Bacon Wrapped Bananas & Other Discoveries in Girona

Girona, Spain

Bacon. Wrapped. Bananas.

I thought I had found the epitome of awesomeness when my friend Krista introduced me to bacon-wrapped dates at Café Babareeba nearly a decade ago. But then along came bacon-wrapped bananas at the opening party of TBEX (Travel Bloggers Exchange) in Girona, catered by none other than  El Celler de Can Roca – the second best restaurant in the entire world.

I admit I was initially skeptical but as soon as I bit into this surprising combination, I was completely sold. In fact, I completely forgot the number one rule for food-consuming travel bloggers: snap before you eat. I quickly grabbed another. And I may have snatched another from an unsuspecting waiter later in the evening as well.

But bacon wrapped bananas weren’t the only thing I discovered while in Girona, Spain for TBEX. I made a few other discoveries as well, such as:

1. I want to spend more time in Europe.  Prior to my recent trip, about 90% of my travel was in Europe. Nonetheless, visiting Girona makes me want to see more. I have seen plenty of big city Europe – Paris, Rome, Berlin, Vienna, etc. But I haven’t spent much time seeing the more intimate side of Europe – the smaller towns with winding streets, cute little cafes and tons of character. I enjoyed some of that at TBU in Umbria as well and while there are a gazillion other places I am dying to visit, exploring more of small town Europe is moving up the list.

2. I don’t love Spanish tapas. I love tapas. At least I thought I did. Some of my favorite restaurants in Chicago are tapas places but sampling the tapas in Spain, I realized they just aren’t the same. And I hate to say it, but I prefer the Americanized versions. Aside from the amazing food at the opening party, everything else I had was so-so. The biggest disappointment? The patatas bravas. In Chicago, these are roasted potatoes topped with a spicy tomato sauce. In Girona, they were French fries with ketchup. Not impressed.

Girona, Spain

3. I need to get a smarter smartphone. Between hearing multiple digs at Blackberry users and listening to Kirsten Alana extol the virtues of Instagram, I left convinced I needed to upgrade my beloved Blackberry to an iPhone or Android. I even went so far as to start testing out other people’s phones and, sure enough, on my first day back in the United States, I said buh-bye to the Blackberry and hello to an iPhone. Life will never be the same.

4. Publishing an e-book may not be as daunting as I thought it might be. The one session that excited me the most was about creating revenue through publishing. The thought of writing an e-book related to my recent trip has been growing stronger in my mind but the one thing holding me back was the fear that actually publishing and distributing it might be too costly and difficult to make it worth my while. After hearing about some of the different options out there, though, I have more confidence that I could make it work. Now I just need to sit down and start writing…

5. I don’t want to turn my blog into my business. This was probably my biggest takeaway of the weekend. I never started this blog with the intent of making money from it and throughout my year of traveling I have maintained that I do not want to be a digital nomad.  Likewise, after talking to so many bloggers in Girona who are trying to make a living from their blogs, I know 100% that is not something I want to try to do.

I love writing this blog and I appreciate the opportunities that have come my way because of it, but I don’t want it to become my business. I think as soon as I start viewing it as my business, I would stop enjoying it. I don’t want to become obsesses with checking my statistics and I don’t want to feel like I have to publish a certain number of posts per week just to keep my traffic up.  And, I don’t want to feel like the only way I can afford to travel is to go on press trips or blog trips where everything is complimentary. I want to keep traveling, but I want to do so on my terms and go where I want to go the most. Now, that isn’t to say I won’t accept opportunities to work with companies or tourism boards, but I will only do so if they are places that really interest me.

 

In the end, Girona was the perfect end to my 13 months of travel.

 
I was able to catch up with old friends and meet some new ones. I learned some valuable things at the conference sessions. I gained new insight into what I want to do with this blog. I found additional motivation and inspiration to start writing an e-book.

And of course, I discovered bacon wrapped bananas.

 

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14 thoughts on “Bacon Wrapped Bananas & Other Discoveries in Girona”

  1. The bacon wrapped bananas were amazing! I totally want to make them at home now.

    Great take aways from TBEX! My own take away was that I can use my blog as a catalyst to other business ventures. I love travel and I love helping people travel even more. I’ve been thinking more and more about becoming a holiday consultant. It’s something I thought about years ago and has resurfaced again.

  2. Sounds like the perfect end to a fantsatic vacation. When I read the title of this post I had no choice but to read… Now I have to go find some bananas and bacon!

  3. I would totally buy an ebook about your recent travels – the ‘Stans have been on my list for some time now, and we almost made it to Uzzbekistan over the summer, but decided to save them all for a bigger trip when we have more time. I think an ebook with tips and tricks for the former Soviet Union would be great.

  4. Great recap! Those were fantastic bananas. I have been thinking about them a lot since that party! And I think I agree with you about all your points, even #3, despite the fact that I got an iPhone just before leaving on MY big adventure. I think I want a smarter Android for my next phone. As long as it has a good camera! I do love that about this iPhone.

  5. Wow. As a foodie I need to respond to the food part – The tapas you had in Girona sound terrible, but it doesn’t mean it is representative for all of Spain’s tapas! You definitely need to go to Seville and I also loved it in Granada where it even comes free with a beverage (also here quality differs).

    1. Good to know! Although I probably should have also added that since I’m gluten-intolerant, I had to miss a lot of what are probably some of the best tapas.

  6. Glad to hear you enjoyed your time at TBEX Costa Brava!

    I never even got a look at those bacon wrapped bananas and now I know why. You snagged them all =p.

    As for the papas bravas, you were definitely going to the wrong places. We had at least three amazing spots and I know there are more in Girona.

  7. Thanks for your opinions, Kate! To be honest, my best Spanish manchego cheese with berry sauce was not in Spain but in Glasgow. But I do take my blog as business, it was one of the reasons why I started it and been living just out of it for more than 18 months already. So it depends on what you want 😉

  8. Those bacon-wrapped bananas were SO GOOD!!!

    I think it’s awesome you realized you don’t want to make your blog a business- I wish more people would be honest with themselves about this. My blog is my business but I don’t think it’s the right choice for a lot of people and sometimes I get nervous with the way tbex fosters that enthusiasm among people when in reality it’s a lot more hard work than glamor. Anyways, it’s great you know yourself.

    1. Thanks Steph! I never set out to make my blog a business (it never really occurred to me until I went to my first TBEX), but attending TBU and TBEX over the last year really cemented that for me and I found myself just having a really hard time relating to a lot of the people I met because I was already looking forward to returning home and settling back into a full-time job, while keeping my blog going as a side thing. That said, I still take my blog seriously and want to handle it professionally – I just don’t want it to be the way I try to make a living. 🙂

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