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Where we’re at: I’m recapping my summer of 2018, including my blogaversary, which I celebrated in June. In other news: after the first week sold out so quickly, we opened up a second set of dates for my Wander Women Red Sea Retreat. I’m pinching myself that I get to spend so much of September in Sinai’s coolest beach town. And you can join me! Grab a spot while you still can.

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Seven years of blogging? If this blog were my hubby, I’d be starting to itch right about now. Recently, I time traveled a bit to celebrate my seventh travelversary by recapping twelve months of glorious travel. Today, I’m switching gears and celebrating my seventh year of storytelling. Let’s take a peek back at three hundred and sixty five days of blogging, shall we?

We’ll kick things off with our usual roundup of facts and figures, highlights some of year seven’s best content, and round out with some heartfelt reflections.

Seven Years of Blogging

Seven Years of Blogging

You guys might be sick of hearing this by now, but it’s true — blogging has been an incredible gift. Not only for the career it’s allowed me to build for myself, and the communities it’s opened the door for me to be a part of and to build, but also because I get to live every trip twice! Once when I’m on the road, and once when I’m reliving it here, with all of you. I’m humbled you’re along for the ride.

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

My Year in Blogging // By The Numbers

• Posts Written: 118. This averages out to just under ten posts a month. No wonder I’m so behind chronological time — I used to crank out double that on a pretty regular bases!

Seven Years of Blogging

• Comments Replied To: 3,589. Honestly, this number makes me sad — it was lower than the previous year, in which I wrote less posts! I know there’s an internet-wide trend towards less commenting on blogs (as more people read on mobile devices or comment socially instead), but I really miss the days when answering comments was what kicked off my morning routine with a warm, fuzzy glow. Sometimes it can be hard to find the motivation to write when it feels like there’s no one reading (even though I know they are.)

Seven Years of Blogging
Seven Years of Blogging

Seven Years of Blogging

• Group Press Trips: 1. My trip to Israel with Vibe. So worth it.

• Influencer Campaigns: 6. Rather than press trips, I’m really focusing my energy on paid travel campaigns instead, like my New Orleans trip designed with my closest blogging buds, my Space Coast campaign with the tourism board, the Sunshine State Scuba project I designed from scratch with my longterm partner PADI, my fun project with The Opry, the Indonesian resort that hired me to come create content, and the Savannah video I made for Travel and Leisure.

These days, generally, if I’m doing an unpaid press trip or project, it’s because (A) it’s something that I requested and was planning to do regardless — for example, my media pass and cabin to the It’s The Ship festival — or (B) that, plus something I hope to derive affiliate income and display ad income from — for example, my group tour of mainland Egypt with TravelTalk — a trip that will produce content that I think will perform really well. Keeping my own travel dreams alive is so important to me, and so fulfilling those has to be my first passion — and so I prioritize paid projects to leave time and energy to follow my heart off the clock, too.

Seven Years of Blogging

Seven Years of Blogging

• Brand Partnerships: 5. I also worked with brands like Travelade, The New York Lottery, Sunglasses Warehouse, VIPKID, and Encircled to create travel content that wasn’t destination dependent — something I want to continue developing, as it allows me more freedom to travel where, when, and how I want.

Seven Years of Blogging
Seven Years of Blogging

My Year in Blogging // By The Blog Posts

I can’t believe how much content actually lives on Alex in Wanderland right now. After poring hours and hours into each post, it’s easy to let them slip off the home page and off into the dark corners of my archives. Which is why I love writing this “senior superlatives” section of sorts, where I look back at my posts from one twelve month stretch of blogging and laugh, cringe, and get lost in nostalgia.

Most Commented

My Travelversary: Six Years of Travel •  My Travel Plans for 2018 • How One Professional Flyer Manages Flight Anxiety • My Next Adventure: To The Dead and Red Seas

Best Photos

Exploring Penang: Southeast Asia’s Melting Pot • Sunshine State Scuba Day Three: Devils Den and Blue GrottoThree Days Seeking Calm in Cairo’s Chic Maadi • Back to Basics on Indonesia’s Sugi Islands

Best Writing

Exploring the Unexpected Surf Culture of Cocoa Beach • Falling in Love with Singapore’s Lavender District • Exploring Oahu’s Vibrant and Modern DowntownA Newfoundland Baycation in Trinity • What Makes St. Pete SpecialBright, Sunny and Bold: Falling in Love With Brighton • A Sip of Aloha: Drinking Local at Maui’s Winery, Brewery, and Distilleries

Seven Years of Blogging

Musing-est

Goodbye Banyan Bar • Follow Your Stupid Travel Dreams: My Trip to Seven Magic Mountains • Five Hundred Thirty Seven Days LaterWhat Are Your Anchors? • In Love With the Aloha State: My Third Trip to Hawaii

Most Disastrous Travel Meltdowns Melted

Outdoorsy Rental Edition • Bed and Breakfast Meltdown EditionLost License Edition

Most Useful

Is Diving in Jamaica Worth It? • The Wanderland Guide to the Perfect Maui Camping Trip • Disney Aulani For Adults • A Florida Road Trip Diving Guide • The Wanderland Gift Guide for Travelers • What I Spent On Wonderfruit, Thailand’s Answer to Burning Man • How To Throw a Harry Potter Bachelorette in Orlando • New Orleans Nightlife: Getting Off Bourbon Street

Seven Years of Blogging

Seven Years of Blogging
Seven Years of Blogging

Greenest

Eight Ways to Live and Travel Plastic-Free • A Guide to Carbon Offsets for Travelers • What to Wear on Travel Days: My Encircled Obsession

Times I Laughed At My Own Jokes

A Comedy of Errors: Renting a Car in the Cotswolds • Tucker’s Tails: Los Angeles Edition

Seven Years of Blogging

Greatest Adventures Shared

Bringing my mom to BonnarooGetting cavern certified in Florida• Camping in a vintage VW in Maui • Unplugging at an overwater bungalow in Indonesia • Seeing the Egyptian pyramids • Staying at the Caribbean’s first overwater villas

Best Brand Collaborations

Three Ways to Feel the Music in Music City • The Gulp Coast for Non Beer DrinkersThe Universal Pool Hop Challenge • Sunshine and Smiles on The Space Coast • Fresh and Healthy New Orleans

Best Puns

Erupting with Fun: A First Look at Universal Orlando’s Volcano Bay •Her Maine Squeeze: A Wedding at Live Well Farm • Move To The Bleat: Goat Yoga in Martha’s Vineyard •  I Can’t Kuwait Any Longer: Thirty Six Hours in Kuwait

Seven Years of Blogging

My Year in Blogging // By Business

I’m awash with gratitude to report this was another great year for Alex in Wanderland. And I’m not kidding: I credit much of it to finally buying a desk and an office chair for my apartment in Thailand. Total. Game. Changer.

Seven Years of Blogging

In year seven, the majority of my income came from paid content collaborations with destinations and brands as outlined above. I also, after switching from a not-great ad network to the wonderful Mediavine at the very end of year six, started making bank on display ads (and put my face in my palm many, many times thinking of the tens of thousands of dollars I left on the table by not making the switch sooner.)

After taking the Making Sense of Affiliates course, (which I plan to review, eventually) I hired an assistant to expand my affiliate programs once again (and proceeded to bang my head against the wall many, many times thinking of all the money I left on the table by not doing so years ago — sensing a theme?). It was good timing that I started diversifying, as one of my most lucrative previous affiliates, Travel Blog Success, closed its doors halfway through the year — they were bought by and incorporated intoSuper Star Blogging, which I hope to recapture my income from when I eventually review that course as well. Travel Blog Success hugely catapulted me onto the right path with blogging, and I know that Super Star Blogging can do the same for new bloggers as well.

And then there were little things. I continued my Featured Blogger program, and in a few fun deviations from the norm, I sold photos to WestJet magazine, photos and eventually a story to Sport Diver magazine, and was paid to participate in a Twitter chat. Ain’t that fun. I also continued to Airbnb my apartment when I was traveling, since the super frugal and practical side of me couldn’t let me not. And I did a few projects that once again really rooted me in my Koh Tao community — I designed logos and menus for a few businesses, I took fresh photos for my friend Janine’s juice bar, and I created a free workshop to teach small businesses on the island how to work with influencers, something that was great public speaking practice for me and that I may eventually develop into a paid product. Again, every day is different for me, and it’s probably my favorite part of being an entrepreneur.

Seven Years of Blogging

Seven Years of Blogging

Seven Years of Blogging

But honestly, this was my year of entrepreneurial leaps of faith. Some flopped, some flung to success, and some are still finding their footing.

Let’s start with the financial, at least, flop. My collaboration with my dear friend Amy on a sustainable, island-inspired jewelry collection? It netted me less than I charge for a sponsored tweet. In fact, I think for what I spent on social promotions, I might not even have broken even. Womp womp. But honestly, I don’t consider it a failure. I tried something new, I had so much fun working alongside one of my best friends, I promoted ideas, concepts and products I believe deeply in, I supported a fellow female boss babe, and frankly, I had a lot of fun! The only real costs were my time, my guilt that I let Amy down, and the fact that it gave me some fear to move forward with the other projects I had planned for the year. (What a relief I didn’t let that anxiety stop me!) I’m not afraid to admit when something didn’t go as planned, and I took a lot of time to pause and reflect on the lessons learned from this project — lessons about marketing and launches, as well as what resonates with my audience.

Seven Years of Blogging

Seven Years of Blogging

My next big launch? Wander Women freakin’ Retreats! Oh, the sleepless nights I had before making that one official. I remember saying to one of my friends, okay, one failure is a charming anecdote to share in a future TEDx talk, two is just like, a no go for me. Luckily they managed to talk me off that ledge. How lucky I am to have found so many friends who also understand the highs, lows, and neuroses of self employment.

This idea was years in the making and I’m the kind of person that tends to hand-wring for far longer than necessary before jumping into something. Yet upon launch, I couldn’t believe the positive feedback I received and loved ending the year with two sold out retreats set up for year eight! Was I terrified? Absolutely. Was I electrified about an idea in a way I haven’t been in years and years? That too.

Seven Years of Blogging

Seven Years of Blogging

Finally, I made a dream of mine for years come true and I was just bursting with pride at the finished product: the launch of my Wanderland Guide to Koh Tao. This was a huge investment of time and money, and while I made some small stumbles along the way (not really understanding the production schedule correctly, not hiring an editor) I was so insanely thrilled with the finished product. It is so beautiful and such an expression of the love I have for this island I spent nine years on! And creating it helped me see the island in a new way. So, all that is the good news.

The bad news is I have not done the best job of marketing it — doing so is a huge goal of mine going forward. (I also didn’t get the chance to do a proper launch party, which I’d hoped to — perhaps a relaunch when I travel back to update and put out the next edition.)

Seven Years of Blogging

Seven Years of Blogging

Seven Years of Blogging

I really invested a lot in me in this year. I took courses, I tried working with a blogging coach, and I funded my retirement account for the second year in a row. I couldn’t seem to find the perfect assistant this year and while I hired some great people for some short term projects, I really struggled with building a long-term, reliable team. That’s a huge goal I’m going to focus on moving forward.

Seven Years of Blogging

Overall, I’ve always been great at being practical and generally frugal and saving money, which is key because I’ve never been so awesome at making it 😉 My confidence lies in strong storytelling, moving photography and heart-felt community building. Cutting business deals? Not so much. I’ve always felt a bit behind the curve with other bloggers of my “generation” in that way. Looking back, it’s kind of stomach turning how long it took me to get successful monetization systems in place — I can’t tell you how many business deals I probably blew because I was just too busy beach bumming or belaboring the perfect sentence. Some of that was just the punch-drunk immortality of youth, and the fact that living in insanely affordable Thailand and being a fairly practical person, I’ve always been able to access anything I ever needed and essentially everything I wanted, too — I didn’t have a lot of motivation to chase big paychecks when I felt rich in every way that mattered to me at the time. But I’m slowly learning to find balance and hopefully build a secure future for myself, wherever my heart leads me to live in the world.

It was exciting to be able to invest in two large expenditures this year: getting laser vision correction surgery, and enrolling in my 200HR yoga teacher training. The former vastly improved my quality of life by completely eliminating the chronic eye infections I’ve had my entire life, and the ladder was a big step for the evolution of me and my business.

Seven Years of Blogging

Seven Years of Blogging

Doing anything for seven years, you’re bound to start to feel stale at times. This was a super exciting year for me because I felt a jolt of creative energy that I haven’t felt in a long time. I struggle often with insecurity over the changing travel industry, but this year reminded me that I still have something valuable to offer to the world here in Wanderland, and that was a powerful thing. I can’t wait to keep expanding upon that, and finding ways to tighten up my business plan.

While the landscape of blogging is forever changing, I’ve been here long enough that I feel secure in the future — most days. And that’s a nice feeling. I may not have the big vision or professional business plans other bloggers seem so imbued with, but I’m scrappy and I have to believe in myself enough to know I’ll always pull it together.

Seven Years of Blogging

Seven Years of Blogging

My Year in Blogging // Goal Setting and Keeping

Looking back at my past goals is one of my favorite ways fo taking the pulse of how my priorities have evolved over the years and how I’ve slowly but surely made some of my dreams reality. I’ve mused before that this section is essentially my annual progress report!

I’ve said this before as well, but year seven really felt like a pivotal year for me, and kind of shifted me into the next evolution of my blogging career as I started launching my own products and maximizing the monetization of the content I already create here. Once again, I have to credit that progress to a little less travel and a little more time sleeping in my own bed in Thailand.

Seven Years of Blogging
Seven Years of Blogging

Seven Years of Blogging

Last Year’s Goals

Okay so since I kinda dropped the ball on setting or checking in on goals last year, let’s go back a bit and review my goals from year five. Take a closer look at them in detail here.

• Goal: Reintroduce spontaneity into my travels. Now that I have stability back in my life, I’m cravings its counter-part, spontaneity.

Verdict: This is an interesting one. Spontaneity? No, not really. Even my big trips ended up being fairly tightly planned. I did land in Egypt having no idea what I’d be doing for the next ten days, which was a thrill, though I ended up signing on for a tour that left two days later. I am still craving a big, open-ended backpacking trip, and ended year seven with plans for a big one ahead in year eight.

What I did manage to bring in a big way in year seven? Whimsy. From festivals to mermaid camps to Seven Magic Mountains, I did a lot of things that were silly and not exactly with a purpose and not exactly easy to pull off, and I did them anyway, because I wanted to, and that was really empowering. Having the means and the confidence to do big things that might not make sense to most people? Maybe that is what being a grown up is, for me.

Seven Years of Blogging

• Goal: Email management. No seriously this time, because this is one of the biggest sources of stress in my life. I want to reach inbox zero.

Verdict: Big fat fail, again. Maybe year eight is my year….? (Insert face palm here.) The most frustrating part about seeing this show up in my goals year after year after year? I don’t even feel like I’m making any productive steps to make it happen. Ugh.

Seven Years of Blogging

• Goal: Continue focusing on eco-friendly travel and sharing my own journey towards sustainability.

Verdict: This is one that I’m really proud of. Could I do more? Yes. But from the chapters I put in my ebook to the elements I introduce to my retreats to the packing lists and blog posts and Instagram stories I do about sustainability, I feel this is not just a part of who I am but is now a part of my brand. I’m so proud when I’m approached by companies that want to work with me for this purpose, and I hope to continue to grow this moving forward.

Seven Years of Blogging

Seven Years of Blogging

• Goal: Be proactive instead of putting out fires. I’d like to spend less time this year frantically doing things I meant to do yesterday, and more time brainstorming big picture ideas; and I’d like to proactively pitch brands I want to work with rather than waiting to pick through those that come to me.

Verdict: I would give myself an “in progress” for this one. I still spend a lot of time putting out fires. But I actually feel like I’m making active progress towards achieving this goal on a regular basis with my outsourcing and shedding of small projects and well, small steps too should be celebrated.

Seven Years of Blogging

• Goal: Pitch and publish a personal essay somewhere I’ll be proud of.

Verdict: Sadly, I didn’t achieve this one, and it is still something I want to work towards. I think because doing so would force me to write in a fresh way about topics that maybe don’t fit on this blog — family, relationships — and that really excites me.

• Goal: Prioritize and be realistic about what can be accomplished in a day. Being self employed means there are always somewhere between a dozen and a hundred options for things to busy yourself with and I often pick the wrong option. I work hard and work often, but I don’t always work smart.

Verdict: This is still something I struggle with on a regular basis. And honestly, I feel a little hopeless about it. Any tips?

Seven Years of Blogging

Seven Years of Blogging
Seven Years of Blogging

• Goal: Nurture my hobbies and interests. Keep attending festivals, go on a diving liveaboard, read a book in Spanish, go to a yoga retreat and nail a forearm handstand. 

Verdict: I think I nailed this one. I went to festivals, I did a diving liveaboard, and I did my yoga teacher training! A yoga retreat and reading a book in Spanish are still on the docket 😉

Seven Years of Blogging

• Goal: Start donating regularly to charity again. After having a very rewarding year of giving when I started turning a profit off this blog, I fell out of the habit. Time to get back on the giving train.

Verdict: I’ve been really generous when things pop up, but I haven’t set up any regular structured donations — I’m grateful for this kick in the bum to do so.

• Goal: Be a grown up. I recently made adjustments to my accounting system that I hope will make my monthly monthly book-keeping and annual taxes a hell of a lot easier. Next steps? Form an LLC, get health insurance, and start a retirement plan.

Verdict: I did start the retirement plan and start paying quarterly taxes to an accountant who gets me and gained (and lost again) health insurance. I’m working on the rest. So, firmly in progress.

Seven Years of Blogging

• Goal: Get closer to real time in my blogging. In general I think this bothers me more than it bothers you, but this is the most “behind” I’ve ever been in blogging and it’s driving me nuts.

Verdict: Um, hard fail. Zoink.

• Goal: Double my earnings from affiliates and display ads. 

Verdict: Nailed it! I highly recommend Making Sense of Affiliates.

• Goal: Publish my ebook.

Verdict: Nailed it again. I rarely toot my own horn in this way, but I think it’s the most beautiful ebook out there. So proud!

Seven Years of Blogging

This Year’s Goals

So, we’ve got plenty still in progress. But onward and upward to some fresh ideas as well.

Goal: Tick off some bucket list trips. I often fall into the trap of filling my time with what’s convenient or what makes sense — wedding in Ireland? Oh, let’s tack on some time in Dublin, why not. And why not, indeed — it’s a cool city and it would be silly not to go. But sometimes between my work obligations and weddings and conferences and family time, I find my years fill up almost entirely with trips like that, rather than huge bucket-list ticking adventures, like finally making it to Easter Island or bringing my dream road trip around Jamaica to life. I want to make it a priority to clear my calendar for big, nonsensical and inconvenient adventures.

Goal: Expand my retreat business. I can’t describe what an electrifying energy I feel for this right now. I want to be running about four retreats a year, and possibly bring on another team member to assist.

Goal: Find a lawyer I trust and finally incorporate and trademark Alex in Wanderland. File it under, “stuff I should have done years ago.”

Seven Years of Blogging

Goal: Properly market my ebook to get it out into the world the way it deserves. I love this book so much and I think I really aced the production. Now, to tackle the marketing again.

Goal: Set up a consistent social media plan and style guide for my brand. Switching between various virtual assistants over the years has left my channels inconsistent and occasionally neglected. No more! I’m finally going to get systems in place that will swap seamlessly between new team members, if necessary. Which brings me to…

Goal: Develop a reliable, long-standing team for Alex in Wanderland. This is something I’ve really struggled with over the years, but I am aware that outsourcing is essentially the answer to so many of the business problems I circle back to year after year! Basically, from developers to virtual assistants to graphic designers, my dream is to throw some serious money back into my blog and see if that solve some of my concerns.

Seven Years of Blogging
Seven Years of Blogging

Reflections // Room to Grow

I am truly thankful for this annual opportunity to reflect on my entrepreneurship journey and see how far I’ve come. Gosh, I remember when I dreamed about having the things I have now, and it’s so important to remember that when picking apart some weakness or failure.

Seven Years of Blogging

And wow, do I love taking any opportunity to let gratitude wash over me, which writing these annual updates always inspires. Am I the perfect businesswoman? Then world’s top hustler? The savviest self employed person around? No, no, and no. But I’ve got you guys coming along on my journey, and I must have done something special to deserve that. Whether you’ve been following along for seven years or seven minutes, I appreciate you, and I’d love to get to know you better.

And thus, I’ll close this blog post the same way I have now for seven years in a row:

Thank you.

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73 Comments...
  • Ellie
    May 29 2019

    Your comment about the LACK of comments making you feel like no one’s reading sent me straight down here as soon as I finished your post. Over the past two years or so, I have solidly worked my way through your archives along with following any new posts you put up, so I am definitely reading! I rarely comment because I feel almost weird doing so, even though I have my own blog and know how much a lovely comment brightens up my day. Thank YOU for many years of wonderful writing, travel inspiration and incredible photos. May it long continue!

    • Alex
      May 29 2019

      Aw, you are so sweet Ellie. I’m so touched you’ve been working your way through the archives! I hope you’ve been finding some gems 😉 And never feel funny leaving a comment!

    • Jen
      June 18 2019

      Ditto! I’m so behind on catching up with your blog posts — which I ADORE! But I’ve been following along with the tidbits on Instagram (also adore your account). Over the past seven years (and yeah, I think I’ve been reading for that long), you’ve gained a loyal follower in me! Keep following your path as it is serving you well. You definitely stand out in the sea of women travel bloggers for me. Thank you for sharing your journey with us, even when it’s hard. You’ve inspired me, and so many, in more ways than I can count.

      P.S. I’ll try to comment more when I read! Although, you’ll probably see comments from me on a 2019 post about a 2018 trip in 2020. 😉

      • Alex
        June 20 2019

        Aw Jen, you’re the best. I love your comments, wherever and whenever they appear 🙂

  • Anita
    May 29 2019

    I love this post! I’m sure it’s satisfying for you to look back on the year but it’s also nice for a reader to connect with where you’re at. Many blogs these days are superficial and lack the personal touch/honesty that you’ve shown throughout your blog. THANK YOU for being you and for sharing your adventures. I hope year eight will be incredible!

    • Alex
      May 29 2019

      I’m touched, Anita. Thank you so much for these kind words. I put so much into this blog and I love that that shines through.

  • Urska
    May 29 2019

    So interesting to read about the busines behind the scenes! Love your writing Alex.

    • Alex
      May 29 2019

      I’m glad to hear you enjoyed this peek! I figure it’s always interesting to have a look behind the curtain of someone’s business!

  • Meghan
    May 29 2019

    Yep, just here to make a comment saying I read the entire post and I’ve been here for a long time! 🙂 Keep up the fantastic work.

    • Alex
      May 29 2019

      Aw, thank you so much Meghan. I can’t express how much I appreciate that.

  • Melissa
    May 29 2019

    Echoing the above! Love your blog, Alex. It is such a fun, honest, and beautiful spot on the internet. I really appreciate your writing, stories, and perspective, so thank you! Your blog is part of my regular reading material, and I am always excited to see a new post. So again, thanks!🙂

    • Alex
      May 29 2019

      Melissa, you made my night. Thank you so much for this little boost <3

  • Claire
    May 29 2019

    Longtime reader, still here reading, and always will be. You’re the best! No blog inspires me quite like yours does.

    • Alex
      May 29 2019

      Oh Claire, thank you for the huge smile you just gave me. It means the world.

  • Dawn
    May 29 2019

    Just commenting to get your numbers up 🙂 And to let you know that I do indeed read your posts even though I do not comment a lot. I am always excited when there is a new post to read!

    • Alex
      May 29 2019

      Thank you so so much Dawn. I LOVE hearing that <3

  • Sandra
    May 29 2019

    I love this blog and I am happy things are going well :). Try not to be too hard on yourself in regards to lack of email management. I remember taking a course for records management (I work in content management) and the instructor showed everyone how much unread emails he had, over 40,000! It was crazy but made me feel better about my own emails. There are methods and solutions for getting your email under control and you’ll find the one that works best for you (don’t be afraid to seek out consultants who do email management if you think you need outside help).

    I would love to attend one of your Wanderland retreats one day, I just need the funds and timing to align.

    Wishing you a spectacular year 8!

    • Alex
      May 29 2019

      Sandra that’s a great idea! Maybe I will indeed hire someone — I do love me some outsourcing.

  • Laura
    May 29 2019

    Me too! I came here to comment JUST to get your comments up. I read every post – maybe not immediately, but ever few weeks, and truly live vicariously through you. Wishing you the best for year 8!

    • Alex
      May 29 2019

      Thank you so much Laura, you guys all gave me a very big smile tonight. Thank you <3

  • Meg
    May 29 2019

    I really enjoy your blog, have been reading it for a number of years. You were the first that I know of to do a female travel/dive blog, the rest that have since popped up lack depth and are poorly written. Keep up the good work, it’s evident you put a lot of time and effort in your content.

    • Alex
      May 29 2019

      I truly do, Meg, all my heart and soul goes in!

  • Lurlene
    May 29 2019

    Hi Alex!
    I was saddened to hear that you had a decrease in commments. I also read your blog posts when I can.
    I lost my brother last year, so I’m finding strength in your inspirational posts and accomplishments during hard times. Keep up the good work! <3

    • Alex
      May 30 2019

      Oh Lurlene, I’m so sorry to hear that. Thank you, I’m touched that someone also going through something so intense is here with me (I know there are a lot of us, and it helps not to be alone.)

  • Sarah
    May 29 2019

    Hi Alex! Committed reader right here.
    Just wanted to let you know that I have literally read ALL of your posts for at least 2-3 years now! I read a few travel bloggers regularly, but you are definitely the one I identify the most with – whether it’s your travel style, your train of thought that you give us a glimpse of through your great writing, or your choice of destinations.
    I remember reading your “Banyan Forever” article and shedding a tear, because it reminded me so much of how I felt about some places I’ve felt at home across the world.
    Thank you for your commitment to this blog and for sharing your stories with us 🙂

    • Alex
      May 30 2019

      Oh, thank you so much Sarah — this put such a smile on my face. That Banyan post was one I was almost afraid to publish at the time, and people still tell me how much they connected with it. I’m glad I posted it!

  • Alex Barksby
    May 29 2019

    Hey Alex. Awesome to hear about your year as always.

    I think you’d be amazing at offering businesses a package of story telling videos about their business, helping them to tell their story, then getting that in front of their current and future customers via FB Ads.

    From there you run their social media ads (not posts) month after month.

    Big retainers and ongoing for these B2B advertising contracts and you’d for sure win them. Just think how much they spend on expensive adwords to a faceless marketing agency.

    I’m doing something similar (although not with video).

    I’d love to share more.

    Very best, Alex

    • Alex
      May 30 2019

      Hey Alex! Love the gusto, but I’m not sure video is my passion enough to dedicate the HUGE amount of time and energy it takes. Facebook advertising even less 😉 Sounds like an awesome gig for the right person.

      • Alex Barksby
        June 2 2019

        Hey thanks for the reply 🙂

        • Alex
          June 4 2019

          You’re so welcome! Any (and every!) time!

  • Julia Nix
    May 30 2019

    Don’t you worry gal. I read your posts. How I became drawn to Alex in Wanderland : It was many years back, by random internet search and from one random browse,I find myself coming back for more. 🙂 Besides, I like your layout. I am very annoyed at some bloggers who clog up their landing page with so many huge photos/banners of themselves, I have to scroll long way down to read their posts. It’s very bad editorial. It doesn’t win me, I’d say. With you, you don’t swamp us like that. And Tucker is the best, of course. Cheers to you. Cheers to Alex in Wanderland.

    • Alex
      May 30 2019

      I do like the old fashioned blog design where blog posts are right there, front and center 🙂 Thanks for being one of my most loyal readers, Julia!

  • Karlijn
    May 30 2019

    I’ve been following your blog for years and although I don’t comment very often: I read every single one of your posts. Your honesty, beautiful writing and photography and personal approach really make you stand out. I loved reading this post too. I admire the way you expanded your business and your retreats sound simply amazing!

    • Alex
      June 1 2019

      Thank you so much Karlijn <3 You highlighted everything I go for when I pour myself into this blog!

  • Anne
    May 30 2019

    I loved Easter island, I didn’t really have any expectations but it blew me away! I hope you get to go there soon!!

    • Alex
      June 1 2019

      Ah I love hearing that Anne! That plan was definitely a little derailed by my recent life circumstances, but I know I will make it happen someday.

  • Jane
    May 30 2019

    I came to comment too 🙂 and just to say keep up the good work, I think your blog stands head and shoulders above the rest, which is why you still have such a loyal following, after 7 years (even if we don’t always comment). And also to say the quality of posts you created in year 7 was really incredible, I really enjoyed delving into a couple! And yes, it’s definitely worth doing these blogaversaries to ensure the amazing content you pour so much dedication and love into, doesn’t gather dust in the archives.

    • Alex
      June 1 2019

      Thank you so much Jane, that means a lot! I’m so glad you found a few gems in this post 🙂 I love seeing old content get some love!

  • Paige
    May 30 2019

    Hey Alex! Long-time reader, not-frequent commenter over here ahaha. First girl, I loveee these recaps so much I did something similar on my blog! (https://paigebrunton.com/blog/business-anniversary-year-4).
    I see you’re struggling with the whole finding a good long-term VA ATM. I’m actually hiring on a new VA right now and have a ridiculous number of amazing applications, I’m struggling to pick between them all. If you want, I’m happy (with their permission) to pass along the details of some applicants to you! My type of blog attracts a whole lotta girls who want to work online, and therefore I get an insane number of VA applications and I only need one person. I’m legit happy to share them to help you get a perfect VA and them a job as a little thanks for your always fabulous blog content!
    Cheers!
    Paige

    • Alex
      June 1 2019

      Hey Paige! I loved reading over your post and seeing how much success you’ve found. I have actually recently started with an incredible VA who is the person I feel I’ve been looking for FOREVER! However if I ever have more work than she can handle, I will totally be reaching out to you!

      • Paige
        June 2 2019

        YAY, that’s such great news! Super happy for you that you found someone!

        • Alex
          June 4 2019

          Thanks girl! It really makes such a difference!

  • Liz
    May 30 2019

    My dear Alex,
    You are an inspiration. Watching you turn your dream into reality has been a joy-filled experience. I truly cannot wait to see what you dream up next!

    • Alex
      June 4 2019

      You’re truly the best, Liz <3 So grateful year eight involved traveling with YOU!

  • Mary B
    May 30 2019

    Still here, still reading every post, and will try to stay more on top of commenting 🙂 Happy Blogaversary!

    • Alex
      June 4 2019

      Aw, you’re so sweet Mary. Thank you for being a part of Alex in Wanderland for so long!

  • Dale
    May 30 2019

    I love reading your yearly recaps! I was so excited to see that you had doubled up on year six and year seven within a week of each other! These are so fun to read.

    Since you mentioned you are looking to hire a team, I was wondering if it would be okay for me to email you to talk further. I run two blogs myself (one in the travel niche and one in the blogging/business niche) and my main skills are in digital product marketing (especially ebooks!) and affiliate marketing.

    If you are interested at all let me know and I will shoot you an email! As always, can’t wait to keep reading about your adventures 🙂

    Dale

    • Alex
      June 4 2019

      Thanks Dale! I recently hired an AWESOME assistant, but I’m always willing to hear from someone who has something great to offer 🙂 Feel free to shoot me an email!

  • Emily
    May 30 2019

    Even when life forces me to take breaks from your blog, I always come back! You’ve been a major inspiration since I started reading years and years ago. In fact, I’m about to move to Asia! Hope one day to meet you in person – preferably on one of your retreats 😉

    • Alex
      June 4 2019

      That’s amazing Emily, where in Asia?! And yes, I’d love to have you on a retreat someday!

      • Emily
        June 9 2019

        Taiwan!!

        • Alex
          June 12 2019

          Incredible! Congratulations!

  • Tessa
    May 30 2019

    I read every. Single. Post. Just don’t comment all time but the readers are definitely there 🙂 ps. Cannot wait to meet you on Wander Women Egypt. I literally may start a list on my phone of ALL the random things I’ve wanted to ask you from reading this blog over the years. When I tell people about the trip, I’m like my friend has organized… well she isn’t my friend Cos she doesn’t know me, but I’ve spent over 5 years following her blog religiously… LOL now I sound like a stalker… anyway, I’m going to Egypt.

    • Alex
      June 4 2019

      Ha it’s funny, logically I know they are there as I can see the statistics in my analytics… but without conversation it doesn’t always resonate! And get started on that list 😉 I’m ready for my interrogation!

  • Kelly
    May 31 2019

    I always love these posts and getting a sneak peek behind the business! You’ve inspired me to travel to so many places and also, to recently start my own blog 6 months ago! I’ve followed along since the beginning and your site is one of the few I check almost every day. Thanks for sharing so much of your life with us. You’ve built a wonderful, strong business and have a lot to be proud of! (Also where can I apply to be part of the Wanderland team?! Ha – kidding but not really)

    • Alex
      June 4 2019

      Aw Kelly, you’re the best! I so appreciate having you as part of the Alex in Wanderland family all these years! Congrats on starting your own blog as well! I recently started with an incredible new assistant but when we are hiring again I will post about it I promise 🙂

  • Janice Stringer
    May 31 2019

    Hi Alex,
    I absolutely love these posts- maybe because I’m nosey. 🙂
    Or maybe because I learn so much through the process of your experiences. The ups and downs and ins and outs! I find it fascinating to watch you evolve in business I suppose. Onwards and upwards is all I say!

    • Alex
      June 4 2019

      Thank you so much Janice. I figure I wouldn’t be where I am today without all of you, so I’m happy to share a bit behind the scenes with those who are curious!

  • Sarah
    June 1 2019

    Longtime loyal reader — I love this blog! It’s pretty much the only one I consistently read and has helped me through many of life’s challenges. Thank you!

    • Alex
      June 4 2019

      That means so much to me, Sarah <3 Thank you for the little boost this morning.

  • becky hutner
    June 5 2019

    Alex, you know you can always count on me for a comment or five! And since you asked… although me giving YOU productivity advice is laughable, here are a few things that have helped me over the years. I’m sure you do all of them already.

    2 separate to-do lists. 1 critical with max 2-3 items, ideally 2. 1 everything else.

    Attack the most critical item first thing in the am! Before I check email. Don’t check email until I’ve finished or reached a milestone on that item.

    Control & minimise my digital life. Turn all notifications off. No email on my phone. Limit email checking to 3 times a day. Keep phone on silent & away from my work space. Schedule social media time – otherwise, platforms are signed out.

    5 minute journal in the morning to clear my head so I can get down to business!

    Work in 90 minute sessions with no distractions.

    Tackle the big stuff in the morning and lighter work in the afternoon when decision fatigue is setting in.

    Something overarching to help focus your life – identify your top 3 values & top 3 priorities/goals. And your north star. Everything you do should support these. Which means saying lots of “no’s” and savoring JOMO.

    A lot of these I’ve picked up from 2 great books: The 4-Hour Work Week & this guide to maximising creativity efficiently which I forget the name of but will grab for you! x

    • becky hutner
      June 5 2019

      Amending “productivity advice” to “advice for working smart.” You are obviously HIGHLY productive! (and I’m sure you work smart but anyway…)

    • Alex
      June 12 2019

      I MUST get better at tackling the most critical first. I always go for the small easy stuff first to “ease into the day” and then wham, the day is over and I’m still having a panic attack. Lots of great ideas here! I actually read the Four Hour Workweek years ago and still have it — maybe it’s time for a reread. Thank you so much Becky!

  • Sash
    June 5 2019

    You and your blog is a great inspiration for me because it shows what all can we achieve if we have the determination and the will power to reach our goals. Great post Alex.

    • Alex
      June 12 2019

      That’s very sweet Sash! Thank you!

  • Hussain
    June 6 2019

    Blogging for 7 years is really hard work. It requires time and ideas. Consistency is key.

    • Alex
      June 12 2019

      Truly! Thanks for reading along 🙂

  • Susannah
    June 10 2019

    Congratulations on 7 years, Alex! We are so glad to have you as one of our Mediavine publishers.
    — Susannah at Mediavine

    • Alex
      June 12 2019

      I so appreciate that Susannah! You guys are the best!

  • Rekha Devarapalli
    June 10 2019

    Alex,

    Just wanted to say that you and your blog are inspiring, especially the focus on sustainability while traveling, and I read it regularly though don’t comment enough 🙂

    Regards,
    Rekha

    • Alex
      June 12 2019

      Aw, I appreciate that Rekha. Thank you for reading Alex in Wanderland!

  • Leah W
    June 16 2019

    Hi Alex! Just like many of the others who commented, I’ve been reading along for years now even though I’m not a big commenter. 🙂 I love your posts, and I want to buy and use your Koh Tao e-book when I go to Thailand next year. Thanks for letting us be a part of your story for all these years, and I’m excited to see what comes next for you!

    • Alex
      June 20 2019

      Leah, this is so sweet! I really appreciate you coming along for the ride all these years <3 It means so much, and I can't wait for you to enjoy Thailand!

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