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If I had my way, I’d be starting this monthly recap with a lot of colorful choice four-letter words.

I don’t need to say why – everyone knows what’s going on, and if you’re coming here to read my recap, it’s because you have some morbid fascination with watching the dumpster fire that is my business. I get it – I’m a voyeur that way too. But [insert four letter word], man, this [four letter gerund] blows.

Note: I pretty much act like a spoiled, petulant child the rest of this post, which is one of the many ways I’m coping emotionally right now with the loss of my business . What you aren’t seeing is the gratitude I have for many, many things in my life, but I have been sharing those on Twitter and Instagram Stories if you need something to balance the tone of this post.

TL;DR: 

  • Travel: ?
  • Blogging: ?
  • Income: ☠️

This month’s photos were taken in March’s past, in order: Hawaii (2019, featured), Chile (2019), Hawaii (2019), Chile (2019), and Port Angeles, WA (2016).

Travel in March

Oh to be where I was last year… (Chile)

Well. I hate to finally write this and carve it into blogging stone. I was supposed to lead my tour to Jordan this month, but it was cancelled because of the pandemic. [FOUR LETTER WORDS!]

  • Destinations Visited: 0
  • Flights Taken: 0
  • Days on the Road: 0 out of 31

Originally I had given myself the rest of the month off from traveling because I was nervous about being prepared to be a good tour leader and show off this place I love… and then my Jordanian partner and I pulled the plug at T-7 days to departure. The next day, Jordan went into lockdown. Three days later, the SF Bay Area ordered us to Shelter-in-Place, and the whole state of California followed suit four days later. The day I was supposed to be introducing my group of intrepid travelers to Jordan, me and most of my guests were almost all under lockdown.

I can’t understate that this feels utterly devastating in retrospect – you don’t know how much work this tour took, though maybe I’ll write about it someday.

March Travel Highlights & Lowlights

The best travel experience I had in March was… none. Because I didn’t travel anywhere.

The worst travel experience I had in March was… I didn’t have any… Because I couldn’t travel anywhere.

My February travel highlight from years past was… Chile last year with my blogger pals. Looking a year back, I feel so grateful that I’ve had so many amazing travel experiences in my life. The travel industry is severely disrupted and we can’t be sure when it will recover. At least I have memories to look back on. (See? I do have a perspective of gratitude right now.)

Blogging in March

Hawaii Packing List Hero
Diving, just like my traffic…

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Posts I Published in March

While I lost motivation and focus early in the month as I realized my travel plans were cancelled and my business was crumbling, I came back to try and push out new content for whenever the traffic comes back.

I’ve also continued on my series for choosing Alaska cruise excursions, and publish posts about the best excursions in Skagway, Vancouver, and Icy Strait Point.

Freelance Writing in March

Freelance writing work has also dried up in the past few weeks, but luckily I can continue writing for Forbes. Here are my stories from this month:

March Blogging Highlights & Lowlights

The highlight of blogging in March was… finding my motivation to keep blogging as traffic was falling. I’ve heard it from many of my colleagues in the travel blogging world – it’s hard to keep going when your work yields no results. Like they say though, “when the going gets tough…”

The lowlight of blogging in March was… watching my traffic fall by half despite all the work I’ve done for the past few years. Damn it’s hard to know that I’ve done the right thing and put in the hard work, but – like everyone – I’m losing the wind from my sails.

Business in March

Where to Travel in March 2020
If only March had been this cool for business…

Unsurprisingly, with traffic so dramatically down, my income also fell like a stone. From past months, you might remember that income always moves more slowly than traffic – it grows at a slower rate and falls more quickly.

Income Report

  • Advertising income: 36%
  • Affiliate income: 53%
  • Product income: 7%
  • Sponsored content/campaigns: 0%
  • Blogging product/service income: 4%

Total income for March 2020: $3,527 (↓61% from February)
Months I’ve been blogging: 78*

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*I share this number so you can see how long it has taken to earn this much. ‘Overnight success’ usually requires years of hard work – this blog is no exception.

Business Highlights & Lowlights

The business highlight for March was… a strong first few days that made up for the rest of the month… mostly. Key word mostly.

The business lowlight for March was… watching my income stop growing… and even shrink day after day in some categories. When the travel restrictions kicked in, understandably people stopped planning or booking travel. In some cases, they returned products or cancelled reservations, shrinking my income.

Upcoming in April

Colette's B&B, Port Angeles, WA
Looking ahead… to what? Not sure.

Given that we’re still not allowed to travel in April, I have literally no travel and no work coming up next month. I understand the reason and fully support the measures we’re taking, but if you have anything chipper to share in the comments to cheer me up, I’m gonna need it.

Until next month! ✌️❤️✈️

4 comments

Reply

Great work Valerie! How great it is have a passion that blesses you and your readers and helps pay some bills to boot! Keep it up!

Reply

Thanks so much, Peder! Glad to be working with you on STG 🙂

Reply

Ugh, so sorry for the loss (hopefully temporarily) of traffic and income. On the brighter side, you have amazing content and people will be so hungry for advice and ideas when we are over this pandemic. I am excited to start one of your blogging courses and do an SEO Audit (I haven’t forgotten but my husband got furloughed last week–he’s thankfully still working at 40%, so waiting on a couple of things before spending a little money). Wishing you safety and sanity and keep those gorgeous sunrise/set photos coming on IG!

Reply

Thanks, Jenn – and I’m so sorry to hear about your husband. Hopefully this will all be worth it and we’ll be able to get back to work and life soon. I’ll be here whenever you need me! See you on the Insta 😉

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