After being gone pretty much all of June, my July was slightly less crazy – but only slightly, as I still found myself away from home for half the month! (What can I say? Summer is always a busy time for travel!)
In July, I wrapped up my river cruise and rounded out my time in Europe (for now) with a few days in London, went to Alberta for a week to explore two of its cities, and spent a long weekend in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Talk about a diverse month!
Here's what my July looked like:
July: The month in travel
- Countries visited: 4 – Austria, United Kingdom (England), Canada, USA
- Cities visited: 4 – Linz, Austria; London, England; Edmonton and Calgary, Alberta (Canada); Ann Arbor, Michigan
- Flights taken: 6
- Days spent on the road: 15
The most epic thing I did: Going behind the bull chutes at a rodeo. At the Calgary Stampede in Alberta, I got to do a VIP tour during a rodeo day that took me behind the bull chutes during a bull riding event. We were up close and personal with the giant bulls and the cowboys riding them, and got a unique perspective on this crazy sport. It wasn't a great angle for taking photos, but man was it exciting!
The prettiest thing I ate/drank: I went to two more themed afternoon teas while I was in London, and I'm still obsessing over the pretty table and even better view at a Shakespeare-themed tea at Swan. (See photo further down in this post.)
The weirdest thing I ate/drank: Pickle pizza? Octopus on a stick? Sweet potato ice cream? There were all sorts of weird and wonderful food options at the Calgary Stampede, and my two blogger friends and I tried to eat them all! The “weirdest” was perhaps the pickle pizza – but I actually thought it tasted pretty good!
July travel highlights
More afternoon teas in London – Last summer I went to half a dozen themed afternoon teas in London, and now I'm basically hooked! With a couple extra days in the city before I headed home in July, I decided to try two more on my list. I went to a Charlie and the Chocolate Factory tea at One Aldwych, and a Shakespeare-themed tea at Swan at the Globe. Read all about my favorite themed teas in London.
Seeing baby bison at Elk Island National Park – Most people go to Alberta for the “big” national parks like Banff and Jasper. But there are other national parks in the province, too. I got to visit Elk Island National Park not far from Edmonton on my recent trip, where we were lucky enough to see one of the park's large bison herds, complete with lots of cute bison babies!
Farm to table dinner in Leduc – One of my favorite nights on my Alberta trip was the one we drove out to a farm in Leduc (not far from Edmonton) to eat dinner at a long table outside on a working dairy farm. This dinner took the “farm-to-table” concept to a whole new level, and was just incredible. We ate dinner with horses as guests, and afterwards caught a beautiful sunset over the nearby canola fields.
Going to the Calgary Stampede – I grew up going to massive county fairs in Ohio, and was ALL about going to the Calgary Stampede. Myself and two other bloggers spent about 2 days at the Stampede, going to rodeo events, checking out First Nations traditions at the Elbow River Camp, wandering the midway after dark, and even taking a food tour around the Stampede grounds. It was a wild couple of days, but definitely memorable!
Being surprised by Ann Arbor – I spent the last weekend of July visiting Ann Arbor, a Michigan town usually known for being the home of the University of Michigan. But I was surprised to find a college town that didn't feel like any of the college towns I've lived in. Ann Arbor is a quirky, food-loving destination, and I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it.
July travel lowlights
No random eye infections or anything else to report this month, thankfully! Other than some flight delays and an annoying transfer at the Toronto airport (seriously, every time I fly through there, I swear I'm never doing it again), it was a pretty smooth travel month.
July on the blog
I only traveled half the month in July (as opposed to pretty much all of June), meaning I did get around to publishing a bit more this month – though I'm still really behind! Thankfully, July was still an awesome traffic month for me.
July traffic: 204,034 unique visitors; 289,333 pageviews
Most popular post: 7 Reasons You Should Put Scottsdale, Arizona on Your Must-Visit List – There's SO much more to this city than golf courses and fancy resorts. I was pleasantly surprised by Scottsdale – so much so that I think I'll likely visit again!
Other posts published in July:
- 6 Highlights from an Active River Cruise with Avalon Waterways
- A Non-Drinker Travels the Scotch Whisky Trail – And You Can, Too!
July on social media
Man, guys. Instagram has been BRUTAL this last month. My posts are being shown to fewer and fewer people, which is a shame, since I think I've been posting some pretty cool stuff lately!
Most popular Instagram post: Everyone seemed to enjoy this monastery library, which reminded me of something straight out of Beauty and the Beast. I also really liked this photo of me in a canola field in Alberta.
View this post on Instagram
Sometimes when you're on a tour or a cruise, you might sign up for an excursion or optional activity on a whim, just so you have something to do. I'll admit that this is largely why I signed up to visit the St. Florian Monastery in Austria, a morning tour option offered on my @avalonwaterways cruise. And wow am I glad that I followed that whim! I probably would have never visited this spot otherwise, but this Baroque monastery was STUNNING. Like, able to rival any other monastery I've visited in the world. It's a testament to how well Avalon chooses their excursions. Everyone on this tour walked from room to room with gaping mouths, and the library was definitely a crowd favorite. This is just one small portion of the 150,000 books and manuscripts that live in the Saint Florian library – others are accessed by secret doors in the bookcases! I felt like Belle walking into the Beast’s library here. ? It was magical! I was tempted to hide in one of the secret rooms and just stay forever. Who’s with me? ??♀️
Most popular Facebook post: You guys enjoyed this photo post about the farm-to-table dinner I went to on an actual farm in Edmonton, Alberta.
July business update
July was another solid month, income-wise (in fact, I think it was one of my best ever!), and business is on track for the rest of the year.
- Advertising: $6,084.04
- Affiliate marketing: $5,272.44
- Speaking/consulting: $1,524.23
- Other: $130.25
(Note that this is my income before deductions and taxes.)
Beginning to be viewed as an affiliate expert – I have a couple speaking gigs coming up where I'll be talking about affiliate marketing. Affiliates are one way that I make money as a blogger, and I've been working hard to learn as much as I can about the strategy behind this in order to help others with it, too. The fact that this effort and continual learning is being recognized feels really good. (Though I won't lie: I suffer from some major imposter syndrome sometimes!)
Thankfully nothing to report this month. In some ways I feel like I've taken on more projects than I should have this summer, but all of them have been excellent so far, and I'm interspersing non-sponsored trips in between them. Overall, I think it's a good balance. But it does mean that I'm REALLY busy in between now and the end of October, though!
Upcoming in August
I was busy right out of the gate, spending the first weekend in August on a quick island trip with Elliot – to the Lake Erie Islands, that is! We went to check out the new Cheers Trail on and near Kelleys Island, and had a fun weekend away.
Coming up the rest of this month:
August: London – My sister and I are off in just about a week on a 3-week trip. Our first stop will be London for 4 days. I've been to London many times, but this will be Melissa's first trip there, so I'm excited to show her around! We've already got an afternoon tea, tour of Buckingham Palace, and a Jack the Ripper walking tour planned.
August: Kenya and Tanzania – The real meat of the trip my sister and I are taking is 17 days in East Africa. I'm SO excited to be headed to a new part of this continent, and even more excited to be introducing my sister to a totally new part of the world. We're going on a tour with Rock My Adventure that will take us from Nairobi to Zanzibar – and we may even get to witness part of the Great Migration!
And remember that you can follow along in real-time with all of my adventures through my IG Stories on Instagram!