I vividly remember the moment I realized it is possible to have too much bacon!

I was bacon-drunk and gripping the reigns of that ferocious pig for dear life. My blistered feet were digging into the sides of the uncontrollable beast that wanted me off his back. Bouncing and spinning hopelessly, a blur of awaiting children passed my vision every few seconds, squealing with excitement and anticipation. They were completely oblivious to the fact that they were seconds from getting sprayed with Bloody Mary’s and 3 pounds of bacon that was churning and gurgling in my stomach.

Then I lost it. I lunged forward uncontrollably. Blam!

I saw nothing but stars as my face slammed into the mechanical pig’s fiberglass head and fell motionless on the inflatable mat watching the world spinning around me.  I was embarrassed, but thanked God that I didn’t lose my stomach.

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The BaconChase 0.05k

An hour earlier, Nick Huggins and I were pinning our BaconChase numbers on our shirts and talking about meeting Ayngelina Brogan, the famous bacon-loving travel celebrity from Canada. A pile of unlimited bacon waited at the finish line of the 0.05k race, but we had to first claw our way through a mob of hungry Chicagoans, who do not take food events lightly.

The race started and finished in a flash and I barreled through a crowd of iPhone photographers at the finish line towards the tables of endless bacon goodness. The first table was empty, then the second, then the third. How could this be? Denial gave way to panic and finally anger as trays of bacon were being devoured before they could even get to the tables. Fighting the crowd, I snatched 3 heaping plates of bacon from the volunteer’s tray and sprinted behind a tree to stuff my tummy until you could make foie gras out of me.

That was the first day of BlogHouse Chicago…

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What is Bloghouse?

Bloghouse is an invitation to the secret world of successful travel blogging cleverly wrapped in a package of debauchery and ridiculous fun. The best pro travel bloggers sit down with you and show you how to run a successful blog, demystify traffic, schmooze with industry professionals, sort out baffling SEO and technical questions and explain the true value of your blog, all while enjoying the best Chicago has to offer.

Almost a year ago, I started this blog to tell stories and explore parts of the world that many will never see. Like many of the other 100 million travel blogs, I was committed, but had no clue what running a blog really means. My first post, Dancing with Corpses, was met with discouragement.  “Nobody will ever read this stuff,” they said as I begged some bloggers to read it, and as far as I could tell, they were right.

I took the site down and set out seeking answers on how to run a blog. Seeking advice from blog chat rooms, Facebook groups and Google resulted in a baffling array of advice, mostly unconstructive. I didn’t know WordPress or even what Twitter was, but painfully persisted. With any small amount of extra time, I would write to nobody hoping that someday, somebody would care.

I had no idea what I didn’t know, but made a flailing attempt.

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Immediate Results

The mentors are insightful; the fellow travel bloggers are exciting; the accommodations are beyond belief; and the workshops are exactly what I needed to get my blog moving in the right direction. I realized I am great at some things and really bad at others and now have a network of fun and amazing people that I can help and partner with and will answer my dumb questions.

In the month following BlogHouse, I have been able to redesign my site, traffic has doubled, my Klout score has jumped from 56 to 68 and I have a flood of amazing opportunities. Even better, I am spending much more time writing and focusing on the enjoyable aspects of my blog. If you have a travel blog, applying for BlogHouse is one of the best things you could ever do.

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The Cast and Crew

The Mentors

The New Travel Bloggers

 

If you’re interested in attending future Bloghouses, get on the mailing list!

Bloghouse Chicago was made possible because of the amazingly generous support of GogoGoose IslandFlipkey, and Megabus.

 

About the author: Brad Bernard

 

Brad Bernard has traveled through 92 countries to find off-the-map experiences and authentic adventure travel. He pushes his own personal boundaries by travelling experimentally. Brad’s personal quest to find the most extreme and unique in travel has bred misadventures and moments of enlightenment alike. You can read his craziest stories on his adventure travel blog

Website: https://plus.google.com/+BradBernard340/