We started our blogging journey at the beginning of 2018. Yet it wasn’t before spring of the same year that we actually took it seriously. Blogging for us is a brand new and fascinating world unfolding right before our very eyes. However, this world holds neither success nor joy for those who choose to tread a lonely path. The essence and the beauty of blogging lie in that magic moment when you get to meet all those people you’ve never met before in your life but share with them the same passions, dreams, fears and doubts. That’s why we couldn’t wait to attend our first bloggers’ event at some point. It wasn’t long before we did. The Bloggers On Top 2018 Unconference held in Bansko couldn’t have come at a better time. 

This photo was taken during an informal session of the Unconference at Coworking Bansko. Unconference explained: Experiencing Bloggers On Top 2018 in Bansko
Attending an informal session at the Unconference.

The Bloggers on Top 2018 Unconference seemed the perfect event to initiate us into the blogging community for so many reasons. First of all, it took place in the mountain town of Bansko in Bulgaria. Getting from Greece to Bulgaria is easy and very affordable. Furthermore, the event’s reasonable registration fees made it possible for us to attend without a second thought. Last but not least, although we had absolutely no idea what an unconference was all about, it somehow felt less formal and we actually longed for a friendly and casual environment that would make us feel comfortable.

Read how to best get from Sofia to Bansko!

How an unconference works

Simply put, an unconference is in essence a conference which has neither predefined discussion topics nor formal presentations. There is no distinction between speakers and attendees. All participants have equal opportunities to speak and exchange opinions with the other participants.

At the beginning of the Bloggers On Top 2018 Unconference, we all wrote on a post-it note what it was we wanted to share with the group. It could either be a presentation of a topic we knew well or a problem we needed help to resolve. According to which topics interested more people, a schedule of informal sessions was determined and posted for everyone to see. Throughout the day, sessions with different themes took place simultaneously and we could choose which ones to attend. There were sessions about everything in the scope of successful blogging. From social media, sponsorships and blog monetization to SEO best practices and traffic growth.

This photo shows the last day of the Unconference sessions at CoWorking Bansko. Unconference explained: Experiencing Bloggers On Top 2018 in Bansko.
The final day of the Unconference sessions.

We learned many new things during the Unconference. To our surprise, we even helped others who were only just beginning their own blogging journey. That’s the magic of an unconference in comparison to a conventional, formal conference. Instead of passively listening to one speaker after another, an unconference encourages fruitful discussion among participants and allows for all voices to be heard. From the wise words of experienced bloggers to the terrors and insecurities all newbies face at some point.

The Bloggers On Top 2018 Unconference

The Bloggers On Top 2018 was an invaluable source of knowledge, encouragement and inspiration to carry on doing what we are most passionate about. Travelling and blogging. However, do you honestly think that it was all work and no play?

During the Unconference, we enjoyed immensely the time we spent in Bansko with fellow participants. We walked around the picturesque Bulgarian town and admired beautiful pieces of art at the Bansko International Art Gallery.

This photo was taken at International Art Gallery in Bansko. Unconference explained: Experiencing Bloggers On Top 2018 in Bansko.
The International Art gallery in Bansko.

At the Pirin National Park Visitor Centre we learned a lot about the amazing landscape surrounding Bansko, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

This photo shows the Pirin National Park Visitor Centre in Bansko. Unconference explained: Experiencing Bloggers On Top 2018 in Bansko.
The Pirin National Park Visitor Centre in Bansko.

We paid a visit to Coconut, Bulgaria’s best smoothie bar. We had amazing meals at restaurants and traditional mehanas and we tasted exquisite local wine at stylish bars. Before saying our goodbyes, we spent a relaxing afternoon sipping cocktails at a heated pool. The list of fun activities we enjoyed as a group is endless.

This photo shows Coconut Smoothie Bar in Bansko. Unconference explained: Experiencing Bloggers On Top 2018 in Bansko.
Freshly made smoothies at Coconut smoothie bar.

Coworking Bansko

The Bloggers On Top Unconference is organised by the amazing team at Coworking Bansko. The latter is a place for digital nomads and enterpreneurs to call home. Members of Coworking Bansko are actually part of a big and lively community who live and work together in the quaint little mountain town. People at Coworking Bansko organise a series of events throughout the year thus contributing to the increase of Bansko’s popularity as a year-long destination.

This photo shows the outside of the Coworking Bansko space. Unconference explained: Experiencing Bloggers On Top 2018 in Bansko.
Coworking Bansko HQ

Matthias, the soul of Coworking Bansko, did a fantastic job organising the Bloggers On Top 2018 Unconference. He made sure we all had a great time.  Be warned though. He is obsessed with not leaving his guests hungry. Brace yourselves for non-stop huge portions of food coming your way!

This photo was taken during dinner at one traditional mehana in Bansko Old Town. Unconference explained: Experiencing Bloggers On Top 2018 in Bansko.
We never felt hungry during the Unconference! Matthias made sure to make lunch and dinner arrangements at the best mehanas in Bansko.

Our final thoughts on Bloggers On Top 2018 Unconference

We are utterly happy that this Unconference was the first ever bloggers’ event we attended. Its casual and friendly ambience was exactly what we needed in order to feel comfortable and connect with others. Furthermore, during this event we met some super successful bloggers. However, not in a single instant did they make us feel “small” or less important. On the contrary, they were more than willing to help us and encourage us to keep on chasing our dreams.

What the Bloggers On Top 2018 Unconference helped us realise was something we already suspected. Once you cross the treshold into the blogging universe, your heart yearns for this kind of connection with people who can relate to your passion about whatever it is that makes your heart skip a beat. That would be travel, in our case. This is why we consider meeting all those kindred spirits the most valuable aspect of this whole experience. In 2.5 days, the Unconference made the impossible possible. It turned a bunch of perfect strangers into real and lifelong friends.

This photo shows the outside heated pool at Regnum Hotel Bansko. Unconference explained: Experiencing Bloggers On Top 2018 in Bansko
The end of the Unconference found us sipping cocktails at this heated pool. Can anyone think of a better way to say goodbye to Bansko and our new friends?

Read our full travel guide to Bansko!

4 Comments

  1. I love this concept of an unconference! You guys have really done a lot within less than a year and it’s so interesting to read about your journey through this experience!

    • Maria Spyrou Reply

      Thank you so much Aisha! Truth be told, we never expected this journey would take us so far, so fast and we are excited!

  2. I have never heard of an unconference before but I love the concept! Will be looking out for them now. Does this one take place every year? Also, great to hear about the local setup for digital nomads. We’re thinking seriously about options around Europe to work and live while we grow our blog. So this gives us another option 🙂

    • Maria Spyrou Reply

      Yes, unconferences are a fantastic way to connect and bond with fellow bloggers. This was the second year that the unconference in Bansko took place, so, yes, it’s an annual event. Bulgaria and specifically Bansko is a great option for digital nomads. It’s affordable, it has great natural landscapes and it’s very close to the Greek beaches 😉

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