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Where we’re at: As I started to write my seventh travelversary and blogaversary posts, I realized that while I paid tribute to my sixth travelversary, I never celebrated the blogging milestone! (The contents of this post may somewhat explain why.) I didn’t want to have a gap in my annual recaps, so I’m making it up with an abbreviated version here. Look out for year seven coming at ya next week. 

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My sixth year of blogging was a pivotal one. Looking back from the future, it seems that I may have crashed and burned a tad after hitting the half decade mark of self employment. And how did that manifest for me? The way it would for any lifetime wanderluster —  an intense spree of personal travel and some general shirking of responsibilities. Do anything for six years, and I think you need to put conscious effort into staying present and engaged in it.

Six Years of Travel Blogging
Six Years of Travel Blogging

Six Years of Travel Blogging

Six Years of Travel Blogging

It was an intense year for me personally — from blogging burnout to election and personal heartbreak — and I just kind of needed to go into hibernation to get through it. But I think when I emerged from that towards the end of the year, it was in a way that really set me up for a ton of creative breakthroughs in year seven. And despite all that was going on the scenes, I’m actually quite proud of the content that I managed to create in year six (I think it was some of my best ever!)

You can read about my first, second, third, fourth and fifth years of blogging to catch up on my journey so far.

Six Years of Travel Blogging

Six Years of Travel Blogging

Six Years of Travel Blogging

My Year in Blogging // By The Numbers

• Posts Written: 104. This was my lowest number of posts written in a year ever, and I think kind of reflects how burned out and run ragged I was. Hawaii in particular seemed to break something in me — I kind of broke my obsessive, years long stretch of regular posting for the first time ever while we were there, and it was hard to get that back once I realized the world didn’t fall apart as a result.

• Comments Replied To: 4,565.

Six Years of Travel Blogging

Six Years of Travel Blogging

Six Years of Travel Blogging

• Group Press Trips: 2, kind of, to Universal Studios — though they were both part of a year-long, paid ambassadorship with the brand that also involved an individual trip, so I’m not sure they’d really fall under what this category once meant for me.

I also went on what could be considered two “individual” press trips: one to Jamaica with Sandals, and one to Bali with the Institute of Code.

Six Years of Travel Blogging

• Influencer Campaigns: 6. I worked on paid content creation campaigns with Travel Manitoba on a trip to Winnipeg and Churchill, Universal Orlando Resort on a trip to Orlando, Thompson Airlines on a trip to New York, Visit Florida on a trip to St. Pete, Viator on tours in California, and PADI on multiple dive destinations I visited.

• Brand Partnerships: 7. This was an incredible year for me on this front — I partnered with brands like Dramamine Non-Drowsy Naturals, Lycored, Carnival, Avis, New York Lottery, Square Cash, and Skillshare on projects that were travel related, but didn’t necessarily require me to get on a plane.

Six Years of Travel Blogging
Six Years of Travel Blogging

Six Years of Travel Blogging

My Year in Blogging // By The Blog Posts

I look back at my sixth year of content and I’m proud of so much of it! I tried to write more useful informative posts while still keeping my voice, and I wrote a staggering amount of Thailand content, which really planted the seed for a future Koh Tao ebook in a big way.

Most Commented

Blogaversary Five: How I Make and Spend Money Blogging •  My Thirteen Favorite US Travel Destinations • New Year, New Passport Stamps: My Travel Plans for 2017 • Why I Didn’t Get Lasik • Why I Don’t Delete Mean Blog Comments • Surprise! I’m In The United Kingdom • Kicking the Can: How I Broke My Addiction to Diet Coke

Best Photos

Glamping Among The Elephants: A Journey to Khao Sok • Street Art, Sunset and Sugarloaf: The Perfect Last Day in Rio de Janeiro • Seeking Thailand’s Deep South in Satun •  Angkor Wat Photography Tips • The Beauty of Two Million Bats: Touring Pak Chong

Six Years of Travel Blogging
Six Years of Travel Blogging

Six Years of Travel Blogging

Six Years of Travel Blogging
Six Years of Travel Blogging

Best Writing

Eight Secrets of Brazilian Beach Culture • Belugas, Bears and Blooms: Summer in Churchill • Serene in Siem Reap: Dreaming of Navutu Dreams • A Warm Bem Vindo to Brazil: Exploring São Paulo’s Vila Mariana • Why Winnipeg? Taking the Pulse of Canada’s Heartbeat • Under Jericoacoara’s Spell: A Brazilian Backpacker Paradise

Musing-est

Blogaversary Five: Goal Setting and Keeping • Surprises From Six Weeks in Brazil

Most Disastrous Travel Meltdowns Melted

When Horseback Riding Goes Wrong • Summer in San Francisco •  When It Rains, It Pours in Paraty

Six Years of Travel Blogging

Six Years of Travel Blogging

Six Years of Travel Blogging

Most Useful

The Complete Guide to Visiting Koh Yai National Park Independently • Is Koh Tao Safe for Travelers? • Martha’s Vineyard On a Budget — Yes, It’s Possible! • How to Create a DIY Health Retreat in Thailand • Two Tanks Are Better Than One: My Review of the PADI Sidemount Course • What’s Keeping You Out of the Ocean? Debunking Diving Myths • How Much Does Tomorrowland Brasil Cost? • Inside My Bag: What To Pack For Two Weeks in the United Kingdom • Taking Care of My 3.57lb Best Friend: Tips for Traveling with Your Laptop • White Rice and Wild Adventures: Five Tips for Picky Eating Travelers

Greenest

Why Your National Parks Need You Now

Most LOLs

Howl’oween Is For The Dogs • And Now Onto Chopping: A Koh Tao Cooking Class for the Domestically Challenged

Six Years of Blogging

Six Years of Blogging

Six Years of Blogging

Greatest Adventures Shared

Planning a winery tour of Thailand • Spending the night in a floating tent in Khao Sok • Touring a favela in Brazil • Helicopter Riding over Los Angeles with my dad for Father’s Day • Partying at Wonderfuit • Befriending Beluga Whales in Manitoba • Staying in a treehouse in Bangkok • Hang gliding in Rio •  Spending Day of the Dead in the City of AngelsSurviving Tomorrowland Brasil

Best Brand Collaborations

Beating The Post-Travel Blues with Skillshare • Get On Board: My Cruising Bucket List • Two Flights for Two: A Review of the Square Cash App • Car Rentals for Introverts: A Review of the Avis Now App • The Wanderland Essential Holiday Travel Apps • Florida Fanatic: My Summer Plans for the Sunshine State

Six Years of Travel Blogging
Six Years of Travel Blogging

Six Years of Travel Blogging

Six Years of Travel Blogging

My Year in Blogging // By Business

Guys, this was a crazy year behind the scenes at Wanderland HQ! It was really a year of the good, the bad, and the ugly. The really good? I earned enough (and got my shit together enough) to set up a retirement account for the first time. Pow! I was approached by an incredibly regular basis by top travel brands to work together, which made me feel like dang, I am doing this.

In addition to the branded content and travel campaigns outlined above, I continued to generate revenue from my affiliate programs, from display ads, and from my Featured Blogger program. Fun little projects that kept things fresh included a destination sponsored paid Twitter chat, experimenting with some travel consulting on a start up (since folded) called Plansify, and renting out my place on Airbnb when I was traveling (I had fun being a host!)

Six Years of Travel Blogging
Six Years of Travel Blogging

Six Years of Travel Blogging

Six Years of Blogging

Finally, it was my last year of doing any link sales, which really shows how the tables have turned after that was the way I earned my very first dollar blogging. (If you want to know what those are, read this post.)

For the bad, kinda — my management company and I parted mutually towards the end of the year as they decided to move in a different direction than blogger representation. I am so grateful for the time we worked together and am open to doing so again in the future, but agreed it was time to part ways when we did. Also, sadly, my partner of many many years, Viator, ended their blog ambassador program at the very beginning of the year, which was a sad goodbye.

Six Years of Travel Blogging

Six Years of Blogging

Six Years of Blogging

And the ugly. Gosh, some weird stuff happened this year. I had some true business disasters on a level I hadn’t experienced before. Some were surprising but easy to recover from — creating content for a project via an agency I was eager to work with and then having the sponsor pull out, for example.

Others were messier, like signing on for a big budget travel campaign only to have the contract negotiations between my management and the brand’s management go incredibly awry (turns out, I wasn’t the first blogger they’d bamboozled) and getting issued a significant kill fee for a project for the first time in my life.

Six Years of Blogging

Six Years of Blogging

 

Others were even more stomach turning, like sponsored trips that had elements I wasn’t comfortable with, and having to negotiate that internal conflict in a serious way for the first time in my blogging career. The anxieties of entrepreneurship, I guess I spent this year learning, go beyond late payments and long hours — the bigger your business grows, the more complicated the struggles become.

Six Years of Travel Blogging
Six Years of Travel Blogging

Six Years of Travel Blogging

Six Years of Travel Blogging
Six Years of Travel Blogging

Reflections // Room to Grow

I feel like this post has dwelled somewhat on it being a challenging year, and well, it was, in a lot of ways. I had a moment in this sixth year of travel blogging where I was about to board a flight and I actually felt like I was having a mental breakdown, and considered missing the flight on purpose and checking into an airport hotel to stare at the ceiling for a night because I was so exhausted by everything that was ahead.

Six Years of Blogging

But it was also, of course, a beautiful year, in so many ways. This post is about my blogging journey, but that springs first from my travels, and I went on some incredible, inspiring trips this year. I still smile when I look back and think about so, so many of my travels in year six — and the content that they generated!

Six Years of Travel Blogging

Six Years of Blogging

Six Years of Blogging

As I mentioned previously, I think this year helped me realize that I needed to stretch myself creatively, and really helped plant the seed for the ebook and retreats I would develop in year seven. I did two super popular and successful reader meetups which was a lightbulb moment for me in absorbing how much I enjoy actually meeting y’all face to face. And after burning out on travel, I spent a ton of time at home in Thailand, writing about Koh Tao on a deeper level and feeling how rewarding it was to help readers plan more comprehensive trips there.

Six Years of Blogging

Six Years of Blogging

I know that I’m writing this post in retrospect with the hindsight of knowing that everything worked out okay, but I look back and I am so stinking grateful — just absolutely humbled by thankfulness that you all have given me the time and the space to grow and change this platform over the years.

Feeling stuck, behind the pack, burned out or unsure where you’re headed? Hang tight. The next rebirth might be right around the corner.

Six Years of Travel Blogging

And so I will close with my traditional post wrap up, six years running, because really, it sums it all up:

Thank you.

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14 Comments...
  • Ramona Puckett
    May 27 2019

    Aww, thank you! I really love reading about your adventures! XX

    • Alex
      May 29 2019

      Thank you so much Ramona. I always appreciate seeing your name pop up in my inbox from your comments xo

  • Six years is awesome, hope you hang around for many more years

    • Alex
      May 29 2019

      Me too 🙂 Looking forward to seeing where the big ten finds me…

  • Caroline Peters
    May 28 2019

    Another great round up, and thank you for all the amazing posts! Always interesting to read a little more about what goes on behind the scenes!

    • Alex
      May 29 2019

      Thanks Caroline! I mostly never blog about blogging, so I always enjoy the opportunity to share a bit of this side of things with you all!

  • LC
    May 28 2019

    Congratulations on MANY years of blogging!

    • Alex
      May 29 2019

      Feeling like a dinosaur around here 😉 Thanks LC

  • Faisal
    May 29 2019

    What an amazing time – Mostly wish for such opportunities – Best of luck for the future!

    • Alex
      May 29 2019

      Indeed, I am so grateful. Thank you!

  • Sue Brown
    June 10 2019

    Thanks Dear!
    Another great round up, and thank you for all the amazing posts! Always interesting to read a little more about what goes on behind the scenes!

    • Alex
      June 12 2019

      I love sharing! Thanks for reading!

  • Marni
    September 4 2019

    No matter what you do in life there’s always burn out, and traveling full-time isn’t as easy or glamorous as Instagram can make it seem. It’s for those reasons that I always especially appreciate the honesty with which you share your journey with us. I absolutely love reading about your adventures, and I’ll continue to tune in, no matter what!

    • Alex
      September 5 2019

      You’re so kind Marni, I always love reading your comments and so appreciate you being along for this journey all these years!

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