The British Shorts Film Festival might not be a Ridley Scott film, although actually it was!

British bunting via @sonycctweetsI’m really excited about my forth-coming trip to the Baltic Region and you’ll be the first to hear all about it LOL! Right now, I would like to focus on some British stuff.

Living in Berlin as an expat  and as The British Berliner, means that I get to go to such fabulous activities and events such as:

Oh no! Don't look if you're a vegetarian! Image@ eat-the-world

Oh no! Don’t look if you’re a vegetarian!
Image@ eat-the-world

If I can go to Fashion Week, so can you?! © Photo Peter Stigter.

If I can go to Fashion Week, so can you?!
© Photo Peter Stigter.

  • As well as being invited to theatre productions such as THE WYLD at the Friedrichstadt-Palast or Breakin’ Mozart at the Wintergarten Varieté.
My garden. Notice the bunting in the background!

My garden. Notice the bunting in the background!

As a British expat in Berlin, I also get invited to British stuff such as:

  • The Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. I was invited by the Visit Britain Media Team! I wasn’t able to go as I was in Thailand at the time but it’s the thought that counts LOL and happily since I had actually been to Glasgow previously, I was still able to write a little something! : Go North to Glasgow!
Images of Cool Britannia with absolutely everybody LOL!  @Debbiefm

Images of Cool Britannia with absolutely everybody LOL!
@Debbiefm

Royal Ascot.

Royal Ascot.

  • As a British expat, I also get invited to the British Embassy for “cheese and wine,” “a few drinks,” A Royal Ascot celebration aka horse-riding. Since it was official Embassy event we all had to observe protocol and tradition with the ladies wearing formal daywear and a hat if you’re sitting near the Queen, and a hat, headpiece or fascinator if you’re further away. As for gentlemen (and you get to be a real lady and a real gentleman), they got to wear either a black or grey morning dress including a waistcoat and tie, a top hat, and black shoes. Nothing else would do!
  • As a British expat, I get invited to networking events at the Embassy, and other social engagements. I’ve always felt honoured in being so. In fact just last week, I got a telephone call from a local TV / radio station who wanted to interview me about the visit of Queen Elizabeth to Germany. Me! I was astounded! And yes, she’s coming. The Queen is coming to Germany. I’ve never met the Queen in real life before so I hope to change that this year LOL! : 10 Reasons to be an expat.
  • From time to time, I get asked to join a German TV  prgoramme such as Wissenshunger on the VOX TV station. I took part on the TV show to discuss After Dinner Mints. They gave me a DVD as a thank you. Meanwhile, some friends say that repeats are still on the German network but I’ve never seen it LOL! If you’re interested, that particular episode was called “After dinner mints der Englische Versuchung” or “WH Pfefferminztaler.” if you do see it anywhere, let me know!
Afternoon Tea.

Afternoon Tea.

  • And if I’m extremely lucky, I get a tiny little paragraph that I wrote for a European food blog picked up by the American publication of The Huffington Post. THE HUFFINGTON POST! Wow! Here it is : 25 Spring Travel Tips Across Europe.
The British Shorts Film Festival.

The British Shorts Film Festival.

In short, I’m quite privileged as it goes, so in January, one of my favourite German girlfriends sent me a message on Facebook and asked me if I was going to the Festival.

“What festival I asked?”

She sent me a link.

As soon as I saw it, I contacted the organiser, a German man called Jürgen Fehrmann.

The fact is, Berlin is Germany’s capital city and a lot of things tend to happen at the same time. A lot of things. In fact, that very week I had events to attend on Wednesday and Thursday. The Festival was to start on 15.01.15 which was a Thursday. I couldn’t make it on Thursday but I went on Friday and pretty much spent the whole weekend there!

I’m married and I have a child and activities and events have to be carefully organised so that everything fits nicely. Thankfully, “The Tall Young Gentleman” had gone camping that weekend with the Boy Scouts of America. Outdoors.

And The Music Producer had another album to produce, and so I was free to go where I wished. I wished to go to the British Shorts Film Festival.

BS2014_Logo

WHAT IS THE BRITISH SHORTS FILM FESTIVAL?

The British Shorts Film Festival is a collection of 111 British and Irish short films shown within a span of five (5) days from the 15th – 19th January, 2015!

This was the 8th edition of the festival and even with the crisp, cold January weather, the British Shorts has evolved to become a true international audience festival with one of the most interesting platforms for British and Irish short films, outside the UK and Ireland.

The Brain Hack.

The Brain Hack.

WHO IS THE BRITISH SHORTS FILM FESTIVAL FOR?

Well, this film festival is for established film-makers, promising newcomers, talented film students, and anybody else who has an interest in the making of short films. Indeed, the likes of Judi Dench (James Bond – 007), Michael Fassbender (The X.Men), and Martin Freeman (Sherlock Holmes (BBC) & The Hobbit) have all appeared in previous festival films.

It doesn’t matter if you have a large budget, a low budget, or no budget at all (like we had LOL!). At the end of the festival ANYONE can present a film to be judged by a respected jury, as well as the audience.

Gulp!

The Bigger Picture.

The Bigger Picture.

BUT WHAT IS IT EXACTLY?

Well, the film screenings have the following categories:

  • Comedy.
  • Drama & Thriller.
  • Animation & Experimental.
  • Horror.
  • Music Videos.
  • Documentary.
  • Retrospective: “Reeling Back.” The very first (1st) British silent cinema film, accompanied by a new live score by Dirk Markham.
  • Special Screening, curated by Directors Notes. Followed by a Q+A with Rob Munday (Directors Notes).
OMP - Orchestre Miniature in the Park.

OMP – Orchestre Miniature in the Park.

We live in Berlin.

Berlin is an exciting city filled with young inspiring talent so of course, there were other interesting  and exciting events and items such as:

  • A free festival workshop & a 48-hour film project.
  • Stand-Up-Comedy live: Eleanor Morton’s Fringe-Show Lollipop.
  • Concerts & Parties which were either free entrance or a small token of about €5.00 and you got a glass of champagne included too!
  • Exhibitions.
  • Talks with film-makers.
  • An an Open Screening for ANY short film.

Sign

WHERE DOES THE BRITISH SHORTS FILM FESTIVAL TAKE PLACE?

This is the 8th year and the festival always takes place at the home base cinema called Sputnik Kino in the suburb of Kreuzberg, with some screenings taking place at the Badehaus Szimpla, Acudkino, and Filmkunst 66.

Oh, I remember the Sputnik Kino!

When I first came to visit Berlin in the 90’s, my German boyfriend lived in Kreuzberg and told me about this particular cinema. I like artists. What can I say!

Anyway, in those days, this cinema was not as comfortable as it is now.

Oh dear me no.

Seats made from brick!

Seats made from brick!

The seats were made of bricks! Yes, you heard me.

Bricks!

In Germany, you can take bottles of beer and glasses of wine into the screening with you.

Well, on this occasion, a long time ago. In the 90’s. The audience were a little upset about the film they were watching, and began to shout and throw bottles all about and at the big screen.

We got out of there pronto!

Cue 15 years later.

More bricks. With available cushions if needed!

More bricks. With available cushions if needed!

The seats are still made of bricks but now have soft cushions to lean on LOL!

And you can still take your drinks in with you and the clientele has changed, so nobody throws glasses and bottles about.

We’re far too artistic for that!

Open Screening.

The Sputnik Kino has a lovely reputation of supporting aspiring independent film-makers and once a month, every third (3rd) Wednesday, has an Open Screening. This Open Screening allows film-makers to show their movies to a live audience, and is in both English and German.

No appointments are necessary, no application forms, no testings made, it doesn’t have to be “finished,” any language is accepted, no previous qualifications necessary.

It’s a forum whereby you can “test” your film, and a live audience can ask questions, make comments, positively criticise or praise your film.

The requirements?

Not more than 25 minutes. And members of the public are the judges of the film.

Cost?

Absolutely nothing! For both the film-makers and the audience!

Emotional Fuse Box.

I’M INTERESTED IN FILMS BUT I’M NOT A FILM-MAKER.

I’m not a film-maker either LOL however, I do love British films.

I saw various clips of film between 2 and 30 minutes. Most were really interesting and clever, and some were downright weird, but I’m glad that I had the opportunity to see them!

I watched a whole host of Documentary Specials and also short Animation Films after which I dragged myself home in the wee hours of 2:00!

Eleanor Morton and her "Lollipop" stand-up show.

Eleanor Morton and her “Lollipop” stand-up show.

The performances were completely packed out, showing British and Irish talent in a Berlin setting.

I also watched a few live performances and a live stand up comedy show by the Scottish Variety Award nominated newcomer Eleanor Morton and her “Lollipop” stand-up show. She’s hilarious by the way and a right laugh!

Phantom Limb.

Phantom Limb.

CAN YOU MAKE A FILM YOURSELF?

You certainly can!

The attraction of British films for an international crowd is either historical drama such as Downton Abbey, The King’s Speech, and Titanic or gritty down-to-earth films such as Trainspotting, Billy Elliot, and Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels.

I like British films because of the grit as I do Berlin films, such as Lola Rent and Goodbye Lenin.

Boy and Bicycle by Ridley Scott introducing Tony Scott.

Boy and Bicycle by Ridley Scott introducing Tony Scott.

At the British Shorts Film Festival, we even got to watch the very first film that Ridley Scott ever made with his younger brother Tony Scott riding on a bicycle somewhere outside Durham, I think. The film was black and white and was called Boy and Bicycle.

Lassenza.

Lassenza.

At the film festival we booked into a workshop on film-making!

I actually went for the fun of it and to see what it was all about but my German girlfriend actually wanted to learn some movie-making techniques, and we eventually ended up making a 5 minute movie which we had to submit for film-making criticism!

We felt like this young man called Mohammed -  in this film!

We felt like this young man called Mohammed – in this film!

OMG!

We only had 48 hours to make it and I perked up I can tell you! We spent 48 hours wandering the streets of Berlin for inspiration in the German cold of January.

And then we made the film.

It’s out and it was judged. Apparently, it was OK but I can’t tell you where it is, as it’s enormously raw.

We’re actually thinking of editing it properly and showcasing it as her film portfolio and perhaps mine too. It’s arty and a far-cry from the subject matter of my blog, but you can never have too many skills LOL!

I mentioned this to a British blogger who asked whether I would share it with you all.

Ha! Ha! No chance!

The People's Choice Award.

The People’s Choice Award.

DO I NEED TO UNDERSTAND GERMAN TO PARTICIPATE?

Nope!

All literature and instruction is in both German and English. Being that it’s a British & Irish Film Festival, the films are of course, in English!

Exchange And Mart.

Exchange And Mart.

MY VERDICT?

Lots of fun and learning and a really good project!

At a time when large budgets and big stars are the norm, it’s quite nice to see, support, and encourage a non-profit film-making project.

In our city.

In Berlin.

For more information. Please contact: British Shorts Film Festival.

For more information about Open Screenings. Please contact: Sputnik Kino.

Me relaxing at the Berlin Music Video Awards, 2014.

Me relaxing at the Berlin Music Video Awards, 2014.

This article is not sponsored although I received complimentary tickets, all opinions and the film that I made are my very own!

I have so much to share with you.

In the next few months, I’ll be travelling to Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, and Finland.

International Games Week Berlin 2015 is a leading cross-industry communication and networking platform for games businesss, development and culture, and will be taking place between April 21-26, 2015.

I’ll be going to TBEX Europe (Travel Bloggers Exchange) an International Networking Conference, for the first time! It’ll be taking place in Costa Brava, Catalunya, Spain from 30.04.15 – 02.05.15.

Strictly Stand Up English Comedy Night will be taking place at the Quatsch Comedy Club on 29.04.15.

Eddie Izzard will be back in Germany and will be front-lining a killer international night of comedy at the Admirals Palast on 08.05.15.

The Berlin Music Video Awards will be taking place from May 27.05.15 – 30.05.15. Anybody can apply!

The Berlin Fashion Film Festival will be taking place on 05.06.15.

I’ll be there. Will you?

As usual, you can also follow me via daily tweets and pictures on Twitter & FB!

If you’re not in Berlin in the Spring, you must be mad!

March & April are going to be exciting.

Watch this space!

Waving the flag of Britishness!

Waving the flag of Britishness!

Have you ever been to the British Shorts film Festival? Do you like British films?

See you in Berlin.

If you like this post or if you have any questions send me a tweet, talk to me on Facebook, find me on Linkedin, make a comment below, or send me an Email: victoria@thebritishberliner.com

Please Share it! Tweet it! Or like it!

I’m going to the Baltic Region. You know, the “other” Eastern Europe!

At the ITB Berlin.

At the ITB Berlin.

So last week, I wrote a bit of a controversial post about what it is to be a blogger.

Any regrets?

Absolutely, none at all!

I like pushing buttons and gong to places unknown, which leads me to the next question?

What is this blog about? You know THIS blog. The blog called The British Berliner.

MY Blog.

Victoria looking quite model-like, in a Berlin summer, 2014.

Victoria looking quite model-like, in a Berlin summer, 2014.

Well, to put it in a nutshell. It’s about me.

There. I said it.

I write this because an experienced blogger recently asked me (rather nicely I might add) whether last weeks’ post was wavering away from what this blog is about.

That got me thinking?

So let’s go back a bit. What is this blog about? Well according to the About Me page. This blog was about being British in Berlin. And that is true but isn’t exactly accurate and since I started this blog in October 2013. Yay! This blog has developed a life of its own.

God Save the Queen in Cool Britannia!

God Save the Queen in Cool Britannia!

As a result, The British Berliner is now a lifestyle expat travel blog about culture, history, travels around the world, AND being British in Berlin.

It’s about what I do in normal every day life and where I go, and one of the things that contributed to that change was the ITB.

I learnt a lot about how to prepare to go to the biggest travel trade fair in the world, back in 2014. I mean, for goodness sake, I hadn’t even known what Twitter was back then. Thank goodness there was a workshop on it hosted by the European Vice-President, and let me tell you, I learnt pretty quickly so that by the end of the week, my Twitter account was up and running.

Yep! My Twitter account is only one (1) year old!

A WYSE Travel Confederation lecture at the ITB. If you look closely, you can see the back of my head and my red handbag on the side-corner!

A WYSE Travel Confederation lecture at the ITB.
If you look closely, you can see the back of my head and my red handbag on the side-corner!

I write this because before going to the ITB, I had never ever met a blogger in real life! Oh yes, I was fully engaged in the virtual world but I had never met anyone.

In 2014, I met loads of people so before I delve into my next travel adventure of 2015, I would just like to acknowledge and thank all the bloggers or social media professionals that I have actually met since the ITB in March 2014! Since there’s a long list of people, please forgive me if I leave you out.

Bloggers at the ITB in Berlin.

Bloggers at the ITB in Berlin.

I’ve met:

  • Maja Benke of Low Budget Travel. She was lovely and actually the first blogger that I had ever met! I met her at the pre-ITB Travel Massive party in 2014, and kept on bumping into her!
  • Anula Galewska is the Chapter Leader of Travel Massive Berlin. She’s a great girl and I was very interested in meeting her as she is also the marketing person for ExploRussia as I was, and am still, interested in going to Russia via the Trans Siberian train!
  • Adam Groffman of Travels of Adam is a very sweet American guy based in Berlin and apart from the fact that we constantly bump into each other all over town, every now and again we go for cocktails and gossip!

  • Kate McCulley of Adventurous Kate. I met Kate an hour after I returned from our trip to Poland. I knew that she was in Germany, and I had reached out to her that if she were ever in Berlin, to give me a buzz. She did! She’s a cool industrious girl. Even more petite than I am LOL! She was really nice and gave me some blogging tips and a blog leg up. She still does!
  • Kash Bhattacharya of the Budget Traveller. I met Kash the same time that I met Kate. He’s a fellow Brit and a tiny bear of a guy with hugs and jolly laughter for all, but behind the merry exterior is a man with hard-core ideas and a pair of high-flying shoulders! A great guy.
  • Ciki of CC Food Travel. I met Ciki from Malaysia in Berlin along with Kate and Kash. She’s a beautiful girl with a huge sense of humour, and delicious photographs of exquisite food. She’s a real pro. and we still send each other hilarious tweets. I can’t wait to visit her country anytime soon!
  • Mario Cacciottolo of Someone Once Told Me. Mario wasn’t a blogger in the strict sense of the world but a British photographer. He was embarking on a world tour of quotes from random people and asked if I would participate. I sure did! I also showed a bunch of international bloggers where anyone could participate in outdoor tango dancing on the Berlin river-side for absolute no money at all! Oh, and also having great beers whilst pretending to be on a beach. Good Times!
  • Kemkem of the Next Bite of Life. Kemkem is an American married to an Italian. We met as she reached out to me because she and her husband were thinking of perhaps emmigrating to Berlin from Malta. I offered to meet up and show her around and invited them to the Carnival of Cultures or Karneval der Kulturen. They opted to move to Spain instead, but we remain friends.
  • Dale & Franca of Anglo Italian Follow Us. They are an Anglo-Italian couple whom I met at a local bloggers meet-up one morning. They mainly write about slow vegan travel.

At ITB Berlin.

At the ITB a fortnight (two weeks) ago, I met:

  • Melvin Böcher, the founder of Travel Dudes. He’s a young German guy with a crazy hairdo. We met virtually when he asked whether I would like to join Travel Dudes and write something. I wrote about how to order a pint at an English pub. We met for the very first time at the ITB. I’m thinking of interviewing him!
  • D. J. Yabis of Dream Euro Trip is a flamboyant stylish guy from The Philippines, living in Cologne. He was a great laugh and so bitchy and funny. A great new friend to have LOL!
  • Raphael Alexander of A Journey of Wonders is a writer/photographer from Mexico. I met him at the Travel Massive party and it wasn’t that difficult to spot him LOL. He’s going places and I like his blogstyle!
  • Keith Jenkins of the Velvet Escape. Keith is a quiet unassuming man but a man with brains. He is the founder of iambassador and such projects as Blogville.
A yummy shrimp roll from #WeAreInPuglia!

A yummy shrimp roll from #WeAreInPuglia!

  • The lovely Stefania Albanese, of #WeAreInPuglia. She and her team were so kind and friendly and encouraged me to make Focaccia and not only that, but stuffed my bag with the bread dough, Italian bread sticks called Taralli, olive oil from Puglia, and a huge bottle of red Italian wine!
  • Christina Nagel-Gasch of Mrs Berry. When I was originally looking for information about the ITB last year, this was the only place that I found it. In German! This year, we found ourselves waiting for the same Dresden contact and as soon as I heard her name, I just wanted to hug her. Oh, and I also gate-crashed a bloggers event that she was hosting, but nobody seemed to mind LOL!
  • Carly Hulls of Austrian Adaptation. Carly is a fun-loving Australian expat who lives in the Sound of Music Hills of Austria. We met at the ITB and with jolly glasses of wine, we bonded rather well. I can’t wait to see her again somewhere LOL!
  • Natasha Semmence of Eat Shoot Travel – ESST. I met Natasha ‘cos she followed me while I was looking for space to hang my coat in the press room. She’s a British photographer, a close mate of Kash, and a very good person to have a natter with.
  • Astrid Zand and the lovely ITB press and marketing team. Again, they were absolutely fantastic and I even got to meet and hang out with them at the Press /Editorial Office. A great bunch of people!
  • And lastly, Lee. A. Evans. Lee is the President of Guides Berlin – the official Berlin Guide Federation – and I’ve known Lee personally for probably three (3) years now, well before blogging was ever part of my répertoire. Lee and I are both Committee Members of the Boy Scouts of America – Troop 46 – in Berlin. One of my expat activities even though I’m British LOL!
Kash & I at a bloggers after-ITB party!

Kash & I at a bloggers after-ITB party!

People may say that bloggers are introverts.

I disagree.

Most of the ones that I’ve met can talk the hind leg off a donkey and are as extroverted as they come. Myself included LOL!

And so, back to the topic of this week.

Drum roll pleeeeease!

A map of the Baltic Sea.

A map of the Baltic Sea.

THE BRITISH BERLINER IS GOING TO THE BALTIC REGION. YAY!

 

WHERE AM I GOING?

All the details are not yet 100% cut and dried, but I’m going to Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia & Finland.

Lithuania.

Lithuania.

LITHUANIA:

Lithuania is the oldest state of the Baltic countries and according to Lonely Planet, was named third (3rd) in the top 10 countries to visit in 2015. If Lonely Planet have pinpointed Lithuania as the next trend, I’m in good company LOL! I will be going to Vilnius which is the capital city. The city has been known as “the Jerusalem of Lithuania” because of its strong Jewish past until WWII. Vilnius has also been known as “Little Rome” and “North Athens” and is a treasure-trove of Baroque craftsmanship.

I can’t wait to go there.

This will be a cultural family trip so we’ll be staying at a small family Bed and Breakfast consisting of just seven (7) rooms, and located between the Old Town and a park. This B&B is called Vilnius Home Bed and Breakfast.

Latvia.

Latvia.

LATVIA:

Latvia is a small economy based in between Lithuania, Belarus, Estonia and Russia! It is known as the Pearl of the Baltic States and is on the shores of the Baltic Sea. We will be going to Riga which is the capital city, the largest city in the Baltic State Region, and also listed as historical significant by UNESCO.

Due to other engagements, The Music Producer will only be travelling with us for a week and will be flying back to Berlin. As a result, “The Tall Young Gentleman” and I will continue the rest of our Baltic cultural adventure together.

We will be staying at a four-star boutique hotel in the heart of the old town of Riga. The hotel
is called Hotel Justus.
The Medieval Old Town in Tallinn, Estonia.

The Medieval Old Town in Tallinn, Estonia.

ESTONIA:

Estonia, officially called the Republic of Estonia, is a country surrounded by Finland, Latvia, and Russia. It is considered one (1) of the smallest countries in the European Union, as it only  has a country-wide population of 1.3 million people!

We will be going to Tallinn which is the capital city. An advanced, highly economic country, its history with Finland is tightly connected, coming from an ancient type of Finnish people!

We will be staying at the oldest hotel in Estonia, the luxury 4-star boutique hotel – The Hotel St. Petersbourg and on our return back from Finland, we will also be staying at the 4-star charming My City Hotel.

Visit Finland.

FINLAND:

Full of interesting contrast such as the Midnight Sun and days full of darkness in Winter, over two-thirds of the world’s people who experience the Midnight Sun, actually live in Finland! Wow! In fact, in the most Northern part of Finland, the sunlight can be present for a consecutive number of over 70 days!

I would like to go to Lapland one of these days, but for this journey, we’ll be going to the very cultural city of Helsinki which is the capital, and also has a 100 km long shoreline and around 300 islands!

We will be staying at the very artistically designed GLO Hotel Art which is an exclusive, charming lifestyle hotel built around a century-old Art Nouveau castle, located in the heart of the Helsinki Design District.

Very exciting!

WHY THE BALTIC STATE REGION?

shutterstock-92810047-zob

As of now, the region above has not really been discovered by tourists and travellers. I mean, have you ever heard of Latvia? What about Lithuania? And to be honest, we all know of Finland, but how many of us have actually been there?

Exactly!

These countries are based in Europe and their capital cities have stories of richness, history and grandeur unspoilt by the full-board package set and the larger louts of stag and hen nights. They are sparsely populated, and not your typical cheap and friendly destination. As a matter of fact prices in Finland border on the insane and Estonia has prices that would make your hair stand up, although still considered to be “budget” destinations.

I want to experience these countries for myself.

That’s why!

HOW AM I TRAVELLING?

The Lux Express. And free WIFI!

The Lux Express.
And free WIFI!

We will be on a part-sponsorship with Lux Express.

The Lux Express Group is the largest international express route coach operator in the Baltic region with its head-office based in Estonia. It offers frequent connections to the Baltic States, and to parts of Russia such as St. Petersburg, Moscow and Minsk. ‘Such a shame that we don’t have the time to nip into St. Petersburg as there is a legal way that you can go to Russia for 24 or 72 hours visa-free, as long as you arrive by ship and pre-organise your hotel or sight-seeing activities!

The next time I’m in Finland or Estonia, I’m going to do just that, as I’m desperate to go to Russia. Even for a day but hopefully, for much longer LOL!

We will be travelling with the Lux Express Group from Berlin to Estonia and back again!

HOW AM I GOING TO CROSS THE SEA INTO FINLAND?

Sailing away! Photo @AS Tallink Grupp

Sailing away!
Photo @AS Tallink Grupp

We will be on a sponsorship deal with TALLINK SLJA LINE.

TALLINK is an Estonian shipping company currently operating Baltic Sea cruise ferries and ships from Estonia to Finland, Sweden, Latvia and Germany. We will be sailing with them from Estonia to Finland and back to Estonia. In fact, the E-commerce Manger offered us a complimentary sailing to Sweden but in this trip, I had already fixed the itinerary and moreover, I wanted to go via overland. However, watch this space for a future visit to Sweden, Finland, Latvia, and Estonia!

It’s going to be quite a trip!

Food Glorious Food!

Food Glorious Food!

This article is part-sponsored by Lux Express and TALLINK SLJA LINE, and we get a little discount on the hotels, but all opinions and the exquisite shrimps that I ate, are my very own!

I have so much to share with you.

Next week, I’ll be writing about the British Shorts Film Festival 2015.

In the next few months, I’ll be travelling to Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, and Finland.

I’ll also be going to TBEX (Travel Bloggers Exchange) an International Networking Conference, for the first time! It’ll be taking place in Costa Brava, Catalunya, Spain from 30.04.15 – 02.05.15.

I’ll be there. Will you?

As usual, you can also follow me via daily tweets and pictures on Twitter & FB!

If you’re not in Berlin in March, you’ve lost your way!

March is going to be warming up.

Watch this space!

Pelmeni, a type of dumpling served with sour cream in Latvia.

Pelmeni, a type of dumpling served with sour cream in Latvia.

Have you ever been to the Baltic States? Have you ever heard of Lithuania or Latvia?

See you in Berlin.

If you like this post or if you have any questions send me a tweet, talk to me on Facebook, find me on Linkedin, make a comment below, or send me an Email: victoria@thebritishberliner.com

Please Share it! Tweet it! Or like it!

I went to the ITB in Berlin, so am I a professional travel blogger?

At Travel Massive - 2015.

At Travel Massive – 2015.

Last week, I told you that I would be revealing where I’ll be travelling to in the next few months. I can’t tell you exactly when for security reasons, but you’ll be the first to know next week LOL!

But first:

WHAT IS THE ITB BERLIN?

Learning stuff at the ITB Berlin.

Learning stuff at the ITB Berlin.

The ITB Berlin is the world’s leading travel industry think tank in which the convention trade fair establishes itself as the industry’s main knowledge platform.

As the leading Travel Trade Show, ITB Berlin is the foremost business platform for global tourism business. This year, we had participants from:

  • 5 Continents.
  • 180 Countries.
  • 600 Qualified Top Buyers.
  • 10,000 Exhibitors.
  •  20,000 Convention Visitors.
  •  50,000 Private Visitors.
  • 110,000 Trade Visitors.
  • Bloggers from all over the world.
  • 160,000 Square meters.
  • Over 5 days within 4th March – 8th March, 2015.
  • Bringing in a €6 billion turnover to Germany.
Mongolia at the ITB Berlin.

Mongolia at the ITB Berlin.

The ITB Berlin is a big deal and the partner country for 2015 was Mongolia with the motto: Nomadic by Nature.

Wow!

This is the first time that I have participated as an accredited blogger and with travel blogs becoming popular, interest in them has begun to grow within the tourism industry. I mean, last year was the first time that I had even heard of Twitter! As such, ITB Berlin went all out and organised a platform in which international contacts could meet up with bloggers, and bloggers could network with each other and industry, via discussions and presentations.

In 2014, I did not go to the ITB as an accredited blogger as by then, my blog was roughly only four (4) months old and I gate-crashed networking events! However, the ITB ladies were amazing and sent me a VIP ticket to encourage and motivate me.

Myself with the photographers. Courtesy of Pascale Scerbo Sarro

Myself with the photographers.
Courtesy of Pascale Scerbo Sarro

I’ve improved a lot since then. In fact, I’d even go as far as saying that I’m a professional blogger.

Wooooooh there missy!

This topic is a controversial one and begets no real solution.

Last year, I met one of the biggest bloggers in the German market, I approached this person for advice and was dismissed because according to them “I was only a hobby blogger!”

Exxxxxxxxxcuse me!

I have to confess that I was upset and annoyed but most importantly, I refuse to take that comment lying down.

Celebrating diversity at the British Embassy.

Celebrating diversity at the British Embassy.

WHAT’S A PROFESSIONAL TRAVEL BLOGGER ANYWAY?

According to the Professional Travel Bloggers Association, The association consists of travel bloggers from various career paths who come together for the purpose of furthering the profession of travel blogging, aim to legitimize travel blogging as a business, and facilitate business relationships within the industry, with emphasis on the following goals:

  • Accuracy.
  • Accountability.
  • To not plagiarise or knowingly accept plagiarism.
  • Being polite, upholding the freedom of speech and refraining from personal attacks and hate speech.
  • Being professional in the way the blogger works. Upholding all applicable laws, regulations, and rules concerning the prevention of unfair, deceptive or misleading advertising and marketing practices. Disclosing financially benefits or discounts and not abusing the position as travel bloggers.
  • Not pressuring travel companies into working with bloggers, or discounting services.

REQUIREMENTS TO JOIN THE ASSOCIATION:

A minimum of nine months blogging and more than 3,000 page views in the last thirty days, and an annual fee of $75.

On the red carpet at the Internationale Filmfestspiele, Berlin or at the International Film Festival, Berlin.

On the red carpet at the Internationale Filmfestspiele, Berlin or at the International Film Festival, Berlin.

According to MIke Snowden. A professional travel blogger is:

According to TBEX (the Travel Blog Exchange), you are not a blogger unless you are:

  • A talented story-teller (regardless of whether your stories are told via print, audio, or video).
  • Constantly trying to improve your craft and provide value to your sponsors and readers.
  • Have entered an agreement with a client or a sponsor, and that agreement includes the expectation that you will act like a professional for the duration of that relationship.
  • A professional blogger who looks for mentors and teachers from whom they can learn.
  • A blogger who networks with their peers, copy their successes, and tries to avoid the mistake of others.
Me. Myself & I.  Summer In Berlin.

Me. Myself & I.
Summer In Berlin.

According to Matt Kepnes, otherwise known as Nomadic Matt, the tips he gave on the real business of travel blogging were simple:

  • Be an expert.
  • Find your niche.
  • Don’t dismiss traditional writers. Learn from them, as they are people who really know how to write, and write well.

According to Dave & Deb from The Planet D:

  • Put in long hours.
  • Love what you do.
  • Do research on respective destinations.
  • Take countless photographs.
Asian girls having lunch together.

Asian girls having lunch together.

According to Kate McCulley otherwise known as Adventurous Kate, her professional advice can be read on her piece –  The reality of being a professional travel blogger and includes:

  • Travel blogging requires a tremendous amount of work.
  • It also requires a hell of a lot of investment in time and effort, before any benefits can be seen.

According to Liz Carlson otherwise known as the Young Adventuress in her piece  – So you want to be a travel blogger, do you? Professional travel blogging is all about:

  • Having a passion.
  • Having a purpose.
  • Becoming an authority.
  • Not giving up.
  • Setting goals and building your audience.
  • Owning social media.
  • Knowing your own value.
  • Being ethical.
  • Producing good content.
  • Joining other professional bloggers associations and groups, in order to get mentoring, advice, and support.
Fresh fish that we caught. Bones and all, although they chopped off the head on the boat!

Fresh fish that we caught. Bones and all, although they chopped off the head on the boat!

As much as travel blogging has become the new brain child, not everyone is convinced or think it’s worth a second of your time, and so I enclose a piece from Theodora Sutcliffe also known as the Escape Artistes. She wrote a scathing piece on Why I’ll never be a Professional Travel Blogger.

So back to my original question, am I a professional blogger?

Well, let’s see.

I am professional in the way I work and when I meet clients and travel industry. I also qualify to be a member of the Professional Travel Bloggers association. I make presentations and talk about everything. I write stories and constantly strive to improve my craft by going to seminars, lectures and workshops, and learning from my blogging peers.

If only you could read my thoughts. Oh, you can!

If only you could read my thoughts. Oh, you can!

I love my traditional job of being a corporate teacher and trainer. I love imparting knowledge and leading and advising entrepreneurs. I also get a hefty salary and a respectable position for doing so.

That’s not going to change anytime soon.

I went to 10 countries in 2014, if that’s not working as a professional travel blogger, I don’t know what is.

My niche is Europe and believe you me, I put in more hours than I can ever recommend. I have a corporate job, a husband, a child, a Masters dissertation to write and yet, I still spend 38 hours a week working on my blog in some form. 38 hours! I refuse to let anyone say that blogging for me is a hobby.

It isn’t.

I have a passion for what I do, and as I told you earlier in the year, not a single dollar has been exchanged but I perform, as if it has. I have a purpose: lifestyle expat travel blogging, and I enjoy and love what I do.

I am a professional travel blogger.

In Vietnam.

In Vietnam.

This article is not sponsored and all opinions are my very own!

I have so much to share with you.

Next week, I’ll be giving you more details about the International Travel Trade Fair – ITB, what I did there and whom I met, as well as the next travel destination!

As usual, you can also follow me via daily tweets and pictures on Twitter & FB!

If you’re not in Berlin in March, you’ve made a mistake!

March is going to be excellent.

Watch this space!

In Kurdistan at the ITB 2015.

In Kurdistan at the ITB 2015.

What do you think? Are you a professional travel blogger. Do you want to be a professional travel blogger, or do you think travel blogging is over-hyped?

See you in Berlin.

If you like this post or if you have any questions send me a tweet, talk to me on Facebook, find me on Linkedin, make a comment below, or send me an Email: victoria@thebritishberliner.com

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