March was a busy month – I spent more than 2/3 of it traveling!
Busy months like this are exciting, but I always struggle to get work done when I'm on the road. I've never really perfected the whole “work while traveling” thing – mostly because I don't really travel for long stretches of time at once, and therefore want to spend every moment doing and seeing things rather than working.
This does mean that I have a HUGE list of things I want to write about in the next couple months, though, so look forward to lots more content in April!
March: The month in travel
I began in Morocco (finishing up my Intrepid Travel tour), then spent 10 days traveling around Portugal on my own. Once I got back to the US, Elliot and I took a long-weekend trip to Nashville, which is much more spring-like than Ohio currently is!
- Countries visited: 3 – Portugal, Morocco, USA
- Cities visited: Ait-Ben-Haddou, Marrakech, and Essaouira in Morocco; Lisbon, Obidos, Sintra, Porto, and Braga in Portugal; Nashville, Tennessee
- Flights taken: 5
- Trains taken: 6
- Pasteis de Nata eaten: Too many to count
The fanciest thing I did: On my last tour day in Marrakech, I talked a couple other girls in my group into going for afternoon tea at the Royal Mansour, one of the fanciest hotels in Morocco (it's owned by the King). Staying overnight at this 5-star property wasn't really in my budget, but I knew you could go have afternoon for about $35 per person – this is something I love doing when I travel, as it allows you to visit incredible hotels even if you can't stay in them. The Roayl Mansour was beautiful, and the afternoon tea was so lovely!
My favorite place I stayed: After my Morocco tour ended, I stayed an extra two nights in Marrakech, opting for a room at a highly Instagrammable riad called Riad BE. It was gorgeous, and served up my favorite breakfast in Morocco. Runner-up goes to the hotel I stayed at in Porto: Pestana Porto – A Brasileira. This hotel was right in the heart of the city, and my room even came with a smartphone that you could use for free in Porto.
The most interesting thing I ate: I already mentioned the pasteis de nata (custard tarts), which I ate a TON of in Portugal. But I think the item that really belongs here is port wine! I don't drink very much at home, but I knew I couldn't go to northern Portugal and not try its famous port wine. I didn't love the tawny and ruby ports, but I really enjoyed the rose and white ports (which I didn't even know existed until I tried some in Porto)!
March travel highlights
Imagining dragons at Ait-Ben-Haddou – Much of Morocco totally took me by surprised; the country is much more diverse than I realized. But when we got to Ait-Ben-Haddou (a fortified city along the old caravan route between the Sahara and Marrakech), I finally thought to myself that THIS was what I had been expecting to find in Morocco. This ancient town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and I loved exploring it for a couple hours. (It was also used as the slave city Yunkai in Game of Thrones, hence the dragon reference!)
Playing princess in Sintra – I had a long to-do list in Portugal; for a relatively small country, there sure is a lot to see! One of my top must-dos was taking a day trip from Lisbon to Sintra, which is a town up in the mountains known for its opulent palaces and villas. Even though Sintra was already pretty busy in March and even though my calf muscles hated me after all the hills, I LOVED this day trip! Can't wait to write about it.
Drinking port in the Douro Valley – I did a day trip to the Douro Valley from Porto (it's closer than most people think!) to visit the place where Portugal's famous port wine comes from. Along with taking a cruise down the Douro River, we also visited two wineries to try port and learn about the port-making process. This was pretty fascinating, and definitely worth a day trip!
Mural-spotting in Nashville – Lastly, I really enjoyed exploring more of Nashville with Elliot. On my first trip to Nashville last summer, I focused on the city's country music ties. This time around, though, we focused on all the non-music things, like distilleries and brunches and great street art.
March travel lowlights
Other than some rain in Nashville and running out of time to do everything I wanted to in Portugal, I don't have very much to complain about travel-wise this month!
March on the blog
I again wrote very little in March due to all the traveling, but it was another excellent traffic month for the blog (one of the best, in fact!).
March traffic: 203,263 unique visitors, 288,542 pageviews
Most popular post: 8 Things That Surprised Me About Traveling in Morocco – My first Morocco post details all the things I learned about the country, and gives a little sneak peek of everything I saw/did. I LOVED this trip so much, and you can look forward to many more Morocco posts!
Other posts published in March:
March on social media
Most popular Instagram post: You guys are almost as obsessed with my Morocco photos as I am! This image of an orange cat in the blue city of Chefchaouen was by far my most popular photo in March. It's one of my favorites, too – I plan to print it out and hang it in my living room! (Be sure to check out my feed for even more Morocco!)
View this post on Instagram
They say that blue is a calming color. And it’s true that I felt quite relaxed and happy while exploring the town of Chefchaouen, Morocco’s Blue Pearl. The houses, doorways, stairs… they’re all shades of blue, from light periwinkle to bright cerulean to deep sapphire. Around every corner is a picture-perfect scene. And it didn’t hurt that there were cats all over, too. They make for some excellent and interesting photo subjects, don’t you think?
March business update
March continued to be a great month income-wise, despite me being home for only a small part of it. I've also got plenty of fun things brewing for the rest of the year!
- Advertising: $5,240.20
- Affiliate marketing: $4,026.39
- Other: $898.07
(Note that this is my income before deductions and taxes.)
Having my best month ever with advertising – I use Mediavine as my ad network, and totally admit to being a Mediavine fangirl. But I have good reason to be, as they are excellent and help my business to be as successful as it is. I had my highest earning month EVER with them in March (it won't be reflected in my income report until June), which is very exciting. Maybe I need to go plan another trip to celebrate.
Finding time to run two blogs – This isn't really a “low,” especially when I'm actually really excited about my second blog. But it is worth mentioning, because a lot of people don't realize how many hours go into running a blog! It was extra challenging in March since my second blog is all about Cleveland, and I wasn't really in Cleveland very much – meaning I wasn't gathering any new content to share. I definitely need to do a better job of planning ahead the next time I'm leaving Ohio for a while.
Having to turn down a fun speaking gig – Last year, I had a chance to speak at the very first TravelCon in Austin, Texas. I had an amazing time and got a lot of great feedback on my talk about affiliate marketing. I was invited to speak again at this year's TravelCon in Boston, but sadly I already have another campaign booked in Europe during that time. It sucks to have to turn down gigs (especially ones where I'm guaranteed to see so many friends!), but it's happening more frequently as my months book out further in advance every year.
TravelCon is once again offering a virtual pass to the conference for those who can't make it in-person, though, so I think I might pick up one of those so I can still watch all the talks. (If you'd like to get a virtual pass, too, you can buy one here!)
Upcoming in April
I don't actually have any travel planned in April! I'm going to stay at home and get lots of work done (and of course spend more time doing fun things in Cleveland – follow my new Instagram account for lots of Cleveland coverage).
After April, here are some of the things coming up next:
May: SATW in Columbus – At the beginning of May, I'm headed down to Columbus for a few days for the SATW Freelance Council meeting. This will be my first time going to an SATW event, so I'm excited! I also have a packed schedule in Columbus that's going to include, among other things, lots of amazing food!
June: Bloghouse – For the third year in a row I'll be mentoring at Bloghouse, a 3-day intensive blogging workshop. This year's edition is happening in Scottsdale, Arizona, and I'm looking forward to visiting a new part of that state.
June: Scotland – Elliot and I are taking our annual “big trip” to Scotland this year, where we're planning to explore the Malt Whisky Trail in the Highlands, and distillery-hop around the island of Islay. Elliot has never been to Scotland before, so I'm looking forward to sharing another of my favorite parts of the world with him.
June: Avalon river cruise – After Scotland, I'm flying to Budapest to board a river cruise up the Danube with Avalon Waterways. I'm really excited about this specific cruise, as it's one of Avalon's new “Active & Discovery” itineraries, which includes a wider range of excursions to choose from. I'm looking forward to visiting some new cities in Austria!
And remember that you can follow along in real-time with all of my adventures through my IG Stories on Instagram!