I fell off the blogging wagon a bit in February, guys. But it was for good reason! I was launching a new aspect of my business (the affiliate consulting service I mentioned in last month's recap), and also traveling to a new part of the world!
After not really going anywhere for a few months, I'll admit that it was hard to leave home, though. I've been getting out and exploring more lately for my new Cleveland blog, and had gotten into a good routine that included regular workouts and kitty snuggles. When it came time for me to board my flight to Portugal, I felt this overwhelming wave of sadness, which is rare for me.
Thankfully, those reluctant feelings were quickly squashed once I arrive in Lisbon, and further forgotten about once I headed to Morocco the following day.
It's a good reminder, though, that it's okay (and totally normal) to feel a mixture of feelings when you travel – even negative ones sometimes.
February: The month in travel
I left mid-month for my first big trip of the year! I flew to Lisbon, Portugal, where I spent a quick 24 hours, and then headed to Morocco for 2 weeks on a tour with Intrepid Travel. It was a great month, and I'm now in love with Morocco – I hope you were following along on my Instagram Stories!
- Countries visited: 2 – Portugal, Morocco
- Cities visited: Several! Lisbon, Portugal; and Casablanca, Rabat, Meknes, Chefchaouen, Fes, and Midelt in Morocco
- Flights taken: 3
- Photos taken: Literally too many – I didn't bring enough memory cards!
The most epic thing I did: Rode a camel into the Sahara Desert and climbed a dune for sunset. I don't think it gets much more epic than that!
The most interesting thing I ate: I ate a lot of tasty things in Morocco, from chicken tagines to Medjool dates to many, many olives. But the most interesting was probably the sweet and savory chicken pastilla I had at a local family's home in Fes. This is a specialty in Fes, and is often made with pigeon. It's topped with powdered sugar and cinnamon, which confused my brain as to whether I was eating dinner or dessert – but I didn't hate it!
February travel highlights
Exploring Morocco's Blue Pearl – When I was comparing Morocco tours last year, one destination ended up being the deciding factor for me: Chefchaouen. This town in the Rif Mountains has exploded on Instagram because of its blue houses and streets – and I'm happy to report that Morocco's “Blue Pearl” absolutely lived up to the hype for me. I spent a couple hours one morning wandering the streets of the medina with a few other girls on my tour, taking ALL the photos.
Not getting lost in the Fes medina – The Fes medina is both the biggest and oldest medina in Morocco. It's a labyrinth of more than 10,000 streets and alleys, and even Moroccans report getting turned around in there sometimes. I was super happy, therefore, to explore the medina with an incredible local (female!) guide. We saw all the highlights – the tannery, the madrasa, souks selling everything from produce to clothing to copper pots – and then some, all without getting lost once.
Riding a camel into the Sahara Desert – This was probably my favorite day in Morocco. We mounted camels in the late afternoon, and rode into the sand dunes of the Sahara Desert, arriving at our desert camp in time to climb a sand dune for sunset. I'm not a camper by any means, but staying overnight in the desert was really special. I also decided that I really like camels in all their awkward, lumbering glory.
Staying in the High Atlas Mountains – The tour I did in Morocco included an excellent mix of cities and countryside. And my favorite countryside stop was the Rose Valley in the High Atlas Mountains, where we stayed for two nights at a local guesthouse. We had amazing breakfasts at a low-slung table, went for a hike through the fields of local crops in the valley, and had time to relax on the sunny terrace while soaking up the mountain views. It was a pretty unique tour stop, and our whole group loved it.
February travel lowlights
Weirdly enough, I can't think of anything to write about in this section. I didn't have any major travel mishaps, and absolutely loved everywhere I went in Morocco. I expected to run into challenges like street harassment and maybe even stomach issues in Morocco, but actually have nothing notable to report!
February on the blog
I wrote very little in February, but it was luckily still a good traffic month for me, despite being a few days shorter than usual.
February traffic: 186,771 unique visitors, 267,855 pageviews
Most popular post: Iceland Alternatives: Where to Go Instead of the Land of Fire and Ice – Parts of Iceland are starting to struggle with overtourism during the busy summer months, so I decided to write about some places that are similar to Iceland in terms of landscapes and overall vibe, but that aren't quite as popular.
Other posts published in February:
February on social media
Most popular Instagram post: It wasn't even close this month, after this photo of a snowy Grand Canyon somehow went nuts on Instagram. Understandably, I suppose – I love this photo! In second place was this photo of me in Chefchaouen.
View this post on Instagram
Most people don’t know this, but the South Rim of the Grand Canyon is open year-round, even in the winter. Oh, and yeah, it snows ❄️ here too! After visiting the Grand Canyon last month, I’ve decided that winter is my favorite season to visit this national park. The skies are clearer, the temperatures are cooler (okay, at times maybe a little *too* cool ?), and this is the quietest season tourism-wise. And if you can catch the Grand Canyon under a dusting of snow? Well, that’s when “Grand” doesn’t quite seem to do it justice. My latest blog post (link in bio) is all about visiting the Grand Canyon during the winter months, and has more photos like this one of sunset at Mather Point. Did you know that it snows at the Grand Canyon? Or that you can visit in the winter? Who wants to go? ??♀️
February business update
February was a pretty good month business-wise! Nothing fancy to report, but I still hit my income goals!
- Advertising: $5,909.23
- Affiliate marketing: $4,250.09
- Other: $1,100
(Note that this is my income before deductions and taxes.)
Confirming some fun partnerships for 2019 – I have lots of fun trips planned already for the rest of this year – in fact, my schedule is already surprisingly full! One thing I'm super exited about is working with Intrepid Travel more closely again to promote their small-group adventure tours. I'll likely be going on another trip with them later this year, but am currently torn between Turkey, Jordan, and Mexico… which would you most want to read about?
Having my ads turned off accidentally – Somehow the plugin that serves up ads on my website got turned off by my web host last month without my knowledge. And since I was traveling in Morocco with fairly terrible wifi, I didn't check on my ad earnings (or visit my site) at all, and therefore didn't notice. Thank goodness Mediavine caught it within 3 days and sent me an email; it could have been much worse. But it's just another reminder that I'm never *really* “on vacation,” even when I've got an away message up on Gmail!
Upcoming in March
Here's a look at what's coming up in March:
March: Portugal – I'm currently writing this post from Lisbon, Portugal! I'm here in Portugal until the middle of the month, splitting my time between Lisbon and Porto. My original plan had been to take several day trips from each city, but after being constantly on-the-go in Morocco, now I'm craving some slower days. I'll still make it to a couple of must-sees (like Sintra), of course, and will be thoroughly exploring both Lisbon and Porto, too.
March: Nashville – A week after I get home from Portugal, Elliot and I are headed to Nashville for a long weekend to catch up with some friends from college. I'm looking forward to a second visit to Music City!
And remember that you can follow along in real-time with all of my adventures through my IG Stories on Instagram!
Amanda Williams is the award-winning blogger behind A Dangerous Business Travel Blog. She has traveled to more than 60 countries on 6 continents from her home base in Ohio, specializing in experiential and thoughtful travel through the US, Europe, and rest of the world. Amanda only shares tips based on her personal experiences and places she's actually traveled!