I am waving May goodbye and welcoming June at the Montreal airport with a sprouted grain bagel topped with guac spread at Café Starbucks. I’m equally excited, nervous, anxious, stoked, exhausted, and ecstatic about what the next two weeks are going to bring in Iceland. I have fallen asleep on every single flight before take off, so it’s pretty safe to say that my body is in dire need of some leisure time, and ironically, I am headed to the Blue Lagoon on the 6th, so I will leisure accordingly. I think that a lot of people view travel as this stress-free passing time and compare it to relaxing on a beach for a week, but when you’re balancing social media, a blog, and trying to plan an epic road trip, things get stressful. I LOVE traveling, I mean duh I dedicated this whole website to it, but it can be extremely exhausting depending on where you’re going and how difficult the country is to travel to. I am a one woman team here on this blog, so I am planning, organizing, and getting everything ready on my own which adds even more to the stresses. To be quite honest though, it feels so good to be back in my element: sweeping airports for vegan treats, spending long layovers in airports watching the day pass, and people watching. Oddly enough, it felt weird for it to have been a whole year since I had traveled to The Philippines, but in a way, I feel like I picked up right where I left off. I am thrilled to be visiting Iceland for these next few weeks, and I can’t wait to tell you guys all about it when I get back.
My Plans For Iceland
Y’all better strap in because you’re in for a whirlwind, two-week extravaganza across Iceland’s volcanic landscapes. As I write this, I changed my plans and decided to go around the ring road counterclockwise instead of clockwise because I think it will be a better starting point for me. Also, it will ensure that I see all the must-sees on my list and make time for those rather than rushing through them at the end of my trip. There is so much on my list of things to see that it’s borderline insanity, and I am going to share all my favorite spots in future blog posts, but I truly believe that I am going to have my breath taken from me time and time again on this trip… and maybe even shed a couple of tears. I will be keeping an up to date log of everything over on my Instagram account, so if you want to come along with me for the next two weeks, then you’ll want to follow me over there for real-time updates. Other than that, I think that’s all I want to share as of right now, and then I’ll get into the nitty-gritty once I get back home.
Future Travel Plans
What’s after Iceland? As of right now, one of my hometown friends and I are going on a 10-day road trip across New Mexico, Utah, and Arizona, during the beginning of August, and after that, I am not so sure. I have thought about heading out to Asia for a couple of months at the end of the year; I am dying to go back and see my sister in Okinawa again (for the third time), and I’ve even considered making it out to South Africa next spring and hop over to Madagascar and Reunion Island. This all really depends on funds to be quite honest and having all those piled on is not likely to happen, but the road trip is for sure a go at this point in the planning process, and then after that, I need to organize my cheddar and separate my savings for my van and my travel money, AND THEN I’ll get everything sorted out to book another trip. Nothing is set and stone as always, but I know that I’ll find a last minute flight deal and end up raking my cash to head off somewhere new again, but internationally is tentative.
How am I?
Aside from the initial panic of visiting a new country and the small anxieties that come from that, I am feeling really good. I think with the progress I have made this month in terms of blog numbers and other small projects that I have coming up, things are really looking up for me and I can’t wait to make more investments into my website. I am in a place where I feel overwhelmingly passionate and excited about the things that I am able to do on a day to day basis. I am investing and saving where I want to be and May has been huge for me to realize that I need to start investing in myself as well, so when I get back I am really going to buckle down on my health, get my blood work done, get my wisdom teeth out (ugh), and work towards being at my optimal level of health and well being. Also, I am about to board a plane to Iceland, so I AM FEELING SWEET LIBERATION.
Blogging Overview For May
Monthly Page Views: 5,009
Monthly Sessions: 3,611
Pinterest Reach: ~297,000
Domain Authority: 11
Page Authority: 21
I surpassed 5,000 views! This is by far my greatest milestone on What Do You Sea to date. Ever since I really buckled down on my content, started promoting it properly, and invested into my website, the growth that I have seen has surpassed anything that I ever thought I would achieve. I know that 5,000 is a fraction of where I want to be, but I am still celebrating the small wins because 5,000 people is still a good number of people browsing my guides, packing lists, and tips for getting out and seeing the world. If you remember in my 2019 goals blog post, it’s one of my goals this year to (hopefully) reach 25,000 sessions on my website. Since I am a fifth of the way there, I am hoping for around 10,000-15,000, BUT 25,000 would still be the cherry on top of 2019 if that follows through. I owe a lot of my traffic to Pinterest and I have spent so much time on that platform trying to build my website traffic. I am finally starting to see results using the methods I learned through the Pinterest course I took earlier this year and I am stoked to work on it even more in these next few months to get to where I would like to be in terms of Pinterest traffic.
I am writing my first guest post for another travel blog! I am incredibly excited to be pitching a guest post for another travel blog that is way more established than I am, but this opportunity is going to help me expand my audience and reach and entire new scope of readers. I don’t want to say too much about it and where it will be posted since I am still in the process of researching, writing, and perfecting, but hopefully near the first of July, there will be a What Do You Sea post, written by yours truly, highlighted on another webpage! I think this will help me step into the world of freelance writing and pitching to other brands, so I am excited to see how this impacts my blog and what benefits it will bring in the future.
I had more users return to my site than any other month this year! While this doesn’t seem like a huge step into my stats, this is important for me since I am really trying to build a community around my website. Having loyal readers is something that I value so much and to see that people are coming back to my website and spending more time browsing my articles means the world to me. At the beginning of this year, less than 5% of my readers were returning visitors and in the last month, it has jumped to over 10%. So many good things have been happening for me recently, so I am excited to see how things take off from here and further down the road as I work on SEO, link building, Instagram, and much much more.
May In Review
Pinterest, Pinterest, + More Pinterest
You guys would not believe the amount of time that I spend on Pinterest solely to grow my account. I have been really buckling down these last few months to grow my referrals from Pinterest and the work that I am putting in has been paying off immensely. I mean, clearly since I keep hitting my goals. I talked about Pinterest a lot in my last monthly roundup, so I won’t bother too much with it this month, but I am still creating new pins and promoting content that I have updated and such. I plan on keeping up this trend for the next couple of months to see the results that I am longing for, so stay tuned for more updates on how my account is growing and make sure you follow me on Pinterest for all the best content for planning your trips (+ my boards are incredibly aesthetically pleasing and I’m so proud of them).
Link Building + SEO
I haven’t placed too much of an emphasis on link building since, up until recently, I didn’t have the slighest clue of its importance and why it matters in the world of blogging, but I’ve learned that it’s really important for building your SEO rank, DA, and PA. Since I have been trying to build my audience and monthly readers, I haven’t placed too much of a focus on this, but since Pinterest is starting to take off, my next priority is to get my SEO in line and get 75% of my traffic to be from search engines. To achieve this goal, I plan on hiring a virtual assistant (a fancy name for a mentor figure) to help me get my SEO in all my blog posts and pages optimized so that more people can start finding me in searches because right now pretty much everyone is coming from Pinterest. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but Pinterest was to crash and burn as I write this, my blog would go down with it and I don’t want that. I plan on doing this whenever I get back from Iceland so it’s about to move from the back burner to the front, but it’s something that I am excited to improve and see how my traffic changes with this investment. There is still so much I don’t know about and so having someone that can answer my questions and give me tips to grow and expand is exactly what I need since I always feel like I am doing everything poorly. That is the next step in my blogging journey, so there are updates to come with that as well. With these improvements and implementations, I am hoping to qualify for Medavine by (maybe, but not likely) the end of this year or early 2020.
Published Blog Posts
- 16 Things That Surprised Me While Traveling Bali
- Life At Sea: Month 3 + 4 Roundup
- The Top 25 Safety Tips For Solo Female Travelers
- 15 Awesome Zero Waste + Reef Safe Sunscreens
Monthly Page Views: 6,500
Monthly Sessions: 4,000
Pinterest Reach: 350,000
Domain Authority: 13
Page Authority: 22
What I’ve Learned / Have Learned
Never let yourself get too comfortable
There was a quote that I have read recently and it read, “if you’re comfortable, you’re not growing”, and after a full year since I had traveled solo, this couldn’t be more accurate. I think I’ve realized that I don’t want to be comfortable all the time. I’ve been comfortable for the last year and now that I am finally venturing into a trip that is going to push me physically and mentally, I almost questioned why I was headed there in the first place. I like waking up and making my cup of coffee. I like having the leisure of going to Whole Foods down the road and grabbing my favorite coconut butter cups. I like knowing that I am familiar with my surroundings, but in staying in here for the last year, I have realized that if I want to grow and evolve, I can’t let the warm embrace of familiarity keep me getting out of my comfort zone. There are so many things that I want to experience and learn and right now in my life. I feel like I am a sponge ready to absorb everything I can.
If you’re feeling uninspired/lack of creativity, find your liminal space
If you read my safety tips for solo female travelers or my life at sea: month 3 + 4 roundup, you’ll know that I have been OBSESSED with the My Favorite Murder Podcast for the last couple of months. In one of the episodes, ironically titles ‘Liminal Space’, Karen or Georgia (I forget which one) mentions the idea of liminal space and how it can propel your creativity. Liminal space is also called, “the place in between”. The idea is that when you undergo the same routine day after day or week after week and never do anything different, it makes your mind stagnant. Your creativity might be lacking or you may feel uninspired to do things you normally love. Getting in liminal space is actually quite easy and can be implemented in your daily life. You can take a different route to work, rearrange your furniture, go to ‘daytime spots’ at night, visit a foreign country, do something you’d typically avoid, and many other things that are just different from what you’re used to. The way we enter these spaces can make us feel anxious, anticipate something happening, or crave resolution. Those feelings we may not want also are the same feelings that propel us into the creative mindset that we crave. In this trip to Iceland, there are going to be many drastic changes happening that, I believe, will set my creativity back into motion. I am driving for the first time in another country. I am camping for the first time in another country and camping in general for the first time. I am leaving a year-long routine of familiarity. I am navigating volcanic landscapes by myself. I am hoping that I am able to enter this ‘in-between’ space that will allow me to push myself creatively and explore new ideas while I am away.
It’s okay to be new (and maybe bad) at something
I think for a lot of my life, and a lot of my childhood, I was always the top of my class and I always did everything (except benching middle school basketball) very well. For the first time in my life, I am learning that it’s okay to absolutely suck at stuff. Sometimes I feel like a failure or that I am not doing as good as I should be but I am doing the best I can always, and that’s something that I have been constantly reminded of. It’s okay to not be the best at anything, or go at your own pace, or do what you feel comfortable with. I am learning that right now in Iceland. Sometimes I can put too much on my plate and realize that I need to take a step back and consider a couple of things. Now that I have felt these things, I really want to put more emphasis on enjoying what I am doing rather than worrying about if I am good at it or not and it’s totally okay to be a beginner. It’s okay.
challenge your fears with ‘why can’t I’?
One of my biggest anxieties going on this trip is the ‘newness’ of the things that I am experiencing. I have never camped a single day of my life, yet I am committing myself to two weeks of it starting tomorrow. I was afraid of being judged by the outdoor community, but for what? No one has everything in life figured out and nobody is a natural at everything that they try and do. Another thing I was afraid of was driving. Over the years, I have avoided driving at all costs. I don’t like it. I waited two extra years to finally get my license and now that I have it, for the most part, I enjoy driving. Sure, it’s going to be my first time driving in Iceland, but how many other people are going to be first-timers also? Why does the fear of being new or unfamiliar with something prevent us from doing it? I’m not afraid of being judged anymore. In fact, I am beginning to enjoy every part of the learning process with whatever I choose to learn.
May Favorites 19′
One Breath Around The World
I’ve always wanted to learn how to freedive, and after watching this, I can confirm that this video has furthered this longing. This video looks like it was taken on another planet and it’s safe to say that I definitely want to free dive with whales in my lifetime. It reminded me that we live in a dream world and the fact that there people all over the world exploring and living in this dream. Wow. It’s a hard feeling to put into words. Give it a watch.
I think / Tyler, The Creator
Slow love / Tender
On My Mind / Don Diablo
Can I Call You tonight? / Dayglow
Where’s My Love? (Acoustic) / SYML
hello, im delaware / city and colour
What things did you enjoy this month? Share with me in the comments below!