Have two months really passed since I published the last one of these? I guess it's time for another update then!
After more than two years of stops and starts, it's starting to feel like travel really is coming back, for better or worse (better of course because the travel industry needs it, but worse because the pandemic isn't over and travel is becoming brutal this summer).
These last two months have been busy for me, with a couple domestic work projects and my first international trip since October 2019! I also finally went on a much-anticipated expedition trip that I booked all the way back in 2020, and I can confidently say it was well worth the wait.
Let's get into this update – there's a lot to cover!
May and June: The months in travel
- Countries visited: 4 – USA, England, France, and Canada
- States visited: 2 – Tennessee and Kentucky
- Flights taken: 14 (OOF, that's rough, but 8 of those were to get to/from Canada, which included going the remote Baffin Island. At least I carbon offset every month!)
- Days spent on the road: 32
Finally exploring Franklin, TN – After a couple false starts in the last two years, I finally made it to Franklin, Tennessee! This city isn't far from Nashville, but feels worlds away. I spent a few days in Franklin, learning about Civil War history, exploring its very cute downtown area, visiting both a winery and distillery, and even going on a bike tour on the Natchez Trace Parkway. You can read all about my trip here.
Exploring London with Elliot – In May, I boarded my very first international flight in more than 2.5 years! Elliot and I flew to London, where we spent a few days being (fairly lazy) tourists together. We had afternoon tea, rode the London Eye, visited Westminster Abbey, and went on lots of long walks through pretty London neighborhoods. It felt so good to be back in my favorite city!
Staying at the Shangri-La The Shard – Because we were “revenge traveling” hard (i.e. making up for lost time and spending some of the money we'd saved up during the pandemic), I splurged on one night at the Shangri-La hotel in London, which is inside the Shard.
We don't stay in 5-star hotels very often, so we really made the most of this one! I took a bubble bath in our ridiculously huge bathroom with floor-to-ceiling windows, and swam in an infinity pool on the 52nd floor. (And then I used credit card points to book the rest of our hotel nights in London for free! Ha.)
Returning to Paris – From London, we took the Eurostar train to Paris. And if we were lazy tourists in London, we decidedly were not in Paris! I'd been to Paris once before, but it was Elliot's first time, so we tried to do as much as possible. We hit up art museums, strolled through parks, did a cruise on the Seine, and took way too many photos of the Eiffel Tower.
Day trip to Versailles – Another thing we did while in Paris was take a day trip to Versailles. But it wasn't just any day trip to see the palace – it was a bike-based tour! We toured the opulent Palace and Gardens of Versailles, but also went shopping at a local market and then had a picnic lunch next to the palace canal. It was such a cool day trip (and yes, I'll be writing about it!).
The most epic Arctic trip – After getting back from Europe, I had two weeks at home to prep for what turned out to be one of the most epic trips I've ever been on! I headed to Ottawa, and then to Baffin Island in the territory of Nunavut, where I rode in an Inuit sled to a camp set up on the soon-to-be-melting sea ice.
My group spent the next 5 days going out to the floe edge (where the melting ice meets open sea) to look for things like narwhals and polar bears. It's still hard for me to put into words how amazing this trip was. The Arctic is incredible, and so are the people who call it home.
Living out my horse girl dreams in Lexington, KY – Lastly, I spent the last weekend in June in Lexington, Kentucky, staying at a plant-friendly hotel and living out all my middle-school Horse Girl fantasies. I went to a horse museum, visited a thoroughbred farm, toured a racetrack, and got to know the (actually very cool) Lexington, too.
(And if my months continue looking like this, I may have to go back to writing these updates monthly again!)
Travel is rough right now – I'm so, so thankful to have been on the road for more than 30 days in the last two months. But it's true what you've been hearing: traveling is rough right now. Almost every flight during my Canada trip was delayed. Our Eurostar train was delayed 2.5 hours (but at least there was free wine). And, despite having Priority-tagged bags, Elliot's luggage got lost on our way to London, and it took 36 hours and lots of Twitter messages to get it back.
If you're traveling this summer, allow yourself extra time, take just a carry-on if you can, and pack your patience!
May and June on the blog(s)
Getting new content published has been slow-going – but that's probably because the posts I publish these days tend to be super long and detailed behemoths that take me days to write! Long gone are the days of being able to write, format, edit, and publish a post in just a couple hours.
Traffic-wise, things stayed pretty steady in May and June on my main site. I was hoping for a summer traffic bump, but with travel being such a mess and everything so expensive right now, I can understand that some people are just going to wait. Numbers are still down from pre-pandemic, but perhaps this is just the new normal now.
A Dangerous Business traffic: 164,218 unique visitors and 224,786 pageviews in May; and 167,227 unique visitors and 227,162 pageviews in June.
Most popular post: The Perfect 7-Day California Desert Road Trip Itinerary – The latest in my series of really detailed road trip guides, this one follows the trip I did back in February/March that included Death Valley, Joshua Tree, Alabama Hills, Las Vegas, and more. Definitely a great winter road trip!
Other posts published:
- How to See the Highlights of Joshua Tree National Park in One Day
- The Best Things to Do in Franklin, Tennessee: The Perfect 3-Day Itinerary
I also updated some older posts, like my guide to afternoon teas in London, saving money in London by using and London Pass, and suggestions for day trips to take from London.
On my Cleveland niche site, traffic is also holding pretty steady, with a few upticks here and there when a post gets shared a lot on Facebook.
Cleveland Traveler traffic: 35,415 unique visitors and 46,370 pageviews in May; and 44,068 unique visitors and 57,770 pageviews in June.
If you want to see what I've been up to on Cleveland Traveler lately, visit the site here.
May and June on social media
My foray into more video content on social media continues, both on TikTok (more specifically, my Cleveland Traveler TikTok account @clevelandtraveler), and on Instagram with Reels.
On my main @dangerousbiz account, I'm really behind! I'm still sharing Paris content, though have added all my IG Stories from the Arctic to two separate highlights in case you just can't wait!
Most popular post on Instagram (@dangerousbiz): This photo of me with a couple London icons, sharing some observations about things that have changed in my favorite city since the last time I visited.
Most popular post on Instagram (@clevelandtraveler): This post showing off a local beach (because yes we have beaches in Cleveland!) was the most popular.
May and June business update
Remember, I report my earnings when they hit my bank account, meaning these ad earnings are from February and March, and the affiliate earnings are mostly from April/May travel.
Speaking of affiliate earnings, though, these are roaring back as people are squeezing in all that Europe revenge travel.
A Dangerous Business May income report:
- Advertising: $11,081.01
- Affiliates: $5,260.97
- Course/product sales: $276.26
- Other: $489.3
A Dangerous Business June income report:
- Advertising: $12,379.42
- Affiliates: $6,367.72
- Travel campaigns: $3,468.58
- Other: $109.35
(Note that this is my income before deductions/expenses and taxes.)
On Cleveland Traveler, ad earnings are pretty steady. I do earn some affiliate income from this site, too, but it's negligible and lumped in with earnings from my main site.
Cleveland Traveler May income report:
- Advertising: $1,486.7
Cleveland Traveler June income report:
- Advertising: $1,751.04
(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 2.5 years.)
Being able to (sort of) plan ahead again – Let me be clear: COVID isn't gone, and I'm still trying to be responsible with my plans and actions. But the travel industry has entered into recovery phase (I think maybe for real this time), and that means work showing up more regularly in my inbox again.
I don't say yes to everything of course, but it IS nice to have work projects on my calendar again.
There have been a lot of personal lows for me in the last couple weeks (mass shootings and the overturning of certain human rights in the US certainly haven't helped), but my business is still doing well, so I'm thankful for that.
Upcoming this spring/summer
I'm home for all of July (thank goodness, because I have a ton of work to catch up on!), but I do have some trips planned in the coming months:
August: Iceland road trip – In a little over a month, I'm headed to Iceland! I've been to Iceland before (several times, in fact), but I've yet to do a road trip there. So me and my friend Adventurous Kate are hitting the Ring Road around Iceland for about 2 weeks! I'm so excited to explore new parts of this awesome little country.
September: Ireland + ? – Elliot and I were already talking about maybe going back to Europe in September, and then I got invited to travel around Ireland with a company I've worked with before. I'll be in Ireland for a week at the end of September, but Elliot and I want to go somewhere else for a week beforehand. The UK (namely Scotland or maybe Wales) is our first thought, but who knows!
October: Austin – Last year, we were supposed to go to Austin for the Formula 1 US Grand Prix. But COVID ruined those plans, and we deferred our tickets to this year. I'm not sure how many F1 fans I have following me, but I plan to share it with you anyway!
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