TBEX Toronto Recap

by Mike on June 6, 2013

Overall my first TBEX experience was good(more on that later).  Friday night  was the pre-TBEx party at the Roy Thompson Hall.   A lot of people from travelers to traveler providers attended this function.  Complimentary food and drinks were provided all around.  I was impressed by the food selection as there were cuisines from all parts of the world, which is seemingly in spirit with the travelers who were in attendance.

I ate before the event so I snacked on the hors d’oeuvres being served.  My drink of choice for that night was Steam Whistle, a light pilsner from a local brewery located in Toronto.

Live music was put on display by two different bands, which made talking a bit difficult and by the end of the night my voice was starting to feel it.  At the end of the night, we were greeted by rain as we made our way to either our hotel or after parties.

The following day, the opening keynote speaker was Trey Ratcliff.  To be honest, I didn’t know who he was until TBEX, but after hearing him speak, I knew TBEX was going to be awesome if they had speakers of his caliber lined up.

Trey began his talk with a brief history of his life growing up blind in one eye and then followed up by telling one story from a list of stories from a specific period in his life.

The story he told was selected based on a dice roll that corresponded to the number next to the story headline.

My favorite was the Captain Picard story from when he was in College.  I have to admit some of the other headlines in his presentation were catchy and would love to hear them.

On another note, Trey generated a lot of tweets during his presentation because he wore Google glasses.  At one point, Trey commente that the device “completes him.”  It offers a no hassle way to read e-mail alert and take pictures.


There was some overlap of folks I knew from the miles/points world, but the vast majority were new faces I haven’t met before.  There were people I seen online before one such case was from this inspiring video.

Girard over at gqtrippin.com created a compilation video of his trip around the world with this girlfriend.  Take a look at the video:

That video is truly inspirationally.  If that doesn’t get you to travel, I don’t know what will.

Other folks who had inspirational stories to tell:

I had a lot more business cards, but my backpack was stolen towards the end of TBEX.


The low point for the weekend occurred late Sunday afternoon.  We returned to my friend’s rental car from an early dinner and noticed the drive side rear window smashed.   Pictures of the damage can be found here.  My backpack was missing and it was pretty obvious what had just occurred.  Theft.  We opened the rear trunk and my friend’s luggage was untouched.  That was safe.

He contacted the police while I was taking mental inventory of what was stolen.  I quickly called the credit card companies to report my stolen CC to prevent any fraudulent charges.

I was pissed at myself for letting this happen.  Not only did I loose out my personal possessions, but I also inconvenienced my friends who had flights to catch.


When I arrived in Toronto on Friday, a local friend picked me from the airport.  I threw my backpack in the backseat and jumped in the front seat.  We were off to get something to eat.  As we parked his car, he suggested to move my backpack from the backseat to the trunk to prevent theft.  I should have applied that same advice Sunday Afternoon.  I let my guard down for a moment and the thief took advantage.

I lost all my stuff that I brought with me and some cool trinkets from TBEX that  I didn’t get to play with.  Luckily I had my passport, wallet, and phone on me so that I can still get home the following day.  The rest of the day, I was feeling kind of crappy, though my friend, Rapid Travel Chai said I seemed impressively positive about the situation.  The biggest ticket item I lost was my Macbook Pro laptop.  I really wish I hadn’t lost that item.  I use it just about everyday.

With the number of days I’ve traveled to a foreign country, I’ve never been a victim of petty crimes until that Sunday.  With the law of averages, it was bound to happen to me at some point.  In fact, my friend Sherry Ott, mentioned to a career breaker about to start his journey: expect to loose or get something stolen.  It sucks, but it’s going to happen.  I guess you can compare it to sports like football.  If you play it long enough, you’re going to get injured.  If you don’t you’re not playing hard enough or your an outlier against the statistical norms or injury.

This experience was a lesson not to assume that a seemingly quiet street is safe.  I’m going to proactively lock up or make personal belongings obscure so that it’s not in plain site.  The old saying goes: out of sight and out of mind.  Had I simply put my backpack in the rear trunk, I’m 100% confident I would still have my belonging today.

I’m not going to hold a grudge against Toronto.  I’ll be back soon.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Greek2me June 7, 2013 at 2:32 pm

Sorry to hear about your stolen backpack Mike. But you are right that if you travel enough you will can absolutely count on losing something eventually. I’ve lost two cameras on trips in the past 2 years. Not happy about it but some people in Hawaii and Indonesia are! It stinks, but you move on, and it makes you realize how great people in general are given it happens so infrequently.


Mike June 7, 2013 at 11:52 pm

Thanks for the kind words. I’m sorry to hear about your lost camera too. The hardest thing to grasp loosing is the digital data! I agree, you have to move on and learn to mitigate your risk of lost or stolen items. I’m definitely going to be more diligent about looking after my personal belongings.


Cacinda Maloney June 9, 2013 at 12:50 am

OMG! So sorry to hear about this … huge loss. Digital data loss really sets you back. Thanks for the reminder.


Mike June 9, 2013 at 1:53 am

I have to learn from the experience and move on. It sucks, but it is what it is. There’s no sense agonizing over the lost materials.


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