Travel Tech Takeaways from SXSWi



by DIWYY · 6 comments

Jerri with the xtranormals in AustinThis last weekend I had the chance to go to SXSW Interactive in Austin.  Having worked in web marketing and in our efforts in building the DIWYY website, I’ve heard a lot about this geeky event and wanted to go, but never really thought that it would have any good info pertaining to travel.  Boy was I wrong! I learned so much from attending panels, discussions and the “Day of the Nomad” and wanted to pass along some of the things I learned.

You Don’t Have To Be A Travel Writer to Make Money and Travel

Of the many people I met at southby, many of them were from all around the country and a lot were from somewhere other than the States. I saw quite a few Australians and Brits. OK. So what’s my point? Most of these people are in the tech or design industry. They often travel for conferences and business meetings.  So why do so many travel websites focus on travel writing as a means to travel? It’s not the only way. In fact, I would say that you could probably travel more comfortably as a tech geek than a travel writer.


For example, check out Phil Campbell, a Brit, who I spoke to briefly on the Day of the Nomad.  He’s undeniably a tech geek, but a very cool geek. Check out his current projects, but mostly check out his Digital Nomad Jacket (not quite women’s fashion ready yet, but definitely very nomad friendly). He’s got a QR code on his jacket that leads to a copy of his passport! How geeky, cool and convenient is that?

Learn a New Trade and Oh The Places You’ll Go

Another interesting guy I met, Mark J. Walsh, Jr., had just come back from six months in Antarctica only to make it just in time to New Zealand for the earthquake on his first day back.  How does one manage to spend six months in the arctic you ask? Yes, I certainly did. Mark said he trained to become a professional weather observer just so he could realize his dream of going to Antarctica. Such a fascinating story and great guy. On top of that, Mark makes these super cool, lightweight but durable wallets specifically for travelers. Fashioned out of the sail material used on sailboats, Mark designs and sews, yes sews, the wallets himself. And he did this while he was in Antarctica.  Yes, in case you’re wondering, Mark’s carry-on to the arctic was a sewing machine. Check out his beautiful wallets and get one for yourself on his website, BareFoot Wallets.

Become a one woman (or man) Samantha Brown (or Rick Steves) by hosting your own tours

At the trade show portion of SXSWi I ran upon a booth called iTourU. They created an app that “lets you discover, experience, publish and share pocket tours about anything. Guide friends through foreign cities, pass on your local knowledge and curate the experiences of others.” Seriously, how much fun does this sound? I can’t wait to use this app and I really can’t wait to see what you do too! Please share with us your tours!

Geeks Travel Too ( I would now happily, classify myself as a Geek)!

The Day of the Nomad, the great idea of Chris and Cherie from Technomadia, was a huge success. So many location independents, nomad wannabes and tech nomads were in attendance to the session Technomadism – Becoming a Technology Enabled Nomad hosted by Cherie & Chris and How to Make Money While Traveling Around the World discussion hosted by Jason BoehleTynan. I had the chance to finally meet Matt of Nomadicmatt.com fame, Gary of Everything Everywhere, the lovely Anis from Tripping and Carmen from NuNomad. Hopefully, they do it again next year. I will definitely be there!

Austin is Amazing!

I already knew this, but it doesn’t hurt to be reminded-Austin is an amazing city. If you’ve never been, go! If you’ve been before, go again. Hopefully we’ll see you at SXSW 2012!

This post was written by DIWYY co-founder, Jerri Stephenson, a traveler and a geek.


Andi of My Beautiful Adventures 1

Wow, sounds like it was such an awesome experience!

Arie Rich 2

I missed bumping into you in Austin. Maybe next year! Austin, SXSW was tons of fun! I miss it already! 🙂

Anis Salvesen 3

I love the takeaways! It’s true that we normally don’t think of uber techie people as being really into traveling, but I too met a fair number of geeks from other countries. For example, I met a fascinating young woman from Australia who was both a programmer and a fashionista – and a couple of really nice guys from Denmark (one a serial entrepreneur and the other the head of online at a media company).

I totally agree that Austin is an amazing city, and I look forward to seeing you there again in 2012!

P.S. Love the photo!

Jerri 4

I know! It was so overwhelming but so much fun! We definitely should meetup next year!

Jerri 5

The people at SXSW were pretty interesting! I love the mix!

Can’t wait to see you again next year!

Jerri 6

You should come next year Andi! You’d love it!

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