June Update: What a Riot!

TBEX Vancouver Group Shot
Yachting with Great People at the TBEX Conference in Vancouver

June Recap:

  • I lost my Pacific Northwest virginity this month and now I feel like a real man. It was a major rite of passage that I’ve been nervous about for some time. I’ve penetrated Vancouver, Seattle and Portland I have more confidence than ever to experience new frontiers.
  • I flew from Park City to Seattle, where I spent 3 days eating my way through the Pike Place Market and exploring the city on foot. Besides the amazing food and cool atmosphere, my greatest Seattle memory was crashing a 90s Hip-Hop Dance Birthday Party in Capital Hill on my last night in town.
  • Side Note: Hotdogs with cream cheese are delicious.
  • From Seattle, I took the Amtrak bus up to Vancouver with 2 of my favorite people in the world, Erin and Simon from neverendingvoyage.com.
  • Once settled at the SameSun Hostel in Vancouver I embarked on a week-long travel blogger circus known as the Travel Bloggers Exchange Conference or TBEX. Within hours of arrival, I met up with Michael (goseewrite.com) and Jeannie (nomadicchick.com) to discuss DJing the pre-conference party.
  • Equipped with a kick-ass playlist, microphones and ridiculous attire, Michael (DJ Twitter Bomb), Simon (DJ Siclopse) and myself (Excalibur) shook up the intimate networking session with some rowdy bump n’ grind tunes under the alias “Team Unfollow”. Except for a handful of fun-loving party peeps, everyone walked outside, away from the noise. Turns out people were there to share travel stories and not bust a move. To some, it looked like we failed miserably that night, but to me, I think we nailed it!
Excalibur DJing TBEX Pre-Party
Excalibur DJing the TBEX Pre-Party with Team Unfollow via skinnybackpacker.com
  • The next day I explored Vancouver on bike with Keith (traveling-savage.com) and Anita (anitagotravel.com). From there, I stopped by a live taping of the popular “This Week in Travel” podcast to be interviewed by Gary Arndt (Everything-Everywhere.com), Chris Christensen (AmateurTraveler.com) and Jen Leo (LATimes.com) about my travels. That night I celebrated Vancouver’s Game 5 Stanley Cup win in the streets and then met a ton of great people at the TBEX Kick-Off Party.
  • Saturday and Sunday were spent attending seminars and networking with other travelers, travel companies and PR organizations. The most useful information of the weekend was provided by Lisa Lubin, JD Andrews and other panelists who discussed many aspects of video production and video blogging.
  • Side Note: I have a rekindled focus on video after TBEX.
  • The best thing about the conference was the people who attended. I had the opportunity to finally meet a ton of great travelers who I’ve admired for some time. Thanks to TripAdvisor and Diamond PR for putting on great parties and especially to AM Resorts for the badass Yacht and open-bar on the last night (as seen above).



  • After the conference I decided to stay in Vancouver to witness game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals. As many of you already have seen, it resulted in a chaotic scene in beautiful downtown Vancouver after the loss… Riots in Vancouver
  • The next morning I traded rattled Vancouver for peaceful Portland via a scenic bus/train ride down the Pacific Coast.
  • I spent 5 days in Portland trying to piece together everything I’d learned in Vancouver. I worked during the day and at night, I tasted Oregon’s grub and suds with local friends.
  • I changed gears towards the end of the month as I flew from Portland to Chicago to spend some quality time with family. Highlights from my two weeks in Chicago and Indiana included kayaking down the Chicago River, Cubs vs White Sox game at Wrigley and bonding with my niece and newborn nephew!
Crosstown Classic at Wrigley Field
The Annual Crosstown Classic at Wrigley Field in Chicago

Current Mission Update: The Great American Road Trip*

  • I loved the Pacific Northwest and would definitely like to spend more time up there.
  • Chicago is always amazing, especially in the summertime. I was thankful for having the opportunity to experience many new things in a city I’m getting to know very well.
  • I arrived in Denver a few days ago and really loving this city. It seems like people are meeting up all over the place and there’s so much to do and see.
  • From here, I fly back to Salt Lake City for a few days and then back to Upstate New York where I’ll start planning trips to Toronto, Boston and New York City.

My Favorite Articles this Month:

T2T Around the Web:

Site of the Month:

  • llmedia.co – I met Lisa earlier this year in Colombia and we connected last month at TBEX in Vancouver and again last week in Chicago. Lisa is a 3-time Emmy-award-winning television writer/producer/editor/video consultant with more than 15 years of experience in TV production. She just launched her new video consulting service and ebook that you should definitely check out.

What’s to come in July:

  • Exploring Denver, Golden and Boulder, Colorado
  • Dancing the night away at a best friend’s wedding in Park City
  • And, back to New York for some East Coast Tourist2Townie.com

Upcoming Posts:

  • Arches National Park in Moab, Utah
  • Destruction in Moab
  • A Tourist’s View of Chicago
  • The Magic of Wrigley Field
  • Driving up the Pacific Coast Highway – from San Diego to San Francisco

Related Post

My name is Gareth Leonard, a Marketing Director turned World Traveler with a passion for slow, meaningful travel. I have been traveling the world full-time for the past 9+ years and document it all on Instagram and YouTube. Come join me!

7 Comments

  1. Happy to hear you enjoyed yourself in my hometown (Seattle). Next time let me know you’re going and I’ll hook you up with some good recommendations. Oh, and cream-cheese hotdogs are the business.

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