February. What a month! Even though February is the shortest month of the year, it certainly felt like a pretty long one (and no, I'm not just saying that because of Leap Day!).
I spent the beginning of the month fighting a cold I picked up at a trade show in NYC, but ended the month with a warm-weather getaway that I got to share with Elliot. So, overall a month of ups and downs, but at least it ended on a more positive note.
Here's what my month looked like:
February: The month in travel
- Countries visited: 1 – The US
- Cities visited: San Juan, Puerto Rico
- Flights taken: 6 (including 2 short puddle-jumping flights in PR)
- Days spent on the road: 8
The best thing I ate: Self-smashed mofongo – Elliot and I went on a food tour in Old San Juan, which included a stop at Triana, a restaurant known for its tapas and flamenco shows. But they also do great Puerto Rican food! We were given mortars and pestles filled with fried plantains, butter, and garlic, and smashed up our own mofongo. We added chicken, a side of rice and beans, and a mojito, and it ended up being one of my favorite meals in Puerto Rico!
The most epic thing I did: Kayaking in the world's brightest bio bay – Our trip to Puerto Rico included two nights on Vieques, a smaller island off the east coast of PR. This island is known for Mosquito Bay, which is filled with dinoflagellates (tiny organisms) that give off light when the water around them is disturbed – think of them like tiny water fireflies. There are only a few of these “bioluminescent bays” in the world, and Vieques has the brightest one. We booked a nighttime kayaking tour, and it. was. amazing. The water sparkled as we paddled and splashed, and the stars above us were some of the brightest I've ever seen.
The coolest place I stayed: Serafina Beach Hotel in San Juan, Puerto Rico – We split our Puerto Rico trip between a hotel in the heart of Old San Juan, a guesthouse on the island of Vieques, and a new hotel on the beach in Condado (a neighborhood in San Juan). We got an ocean view room at the Serafina Beach Hotel, which allowed us to snap some photos like the one below:
February travel highlights
Exploring Old San Juan – We spent our first few days in Puerto Rico mostly walking around Old San Juan. We visited the city's historic fortresses, went on a food tour, took a historic walking tour, had drinks at famous bars, and took lots of photos of colorful buildings. Throughout those two days, we walked more than 13 miles!
Beach hopping on Vieques – San Juan was fun to explore, but I think my favorite part of our Puerto Rico trip was the time we spent on Vieques. Other than kayaking in the bio bay, we spent most of the rest of our time beach-hopping and soaking up the sun. Vieques has great beaches for swimming and snorkeling, and we hit up nearly 10 different ones in just two days!
Getting the drone flying – Elliot and I have had a DJI Mavic Air drone for more than a year, but it hasn't traveled with us very often yet. We brought it with us to Puerto Rico, though, and had fun flying it above Vieques. It's amazing to be able to see destinations from more than one perspective! Expect a Vieques video soon.
February travel lowlights
Bad weather in Puerto Rico – Puerto Rican weather usually follows typical Caribbean island patterns: unless it's a hurricane or tropical storm, you can usually expect storms and showers to blow through quite quickly. But on the day we were heading back to San Juan from Vieques, a storm system came to sit over San Juan for 2 whole days! Our flight back to San Juan was delayed 2.5 hours, and the snorkeling trip we had booked for the next day had to be rerouted and the snorkeling was pretty nonexistent. BUT, we made the best of it, and our catamaran crew was amazing and still found us some bursts of sunshine!
February on the blog(s)
At first, I was ready to say that I fell off the publishing wagon slightly in February – mostly because I did essentially NO work while Elliot and I were in Puerto Rico.
But, as it turns out, I actually published a handful of new posts on both A Dangerous Business AND Cleveland Traveler, so it was a far more productive month than I realized. (Did I mention that February just seemed super long? So long that I apparently forgot how much work I even did…)
Traffic numbers for this month have to be taken with a grain of salt, though, because February was a shorter month, AND traffic was down due to coronavirus forcing a lot of people to reconsider their travel plans.
A Dangerous Business traffic: 251,405 unique visitors and 354,627 pageviews
Cleveland Traveler traffic: 5,096 unique visitors and 7,646 pageviews
Most popular post: Here’s How You Can Take a Day Trip to the Amalfi Coast from Rome – This guide is perfect for those who might not have the time to dedicate days to the Amalfi Coast. The good news is, you can totally take a day trip from Rome!
Other posts published in February:
- Wellness Travel 101: What’s It Like to Stay at a Wellness Resort?
- 9 of the Best Things to do in Ann Arbor, Michigan in Winter
- What to Wear in Morocco: A Complete Morocco Packing Guide for Women
February on social media
Most popular post in Instagram (@dangerousbiz) – February was actually a good month on Instagram, for once! My most popular photo was this one from a glacier in Greenland, with a caption that talks about the new environmental pledge I've made with my business.
View this post on Instagram
With increasing frequency, people are curious to know about how I reconcile how much I travel with the climate change crisis. While I don’t believe all the responsibility should be placed on individuals (even if they do travel a lot), I can’t ignore the fact that I personally have a larger carbon footprint than the average person. And yes, I do care about that. But it’s not as simple as saying that I’ll stop traveling, or that I’ll stop telling others to travel. Because, at the end of the day, I still wholeheartedly believe in the power of travel to turn people into more mindful, tolerant, and compassionate human beings. I also don’t believe that dictating to people where or how they are “allowed” to travel is productive. People are still going to travel anyway. So instead of focusing on the negatives or attempting to guilt fellow travelers, I want to focus instead on promoting responsible, sustainable tourism as much as I can. This means writing more about issues like sustainable travel and overtourism, but also taking steps personally to make sure I'm leaving behind less of a negative impact when I travel. I’m making some eco-related pledges this year that are published on my site (link in bio) to help keep me accountable. Some of these pledges include: 1️⃣ I pledge to be mindful of my carbon footprint. This means I will do my best to fly less, and use alternate forms of transportation whenever possible. I will combine trips and work projects to reduce the number of long-haul flights I take every year, and will carbon offset the flights that I do take. 2️⃣ I pledge to promote sustainable tourism. This means not only writing about ways to travel more responsibly, but also doing my best to support travel brands and destinations that also prioritize sustainable tourism. 3️⃣ I pledge to donate wisely. Whether it's carbon offsetting or donating to other sustainable initiatives, I promise to do so thoughtfully. In 2020, I’ll be donating 1% of all paid marketing campaign profits to projects that are working to fight climate change around the world. Read all my pledges over on my site – and tell me, what will YOU do this year to leave less of a negative mark?
Most popular post in Instagram (@clevelandtraveler) – This photo of one of my favorite murals in Cleveland was also a favorite on IG this month.
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Prince and I are ready for Donutfest this weekend! This annual event celebrating Cleveland’s best donuts is sadly already sold out, but I’ll be sure to share highlights here for you. Tell me: do you have a favorite spot for place for donuts ? in The Land? . ? Taken at one of my favorite murals by local artist @gleninfante. You can find it on the West Shoreway retaining wall at West 25th Street (Corner of W 25th and Main) in Hingetown.
Most popular post on Facebook – Everyone loved giving me tips for Australia for the trip I'm planning for later this year! You also enjoyed photos I re-shared from Greenland.
February business update
Despite traffic being down slightly, February was a good month income-wise.
It wasn't a great month profit-wise, though, because I booked a HUGE trip for this summer that I ended up having to pay for up-front. (Baffin Island, here I come!)
A Dangerous Business income report:
- Advertising: $8,285.96
- Affiliates*: $5,897.72
- Other: $235.10
(Note that this is my income before deductions and taxes.)
I'll start sharing income info from Cleveland Traveler next month!
*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.
Hiring help for Cleveland Traveler – Since Cleveland Traveler is making a little bit of money now (and because my goal is for it to grow a lot more in 2020!), I've hired a friend of mine to help me out with content. Kat is a travel blogger, too, and lives in Cleveland, so you'll see her byline more in the coming months.
Coronavirus fears – With the spread of the novel coronavirus COVID-19, people all around the world are rethinking their travel plans, and obviously it's affecting everyone in the travel industry. And I get it; when the media and governments are taking the spread of this virus so seriously, it's tough not to get scared. I'm NOT a medical professional, but I also think the current media coverage is inciting more panic than is necessary. Stay informed (in the US, pay attention to trusted sourced like the WHO and CDC and actual medical experts), but don't obsess over every new case. And wash your damn hands.
Upcoming in March
March: Morocco – My very first reader tour kicks off in Marrakech on March 15! The timing is obviously not ideal at the moment, but as of publishing this we're still planning to go, and I'm very much looking forward to my second visit to Morocco. This tour will have us exploring Marrakech, hiking in the High Atlas Mountains, staying overnight in the Sahara Desert, and relaxing on the cost in Essaouira.
March/April: Jordan – Can you believe that I STILL haven't been to Jordan yet? I have plans to finally remedy this, with an 8-day tour booked starting March 29. The trip covers all the highlights in Jordan, from Amman to Wadi Rum to Petra to the Dead Sea.
I have a few spare days in between my trips in Morocco and Jordan, and was originally planning to go to Madrid. I'll be watching the coronavirus developments in the next week or so, though, before I decide for sure. I'm less worried about catching COVID-19, and more worried about potential quarantines and travel disruptions. I may opt to just stay in Morocco a few days longer!
And remember that you can follow along in real-time with all of my adventures through my IG Stories on Instagram!
Thanks! March is looking to be devoid of travel because of COVID-19, but hopefully things can get back to normal soon.