Monday, February 4, 2019

My travel blog has turned 100,000!

My blog just hit an important milestone as it surpassed 100,000 pageviews!

I originally launched my blog in December of 2010 as "", before leaving on a jet plane to live in Saigon, Vietnam during my junior year of college. The blog's original purpose was for two things. First was to keep in contact with everybody back home in the United States as Facebook, at times email, and Twitter among other websites were censored heavily by Vietnam's communist government. Second, and more importantly, I wanted to use my blog as a tool to show that this is a fascinating, amazing, and beautiful country, hoping to eliminate many of the outdated, unrealistic, and stale stereotypes people continue to hold on to since the war and barraged me with prior to landing in Vietnam. Every day while living, working, and going to school in Saigon, I'd seek refuge in a coffee shop, bar, restaurant, or just outside my room at our state-run hostel, to blog about my daily life in this new home. Back then my blog utilized a simple, free blogger format. The stories were rich with powerful, captivating images. After returning back to the United States and accumulating some 40,000 pageviews I took the blog completely offline and parked the domain, wanting to keep that chapter sealed away and preserved. 

The blog sat in the dark until 2014 when late in the  summer, I signed a contract to work a seasonal job at a YMCA in Granby, Colorado teaching outdoor education and recreation. Since I'd be starting a completely new chapter in life, which included a big move west, I started up my blog again, but this time with a new name, My blog was once again a similar travelogue blog, named after the my black Saab station wagon I'd be loading up all my belongings into and driving across the country with my father. While in Colorado I used the blog to document any travel I had throughout the state, including time spent in heavenly Rocky Mountain National Park. Once those six-months came to a close, I returned to Wisconsin. Then the blog sat mostly stale and dormant for a few years, seeing an occasional post. The blog wasn't really a priority back then, and again sat shelved while I was trying to find my direction in life. 

In 2016, I was craving another stamp in my passport and booked a plane ticket to Iceland, where I spent two weeks exploring nearly every corner of the country alone. But I also wanted to write as much as possible and fill a few memory cards with images of this otherworldly, solitude-filled, country in the far North Atlantic. It turned out to be the most beautiful place I've ever traveled to and every night I would unfold my laptop either in my tent, stretched across the back of my Suzuki Jimny rental 4 x 4, or on the kitchen counter in a hostel in downtown Reykjavik to tell the stories of my time in the land of fire and ice. Once I began posting dozens of stories from my travels in Iceland, the pageviews soared, rekindling the love I had for travel blogging. I went on to change the name back to its original marque:, and began teaching myself how to do basic HTML coding for a modern, clean, and intuitive blog design. With a new face, familiar name, and tons of content ideas, I brought back the domain.

When I brought the blog back online in October 2014, I had to start completely from zero again in terms of pageviews, content, subscribers, everything. It was a thorough clean slate. With growing momentum and inspiration, I began to take my blog seriously. It became a part of who I am and a key element of my daily routine, posting a couple times each week not only recaps of some of the amazing adventures I'd take to stunning national parks, state parks, national grasslands, etc., but write how-to pieces, advice articles, and as of late, product reviews. 

It was and continues to be tricky at times to dedicate time to the blog, performing some balancing act of managing a full-time job, a never-ending list of freelance work for other outlets, different hobbies, a guide book I'm writing, and a having social life. But I've never gave up on it and continue to make it a top priority, something I take serious pride in. Why? Because this blog allows me to let my inner creative gears turn, and I can constantly strive to encourage people to get outdoors and see the true great wonders the world in front of us has to offer.

So I thank you, really, for making my blog a special place in your internet's browser. There's a list of excellent stuff coming to soon, and I can't wait to share it all with you.