. Your food article is fantastic, Meg!

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    Natasha von Geldern Jul 8 2012 - 2:14 pm Reply

    Aargh I’m so envious! Maybe next year I’ll be able to attend a TBU conference in Europe. I’ve had a helicopter ride welcome also – in the snow-covered Emmental Valley in Switzerland – they really are hard to beat 😉
    Natasha von Geldern recently posted..Destination Namibia: Rugged DamaralandMy Profile

    • Avatar

      Quiet Wanderings Jul 8 2012 - 11:47 pm Reply

      I know, I am wishing I could be in Portugal for the conference in Porto in September. Maybe next year…

      Snow? Switzerland? Helicopter? Now, I am envious 😉

  • Avatar

    Stephanie - The Travel Chica Jul 12 2012 - 10:27 pm Reply

    Sounds like a great experience. Looking forward to going to my first travel blogging conference, hopefully, this year.
    Stephanie – The Travel Chica recently posted..The Best Kept Secret in BoliviaMy Profile

    • Avatar

      Quiet Wanderings Jul 16 2012 - 8:57 pm Reply

      I’m sure you would enjoy it, Stephanie. I probably won’t get to another one until next year now. Hopefully I will have the opportunity to meet you at one someday! :)

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