When I first received the invitation a couple of weeks ago from Coleen Tan (Senior Account Executive at Dunbar-Jones & Associates) to attend, my interest was of course sparked by the mere mention of such a high profile global media outlet as the BBC... little did I know that David G Allen would be such an inspiring and down-to-earth bloke based out of New York, and with so many fascinating stories to tell of his life travels and the amazing journey that has been his career.
I was also intrigued to learn the background of the relatively new BBC Travel website - a unique travel portal produced in Partnership with Lonely Planet. In fact if you don't already know (I didn't), BBC Worldwide now owns a mammoth 75% stake in Lonely Planet.
Although the site is in its relative infancy, BBC Travel (with Lonely Planet) is set to be a leader in the world of online travel - after hearing about the future plans of where this initiative is heading, readers are going to be in for an absolute treat. Perspectives from local experts, looking at the news, events and even potentially controversial happenings of the day, offering up information to would-be overseas travellers, the site will offer unique local insights not often found on other 'main-stream' news and media outlets.
This is going to be achieved through various online and social networking techniques - from traditional article publishing to blog-style perspectives and even simple questions and answers... for example, one recent discussion that David was telling us about, was the simple question - 'Is it safe to travel to Indonesia?'... apparently this an oft asked question, especially in light of recent seismic activity and the common western perception of terrorist threats against foreigners.
I could most likely write a short essay on what I've learned about David's background and his quite amazing rise to his current role as editor at BBC Travel, and even his favourite 'travel horror story' involving a 'texting while driving' motorist, a written-off motor vehicle, and the subsequent episode in a European police station - but not only do I fear getting parts of the story wrong, I suspect that one day David may even look at publishing an autobiography - I'm sure it could potentially be a best seller... (and we only caught a couple of hours and - I'm guessing - just a glimpse of David's uncanny ability to inspire others with his words and stories).
I will be following David and BBC Travel very closely in the future - I reckon this is going to be a travel match made in heaven, and without a doubt the only place for the latest unique insights into travel destinations.
It was also great to have met up with some of the top travel bloggers in Singapore - of course I have already had exposure to Eunice's and Zhiqiang's blogs (and I know Eunice personally). But it was my first opportunity to meet with Angela, David and Haf.
The venue for our drinks and dinner was SOUTHBRIDGE JAZZ@7ATENINE, Raffles Ave #01-10/12, Esplanade Mall. Very relaxing environment, great food and friendly service that ensured my glass was never empty (which can sometimes be a very dangerous thing for me) :)
Finally, a big thanks to the team at Dunbar-Jones & Associates - Coleen Tan, Jennifer Dunbar and Janice Loh. And it was also fantastic to dine and chat with Phu Truong from BBC's London office.
IMPORTANT LINKS IN THIS ARTICLE:
BBC Travel & Lonely Planet
The Select Bloggers:
Angela - http://blog.angelaleowgray.com
Eunice - http://travelerfolio.com
David - http://sojourneys.wordpress.com
Haf - http://thefrequentflyer.wordpress.com
Zhiqiang - http://www.passportchop.com
Pete - http://www.aussiepete.com
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