May 2018 Travel and Blogging Recap

Architecture in New Orleans
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Summertime is swiftly approaching, and that means summer travel! I have quite a few fun things planned this summer, and the adventures started in May with visits to some very cool North American cities. (A lot of people feel like “travel” has to be to far-away places, but this is definitely not a requirement – I learn and see so much even just traveling in Canada and the US!)

Here's what my May looked like:

May: The month in travel

Yaaaay, I finally got to leave Ohio this month! My trips were short ones (as much of my travels seem to be these days), but I was able to see and do (and eat) a lot.

  • Countries visited: 2 – Canada and USA
  • Cities visited: 3 – Quebec City, New Orleans, Memphis
  • Flights taken: 9 (y'all, living somewhere with few direct flights anywhere else SUCKS)

The best thing I ate: I spent a few days in New Orleans this month and ate ALL THE THINGS. Favorites included the BBQ shrimp and burrata toast at Willa Jean, crawfish etouffee at the Original Pierre Maspero's, sweet potato beignets at SoBou, and chargrilled oysters at Felix's.

BBQ shrimp and burrata toast at Willa Jean

I'm drooling again over this BBQ shrimp toast!

The most epic thing I did: I had some family visit from Australia in May, and my family took them all to Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio. Cedar Point is consistently voted the best amusement park in the world with its 18 roller coasters and tons of other rides, and it's constantly out-doing itself. We spent the whole day riding coasters, which is always epic.

May travel highlights

Going to WITS in Quebec City – My first trip out of Ohio in May was to Quebec City in Canada to go to the Women in Travel Summit. This is always an inspiring and fun conference to attend, and the fact that it was in a city as cool as Quebec was an added bonus. It was chilly in early May, but I enjoyed exploring the city and staying at the iconic Fairmont Château Frontenac.

Fairmont Le Château Frontenac

The Fairmont Fairmont Château Frontenac is the most-photographed hotel in the world!

Eating EVERYTHING in New Orleans – My second trip to New Orleans was just as fun as my first one 2 years ago. Along with visiting Whitney Plantation (the only plantation along the Old River Road that focuses on the story of Louisiana's slave trade) and tracking down some of the prettiest houses in the French Quarter, the trip was mostly focused around NOLA's amazing food. We had beignets just about every day, lunch at Commander's Palace, and went on a delicious food tour with Dr. Gumbo. I'm not a foodie, but the food alone is a reason to visit New Orleans.

May travel lowlights

Flight issues – Like I mentioned above, there are very few places I can get to with a direct flight from where I live. Meaning I always have to deal with layovers – and that can suck. On my way to Quebec City, I dealt with long layovers, a canceled flight, a delayed flight, and an extra leg I wasn't planning on flying. I spent more than 13 hours that day on planes and in airports, which made me never want to travel by air again.

French Quarter in New Orleans

Thankfully I DID get back on a plane, though, to go to New Orleans!

May on the blog

May was a good month on the blog, even though I didn't publish as much as I would have liked to (writer's block is REAL, and sometimes I just find myself uninspired to write anything at all!).

May traffic: 170,850 unique visitors and 245,622 pageviews.

Most popular post: How to Plan the Perfect Long Weekend Trip – I'm a huge proponent of making the most of your vacation time by taking advantage of weekends. And the best way to do this is to learn how to plan better long weekend trips. This post gives you 8 tips for getting the most out of a long weekend trip.

Other posts published in May:

May on social media

Most popular Instagram post: You guys also seemed to like my favorite photo from New Orleans, this one from Jackson Square at sunset.

Most popular Facebook post: It wasn't my *most* popular post, but this post gives you a peek at the new headshots I had taken in May to go along with my upcoming site redesign!

May business update

Income report

  • Advertising: $3,900.81
  • Affiliate marketing: $1,957.54
  • Other: $585.32

(Note that this is my income before deductions and taxes.)

Business highs

The start of Bloghouse Memphis – At the end of May, I headed to Memphis, Tennessee, for the start of Bloghouse! Bloghouse is an annual workshop/conference for travel bloggers that's very small and intimate. We spend 3 jam-packed days covering everything from social media to monetization to SEO, while at the same time getting to know our host city. (And in Memphis, that means eating tons of amazing food!) I'm really happy to have been involved in Bloghouse for the second year in a row as a mentor!

Memphis mural

Posing in Memphis

Business lows

Having my Iceland trip canceled – You know those days when you just feel like a complete failure? Yup, I had one of those days at the end of May. After having the Greenland tour I was planning to lead canceled because of lack of flights, my Iceland tour was also canceled because a few people never paid their deposits. It's SO frustrating to get people excited about something and then have it not work out. I know that it's not really my fault, but I'm still feeling super bad about it. It's never good to feel like you failed at something – but I guess all I can do is focus on what I've learned from the whole experience to hopefully do better if I ever try something like this again.

Upcoming in June

I have one big trip coming up in June that's more or less broken up into three parts:

Part 1: Ireland road trip – I'm headed to Ireland with my mom and sister this month for a week-long road trip around Ireland. We're spending some time in County Mayo (where my grandma's family was from), and also visiting spots like the Cliffs of Moher, Ashford Castle, the Waterford crystal factory, and the town of Cobh. We're also debating between the Ring of Kerry (which none of us have seen) and the Dingle Peninsula (which I've visited before). Which would you choose?

Part 2: Scotland – After Ireland, the three of us are hopping over to Scotland to spend a couple days in Edinburgh and then head up into the Highlands on an “Outlander”- inspired tour.

Part 3: London – My mom and sister will head back home after Scotland, but I'll be catching a train down to London for the last week of June. I'm planning to do a day trip to Oxford to see a Tolkien exhibit, and then am planning to go to a few themed afternoon teas in London (including a Harry Potter-inspired one!). I haven't been to London for two years and I'm super excited to return to one of my favorite cities.

 

26 Comments

  • That Nawlins food must have been amazing Amanda. I met an ex-pat buddy in Chiang Mai a few months ago from the NO. Chef too, so he whipped up classics for the expat community – and tourists – which were unreal. Stick to your ribs filling and tasty as can be.

  • Clazz says:

    Oh no, I’m so sorry to hear about the Iceland tour! That’s rubbish. 🙁 I thought they would have to pay deposits when they booked? I am amazed that the Fairmont in Quebec is the most photographed hotel in the world??? If I was to guess, I would have said a different Fairmont on the other side of Canada…! Hope you have an amazing time in the UK and Ireland!

    • Amanda says:

      I’m very confused bout the whole tour thing, too. People had to fill out a bunch of info (including their passport info), and then were sent links to pay deposits. And a few just never did. *shrug*

      As for the Fairmont, yes, apparently it holds a Guinness record for being the most-photographed in the world!

  • Ali says:

    I’m so sorry about the Iceland tour! Seems strange they wouldn’t have to pay immediately upon booking. It sounds like you had a great month otherwise though!

    • Amanda says:

      The trip cancelation was definitely a big downer, but yes, the rest of the month was pretty great!

      • Mamalimai Fantaztik says:

        Next time you plan one I will join you.I am also very interested in going to Noway and cross the ocean by car haha.Have you done it?

        • Amanda says:

          I’ve been to Norway, yes! But as for crossing the ocean by car… well I’m pretty sure you’d also need to be on a boat to do that one. 😉

  • Valerie says:

    I am a new follower of your blog. Please let us know when you rebook Iceland. I would love to join your travels. Thanks for all your hard work and dedication.

    • Amanda says:

      I’m not sure that I’ll try to do an Iceland trip again, if I’m being completely honest. It’s not a cheap destination, and it’s also one you can totally do without a tour, which was one of the big challenges of trying to sell a tour there! Maybe one day I’ll revisit leading a tour somewhere, but I’ll need some time to lick my wounds after this first failed attempt before I even think about it again. 😉

  • Kelly says:

    Tolkien exhibit at Oxford…?! Color me interested! Googling that now. 🙂

    County Mayo is beautiful. I stayed at an adorable holiday cottage in Louisburgh 10+ years ago during a summer study abroad trip to Ireland, and it was a short walk down to a quiet, gorgeous, serene beach. Just stunning.

  • Patty says:

    When you visit Dingle, take the scenic Slea Head Drive. It is gorgeous and has some historical sites sprinkled in. Best of all – no crowds and no tour buses. The day we went we were about the only car on the road! We visited the west coast of Ireland a few years back and a pub owner recommended this drive. We were glad we added this to our itinerary. Also – check out Connors Pass and Peddlars Lake – also fun to explore with amazing long range views of Dingle.

  • I’ve never heard of BlogHouse…sounds interesting! Hopefully I can catch a workshop sometime!

  • Elisa says:

    Last week I came back from a solo trip to London and am missing it! I had a blast visiting places I didn’t see 2 years ago and revisited others I’d enjoyed. The weather was nice too!

    Of note, Canterbury Cathedral currently is undergoing a major restoration project so a lot is covered in scaffolding. I still enjoyed visiting the cathedral as well as the town. (I’d gone on a day excursion that included Canterbury)

  • Dominique says:

    I’m sorry about the cancellation of your tour. That sucks! NOLA is high on my list of places to visit in the USA – I would definitely go on a food tour with Dr. Gumbo. The name alone makes me hungry 🙂

  • Kim says:

    I am glad that you enjoyed your time in New Orleans. I don’t know if you do this, but would love to meet and show you some of the local places. Our city is truly one of a kind and I love showing it off.

    Quebec, Ireland, and returning to Scotland are on my shortlist. Thanks for sharing your travels! Love your site and posts!

  • Sara says:

    I’m heading to Ireland and Northern Ireland in June, too. So excited!!

    Re: Scotland, I have never seen Outlander, but ended up visiting a filming location sort of incidentally. We went to the small town of Falkland to hike the gorgeous East Lomond Circuit, and had lunch at the Covenanter Hotel, which was Mrs. Baird’s B&B in the show. Not sure if Falkland is on your planned route or not, but if you are launching from Edinburgh, it’s barely an hour north of there, so would be right on the way to many Highlands destinations and only a short detour from others. Falkland is an adorable little village well worth visiting and the hike is really awesome, too, if your sister and mom like hiking.

    https://sarahikes.blogspot.com/2016/07/east-lomond-circuit-falkland-scotland.html

    • Amanda says:

      Yay I’m excited, too! We’re going on a guided 3-day tour for the Outlander part, so I’m not entirely sure where all we’ll stop – but we’re going to see a lot!

  • Roxanna says:

    Just thinking about the Ireland question.. The scenery is stunning on both Slea Head and the ROK, and slightly different. Slea Head is definitely much quieter, and easy travel, and my absolute favorite photos from 2 weeks in Ireland come from there. But, if you can only choose one, and you can make it out to Skellig Michael, for me that makes the Ring traffic worth every minute.

    • Amanda says:

      My mom doesn’t really love boats, and also probably wouldn’t be up for the hiking involved on Skellig Michael, so it’s not a good fit for this trip – but it’s definitely a spot I’d love to visit myself someday!

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