Using Instagram as a Travel Guide: Introducing #outaboutnc Community

I've been a founding member of the #IGTRAVELThursday community since its beginning during the summer of 2013. Under the leadership of Katja Presnal of Skimbaco Lifestyle, and the success of her e-book, "Instagram as your Guide to the World - How, What and Who to Search and Follow on Instagram to Help You Travel the World", our hashtag is now one of the most influential hashtags in the travel industry today with close to 25,000 posts. One glance at that hashtag, and you can really discover the world. 

Tag your photos #outaboutnc when traveling in North Carolina
The crystal coast of North Carolina; Emerald Isle. Tag your photos #outaboutnc on social media to be featured. 

Even though I am a travel writer for Katja, and others, I spend a great deal of time in my home state of North Carolina. I'm married. I have two kids under 10 who are on a traditional school calendar and only have so much time off. I have responsibilities here in North Carolina. I just can't pick and up and go at a moment's notice and wander the world like many well-established travel writers do for a living, or to just feed their travel passion. 

When I was in Italy last fall with Katja, and was speaking as a member of her team about the #IGTRAVELThursday project during the TBDItaly conference in Rimini, I realized that my passion for North Carolina travel was more apparent than I realized. I loved talking to these bloggers attending the conference, and telling them about my state. Many knew nothing about North Carolina. Some didn't even know where it was in the U.S.   And no one had heard of the Biltmore Estate. What? 

January is always a good month to look at what you are doing and see where you are in your life.  I'm home a lot in N.C., and have lived here all my life. As a result of those things, I birthed an #IGTravelThursday mini baby, and named it #outaboutnc. There will be no link-ups just social media and continued posts about NC on this blog. I do own the domain name for future expansion. Drawing from a strong point in Katja's book, where she stated, "the people in one's hometown are the experts on what to see and do."  #Outaboutnc is not about me as a travel writer, but it's about bringing together people with a common interest: Travel in North Carolina.  Together, we can showcase the best of our state. I'm just leading the efforts, and it's an extension of my blog just in time for my 4th anniversary. 

Follow the #outaboutnc hashtag. Follow us on social media if you have an interest in North Carolina travel and hospitality. We are @outaboutnc on Facebook, Twitter,and Instagram. Already, people are tagging their photos as they explore North Carolina. Here are some examples of what is in the Instagram feed when you do a hashtag search. 

Great drinks at  Salem Street Pub in Apex, N.C.
Great drinks at Salem Street Pub by IG user @theOliveandtheSea

Belle in Cary, N.C. A farm to table lunch.
Lunch at Belle in Cary, N.C by @BeetandBaguette.

Carolina Theatre in Durham, N.C. An historic landmark
A Durham landmark by @RaleighWhatsUp

Sweets at pastry shop, LucetteGrace in Raleigh,N.C.
Sweet tooth craving fulfilled at LucetteGrace in Raleigh, N.C. by @CapCityChefs

Modern Art in Davidson, N.C.
Modern Art in  Davidson, N.C by @CarissaRogers  
sir Walter Raleigh guards the town.
Sir Walter Raleigh overlooks Raleigh by @keepingup_LLC

A coffee break with hot minis at  Sola Coffee Shop
Coffee Break at Sola in Raleigh by @Cristin.King

Exploring Breweries in North Carolina; Charlotte
Brewery sampling at Unknown Brewing Company by @Chrissie_Beth  

A different view of the Biltmore Estate
The back of Biltmore Estate by @EatWriteGo 

Kinston, N.C. restaurant owned by Vivian Howard, N.C.'s celebrity chef
A visit to Kinston, N.C by @CeCeMeg

Blue Ridge parkway in North Carolina
A blue ridge parkway kind of day by @MandiMcClure
It's so hard to choose photos here for this travel piece because there are so many great ones posted in the feed already. Go through the hashtag #outaboutnc and learn more about what N.C. has to offer its visitors. I'm also @Hinessightblog on Instagram and @leighPHines . Connect and engage with people. Learn about the best places from them, but most importantly, make social media social. 

And as always, join us for the #IGTRAVELThursday link-up. 

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