I know, I know. I should probably take the “travel” part out of these recaps for now while we're all sheltering at home. But, consistency and all.
We've made it through the month of April. While this last month also felt unbelievably long, it was an easier month for me than March. While I'm still trying to be at peace with the fact that my business is on hold for the moment, I'm super lucky that I can easily shelter-in-place and work from home – and that all my loved ones can do the same and are safe.
Travel-wise, I only left my house twice other than to go on walks around my neighborhood. Elliot and I are doing our best to keep entertained at home (see our cocktail series, linked below). And hey, good news from this lockdown: Elliot and I can apparently be together 24/7 for weeks and not want to kill each other! #marriagegoals
Here's what the month looked like in detail:
April: The month in travel
- Countries visited: 0
- Cities visited: 1 – Cleveland, Ohio
- Flights taken: 0
- Days spent on the road: 0
Another month of absolutely zero travel. It's of course necessary, but I'm definitely starting to get antsy. The act of *being* at home doesn't really bother me. But the knowledge that I can't go anywhere, and can't even plan any future trips yet is what's really starting to get to me.
April travel highlights
Drinking Around the World Around the House – Inspired by some memes likening your house to an airport or a new place to explore, Elliot and I decided to “travel” around the world through cocktails. We chose drinks tied to each of the 7 continents, and made them in 7 different rooms in our house. We put the whole series up on Instagram Stories, and it was so successful that I decided to turn it into a blog post, too.
Cherry blossoms and springtime – One positive of being at home right now is that we've gotten to watch Spring firmly take hold. It's been reassuring to me to watch Mother Nature soldier on like normal while us humans are reeling. Going for walks and seeing flowers and budding trees has been cathartic. We even ventured out to a Metropark one Monday evening in April to see dozens of cherry trees in bloom. (Ohio's lockdown orders thankfully still allow us to go to parks.)
April travel lowlights
No travel also means no travel lowlights to report.
April on the blog(s)
The end of April was marginally better traffic-wise than the end of March, but still a far cry from what my normal spring traffic would look like. My numbers have tumbled back to what they were a few years ago. I know these might still look like very good numbers for a travel blog, but it's pretty demoralizing to feel like you've lost years of hard work overnight.
A Dangerous Business Traffic: 95,354 unique visitors and 133,504 pageviews (down almost 70% from January, and down about 50% from April 2019)
Most popular post: A Decade in Review: 10 Years of Traveling and Blogging – The first post in my blogging anniversary series, this one looks back at my favorite travel experiences and blog posts from the last decade.
Other posts published in April:
- Photos That Will Make You Want to Plan a Trip to Turkey (Someday)
- Drinking Around the World Around the House: 9 World Cocktails to Make at Home
- The Business of Blogging: What I’ve Learned After 10 Years
On Cleveland Traveler, it's been tough to get momentum going again, especially when so much is closed and people are being encouraged to stay at home. I've been focusing on things people can do at home, but am planning to shift to covering more outdoor ideas now that the weather is getting nicer.
Cleveland Traveler traffic: 3,324 unique visitors and 5,133 pageviews
What I published in April:
- Cleveland on Screen: 12 Movies Every Clevelander Should See*
- Cleveland Inventions and Historical Firsts Worth Knowing About
- 18 Cleveland Gifts To Buy to Bring Cleveland Home To You*
- The Best Places to Enjoy the Great Outdoors Near Cleveland
*These posts were written by my friend Kat from World Wide Honeymoon, who freelances for me over on Cleveland Traveler.
April on social media
If I'm being completely honest here, social media has been a saving grace for me during this pandemic. I've been able to still feel connected to the world, to friends, and to my readers, and that's helped get me through several down days.
Even though a good deal of what I see on social media infuriates me, some of it doesn't (have you been watching Some Good News?). And the fact that you guys have stuck with me and still want to talk about travel gives me the warm fuzzies on a daily basis.
Most popular post on Instagram (@dangerousbiz) – This photo of Yosemite National Park was the clear favorite. I shared it during National Park Week, and we all talked about our favorite national parks in the US.
View this post on Instagram
Happy National Park Week! ?? This week is usually one of the busiest in the national park system, with lots of people flocking to their favorite national parks in the US. This year, though, even though many national parks still remain open, most of us are staying home and getting our social distancing on. But that doesn’t mean that we can’t talk about our favorite national parks! There are 62 designated National Parks in the United States, spread out all across the country. I don’t even think I’ve visited half of them yet, but here are some of my favorites anyway. My favorite “famous” national parks: 1. Arches National Park, Utah 2. Zion National Park, Utah 3. Yosemite National Park, California 4. Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming 5. Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska My favorite underrated national parks: 1. Badlands National Park, South Dakota 2. White Sands National Park, New Mexico 3. Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Ohio Our national parks and protected lands are, in my opinion, one of the BEST things about the United States. I would eventually love to visit them all! What are some of YOUR favorite national parks in the US?
Most popular post in Instagram (@clevelandtraveler) – This photo of cherry blossoms at Wade Lagoon was the favorite in April. Seems like everyone else likes spring, too!
View this post on Instagram
While everything else is so stressful and confusing right now, I find it reassuring and calming to see Mother Nature forging ahead like normal. In Cleveland, the cherry blossoms are blooming, the daffodils are opening, and signs of spring abound just as expected, despite so much being uncertain in other aspects of life right now. If your situation allows you to get outside for a bit, try to make time for a walk outdoors this week. Fresh air and a peek of sunshine can do wonders for your mood! Photo ? taken at Wade Lagoon, where the cherry blossoms are blooming. ?
Most popular post on Facebook – I've been choosing an “Armchair Travel Destination of the Week” over on Facebook, and in April, New Zealand week was definitely the most popular. This is something I definitely plan to continue, so let me know if there's a country/region you'd like to see featured!
April business update
Looking at the numbers on paper, April was a good month! BUT, that's only because of how I earn and report income. I report income when it hits my bank account, but it's often earned months previously.
So, for example, most of the income coming into my bank account in April was actually earned in January and February. This means that my income numbers will still look okay for the next month or so; you won't really be able to see how this has affected my business until this summer. (To give you a preview, though, I made a whopping $1500 in ad revenue in April.)
A Dangerous Business April income report:
- Advertising: $8,559.15
- Affiliates*: $2,482.95
- Course sales: $269.87
- Other: $2,500 (payment from a campaign I worked on in 2019)
(Note that this is my income before deductions and taxes.)
*Curious about how I make money with affiliates? I actually have a course on that! And since you can see how much I make each month, hopefully that's proof enough that I kind of know what I'm talking about. You can check out my affiliate marketing for travel bloggers course here.
Cleveland traveler income report:
- Advertising: $118.61
(Note: A Dangerous Business was started in 2010, and has been monetized for more than 6 years; Cleveland Traveler was started in 2019, and has been monetized for less than 6 months.)
Launching my anniversary giveaway series! – Have you heard? I'm running a 5-week giveaway series to celebrate my 10-year blogging anniversary! I'll be giving away different prizes every week, including some of my favorite travel gear and goodies you can use once the world opens back up. You can find all the details (and a preview of the prizes) on the giveaway page. Entering each week is easy, so don't miss out!
Supporting local when I can – I have enough money in my bank account to keep my business running, but more importantly enough money to keep my contractors employed, and to contribute here and there to my local economy. Elliot and I have been plotting out weekly spends at small local businesses, buying everything from Cleveland t-shirts to cheese boards to taco kits to my favorite donuts. I don't want to see these business I love have to close, and I'm very fortunate right now to still be able to patronize them.
There are plenty of lows (zero affiliate income, decimated ad earnings, absolutely no brand/destination campaigns coming in), but I'm kind of over focusing on those. Right now, I'd rather try to remain positive and creative!
Upcoming in 2020
I don't have any big travel plans for 2020, but Elliot and I are slowly starting to talk about what we might be able to do later this year.
We have plans to take an overnight trip to stay in a secluded treehouse in Ohio in June, and I am still tentatively slated to speak at a conference in New Orleans in September. Elliot is also supposed to compete at a big Taekwondo tournament in October, and maybe by then doing a road trip will be possible.
I feel a bit lost without any big travel plans on the horizon, but I'm trying to focus on the positives rather than everything we're “missing out” on. Hopefully we can start planning trips again soon!