If there is one thing I love more than a freshly brewed cup of coffee with oat milk, it’s the transition into spring weather. All my life, I have never been a huge fan of cold weather, so every time I feel that slightest warm front coming in, I am bringing out my shorts, tank tops, sunscreen, and preparing myself to melt in the heat of the summer. But as the spring months came and passed, so did A LOT of rain which is really unusual here in Texas. There haven’t been many of those clear-skied, sunny days to take in, so I feel like I have been spending a ton of time indoors, but I am ready for the better weather to come in so I can go sit at cute coffee shops in the morning while I get all my blogging responsibilities done. I think my fumbling out of bed to a comfy chair isn’t really doing me any favors, so I’d love to switch up my routine.
Gearing up for Iceland
These past two months have been heavily dedicated to gearing up for my trip to Iceland. I think this has been my first trip that has required tons of preparation in regards to gear, transportation, food, and my itinerary. Since I came to Texas after backpacking around Indonesia, I didn’t have any cold weather gear suitable to travel around Iceland. Nothin’. Nada. Zip. I also didn’t own any of my own camping equipment, so a ton of research has been going into finding the gear that’s best for me and finding items that are going to last a long time. I think I am going to make a camping packing list for Iceland once I return so that I can share all of the gear that I used along the way and maybe a little review of how they held up on my trip. Let me know in the comments if that’s something you all would be interested in! As for transportation, food, and my itinerary. Oh boy. So. Much. Planning. I do plan on self-driving the entire ring road of Iceland, the road that circles the entire island, and there are many ways to get to certain places, so I have been planning routes and roads that my car is able to drive on and so that I can avoid having to cross any rivers. Iceland truly is a HOTSPOT for photography and adventure, so I have been doing even more research dedicated to photography locations and places that are off the beaten path that I will visit. I even found this (extremely) secret hidden canyon that will for sure be tear-worthy when I see it in person. I searched and searched for this baby using the satellite feature on Google Maps, so buckle your seatbelts for the content on my Instagram in June. This trip will be the most research that I have done for any of my travels thus far, and I am really excited to explore and camp for two weeks. Even as I plan this trip, I already know that I am going to visit again probably next year because there is so much to see here, but you can never spend too much time since it is really costly to visit Iceland.
Visions of home
I can’t believe that I haven’t mentioned this yet, but I have been toying with the idea of converting/ living in a van?! It seems like right now in my life, settling down into one place doesn’t feel right to me. Especially since a small, one bedroom apartment here in Texas costs over $1200 / month without internet or utilities. I mention this again in my personal growth section at the bottom of this post, but I have found that your 20’s are a time for investments and I want to make an investment into this passion project rather than a plain ol’ apartment that is essentially tossing my hard earned cash down the drain. I do live a minimalistic lifestyle and eventually, I want to live nomadically, so this road that I could potentially thrust myself down makes a whole lot of sense and it excites me to no end. I had been going back and forth between buying a (2008-2012 ish) Mercedes Sprinter Van and an old Volkswagon Bus, and I think I have unofficially, officially made my decision to go with the Volkswagon. I know that I need to do research and make sure the car has been taken care of over the years otherwise it’s going to be my worst nightmare in terms of repairs, but I am truly overjoyed to have my own little space that I will soon be able to decorate and wake up to a view of the mountains or ocean! My plan is to put around 75% of the cost of the van as a down payment and then get a loan for the rest since I am trying to do adult-y things and build my credit (woo), so I aim to have my van purchased by next spring or maybe next summer? In the meantime, I have a beautiful van life Pinterest board that you can stalk if you want to catch the vibe of what my future home will look like! There is inspiration there for Sprinter style vans and the classic VW vans, so you’ll get a good feel for what each of them would look like.
my vision board progress
On a similar note, my vision board has been coming along quite nicely. I am really allowing myself to think about the things that matter most to me because I do feel like I am at a very pivotal point in my life right now. I really want to make this the ULTIMATE vision board/book. Right now, I have a photoshop file of brands that I am interested in working with in the future and it looks a little something like this:
I plan on printing this out, cutting out all of the brands and companies, and putting them into the career section of my vision book, but I am still in the process of thinking about what brands align with my values and who I would love to help represent What Do You Sea in the future. I really allowed myself to dream big for this, so even though there are some big guys on this list, I still plan on working with other companies and brands, but these are some that I hope to work with in the future. I am going to have a different one dedicated to travel that I will curate for the month of May, but I am still gathering inspiration for it as well as the other areas that I need to envision: career, social, emotional, family, spiritual, physical, financial, and mental. I like to be extremely thorough, so getting through these has taken a bit of time for me to curate, but I know I’ll adore it once I am done.
how am i?
So I’ve covered Iceland, my new home, spring, my vision board, so, how am I doing? Truthfully, I haven’t felt at home here in Texas at all the last couple of months. Is it because I haven’t made friends here? Is it because I miss my family? Is it because I feel called to be somewhere else? Or D. All of the above? I have this overwhelming sense that I should not be here, but then again I am not so sure where I would go. I have been eager to have a place to call home for a while now, but I don’t know if that is a physical home or a location-based home, or both. I guess I just feel a little bit confused as to where I should be. It’s a feeling of floating around uncertainty and being a map without an ‘x marks the spot’. I know that I am still so young, twenty years old, and maybe I don’t NEED to be settled in, but one thing is for sure, I want to feel like I am at home wherever I lie my head. I don’t feel that right now. It’s hard growing up in a place that revolves around stunning sunsets and nature-filled summers and moving to a place that is a soccer mom, 7/11, suburbian utopia that I just don’t fit in with. Everyone drives Mercedes’ and seeing a BMW I8 is normal and materialism is normal and everything that I don’t want out of my life is normal here. I don’t get it. I think the clarity that I have been longing for all along will come with the stillness of nature in Iceland, once I get away from all this madness. But, for now, I am welcoming more meditation and yoga so that I can get a bit of direction on this road split two ways. Having a space that is your own and that you can call home is so crucial for self-development, self-care, and creativity. I can’t stress it enough. I hope I find mine soon.
Other than feeling a little lost and getting past this small cold, I’m growing. A lot is changing and I am trying to welcome it all with open arms.
It’s safe to say your twenties are quite the experience and I feel like I am on a constant off-road adventure, but I am loving every minute of it.
Blogging Overview For April
Monthly Page Views: 3,653
Monthly Sessions: 2,582
Pinterest Reach: ~291,000
Domain Authority: 12
Page Authority: 22
NEW PINS. NEW SITE.
Uhm, hellooooo! Look at this beautiful new website *gestures broadly to everything*. I have been SO excited to share my project for what feels like ages now and I am so excited to unveil my brand new website and brand new pin design! I feel like I have finally found my niche and direction with my website so that it doesn’t look like a plain ol’ thing anymore. I have found new interests, passions, and *gasp* an Instagram theme that I really mesh well with and that really brings my entire brand together. It has brought on new blog posts, new ideas, new passions, and new adventures that I never would have imagined that I would be taking. I am still in the process of redesigning old pins and promoting new content, so the updating process is going to take a little bit, but I am excited that everything is looking beautiful and branded for once. I am even looking into going to different travel conventions (I believe that’s what they’re called) like Travel Con to connect with brands, tourism boards, and make connections so that I can start working with people that align with my brand’s values. That’s one of my largest goals for the new year is to start working with different companies and get #sponsored! It sounds so weird saying it now, but it’s in the works!
My PA increased from 20 to 22.
My page and domain authority is never something that I am going to figure out I feel like, so I really don’t pay so much attention to what I do to grow these numbers. It is a goal of mine to hit 30 eventually, but I’ll be needing to do a bit more collabing and things before that finally takes off. I do want to make a guest post for another blog at some point, but I am so neck deep in my own things that I need to catch up a little bit before I get into a project like that. It has been something that I have been thinking about for a while now, and I really want to put a lot of time and passion into getting published onto another website. It would be huge for me exposure wise and it would really help me to expand my audience, and therefore bring up my PA and DA. It is a step, not a guarantee, but I am on the hunt for potential guest posts that I can write for other blogs.
I made $21.68 from affiliates!
I have nothing but pure excitement for this. It’s another one of those small things that show that growth is happening and that I am moving in the right direction. I don’t want to jinx anything, so I’ll keep this short and sweet, but a huge thank you to everyone that took my recommendations and tries out the products and services that I believe in. I am really hoping to expand my affiliate marketing income to something that can sustain me, so seeing these numbers finally rise gave me the pat on the back that I needed to not fully lose hope in my marketing journey.
April In Review
My First (Really) Viral Pin + New Traction
I went into April with a lot of hesitations, but I am actually incredibly happy with my stats for this month considering the fact that my website was down for the previous one. I had heard that having it down for so long was going to damage my brand and ultimately crash everything that I had built up, but it seems as though people have been enjoying my content more, engaging more, staying on my website longer, and pinning a lot of the new pins that I made with this redesign. One of my pins in particular that went with my blog post, 11 Money-Saving Tips For Traveling Scotland, went on a viral spree during the first couple days of April and since then it has over 71,8oo impressions, 474 saves, and 542 link clicks. I was quite shocked when I first saw this because I didn’t do anything special for this pin to gain any type of traction, but I am glad it did because I am extremely proud of that blog post. I feel like I have shined a spotlight on my blog ever since I updated it and made all new pins. I feel like I am seeing more and more growth on a constant basis rather than things being stagnant for days or weeks. My hope is to see perhaps another viral pin for the month of May, so my wish is that the Pinterest algorithm will deal my cards right this month.
Courses, Courses, + More Courses
Before I get into this section, I want to go on a slight tangent.
Since I get mistaken for a high school student (way too many times these days), I often get asked when I graduated or where I am attending college. I confidently say that I have graduated high school, but I am not currently attending college. I used to not stand so tall with that statement because I never knew if it was the right path, but after discovering that it was, and still is, I have this unwavering confidence no matter what the conversation turns into. What bothers me isn’t the fact that people reprimand me for not attending, but the fact that people assume I am doing absolutely nothing with my life because I am not attending school. Honestly, I get it. Some people are still figuring their life yet and haven’t decided what they want out of their lives, but as for myself, I have learned more life and practical skills in the last three years than I ever have in all my years of schooling. That isn’t to say that education isn’t important, because it is, it’s just that not all education comes in the same form. Just because someone isn’t attending college doesn’t mean that they’re not trying to expand themselves and build up a life for themselves. *steps off soapbox*
Blogging is actually tough work despite what it looks like from the outside looking in. I wish I could easily make six figures and sip margaritas on a beach in Tulum as I write cutesy posts and post fun photos, but that is about 0.0005% of what blogging really is. A lot of it is analyzing analytics, perfecting a Pinterest strategy, doing keyword research, implementing those keywords properly across alt descriptions, pin descriptions, the body of your post, post headings, and about a hundred of other areas on top of that. If you haven’t the slightest clue what any of that means, trust me, I didn’t either until I started researching and taking courses.
I just finished my first course on Pinterest Traffic and it blew my mind with some of the things that I was doing oh so wrong and oh so right. Pinterest is actually an extremely crucial platform for bloggers as that’s where most get a lot of their traffic from, including myself. One of my main goals is to build my Pinterest referral traffic to around 18,000-25,000 sessions so that I can qualify for Medavine, an ad service that will help me earn more income from my website via ads. So, as for right now, Pinterest is the name of my game and I spend like two hours on Pinterest every. single. day. I landed myself back in Pinterest repin threads (it was a mistake to leave them come to find out), so I am also doing those around three times a week so that I don’t spam my Pinterest followers and I learned a different strategy so that I don’t muddle up my boards either (thank goodness). With all this talk about Pinterest, you may as well head on over and give me a follow if you’re interested in stunning travel content and aesthetically pleasing boards. Not to toot my horn, but they are some of the best looking boards on Pinterest! So to recap, I have essentially sold my soul to Pinterest for a good while to help build my traffic and audience, and my next step is affiliate marketing.
Affiliate marking isn’t my strong suit I would say. I feel like I am implementing everything right and I am still not getting the numbers that I would like (and need) to have What Do You Sea be entirely self-sufficient. I did make $20 this month, so that was a nice surprise to open my account to, but that isn’t exactly bringing home the bread, and I want the whole bakery, so I am going to invest in another course that I believe is called Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing. I don’t plan on doing this until I get back from Iceland so that I don’t spread myself too thin, and so I can get my Pinterest strategy cemented, so you’ll probably hear about this course later down the line, but that is what is coming up to achieve my optimal level of success.
Published Blog Posts
- 30 Carry-On Essentials You Cannot Board Without
- How To Conquer Pre-Trip Anxiety + Enjoy Your Travels
- 40 Ethical Fashion Picks Perfect For Summer Travel
- Why I’m Pledging To Be A Carbon Neutral Flyer (+ How You Can Too)
- A Perfect Weekend Itinerary For 3 Incredible Days In Edinburgh
- 16 Things That Surprised Me While Traveling Bali
Monthly Page Views: 5,000
Monthly Sessions: 3,000
Pinterest Reach: 350,000
Domain Authority: 13
Page Authority: 23/24
What I Am Learning / Have Learned
Everyone needs their own tribe + human connection. I don’t want to sound like a total loser for this one, but I haven’t made any new friends organically in my new town and it has been almost two full years of living here. Growing up, I never really had a group of friends that always did everything together like in the movies, and it’s dawning on me now that that is truly all I could ever want/need at this time in my life. A lot of my time is spent doing things for my website and since none of my hometown friends live in this state, I feel like I’m missing out on one of the most beautiful parts of existing; connection. I am awful at meeting new people and trying to form solid relationships with them, so I really want to venture out and just try and connect with people that enjoy the same things as I do: adventuring, photography, veganism, coffee, cooking, bad puns, good tunes, etc.. I just want to vibe with people and find that tribe that will climb mountains with me and cry and love and appreciate existence and make spontaneous road trips across the state just to see one cool spot. This has been at the front of my mind and manifestation goals for these last few months and can’t wait to see who I cross paths with and connect with over the course of the next few months.
Your 20’s is a time for investments and fulfillment. I remember when I was at the ripe age of fifteen and was getting my first job at one of the local car washes in my town. I had so much disposable income at the time and I can’t remember a single thing that I spent it on besides clothing and makeup that have been out of my wardrobe for years now. One of the big things that I do remember buying is my first mirrorless camera and a trip to Japan. Those are the things that have stuck in my heart for these past years. I do consider travel and photography an investment, but something that I have realized is that your twenties are a time for experimentation, investment, reconnecting with yourself, and hopefully, at least for myself, finding your tribe. I believe that it’s at this point in our life that we are the most driven, maybe confused, and passionate. Most of us are still figuring out what we want to do with our lives, where we want to live, and so many other things. I really just want to learn and absorb as much as I can while I still can. I want to learn about a new culture, how to play the guitar, how to speak Japanese, meet new people, learn how to surf, free dive the depths of the ocean, and at this point in my life I’ve found out that that is what I have been craving for so long. I guess I had taken for granted the beauty we have in being able to go on our phones and learn something off youtube. We have access to the largest source of information on the planet in all of human history, and I want to put it to good use. Obviously, I can’t learn how to surf without an ocean, but I can seek experiences that will allow myself to explore that. All I can say is invest in your education, your craft, your hunger for knowledge in whatever form that looks like. Most importantly, do whatever you feel pulled to do.
March + April 19′ Favorites
My Favorite Murder Podcast
Okay so before you judge and write me off as weird or bizarre, bear with me, this podcast is HILARIOUS. It was recommended to me by my sisters and I was a little hesitant for a while because generally, I am not into murder-y/investigation content, but I am on episode 38 right now and I have never been more fascinated, yet panicked about all of the things that have happened to people over the years. It was after listening to this podcast that I finally understood why my mother always panicked about me going across the world alone: people were NUTSO during the 70s, 80s, and 90s, and even still today. The hosts, Karen and Georgia sure know how to crack a joke and their humor is right up my alley, even if it is a little bit on the darker side. Even if you aren’t too big into murder stuff, I highly recommend that you check this podcast out because you’ll become OBSESSED.
@Shortstache on Instagram
Garrett, aka @shortstache on Instagram, came across my feed via stories the other day and I could shed some tears about how beautiful and consistent his color grading and editing is. He has a very crisp, moody style that I have never seen, especially in the travel sphere, that is art in and within itself. I love how he creates for himself and not for what will do well on the gram and it’s refreshing to see new perspectives on popular landscapes like this shot above taken in Iceland. He has inspired me to shoot more of what I enjoy and to play around with my creativity, which I am overjoyed to see what I will create in Iceland. I think it is a secret to everyone how he edits his photos (at least it is to me), and that ads even more awe to his entire Instagram feed. Did I mention he is in Tahiti right now? Head over to his Instagram stories to see jaw-dropping and detailed photos and videos of the island (it’ll blow your mind).
A little while / yellow days
Black Mambo / Glass Animals
Sit Next To Me / Foster The People
Casio / Jungle
Cherry Cola / Kuwada
Bad Guy / Billie Eilish
the less i know the better / tame impala
the judge / twenty-one pilots
fill me up anthem / gus dapperton
What makes you feel like you’re at home? Share with me in the comments below!