#NYTravFest The People You Meet — Pt. 2

Sunday’s NY Travel Fest sessions were held at Hostelling International New York, a premier hostel, and one of the largest in the Americas. The landmark building located on the Upper West Side is equidistant from Central Park and the East River has a colorful history. In all the travels I’ve taken none of them have included accommodations in a hostel. HI New York layout and design blew me away, it is one part recreation center, one part dormitory, and for families traveling together, there’s a penthouse apartment for optimal privacy.

Today I attended sessions on Travel as a Personal Journey, Visual Storytelling, and Volunteer Tourism. The lunch banquet featured a selection of rice and beans, salad and barbecue chicken served outside on the patio. It was a warm and day — the perfect temperature to revel in a Taiko Drum Performance and Workshop by NY Taiko Aiko Kai sponsored by the City of Tokyo Tourism, and a dance performance from Curious on Tanzania.

I met Blaire Masseroni, a fellow Italian, and traveler. Originally from Hanover, PA, home of the famous Snyder pretzels, Blaire combines her love of fitness with travel. Her specialty is teaching women how to harness their own strength, both physical and emotional while traveling abroad.

While enjoying the sake tasting provided by Explore Tokyo, I met Jeorgina Williams, publisher of NerdDNA, an online resource that provides fundamental tools for efficient sustainable living. Jeorgina spends half the year working, and the other half traveling the world. She explains that by implementing sustainable living and conscious spending she’s able to bank enough money to pay for her travels. Her personal mantra explains it all: collect memories, not things.

Juania Owens, one of NYTF’s speakers was also enjoying the sake tasting joined by her friend Brian, a math teacher from Long Island. As founder of Amazing Perspective, a storytelling platform that examines the ideas and experiences using positive psychology, Juania was on hand to present a session on curated storytelling.

At the Visual Storytelling session, I met Matthew Schechter from NYC & Co. Tourism Group. Matt recently moved back to the East Coast from San Diego where he managed sales for the San Diego Tourism Authority. I also chatted with Michael Fox, executive producer for The Beach, a video production company, on the value of creating thought leadership content.

Sierra Brown is an account executive for DCI, the leading experts in marketing places. Sierra previously worked with the Queens Economic Development Corporation and we talked shop about local tourism, and how to create compelling content for niche audiences.

At the close of the day, I had the pleasure of meeting the wizard behind the NYTF curtain Roni Weiss, and his publicist partner in crime Natasha Linton, thanking them for the thoughtful curation of the weekend activities. Roni and his team produce the New York Travel Festival which brings together tech-savvy, immersive travelers of all stripes: industry, consumers, and media.

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