20 September 2010

I’m a Colombia Travel Expert in Trip Advisor! … Or being a traveler in the XXI century and many other good things that blogging brought this year.

Hello all,

Wow! It’s been already nine month since I started this Colombia Travel Blog and I think is a good time to look back and tell you about the wonderful things that have happened in my world thanks to blogging.

If you’re following my blog since the very beginning,  you’ll know that at first I was very hesitant  to the idea of actually showing the whole world my very limited writing abilities, fortunately that was overcame by my intense desire to show Colombia as a wonderful travel destination …. And I’m so glad I did!

Except for being a “regular” Facebook user, until a year ago I was almost a total illiterate about everything regarding social media, podcasts, viral videos or blogging. To me this was an unexplored territory that  I had heard of but never experienced myself , my social travel experience was “limited”  to actually physically  going to each destination meet people there and then , in some cases, occasionally  keeping  in touch via e-mail  with fellow travelers… but  adding the online  facet to the “traditional” travel experience enhances  the fact of being a traveler so much!  If it weren’t for these tools, what would the chances be of you reading something I had to say? I never thought that this would be such a way to abridge distances, to share experiences and to meet wonderful people around the world that have the same passion for Colombia as I do! There’s no place, travelers club or association that compares to this experience.

I have also confirmed something that I already suspected and that was the original reason to start blogging:  there is a HUGE interest from people all around the world about travelling to Colombia, I receive about 10 weekly e-mails asking for advice and tips about activities, cities, transportation and all sort of things about coming to visit Colombia.  There are, as well, many Colombians that left the country many years ago, or Colombian descendants living abroad  that wonder if this buzz about Colombia turning into a “new”  improved country  is real that  they write asking about it… I have evolved from a passionate supporter of the tourism in my country with a lot of things to say but with no audience, to a source of information that, I hope, is helping people get more and more enthusiastic on taking the decision of visiting us, and I just love that!  

Another group of people that I have got in contact with are those that I call “pioneers”, foreigners that are already living in Colombia, investing in real estate, tourism and other areas. I have seen this phenomena happen in other underdeveloped countries in Latin America before and I can assure you that these visionaries that fell in love with Colombia and that are investing in it - now that we’re about to blossom as a prime travel destination – are playing and will play a vital role in the taking off of Colombia’s breakthrough in the global travel industry. People like the founders of www.bogotabrilliance.com , a couple of manhattanites  that after living in France decided to settle down in Colombia, represent the kind of faith that many foreigners have in our country  and that sometimes, we Colombians lack of. Through these people I have also found professional related contacts that are helping me in my upcoming travel related project ( more on that in a few months ).

During these months I have also been introduced to networking tools like digg, stumbleupon or reddit and travel blog communities  like travelpod , travelblog, travellerspoint  and of course, to tripadvisor, which I find to be one of the most wonderful  things ever invented! I signed up to Trip Advisor earlier this year, and after a couple of months of avidly answering every question about Colombia I found, I was offered to be one of their Destination Experts, so now I can give advice on Colombia to even a bigger base of people! You can find me there under “colombiatravelmarce” 

Also,  I have managed  to position my blog second in Google if you look for “Colombia travel blog” which  I now know  is quite an accomplishment …… what I’m trying  to say is that I’m so grateful that I decided to forget about my  “writing stage fright” to be in contact with all of you , thank you all for this wonderful first 9 months of blogging , here’s to many more years  of meeting outstanding people, keep learning and discovering fascinating ways of promoting my country!