January and February 2022 Travel and Blogging Recap

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Hello friends! I know it's been a while since I've published one of these updates for you. And I don't really have a great reason for why I skipped November and December other than the fact that I didn't go anywhere (thanks, Omicron!), and kind of just wanted to start the new year fresh!

After a fairly quiet holiday season with family, 2022 got off to a bit of a rough start. My husband Elliot ended up getting COVID just after New Year's – though thankfully it was a very mild case, and thanks to our vaccines I did not end up catching it from him!

Things started looking up towards the end of January, and I actually went on two trips! And then of course Russia invaded Ukraine and we all went doomscrolling once more. It really feels like if it's not one thing it's another these days.

And while I'm keeping up with news about COVID and doing what I can to support the Ukrainian people, I'm also starting to get the travel itch back. (And yes, I'm definitely grappling with some guilt over feeling excited about travel while there are literally people fleeing for their lives, too. But I've always been a firm believer that you can absolutely feel all the conflicting feels at the same time.)

Anyway, on to this very overdue update.

Amanda on a dirt road in Alabama Hills with mountains in the background
“Movie Road” in Alabama Hills

January and February: The months in travel

  • Countries visited: 1 – USA
  • States visited: 4 – Washington, DC, New York, Nevada, California
  • Flights taken: 5
  • Days spent on the road: 15

Travel highlights

Going back to NYC – I usually go to New York City every January for a travel industry networking event, and it was back on this year. I was initially nervous about going (read more in the next section), but it ended up being a good way to start the year. I didn't do a whole lot in NYC since it was still too COVID-y for my liking, but I did manage to visit The Edge observation deck and catch up with friends over drinks and meals.

Southwest road trip – I returned home last week from a weeklong road trip with a friend (Kat from World Wide Honeymoon) in the Southwest, and man was it nice to be out exploring again! We started and ended in Las Vegas, and then visited national parks like Death Valley and Joshua Tree, plus Alabama Hills, Valley of Fire, and more. I took SO MANY photos on this trip, and will have lots to write about soon!

Sunrise at Joshua Tree National Park
Sunrise at Joshua Tree National Park was a major highlight!
Amanda at the Badwater Basin salt flat
Another highlight? Badwater Basin in Death Valley National Park

Re-visiting Las Vegas – While we focused mainly on national parks and outdoor adventures on our road trip, Kat and I also spent two nights in Las Vegas. It's been more than a decade since I spent any time in Sin City (and it was Kat's very first trip!), so we did some fun touristy things like visiting different hotel casinos along the Strip, watching the Bellagio Fountains, and checking out the trippy Omega Mart at Area 51. It was a lot of fun!

The Bellagio Fountains, with the Vegas Eiffel Tower in the background
The Bellagio Fountains, with the Vegas Eiffel Tower in the background

Travel lowlights

Omicron stress – IMM (the event I went to NYC for) was really touch and go for me for a while. In fact, I didn't even book my flights or hotel room until a week before the trip because I kept waffling back and forth over whether I should go because of the Omicron surge. NYC was on the downswing by mid-January (as was northeast Ohio where I live), though, and the city still had pretty strict masking/vaccine rules. It ended up being a successful trip in the end, but it definitely caused me some major stress at the beginning of the year!

New travel anxieties – I'm definitely no stranger to feeling anxious before trips (or even feeling negative feelings while traveling), but my pre-airport nerves have definitely gotten worse during the pandemic! I'm not afraid of flying, but I am finding I feel more anxious than I used to on travel days – but only on the first leg of the journey! Any tips for dealing with non-plane-related anxiety on travel days?

Amanda standing on a rock, looking out over a road at Valley of Fire State Park
No stress out here though!

The last few months on the blog(s)

The end of the year on my main travel blog is usually a gradual yet steady decline in traffic through the holidays, followed by a surge in people searching for travel info again as soon as Christmas is over.

The last few months have followed this expected pattern, though there was more of a year-end dip than usual thanks to the Omicron variant.

I haven't published a ton of new blog content lately, but I've kept busy updating older posts that people may (hopefully) need again this year. I've been trying to create more video content on social media, too, which takes up more time than you'd think!

A Dangerous Business traffic: 122,347 unique visitors and 152,574 pageviews in November; 120,172 unique visitors and 146,989 pageviews in December; 169,705 unique visitors and 208,136 pageviews in January; and 161,479 unique visitors and 198,471 pageviews in February.

Most popular post: 5 Days in Savannah: The Perfect Day-By-Day Itinerary – Elliot and I spent a week in Savannah back in October, and I distilled our trip down into this 5-day itinerary you can feel free to copy. It's a pretty good one, if I do say so myself!

Other posts published:

I also updated and re-published my list of travel resolutions and my post about how I make money as a blogger.

Colorful hills of Artist's Palette at Death Valley
The incredible Artist's Palette in Death Valley

On Cleveland Traveler, I had a pretty explosive November and December because people in this city LOVE the holidays. January and February have been slower, but that's to be expected this time of year!

Cleveland Traveler traffic: 42,470 unique visitors and 57,549 pageviews in November; 90,303 unique visitors and 120,816 pageviews in December; 27,873 unique visitors and 37,169 pageviews in January; and 32,569 unique visitors and 40,401 pageviews in February.

If you want to see what I've been up to on Cleveland Traveler lately, visit the site here.

January and February on social media

In the last few months, I've been dabbling more in video content on social media – more specifically, I've been growing my Cleveland Traveler TikTok account (@clevelandtraveler if you want to follow)! I had a video go viral back in November, and have actually been enjoying the creative challenge of learning something new and trying out different types of video there.

I've obviously still been at it on Instagram, too, though not having nearly as much fun there since Instagram is barely showing photos to any of my followers anymore. I did, however, just add an Instagram highlight from my recent Southwest trip if you want to have a watch.

Most popular post on Instagram (@dangerousbiz): This silly Reel I made at Badwater Basin in Death Valley that my photographer friends can relate to. (It's a TikTok trend video that I copied over to Instagram.)

Most popular post on Instagram (@clevelandtraveler): Instagram is a lot kinder to me on this account, but this Reel was far and away my most popular post recently. Just a silly commentary on northeast Ohioans during snowstorms.

January and February business update

This year is off to a good start income-wise, despite the end of the year usually being a slower time for affiliate bookings for hotels and tours. (Remember, I report my earnings when they hit my bank account, meaning these ad earnings are from October and November, and the affiliate earnings are mostly from December/January travel.)

A Dangerous Business January income report:

  • Advertising: $8,820.14
  • Affiliates: $1,856.7
  • Other: $38.88

A Dangerous Business February income report:

  • Advertising: $9,606.90
  • Affiliates: $1,269.59
  • Other: $128.79

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

Amanda next to colorful stacked rocks of Seven Magic Mountains
Seven Magic Mountains just outside of Las Vegas

On Cleveland Traveler, income dipped at bit at the end of the year after a slower autumn, but those pre-holiday ad earnings are now starting to hit my bank account.

Cleveland Traveler January income report:

  • Advertising: $1,873.04

Cleveland Traveler February income report:

  • Advertising: $3,196.31

(Note: A Dangerous Business was started in 2010, and has been monetized for more than 10 years; Cleveland Traveler was started in 2019, and has been monetized for just over 2 years.)

Business highs

Having a TikTok video go viral – It's small in the grand scheme of things, but a TikTok video I made about a local Christmas attraction called Castle Noel went viral in November. The video got 1.4 million views, was featured on several local news stations, and I even had a whole newspaper article written about me. It was a fun and wild couple of weeks, but mostly I was excited to be able to promote (and help sell out more than a month's worth of tickets for) a cool local business.

Travel conferences are back! – After two years of not really getting to see my travel industry friends except through a computer screen, I'm really, really excited that travel conferences are making a comeback this year. I'll be speaking at TravelCon next month in Memphis, and can't wait! (If you're thinking of attending, you can get tickets here and save $50 with the code SPEAKER50.)

TravelCon promo

Testing out new products – One thing I added to my to-do list at the beginning of the year was to test out offering some printables for sale. People frequently ask me for printable versions of my detailed road trip itineraries, so I bundled some of them with packing lists and BINGO cards, and put them up for sale for a few dollars. They've actually been pretty successful so far, which is exciting! You can check out the ones I currently have for sale here (and yes I plan to add more!).

Business lows

More blows to the travel industry – I already mentioned this above, but the travel industry is still hurting. COVID is NOT “over” yet (despite the West's decision that it is), and now Russia's war on Ukraine is likely to make many people wary of traveling to Europe this spring and summer. (Obviously it's not the time to travel to Ukraine, Russia, or Belarus, but for now you can absolutely still plan travel to other countries in Europe.) I really miss 2019.

Upcoming this spring

I don't have a ton on the calendar yet because I've still been a bit wary of booking travel too far in advance, but I'm *hoping* to take my first international trips in more than 2.5 years this spring/summer!

Here's what I tentatively have planned:

April: Tennessee – I already mentioned that I'll be speaking at TravelCon in Memphis, and before that I'm hoping to spend a few days in the Nashville and Franklin areas.

May: Mayyybe a trip – Elliot has lots of vacation time to use up this year, and we're tentatively talking about going somewhere for a week in early-mid May. We haven't decided on where yet (I'm torn between London and Paris in the spring, and somewhere beachy like the Bahamas), but hopefully the Universe plays nice and we can go somewhere.

June: Arctic Canada – Guys. This is a trip that has been re-booked multiple times since 2020, and I'm finally confident enough that it might happen that I'm writing it down here. I'm booked on a seriously EPIC trip that will take me to Baffin Island in Nunavut in mid-June to sleep on the floe edge of melting sea ice and look for narwhals and polar bears. This is the most expensive trip I have ever booked, but since it's been paid for for 2 years now, all I'm feeling is giddy excitement about it!

As always, as I start to travel a bit more again, you can keep up with me in (more or less) real-time on Instagram.

"It's a dangerous business, going out your door. You step onto the road, and, if you don't keep your feet, there's no telling where you might get swept off to." - JRR Tolkien

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3 Comments on “January and February 2022 Travel and Blogging Recap

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  1. I’m new to blogging and will be using TravelCon as my jumping off point. I was going to try to start in 2020 but kept using every excuse I could find because of nervousness. My life finally feels calm enough to start and I just need to do it already! I’m excited to get started and hope I can attend your session!

    I too feel guilt, but also need to travel to feel fulfilled. I had decided at the beginning of the year that in 2022 I would travel no matter how unpredictable it would be. Because if I learned nothing else from Covid, it was flexibility in everything. I hadn’t counted on the Ukranian tragedy however, so am still coming to grips with all the travel plans I’ve made in a new and sobering light. I love your photo of Joshua Tree, one of my favorite places! And I’m so excited to know about TravelCon, and that you’ll be speaking there! I’m seriously considering it, though it might be too early in the game for me. Do you have any advice, or maybe a post, similar to a beginner’s guide to travel conferences? Ways to reduce the feeling of being overwhelmed sort of thing… thank you!

      I totally understand where you’re coming from, Tammi! I’ve felt like I’ve lost a little bit of my identity in the last two years of basically no travel, and am desperate to get a bit of it back (while still be as safe and considerate as possible, of course).

      I don’t have any guides on travel conferences, but I don’t feel like there’s never a bad time to start networking with others in the industry! TravelCon is also kind of cool since there are sessions for different skill levels, AND some niche meetups that make it easy to meet up with people with similar interests to yours.

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