2019, 7 Months in: an Update

I’m on a 10-hour flight to Vancouver: bored.

No internet. Not really any interest in the films. No one to talk to.

Except you guys!

Hello. It’s me.

– Living the Afternoon Tea dream at the Royal Opera House

Up until February-ish I used to do these month updates, but they took SO much time. Too much. Think I banged on a bit. I’ve been told since I stopped that people liked them, but I’m not planning on bringing them back.

Y’see, I’ve spent the last few months kinda studying the ‘theory of blogging’. Basically trying to find out how my peers are getting 100s of thousands of views. People who started just a few years ago, absolutely nailing it when it comes to numbers. 

I think I’ve got to the bottom of it though…

I’ve travelled too much.

I’ve had a lovely few years of just traversing the globe and writing about it. NO keyword research. NO blogging best practice. No theory. NOT editing photos, sharing other content, actively getting links from other sites, or any of the other blogger best practices I’m told I shoulda been doing the last 8 years.

Instead I’ve been doing this, and this, and this

BUT, as blogging becomes so much more competitive. And there are about 50,987,456,145 travel bloggers out there, I thought I better buck my ideas up. 

So, armed with my new knowledge I understand posts like this one are going to be absolutely no use to any future reader. 

daisies in southsea

– Practising with my new M50 camera – ooo look at that blur

I need to focus on what people are searching Google for, to ‘answer their travel problems’ and they’re not searching for what I did in March 2017. They want to know the best things to do in Mumbai, and how to travel to Vietnam.

I do enjoy a blog post like this one though – like from the blogging golden days when we all just splurged our thoughts onto our keyboards. So maybe when I’m Wi-Fi less, like right now, I’ll let it all out.

A nice little check in, if you will.

I can’t stop thinking about…

A few weeks ago I read an interview with Bill Gates, discussing his new assessment of success. I liked it, and I’ve made his, mine, for this year.

This is what the billionaire he asks himself to decide whether he’s been successful or not… 

1. ‘Did I devote enough time to my family?’

Me? Well, no. But as much as possible. I have just booked a week in Samos, Greece, to see them out there. My brother told me the date, I booked it, and then he booked a different one. So, I won’t have seen enough of him when the year is out, but I will get to spend the week with my mum and dad.

I’ve also just been to London with mum, to the Royal Opera House, and have seen them both through the year, in Southsea. It’s never enough, but it’s as much as we can all do.

No guilt there. 

2. ‘Did I learn enough new things?’

I guess the main thing for me so far in 2019 is my podcast. Have you checked out So She Travels yet? Season 1 is over and I didn’t quite register I’d have to pay the hosting fees every month – more expensive than my blog to keep that running – but I’m proud of it. 

And then there’s all this blogging ‘theory’ that’s in danger of crushing my creativity. Still working on running the two side by side, but it is kinda fascinating. 

I’ve also just bought a new camera, for this Canada trip. So my new passion is learning about that. I’ve gone for the Canon M50. I haven’t quite ditched my Olympus PEN EPL-8 yet, just to check that this one is going to be ok. I’ve watched a few tutorials, and downloaded some too, so that’s my new project this year: master the Canon M50. 

– Golden Hour on Milton Common, near my house, with the M50

Also, running. Last week I downloaded the famous Couch to 5K app, and I’ve so far done one run, in a week. So it’s probably time to go back to the start again. Packed my runners for Canada though!

I absolutely do not have time to learn anything else. Tick. 

3. ‘Did I develop new friendships and deepen old ones?’

My instinct was no, as when I’m not travelling I basically just hang around with my boyfriend and housemate (the one and only Emily Luxton). Still haven’t made many friends in Southsea yet – oops. But then, I remembered the excellent travel bloggers I’ve met on trips this year.

Special shout outs to Steph, Lisa and Janet. And alllll the many others I’ve met this year too. Thanks to the conferences, and press trips I’ve been on, I’ve also enjoyed spending time with old friends too.

– Me and Steph, doing something in Samoa… 

And then IRL (my non blogger mates), I’ve reconnected with quite a few friends this year. There are still more that I miss, but there’s literally just not enough hours in the day to keep up with everyone. Especially as they all seem to be busy procreating. 

I’m going to tick this one, which means 3/3. A good year so far according to the big man Bill Gates!

Countries visited this year

1. India – absolute shambles. You’ll have got the highlights if you followed along on Instagram. Otherwise, here’s the festival.

2. Nepal – this was an incredible week. I loved Nepal and had an amazing time. Still need to write a lot more about it actually, to try and do it justice. 

3. Spain – just popped into Barcelona to see my bro and sister in law, and my doggy niece and nephew.

4. Germany – went for a conference in Hamburg, and then back again to the German Riviera.

5. Italy (twice) – Ben and I had a wonderful week around Lake Maggiore, and then I went for a very boozey conference in Trento. New level of love for Italy: reached.

6. Australia – I went to Sydney for three days on the way to Samoa, and god, I absolutely fell i love. What an incredible city! Totally had all these visions of me moving there – then I got back to reality,

7. Samoa – Samoa was awesome, and one of the best press trips I’ve ever been on. Such a beautiful island, with an excellent group of ladies to explore with. I just loved it. One of my favourite trips of all time. 

8ish. Glastonbury – yep, this counts as a country. In fact, a whole other world. I had an awesome time at Glastonbury. There’s just something about the vibe here that makes it so memorable. Not surprised it’s the hottest ticket in England!

How’s my blog going?

Despite me moaning about this blogging theory, I’m actually super pumped about it at the moment. I’m learning so much, and having a lot of ‘ohhh I seeeeee’, moments. I’m also quite happy I didn’t know all this in the past – twists your melon and sucks your time!

Travel blogging is NOT an easy job. If ever you see those get rich quick things on social media, ignore them. Absolute pyramid schemes. There are a lot of charlatans in travel blogging, giving the industry a bad name. 

For genuine travel bloggers SO much goes into each blog post if you want people to see it, and Google to rank it. It’s insane. 

My blog is actually on track for the second best month ever in terms of view count – I can’t imagine ever beating July 2015, the month the President of Estonia shared my post on reasons to visit Tallinn on his Facebook page. Actually causing my blog to crash, and my stats to be squif for evermore. But, things are on the up. 

president of estonia

After pouring your heart, soul and time into a blog post, it’s disheartening when it doesn’t get read by many people so all this strategy is important to get it shown in Google. 

Living in Southsea

I feel like I have a really good balance at the moment. I’m enjoying working on my blog, I love the quiet and the sun of Southsea and I’m getting to see friends in London quite a bit. Me and Ben are having a lovely time living together, I love my house (just had it valued and my work has paid off!) and all is good.

vickyflipflop and ben in southsea

I’ve learnt to chill, and not feel like I have to work all the time. I’ve managed to watch a lot of films, and a good few Netflix series too – how good was Stranger Things 3 by the way?!

Also, really enjoying spending weekends exploring the south coast. Although, no one ever needs to go to Bognor Regis. 

Oh I was on BBC Radio 5 Live the other day, talking about travelling after breakups. I realised it was the day after it was 5 years since I did it. Genuinely, best thing you can possibly do (if you want to). Travel is the only thing you can buy that makes you richer – I hate that saying, but I also totally agree with it. 

Upcoming travels

Well, obviously I’m on my way to Canada right now. The purpose of my visit is to go to the Dawson City Music Festival, up in the Yukon. It’s a long way to get there, but will be totally worth it. The Yukon sounds amazing.

So I have ten days here: in Whitehorse, Dawson City and Vancouver.

I’m spending all of August in the UK. Ben and I are going on a campervan holiday to Wales, which I’m really looking forward to. Always wanted to go on one of those. And then I’m going to Victorious Festival, and a 90s festival too. 

Me in Samos

In September, Samos, Greece. Can’t wait to lie in the sun and turn on the tan. This is going to be a proper chill out for me, with mum and dad. I went last year, same time of year, and loved it. 

And October: Aruba! Ever since I saw pictures of white sands, blue waters and flamingos I’ve wanted to go. Me and Rhian will be sunning it up and exploring the island via car. Well excited.

And then, I really want to go to Jordan. My friend lives there and I need to go and see her before she moves back to England. Depends how the money goes really, but maybe late October? We’ll see.

Also, me and Ben are after an adventure somewhere. Hong Kong is top of the list right now.

That’s probably enough to see me up till Christmas, right? 

Life balance

– Went to see Celine Dion, AMAZING. Also, look at our tshirts…

So, yeah, this has been a good exercise in writing this as I realise I’ve managed to get that elusive balance in managing work, travel, a home life, a relationship and family. Something I’ve been wanting to do for years.

Everything is pretty sweet right now, so let’s not rock the boat.

Right, Canada awaits! 

More on my life stuff 

Why I Love Living in Southsea

How Travel Blogging Has Changed in 8 Years

The VickyFlipFlop Story!

52 Coolest Things to Do in Nha Trang
How to Plan for a Solo Gap Year Trip

8 Comments

  1. by Angie Silver on July 17, 2019  6:14 pm Reply

    I personally love posts like this, I hope there's always a place for them in blogging!

    • by VickyFlipFlop on July 19, 2019  4:48 am Reply

      Thanks Angie – me too! Everything I've read said these are a bit pointless, but these are the kinda posts I read. We know best :).

  2. by Jayne on July 18, 2019  7:58 am Reply

    I just want to second what Angie wrote but also feel bad I haven't had a chance to catch up with you and hear all this IRL. Schedule me in for your return :p

    • by VickyFlipFlop on July 19, 2019  4:51 am Reply

      Oh you've been living the dream in NYC ducky, I wouldn't worry! YES, we need to hang out in August. I'll get my people to call yours when I'm back :).

  3. by Jen on July 18, 2019  10:43 am Reply

    Yay to personal posts...they're probably the only ones I actually read from start to finish :/ Should I admit that?

    I agree Bognor Regis is a spot to be left alone too! hahaha!

    Hurrah to the balance... I think mine just tipped from too much work to too much home time so need to try balance that out better now.

    Onwards! xx

    • by VickyFlipFlop on July 19, 2019  4:52 am Reply

      Saaaaame. I love a juicy personal post. I like people to tell me their deepest, darkest secrets, or at least a little insight into their actual life – not their travels, or the ten things they did in Vegas. VERY disappointed by Bognor TBH. The scales are always a bit wobbly – you'll get there! x

  4. by Poppy Marello on July 19, 2019  10:36 am Reply

    Another vote for personal posts - it's nice to be able to put a person to a blog, properly!

    Poppy x

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