August 13, 2018

Travel for Blogging

When I first started blogging, I had no idea that people actually made a career out of it. People were paid to write blogs? I never expected to make money from blogging, but when my blog started getting a lot of traffic, a prominent blogger (who I looked up to, and had no idea she was even reading my blog!) said that I must put some ads on my blog. She said I would be crazy not to monetize my blog with the traffic I was getting. She led me in the right direction, and sure enough, I started earning money for writing. I couldn't believe it.

I felt so blessed by that; so imagine my surprise when I was offered a trip to St. Louis (expenses paid) to attend a day-long seminar about cats. Yes, cats. I really though it was too good to be true! Free travel? Cats? Sold.

Ever since then, I have made sure that I never take these blessings for granted. I am so grateful to all of you that read my ramblings. When I was growing up, I wanted to be a writer. Blogging isn't exactly what I had in mind, considering the internet didn't even exist then, but because of all of you, I am able to do what I love. I just wanted to express my gratitude before this post. It's because of you that I was offered these opportunities! xo

New York, NY : The Dr. Oz Show at Rockefeller Center

(November 2011)
During this trip, I felt a bit like Cinderella. The whole thing was a whirlwind of activity. I didn't get to see the city at all, because I was picked up from the airport (I had my own driver, holding a sign with my name and everything!) taken a studio to record my voiceovers, taken to try on dresses (which resulted in my crying later), taken to the hotel. The following morning, I was picked up to go to the studio very early, and right after the filming, I was driven to the airport. Like I said, it was a whirlwind! My thoughts about the experience have changed a bit since the filming, but here are the links to The Dr. Oz Show filming Part 1, and The Dr. Oz Show filming Part 2. For more posts surrounding the experience, you can check out this page about my being a guest on The Dr. Oz Show 400th Episode.

Dayton, OH : RRCA Certification Course

(March 2013)
This was a solo road trip to Dayton to take an RRCA certification course, which would make me a certified running coach. (This trip and certification was self-funded, but blog-related). My friend, Carly, who was in the From Fat to Finish Line documentary with me, lives in Dayton. I asked her if I could crash at her place for the night and finish my course the next day. It was fun getting to see her again!

St. Louis, MO : The True Nature of Cats at Purina Headquarters

(March 2013)
This trip was the first blogger trip I made, and probably my favorite overall. As a cat-person, I was totally in my element during an entire weekend all about cats! I learned so much about cats and their "true nature"--what their instincts are and how to replicate their ideal situations at home. I wrote a four part series about this event. Here are links to The True Nature of Cats Part 1Part 2Part 3, and Part 4. I was so impressed with the Purina employees, as well; and because of that, I started a working-relationship with them, occasionally writing posts and attending summits.

Boston, MA : Runner's World Heartbreak Hill Half & Festival at Boston College

(June 2014)
This trip can also be filed under "pleasure", because I was able to visit my friend Caitlin in Boston! I arrived much earlier in the day than I needed to for the Runner's World trip in order to meet up with Caitlin and see some of Boston. That evening, I met up with the other bloggers and Runner's World staff for an amazing running-filled weekend. Here are links to Day 1Day 2, and Day 3; and Race Reports from the Heartbreak Hill 5K and 10K as well as the Half-Marathon.

New York, NY : Purina's 2014 Better With Pets Summit at the Skylight Modern

(October 2014)
I absolutely love working as a Purina Partner. The employees are very generous and kind, and extremely genuine in their love of pets (or animals in general). I have also met some fantastic bloggers/vloggers/Instagramers through Purina events. I was excited to go to this summit after having such a great time at the True Nature of Cats event. And it didn't disappoint! Here is the link to my post about Purina's 2014 Better With Pets Summit.

Bethlehem, PA : Runner's World Half & Festival at the Runner's World Headquarters

(October 2014)
After seeing this event from previous years on other blogs, I was thrilled when I got the invitation to attend myself in 2014. The whole weekend was filled with running-related activities. My favorite part was getting to tour the Runner's World Headquarters! And I even made s'mores over a campfire with Bart Yasso--yes, THE Bart Yasso, well-known in the running world. I ran the Hat Trick, which was a 5K, 10K, and Half-Marathon in two days. Exhausting, but fun! Here are the links to the Runner's World Half & Festival Days 1-2 and Day 3 (the race report).

St. Louis, MO : "Meet Purina" Event at Purina Headquarters

(June 2015)
Yet another amazing Purina event! I absolutely love the Purina Headquarters. The campus is beautiful, and I'm jealous of all the people that get to work there. They even get to bring their pets to work whenever they want! There is actually a dog park on campus, too. This event was to tour the headquarters building, the production plant, as well as Purina Farms (which is open to the public, should you get the opportunity to go there). Here is a link to Meet Purina Part 1, and Meet Purina Part 2.

New York, NY : BlogHer's Conferences at the Hilton Midtown

This was a weekend trip to NYC for the BlogHer conferences. BlogHer is the advertising network that I use for my blog (I know nothing about advertising, so it's nice to have someone else do all the work for me while I earn a passive income! On second thought, I shouldn't say "passive"--I actually do a LOT of work behind the scenes as a blogger). I was invited to speak on a panel for Prudential Financial about earning money while blogging (something I didn't even know was possible when I started blogging). Jerry came with me to NYC, and we met up with our friend Mike for some fun outside of the conference. (Unfortunately, it rained on the second day, hence the photo above). Here is the post about our weekend in NYC and about my speaking on a panel at the BlogHer conferences.

New York, NY : Purina's 2015 Better With Pets Summit at the Brooklyn Expo Center

My second Better With Pets Summit with Purina. I arrived in NYC early, and spent the day with my friend Mike. I shadowed how he spends a typical day, and it was so fun! The theme for Better with Pets was about how pets can improve our mental health, which was something I was very interested in (for obvious reasons). I enjoyed it very much, and the venue (the Brooklyn Expo Center) was fantastic. My favorite part of the summit was the "cat room"--literally a room with several kittens and cats to play with! I could have spent the entire weekend in there ;)  Here is a link to the post about my time in NYC and the Purina Summit.

New York, NY : Purina's 2016 Better With Pets Summit at the Brooklyn Expo Center

(October 2016)
I was so happy to be invited to another Better With Pets Summit! I have started looking forward to these every year (although I was told the next one won't be until 2018). Jerry came to NYC with me, planning to spend his time with Mike while I was at the summit. Purina chose a gorgeous hotel called The William Vale, and I couldn't stop exclaiming about how nice it was. I have to admit, I always get a little "star struck" at these events--I get to see the people behind "Cats of Instagram" and "Dogs of Instagram"; some famous YouTubers like Melissa Trippy, or "Mel" on YouTube (she is SO so nice); and some Instafamous dogs like Tuna the Chiweenie; and Marnie the Shih Tzu. Those dogs have more followers than most Instafamous people I follow!

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