September 2019 Travel and Blogging Recap

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September is always an interesting time to be traveling. It marks “back-to-school” season in many countries, and often is the beginning of the slow season for travel.

I slowed down a little in September – though not that much! I was home for about half the month, but I was so busy that it felt like I was barely home at all.

Girl in a dress on the Canopy Walk at Holden Arboretum in Ohio
Though I did make it to this spot (Holden Arboretum) during my time at home!

Here's what my month looked like:

September: The month in travel

  • Countries visited: 3 – Tanzania, the Netherlands, and Italy
  • Cities visited: 4 – Paje and Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania; Amsterdam, Netherlands; Ravenna and Bologna, Italy
  • Flights taken: 6
  • Days spent on the road: 14

The coolest thing I did: My travel this month was slightly more low-key; I spent most of my time exploring some cities, including some new-to-me spots in Italy. The coolest thing I did (in my opinion) was to visit a bunch of the famous mosaic churches in Ravenna, Italy, which make up a UNESCO World Heritage site. The mosaic work truly is stunning, and Ravenna is small enough that you can see all the famous churches in just one day.

The best thing I ate: I can't talk about this trip without mentioning Bologna, Italy! This city is well-known for its food, I and was not disappointed. While it's tough to choose a favorite, I think the tagliatelle al ragù at Osteria dell'Orsa was my favorite – I liked it so much that I had it twice!

A bowl of tagliatelle al ragù at Osteria dell'Orsa
Tagliatelle al ragù at Osteria dell'Orsa – possibly the best pasta I've ever eaten.

September travel highlights

Food tour in Amsterdam – On our way home from Tanzania, my sister Melissa and I stopped in Amsterdam for two nights. I've been to Amsterdam before, but it was my sister's first time in mainland Europe! On our first full day, we signed up for a food tour that included some Dutch dishes and ended with a canal cruise. I love taking food tours when I travel, and this one was great!

Churches in Ravenna – I already mentioned this above, but visiting the mosaic churches in Ravenna, Italy, was another highlight this month. The churches are extremely old, but also very well-preserved. And the mosaics are breathtaking! Ravenna is also slightly off the tourist trail in Italy, so none of these churches were crowded at all in late September.

Ceiling in the Neonian Baptistry in Ravenna
That's not painted – it's made from tiny mosaic tiles!
Mosaics at the Basilica of San Vitale in Ravenna
Again, all mosaics! All at the Basilica of San Vitale in Ravenna

Visiting friends in Bologna – After Ravenna, I took the train an hour to Bologna, where I stayed with some expat friends for 5 days. My time in Bologna was split between sightseeing, eating, and hanging out with friends (and playing with my friends' adorable 3-year-old daughter who for some inexplicable reason spent an entire day calling me “Grandma”). It was a chilled-out visit, which was perfect.

September travel lowlights

Despite flying between 3 different continents this month, I don't have any major travel mishaps or low points to report!

Tree-lined canal in Amsterdam
We even had good weather in Amsterdam!

September on the blog

With a very busy October coming up, I did my best to get my butt in gear in September. It paid off! I published more posts than in the last couple months, and had a great traffic month.

September traffic: 199,502 unique visitors and 282,652 pageviews

Most popular post: A Harry Potter Lover’s Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland – Because, I mean, we all love Harry Potter, right? This guide was so fun to write (and even more fun to research earlier this year in Scotland!) and details a bunch of magical things you can do in Edinburgh.

Other posts published in September:

September on social media

Most popular Instagram post: This photo of me in front of semi-floating restaurant The Rock in Zanzibar was an all-around favorite. This photo of my favorite street in Edinburgh, Scotland, came in second.

View this post on Instagram

Many people don’t necessarily think of beaches when they think of the African continent, but of course it has beaches! Great beaches in many cases. My trip to Kenya and Tanzania ended on the island of Zanzibar, which is known for its tropical vibe and turquoise water. We began in Stone Town, the main city on Zanzibar, and then spent our last two days on the opposite coast in the town of Paje. The beach in Paje reminded me of backpacker beach towns in Thailand years ago: sun-kissed travelers sporting baggy elephant pants and kids on the beach passing out fliers for nighttime beach parties. It was the perfect-chilled back place to visit at the end of a whirlwind trip. One afternoon, we went for a group lunch at the famous restaurant pictured here: The Rock. Zanzibar has some dramatic tides, and this restaurant looks completely different depending on when you go. (Case in point: when we arrived, we walked out to it through knee-deep water. On the way back to shore, we had to get ferried in a boat!) The Rock is by no means the best restaurant in Zanzibar, but it sure is an iconic one. Glad to have checked this off my travel bucket list! Have you been to Zanzibar? Or any other beach destination in Africa?

A post shared by Amanda Williams ? (@dangerousbiz) on

Most popular Facebook post: My East Africa safari content still remained a clear favorite, most of all this post about the Ngorongoro Crater.

September business update

September was a bit of a weird month income-wise. It was my BEST income month EVER, but it's mostly because payments for campaigns I worked on over the summer all hit my bank account within the same week! (It was the end of the quarter, so no surprise there!)

Income report:

  • Advertising: $6,934.2
  • Affiliates: $3,710.73
  • Paid campaigns: $7,923.52
  • Other: $1,269.25

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

Business highs

Speaking at the Social Travel Summit – I went to Ravenna to speak at the Social Travel Summit, a small conference for travel bloggers and DMOs. I spoke about affiliate marketing, and got great feedback about my session!

Amanda standing under colorful umbrellas in a street in Ravenna
Happy after giving my talk!

Cleaning stuff up – I've been spending some time (and money) lately cleaning some things up on my site. I ditched the dates in my URLs finally, which I know means nothing to anyone who doesn't run a website, but it's a good thing for search results! I'm also working on organizing some things a bit better behind the scenes, and am getting ready to finally hire some people to help!

Business lows

It's been a good month business-wise; I have some things already lined up for the coming months, and am excited to start looking forward to 2020 soon!

Rooftops of Bologna, Italy
Bologna, Italy

Upcoming in October

It feels like the homestretch – and that's because it sort of is! This is my last “big trip” of the year. I'm excited for everything coming up in October, but am also looking forward to a bit of a break in November!

October: Monograms trip – I'm writing this to you from Venice, Italy, where I'm currently working with Monograms, a company that helps plan vacation packages for people. I spent a few days in London last week, and will be in Venice and Rome through this weekend. Can't wait to tell you more about this company!

October: Turkey with Dad – After Italy, I'll be hopping over to Istanbul, where I'll be meeting up with my dad. We're signed up for a 2-week tour around Turkey with Intrepid Travel, and I'm looking forward to introducing my dad to my favorite tour company AND finally seeing more of Turkey!

And remember that you can follow along in real-time with all of my adventures through my IG Stories 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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12 Comments on “September 2019 Travel and Blogging Recap

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  1. You’ve had such a fun-filled month! I’m curious to hear what you’ve eaten in Amsterdam during the food tour. As a Dutchie, I’m curious to find out what dishes we show to visitors 🙂

      We had things like poffertjes, some seafood, bitterballen, some cheeses and sausages, and a few other things! It was a good food tour.

    Hey Amanda, Thanks for letting us get a glimpse into your travels and business. What caused your affiliate income to drop 40% versus last month (6.2k to 3.7k)? 3.7k is still mighty impressive. Do you share anywhere publicly the rough split of where that comes from?

      Affiliate income varies a lot depending on the season, especially in travel! (It slows down a lot in the fall.) Some months I sell a few more high-price items. I also have some programs where I don’t make enough to get paid every month, so I get paid instead every other or every 3 months. When a bunch of things coincide (i.e. some extra payments, good sales months, etc.), then I end up having a better-than-average month with affiliates. August was definitely above-average!

    Congrats on an awesome September! Have seen some of your stuff on Instagram and it looked like Italy was awesome (and Turkey looks super cool now!). Drooling over all of those Bologna shots. Can’t wait to visit Bologna! And congrats on all of your blog business success – very inspiring!

      Thanks very much! Italy was indeed great, and Turkey is even better than I expected! I have a ton to write about this winter, so I’m glad I’m going to be home for a while after this.

    Sounds like a great month! Excited to hear more about your Turkey travels!

      It was indeed a good month, and October has been equally as great so far!

    Hi Amanda, I always love reading your monthly recaps, and as a fellow travel blogger I appreciate you sharing your business updates every month too. I noticed that you said you were looking to hire some people to help with your blog, so I thought I’d reach out as I would be super interested in working with you! I am great with all things Pinterest, SEO, affiliate marketing, email marketing, and digital product creation/marketing. I’m leaving my email in this comment in case you are interested 🙂 Thanks!

      Thanks so much! When I get home from my current trip, the first thing on my to-do list is to figure out exactly what I need to hire out, and then start looking for people. Thanks for leaving your info!

    Hi Amanda, your post was fun to read (I loved Ravenna!) and your blog numbers inspiring. I wanted to ask if you could share how many published posts you have on your blog? I just wanted a reference about how many it takes to get up into those kinds of numbers. Thanks!

      Sure! I have more than 700 posts on my blog – but just remember that not all of those get lots of traffic! (In fact, I’m still going through the process of cleaning things up and getting rid of posts that are basically useless and not driving any traffic.)

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