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Until April-May this year, this was a post I was really excited to write! I still remember writing my 5 years of travel post in September 2015 just before heading to the Middle East for the first time and back to South East Asia, and I remember thinking that I REALLY hope I still have this blog to post 10 years of travel on it! Although I’m not in Canada writing it like I thought I might be!
I wrote my 1 year of full time blogging review last summer and after a great summer where I finally earnt more than I did in my job in London, I was also excited to see what this second year would bring.
And it did start well, this time last year I was in Pakistan, I spent 2 months in Indonesia until Christmas, I visited Saudi Arabia as soon as I could after it opened its borders to tourists, and ran my first 2 group tours to India which I am still amazed and so proud of!
Then, you know it, covid hit! But a lot did happen before this and a lot has happened since this, just in a different way to what I thought, so I made myself finally write this post, and I enjoyed writing it, so I hope you enjoy reading it too!
My 2nd year blogging full time review.
September 2019 to March 2020
Last summer, which was 1 year since I quit my job in London to travel and blog full time, was such a good summer for me financially. I finally felt like I wasn’t doing all of this work for free and getting recognition!
I had a few paid press trips, I had sponsored work come in, my page views on my blog were increasing by thousands each month meaning an increase in ad revenue and also affiliate links in tours, hotels, train tickets, insurance. I really did feel like ‘Wow, it really is possible to make good money through this blogging thing!‘.
Things slowed down in the Autumn and into the Winter but not terribly, I was still making enough money to sustain my travels in Asia, save money, buy a new iPhone 11 pro, you know, the basics!
After some good conversations with close blogging friends I picked up on a lot of things that I was doing wrong with my blog so I spent my 2 months in Indonesia in November and December working really really hard on my blog, writing new posts, editing old posts with the intention of increasing my page views on my blog so that I could be making enough money from the ad revenue & affiliates on my blog alone!
Although my traffic was down in Winter and changes to posts take a few months to flow through googles web, I feel like I did see the results from this! Until March, when things suddenly turned very bad!
March to September 2020
Well, it’s safe to say that the travel blogging space since March has been very sad and very low.
During lockdown, as food, hobby and lifestyle blogs boomed I thought about starting another blog, but we didn’t know how long it would last did we? And I realised I’m not interested in food, exercise and arts & crafts, so I stuck with my love of travel in the hope it would, and will, get back on track!
Financially, I had a few sponsored campaigns come in at the start of the year and a really random request to buy some of my photos in March which then covered my spending for the next few months. And talking of spending, as you may know, I lived in Indonesia for 4 months paying £230.00 per month in rent for a private villa and about £250.00 on food, massages, and um, that’s it! So my spending costs were low!
Not only was so I so grateful to have the freedom to spend all of this time in Indonesia on a tropical island working on my tan, snorkelling, paddle boarding and watching sunsets, I was also so pleased I didn’t have expensive London rent to worry about paying when my income dipped to barely anything over the coming months!
When I decided to blog full time 2 years ago, it was on the basis that I would be travelling full time too. I didn’t want to have high overheads whilst trying to give working for myself a go. Obviously, travelling full time was also my dream so I wasn’t about to stay in London anyway, but I was definitely so so pleased with this decision this year!
In Indonesia I spent most of the 4 months still working on my blog, I went back and updated every single post. I got my site speed sorted, wrote a load of new posts and thankfully my UK blog posts picked up on views over the Summer however ad revenue is still low and affiliates barely anything!
This blogging thing is strange though because money does come in from random places and adds up. The odd paid Instagram photo, blog post, affiliate program and a small trickle of YouTube ad revenue, so I’m ok and I have hope that next year we’ll be back on the rise!
I’m also so so glad I ran my 2 group tours. I did this for the passion of course but also for the finances and having the profit of these tours in my bank account this year has made me feel much safer!
I know that I wondered, and still do wonder, how bloggers make their money online, do they make enough? How much do they make? So I hope this information gives you an honest idea.
It has been tough over the last few months and one month in the summer I only made £103! But on average, if I add up my 9 months earnings this year, I’ve still earnt an average full time wage (average outside of London!) and I’ve lived on an island for 4 months, just moved to Istanbul, had a lot of freedom compared to a lot of people, and all the hours I’ve spent on my laptop I’ve enjoyed, so I haven’t had it bad and I hope I am proof that if you want to do this too, you can!
September 2020 onwards
Well, I plan to keep on working on travel posts for this blog because I love it so so much and now I’m in Turkey I will have lots to write about.
However, for the next few months, I’m going to make YouTube more of a priority whilst living in Istanbul because I have a growing audience over there and financially I can make a lot more money than I have been making if I post more consistent videos.
And I’m really hoping to be able to run some group tours next Spring to Turkey and Jordan, 2 countries that dealt with the virus really well and 2 epic countries to travel. So let’s see how that goes with COVID!
The last 5 years of travel update.
My travel bug started in the summer of 2010 when I worked at summer camp in the USA for a few months. I spent the next 5 years saving money at home for travel, living in Australia for 2 years, backpacking South East Asia for 5 months, backpacking South America for 3 months, and backpacking Europe for 1 month.
5 years ago I was about to start yet another backpacking trip, first up hitting the Middle East solo– Turkey, Israel, Jordan, UAE, before going to Hong Kong and then onto Vietnam, Myanmar, Thailand and the Philippines with my best friends.
Although I remember the trip like yesterday, I know that I am such a different person now, which makes sense, it was 5 years ago, but it is still a strange to look back on!
After that trip, in Feb 2016 I moved to London and ended up there for 2.5 years. In the last 18 months of that time I did a trip nearly every month through myself or my blog and although I had a lot of lows there I do now look back on it with rose-tinted glasses which I’m happy about! (Until those glasses think it’s a good idea to move back anyway, because my non-tinted mind knows that’s not a good idea for me!)
That then brings me to the last 2 years of full-time travel after leaving London.
2 years ago I had just got to my 50th Country Lebanon, then I went to India where I have spent 6 months in over the last 24 months.
In the last 2 years I’ve also been to Taiwan and Japan twice, China, South Korea, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia twice, Kuwait, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia twice, the Caribbean, Italy, Spain, home twice, and now I’m living in Turkey!
I’m 2 weeks into living here on a 3-month visa and it’s easy enough to apply for a 1-year resident visa for Turkey too so if I really like it, it’s so nice to know that I should be able to stay, or use Turkey as a base to travel from and not have to worry about a visa!
I’m pretty set on staying in Turkey until the end of the year. I may spend a few weeks at the end of the year elsewhere, maybe even at home as I haven’t spent Christmas at home since 2018! It just depends on the virus and what borders are open! I am really hoping to visit more of the Middle East starting in January 2021– Saudi Arabia, Oman, UAE, Qatar, Egypt, Iraq are all on my radar, as is Pakistan, more of the ‘Stans’ and of course a lot more!
I had grand plans of seeing a lot of new countries in 2020 which hasn’t happened. Ironically, I remember thinking in December 2019 that most of the new countries I wanted to visit were Islamic Countries and although I didn’t get to travel to them this year, I did learn a lot about Islam in lockdown in Indonesia become a Muslim in August 2020 (here’s my YouTube video on this).
Soooo I guess things do really work out in the right way because I know I’ll appreciate and understand all of these new countries so much more now I am a Muslim so let’s see what 2021 brings, what my 3rd year of working for myself brings, and the next 5 years of travel! I guess by my 15 year of travel update post I hope to be one of those mums that manages to travel to cool places with a baby 😉