Bringing Bloggers Together

I just came back from a really fun and interesting trip to Chicago for the Orbitz First Annual Blogger Day — I’m calling it that because I hope it becomes an annual event.

Bringing bloggers together for real-time conversations is a good cause, and one of the things we learned this week was that Orbitz likes to support good causes.

I was really glad that GoNOMAD was being honored in this way. Bloggers labor in obscurity, hoping somebody somewhere will grok what they are saying, and to be recognized by an internationally known company like Orbitz is a big deal for us.

I met a lot of incredibly knowledgeable writers from all over the blogosphere, and even though I couldn’t understand half of what they were talking about, I expanded my little world in a big way.

I was surprised that I was invited, since this blog is primarily about used books, but I realized that Orbitz was really recognizing, a website started in 2000 by Lauryn Axelrod that my cousin Max purchased in 2002 which he and I have been working on since 2005 with the invaluable assistance of our webmaster Joe Obeng.

Buoyed by the creativity of hundreds of writers all over the world, we have put together a site that will give you a bunch of different perspectives on any country in the world.

We have had the privilege of publishing lots of talented writers for the first time. And when they go on to write for the Atlantic Montly or the New York Times or Time Magazine, that’s a great feeling that validates what we do.

Max and I both worked as writers for longer than we’ve been editors, so we know what it’s like, and it gives us a real boost to help fellow writers on their way.

We also publish lots of great material by experienced travel writers. I’d give examples, but they’re all great and I couldn’t begin to mention them all in this space.

We have learned that Arthur Frommer likes our site, which we consider a singular honor, and we’ve had favorable mentions in the NY Times, National Geographic and the BBC. People from the weird-food-guy show, Andrew Zimmern, called to find out what they eat in Ethiopia. Anthony Bourdain’s people follow Max on Twitter.

So we gradually soak up the idea that we’re doing the right thing, and that makes it even more fun to come to work.