After being mostly home for the last couple of months, June kicked off an extremely busy summer of travel for me. I was barely home at all in June (I slept in my own bed only 4 times!), meaning I've got a LOT to tell you about!
From mentoring at my third Bloghouse, to chasing sunshine and the best whisky in Scotland, to sailing up the Danube on an active river cruise, this month was all about variety. And boy was there a lot of it.
Here's what my June looked like:
June: The month in travel
- Countries visited: 4 – USA, United Kingdom (Scotland and England), Hungary, Austria
- Cities visited: 7 – Columbus, Ohio; Scottsdale, Arizona; Edinburgh, Scotland; London, England; Budapest, Hungary; Vienna, Austria
- Flights taken: 6
- Nights spent sleeping on a ship: 7
- Days spent on the road: 27
The most epic thing I did: A “retro” tour of Budapest. Budapest, Hungary, has a pretty fascinating history, and I got to experience it in a completely unique way as part of a cruise with Avalon Waterways. We visited some “retro” spots in the city – a quirky cafe, a ruin bar, and Memento Park – all while riding around in old Trabants!
Trabants, or Trabis, were the Soviet vehicle ubiquitous throughout the East Bloc. Riding around in them in 90-degree heat wasn't exactly comfortable, but it WAS fun – and very memorable!
The best thing I ate/drank: If Elliot was writing this post, I'm sure he'd say all the whisky in Scotland! For me, I think I have to go with the seafood from the same country. From fish pies to steamed mussels to fish and chips, I had some very tasty Scottish seafood!
The best museum(s) I visited: There's a tie for this one! First, I really loved the Museum of Fine Arts in Vienna. Even though art museums aren't usually my go-to, this one is incredible not only for the works of art inside, but also for the sheer opulence of the building.
Second, Elliot and I both really enjoyed the Scotch Whisky Experience in Edinburgh, where you learn about the whisky-making process in a fun way, get scratch-and-sniff cards to help you learn about the different types of Scotch, and get to sample a few drams.
My favorite place(s) I slept: There's a 3-way tie for this one between the Andaz Scottsdale Resort in Arizona, Glenegedale House on Islay in Scotland, and the Avalon Impression. The Andaz Scottsdale was a really hip desert oasis; the Glenegedale House was cozy and welcoming; and the Avalon Impression had possibly the most comfortable bed I've ever slept in!
June travel highlights
GUYS. June was such a huge travel month that it's pretty much impossible to narrow this list down!
I went on 3 distinct trips this month:
- To Scottsdale, Arizona, to mentor at Bloghouse.
- To Scotland with Elliot to visit whisky distilleries on the island of Islay and follow the Malt Whisky Trail in Speyside (the Highlands).
- To Hungary and Austria, where I traveled on an active river cruise with Avalon Waterways.
Desert fun in Arizona – Most people assume you can't visit the desert in the summer, but you absolutely can. I had fun exploring Scottsdale, Arizona, this month, including spotting saguaro cacti at the McDowell Sonoran Preserve, visiting Frank Lloyd Wright's former winter home at Taliesin West, and kayaking on the Lower Salt River. Read more about Scottsdale here!
Falling in love with Edinburgh all over again – Every time I go to Edinburgh, Scotland, I find myself in love all over again. This time, I got to share the love with Elliot! We drank some whisky, went on a Harry Potter-themed afternoon tea bus tour, went up to Calton Hill before sunset, and roamed all over the Royal Mile. Elliot loved it just as much as I did!
Exploring the island of Islay – My peated whisky-loving husband has always wanted to visit some of his favorite Islay whisky distilleries, and I had a fun time tagging along. Islay is a pretty island in the southwest of Scotland, reachable a ferry. We spent 3 days on the island touring distilleries, driving down single-track roads in search of beaches, and soaking in the Scottish hospitality. I loved Islay and would definitely go back.
Malt Whisky Trail in Speyside – No whisky trip to Scotland would be complete without traveling the official Malt Whisky Trail. We visited a bunch of distilleries, a cooperage, a castle, and a few cool coastal spots. Can't wait to write about this trip (which you can totally do even if you're like me and don't really drink whisky!).
River cruise with Avalon Waterways – I rounded out my month on a river cruise with Avalon Waterways. This wasn't just any river cruise, though – it was one of Avalon's new “Active & Discovery” cruises, which offered up more active excursions like hiking and biking, along with more immersive cultural tours like cooking classes and early-entry museum tours. This is definitely one of my favorite river cruises I've been on (I've done 4 now!), and I can certainly see myself traveling with Avalon again.
June travel lowlights
I got an eye infection in Hungary – I think a combination of dry, travel-weary eyes and some dehydration thanks to biking/hiking tours in a Central Europe heat wave contributed to me developing an ulcer on one of my eyeballs. The infection wasn't bad (and thankfully didn't affect my vision), but is WAS serious and I had to seek out an eye doctor in Austria. Thankfully Austrian healthcare is affordable, and the Avalon cruise director was super helpful in finding a doctor and making an appointment. And my eye is fine now after a couple weeks of antibiotic eye drops!
(This is a good lesson, though, guys – never travel anywhere without travel insurance, because you never know when you might get a hole in your eye and need it!)
June on the blog
Because I was traveling all but 3 days this month, I didn't publish very much on the blog. Other than last month's recap post, I only published one new blog post. Eek! I hope to get some more things written in July, but we shall see!
June traffic: 196,234 unique visitors, 278,501 pageviews
Most popular post: How to Choose a Riad in Marrakech – This was the only post I published in June, but I think it's a useful one! Riads are traditional Moroccan guesthouses, and are definitely something you need to experience in Morocco.
June on social media
While I didn't publish a ton on the blog in June, I DID post a lot on social media from all my various trips!
Most popular Instagram post: This photo of me sitting on my bed aboard the Avalon Impression was (understandably) popular! The beds on every Avalon ship face the view, meaning you can lounge while sailing past incredible architecture, like the Hungarian Parliament building in Budapest. A close second was this shot of Edinburgh Castle.
View this post on Instagram
I like slower forms of travel. Trains. Ships. Cars. If I can watch the details of the world pass by as I travel from Point A to Point B, I’m a very happy girl. Which is why I think I enjoy river cruising so much. You’re close to all the action as you float down the grand rivers of Europe, and can take it all in from your stateroom – sometimes while laying in bed! And my favorite unique thing about @avalonwaterways is the fact that the beds in their staterooms face the amazing view! (And the fact that the view is through an 11-foot-wide floor-to-ceiling window that slides open 7 feet to turn your whole room into a balcony.) This is by far my favorite cruise ship stateroom I've ever stayed in! Who can imagine sitting here to watch the scenery go by? ??♀️ (This was taken as we sailed past the Hungarian Parliament in Budapest.) . #AvalonAD #AvalonWaterways
June business update
After a slower May, I managed to meet my income goal again in June even though I was traveling the entire month and not working very much. This is why I love passive income streams!
- Advertising: $7,748.17
- Affiliate marketing: $3,956.65
- Consulting: $682.50
(Note that this is my income before deductions and taxes.)
Mentoring at Bloghouse – For the third year in a row, I acted as a mentor at Bloghouse. Bloghouse is a multi-day retreat/intensive workshop for travel bloggers, and it's one of my favorite blogging things to be involved with. This year's Bloghouse in Scottsdale was all female (not on purpose!), which made for (I hope) a really empowering dynamic. For any bloggers interested in applying for Bloghouse 2020, sign up for announcements here.
Falling really behind on emails – Because I was traveling so much in June (and into July), I've been really slow to respond to emails. (I should have put an away message up for most of the month, it was that bad!) This isn't terrible in the grand scheme of things, but I pride myself on usually being very quick to respond. So allowing days to pass without responses to business-related emails has been driving me crazy!
Upcoming in July
An Alberta adventure – As this post publishes, I'll be wrapping up a campaign in Alberta, Canada, with the cities on Edmonton and Calgary. Alberta is known for its mountains and national parks, but this trip is going to focus on cool things to do in Alberta's largest cities.
Ann Arbor ambassadorship – Towards the end of July, I'll be headed to Ann Arbor, Michigan, for a long weekend. I'm working with Ann Arbor for the next 6 months or so as an ambassador for the city, which I'm excited about! I'll be showcasing some cool things you can do in Ann Arbor during the summer months on this first trip.
And remember that you can follow along in real-time with all of my adventures through my IG Stories on Instagram!