When Lorenzo from the Travel Blogger Destination (TBD-Italy) committee contacted me about applying to attend the conference I jumped at the opportunity. Like so many others, I have always appreciated the beauty of Italy, especially having lived in Rome for three months at the start of 2013. In fact, Italy has been the fuel of my blog and my main reason for writing and creating The Museum Times.
Late 2012, prior to leaving South Africa to move to Rome, I began a blog (under my own name, elizabethjoss.com). I had always been blogging in some form or another, but mainly for family, my close friends and myself. My new journey opened up an opportunity to blog about my experience as a South African leaving home and living in one of the most culturally rich cities in the world. This was an opportunity to really document my experience of exploring different cultural attractions. As a bit of an idealist, I wanted to capture the best parts and encourage tourists to visit Italy as a whole. I also wanted to capture the really unknown cultural attractions, the hidden gems so to speak that are not so well funded by governments in comparison to the bigger and more well-known museums.
At the start of 2014, I transitioned my travel blog posts from my personal name to one much more appropriate – The Museum Times. The new site has much to offer the traveller in search of unusual attractions that are arts and culture-related and a little bit off-the-beaten track.
My goal is for The Museum Times to become a site that travellers look to when they want to find something different – the hidden gems of a country that no other tourists know about; sites that are really unique, special and beautiful in their own way. Hence, the posts on The Museum Times are particularly descriptive, letting my feelings of a specific destination or experience take priority. This kind of approach has served me well since readers better understand the experience of being in a place by means of unusual imagery and attention to detail. Furthermore, The Museum Times has become a place where I also curate the latest museum news – so there is something for each and every arts and culture lover.
For instance, many local people in The Netherlands have never visited Het Loo Palace in Apeldoorn – an exquisite palace with an incredible garden that is truly breathtaking. This may be because the palace is quite a distance from the main cities and from touristy Amsterdam, or because people (both locals and tourists) merely do not know about it. Nonetheless, I had to get on a couple of trams, trains and buses to get there and discover it for myself. In fact, I now consider it one of the best attractions in the country, and one that most city people and foreigners have little idea about.
Lastly, over the past year and a half, living in three different countries, blogging has become a way for me to truly live and experience a place. It’s an automatic response to seeing something interesting or unusual. And my intention is to share that with others so that they too are urged to look beyond the obvious tourist destinations and attractions – beyond the obvious and immediate beauty of main attractions.
I am now excited to return to Italy after more than a year, this time with 300 other bloggers from around the world, a group of whom are just as passionate about arts and culture as I am. TBD-Italy in Rimini in October 2014 will be an unforgettable experience. I am excited to visit the hidden treasures of this seaside destination. In particular, Museo di Scolca (Museum of Sacred Art), The Shell Museum, The Museum of Recorded Sound, The Button Museum and others. I am keen to grow my knowledge of blogging and the travel industry and I look forward to meeting like-minded arts and culture bloggers. It will be a pleasure to return to my favourite country, this time to an entirely new and unexplored destination.
Many thanks to Lorenzo and the Travel Bloggers Destination (TBD-Italy) committee for allowing me this fantastic opportunity! Bring on October and Rimini!
[Photo credit: Wikipedia]