After a busy February and March, April was a month for me to stay closer to home, get some work done, and enjoy the glimpses of spring that have managed to show themselves in northeast Ohio.
While I didn’t do much traveling this month, I did make some headway on a lot of work projects, and have been busy planning several different things for 2019 – my year is almost completely booked up at this point, which is crazy!
Here’s what my April looked like:
April: The month in travel
Like I said, April was not a travel month for me; it was one of those stay-at-home-and-get-work-done months – which are just as important!
- Countries visited: 1 – USA
- Cities visited: Cleveland, Ohio
- Flights taken: 0
- Days spent on the road: 2
The best thing I ate/drank: I’m working on some summer content for my new Cleveland blog, meaning I’ve been getting out to see and do more around Cleveland. This month had me trying liquid nitrogen ice cream, soup dumplings, some of the best Thai food in the city, and a few new coffee shops. My favorite, though, was probably this bowl at Superior Pho.
April travel highlights
All of my “travel” in April was done in and around Cleveland.
Getting my art on – The Cleveland Museum of Art is a fabulous (and free) art museum, and Elliot and I spent a fun weekend afternoon seeing as much of it as we could so I could write this post about it.
Visiting Lake View Cemetery in the spring – I’m one of those people who really loves visiting old cemeteries. And, lucky for me, Cleveland has its own great, garden-like cemetery that’s 150 years old. Lake View Cemetery is a gorgeous cemetery, and I spent a day exploring it in April, when the daffodils and magnolias were in full bloom.
April travel lowlights
Since I didn’t leave Ohio in April, I can’t really report any travel lowlights. The only bummer lately has been the crappy weather in northeast Ohio, which has kept me from doing more things outside.
April on the blog
I have a huge backlog of posts to write, and started making some headway on them in April. (Guys, it’s tough to run two sites, so forgive me if I’m posting a little bit less over here. I still have lots of Morocco and Portugal content to come!)
April traffic: 187,473 unique visitors, 265,369 pageviews
Most popular post: 3 Days in Lisbon, Portugal: The Ultimate Lisbon Itinerary and To-Do List – I started publishing some of my Portugal content in April, starting with this very detailed guide to Lisbon.
Other posts published in April:
- Morocco Uncovered: The Best Morocco Tour with Intrepid Travel
- Camels, Dunes, and Drums: An Overnight Trip into the Sahara Desert
- How to Plan an Epic Day Trip to Sintra in Portugal
- USA Road Trip Essentials: What to Pack for a US Road Trip
April on social media
Most popular Instagram post: This photo of the incredible Livraria Lello bookshop in Porto, Portugal, was understandably very popular. I was in line before the shop opened so I could be one of the first ones through the door in order to get this shot without other people in it!
View this post on Instagram
Do you ever visit places knowing that they might be crowded and nothing like the perfectly staged photos you see on Instagram, but you still really want to see them so you go anyway? When I was planning my trip to Portugal earlier this year, I knew I wanted to visit the Lavraria Lello, a bookstore made famous by being tangentially related to Harry Potter – rumor has it author JK Rowling enjoyed this shop when she lived in Porto, and it may have influenced the Flourish and Blotts shop in Diagon Alley. Thanks to Harry Potter ties and a number of dreamy shots on Instagram, the bookshop has become ridiculously popular. 📚 Like, so popular that you now have to buy a 5 Euro ticket in order to even enter. I knew it would be busy and filled with selfie sticks and Instagram poses. But I still really really wanted to see it for myself. So I left my hotel early, and arrived outside the ticket shop (located on the corner just up the street from the bookshop itself) about 20 minutes before opening time. By the time they started selling tickets 5 minutes later, there were already about a dozen people in line with me. I managed to be the second person in line when the bookstore opened, and rushed inside to snap this shot before the staircase became clogged with people. When I left 30 minutes later, I basically had to swim through a sea of tourists. So no, this is not what this shop usually looks like. But it’s also not a fake photo – I had it more or less to myself for a few precious minutes, and that was worth it in my mind. I still left with a smile on my face. If you want to visit Livraria Lello in Porto, plan to get there before it opens, and be ready to be quick with your camera! Is this somewhere you’d want to visit in Portugal?
Most popular Facebook post: You enjoyed this funny packing meme, and many of you joined me for an “Ask Me Anything” Facebook live video (which you can watch here if you missed it).
April business update
April was a slightly slower month, income-wise, but I still hit my income goals – by about $3! But hey, that still counts.
- Advertising: $4,894.25
- Affiliate marketing: $4,426.59
- Consulting: $682.50
(Note that this is my income before deductions and taxes.)
Speaking at my alma mater – At the beginning of the month, I traveled across the state to my undergrad alma mater, Ohio Northern University. I spoke to a class of English majors about what I do as a travel blogger, and how I basically created this job for myself. It was fun to re-visit ONU after 10 years (HOW has it been 10 years??), and to talk to students about what I do!
Potentially hosting a tour in 2020 – I get messages all the time from people asking me “Do you need a travel buddy?” I *don’t* usually need a travel buddy for my adventures, but I may still have a way that you can travel with me next year! I’m talking with my favorite tour company, Intrepid Travel, about customizing a tour for 2020 that I would “host,” and that you could join me on! I’m deciding between Morocco and Jordan at the moment, and hope to have something to officially announce in the next couple of months!
Come travel with me next year?
April slump – April is often a bit of a “slump” month for travel blogs. You’re entering Quarter 2 of the business year, meaning lower advertising earnings. You’re also usually navigating around Spring Break that’s just happened, as well as Easter holidays, meaning people aren’t planning as much travel. I weathered this slump much better than in past years, but here’s hoping the rest of Q2 goes even better!
Upcoming in May
There’s a chance I may add another last-minute trip to my schedule in May, but for now all I have planned is a conference trip. But after that, the summer travel season begins!
Here’s a look at what’s coming up in the next couple of months:
May: SATW in Columbus – As this publishes, I’ll be headed down to Columbus for the SATW Freelance Council meeting (SATW being the Society of American Travel Writers). This will be my first time going to an SATW event, so I’m excited! I have a busy 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!