Time for another monthly recap and blogging income report. This is where I share what’s new in the world of Desk to Dirtbag over the past month and offer a bit of transparency behind the life of a travel blogger.
On to this month’s report…
Visiting Lima, Peru
The highlight of the month was obviously our trip to Lima, Peru. This wasn’t my first time in Peru, because we spent about three months exploring the country pretty in-depth from the north to south on our drive.
But on the way through we decided to skip Lima just because of how big and chaotic it is and the headache of driving into such a city. In any case, I knew we would need to return to Peru if only to discover Lima.
I wasn’t really sure what to expect from Lima, but this bustling coastal city really has a lot to offer in terms of history, food, art, and more. In any case, we had a great time down there, making for a good break from Medellin and getting back to traveling.
Read More: Things to Do in Lima, Peru
Gourmet Food Tour
One of my favorite highlights from Lima was splurging on a five-hour gourmet food tour by the Lima Gourmet Company. Without a doubt, Peru has the best food in all of South America, and Lima is the gastronomic dining destination in the country. It is home to a number of the world’s best restaurants, as well.
While we didn’t end up getting reservations for any of the “best of the best” (they often need to be made weeks or months in advance), we did go on a gourmet food tour which included a stop at one of those 50 best restaurants in Latin America, amaZ, where Anthony Bourdain visited. As well as a number of other stops, like dining beside pre-Inca ruins!
All-in-all, it was a really cool experience, unlike anything I’ve ever done before (the closest would be the tasting menu at El Cielo which is a molecular gastronomy destination in Medellin).
Getting Back to Work
On the one hand, it was a big success that I was able to really get cracking on the writing work and have a number of posts all ready to go to be published while we were in Lima and for the rest of the month… But, I’ve struggled to get back into the writing since we’ve returned.
Most Popular New Article of the Month
8 Biggest Mistakes People Make When Truck Bed Camping – This article was quite popular in my Pickup Truck Camping group on Facebook with some 10,000-plus members, so it picked up traffic much more easily than any other post.
Other New Articles
- The 15 Best US National Parks to Visit in Spring
- 14 Amazing Travel Bloggers That You Should Be Following
- 10 Best Medellin Hostels For Your First Visit
- 13 Things You Should Know When Traveling to Medellin
- The Coolest Things to Do in Tulum Mexico
- 23 Coolest Things to Do in Cancun Mexico on Any Budget
- The 11 Coolest Things to Do in Mazatlán on a Budget
- The 9 Best Tulum Tours That Will Take Your Breath Away
- The 12 Best Mexico City Hostels For Every Type of Visitor
- The 15 Best Mexico City Museums For Art, Culture, and History
- The 11 Best Buenos Aires Tours and Activities You Can’t-Miss
Another 12 big new articles published during the month of April, which is equal to March, making two straight months of publishing three times per week, a schedule I’d like to maintain into the near future. While I haven’t seen tremendous growth in terms of pageviews and sessions, I remain hopeful that these investments will pay off months down the line as they start to rank in Google.
Most Popular Instagram Photo
This throwback shot from a Pacific Coast sunset in Northern California got the most likes from my followers this month. But I’ve kind of been slack about posting new content, even though I (finally) made it past 10,000 followers on IG (woohoo, it just took me forever).
Be sure to follow me on Instagram for more photos of my adventures.
What I Read
I read this book many years ago, back when I was still working a desk job in Washington D.C. but I decided to revisit it just as we were getting ready to head to Lima. It is a fascinatingly detailed account of the arrival of Pizarro, the Conquistadors, and all that unfolds as these two groups clash.
I’m still working my way through this lengthy read, but enjoying it quite a bit, particularly now that I’ve visited many of the sites discussed throughout the book, including Cusco and Machu Picchu.
It’s a must read if you plan to visit Peru and want to have a better grasp of the history there.
What I Watched
The Disappearance of Madeleine McCann
I vaguely remember hearing about the news of the disappearance of this little girl while she and her family were on vacation along the southern coast of Portugal. This 8-part documentary series is a pretty interesting and in-depth look at the aftermath of her disappearance, the suspects (including her parents), and which takes you up to the present day (she is still missing).
The most stand out part of the documentary to me is the way the media handled the case, particularly the tabloids, and how vitriolic, ridiculous, and how extreme everything was. This was a normal family and yet it all devolved into a media circus hounding them as if they were the Kardashians or something. If people think the media is bad, distrustful, or dishonest in the United States, then they have no idea what things could be like and how it is in many other countries.
April 2019 Income Report
I know many of you are just curious about how much I’m making and how I do it, but first, here’s a quick rundown of my story:
I used to be a desk jockey working in Washington DC but then lost my job when my boss retired, so I set out to travel the USA and live in my truck. I started this blog to simply hold myself accountable with my travel dreams. I had NO idea what I was doing at the beginning and had no intention of turning this into a business.
And yet, here I am. I now run a pretty awesome online business and basically have found my passion in life.
A lot of you have wanted to start your own blogs after seeing the success that I’ve had, and I highly recommend it. If I hadn’t taken a shot with D2D, I would most definitely have returned to a similar sort of desk job and be stuck doing work I didn’t really enjoy very much.
First of all, fair warning – travel blogging (or any online business for that matter) isn’t easy in any way or for the faint of heart. It is definitely not something you should immediately quit your day job for. Making a living with a blog is a long slow road, but it is also incredibly rewarding.
Take a look at my free guide about how to start a travel blog: you’ll have your own blog set up in just 10-15 minutes, and will receive some pretty sweet discounts since you’re a D2D reader when you use my exclusive link.
Have you taken my free blogging course yet?
Even if you are just thinking about starting a blog or want to figure out how to get more traffic to the one you already have, this will be useful for you.
Basically, if you want to learn the foundational elements of how I went from a desk jockey drop out to a dirtbag living in his truck to a now “successful” blogger earning enough to travel all over the place – you’ll want to check this out:
Onto this month’s income report breakdown…
- $62.97 – Big Travel, Small Budget book sales
- $19.89 – Unconventional Guides
- $346.65 – Amazon Affiliate Sales
- $63.44 – REI Affiliate Sales
- $83.20 – World Nomads Travel Insurance
- $0.52 – D2D Apparel, Stickers, Etc
- $55.49 – Get Your Guide Tours
- $3,234.38 – Mediavine Display Ads
- $0.57 – Skyscanner
- $3.61 – Viator Tours
- $298.20 – Paradise Pack
- $33.00 – Survey Junkie
- $26.86 – YouTube Videos
- $0.20 – Skimlinks
TOTAL = $4.228.98
GOAL = $6,000 per month
70.5% of goal covered
April saw a slight increase in total revenue compared to March, although that comes with an asterisk because there was a decent sized bump from the one-time sale of the Paradise Pack. Without that, I would have seen a pretty significant drop in income. One reason for that is the end of a quarter (aka Q1 March) is usually always better than the beginning of a quarter (aka Q2 April).
I’ve got no complaints though, of course, as April saw the highest ever month in revenue, bringing me a little closer to my income goal. And I also really feel like I’m in striking distance of my much bigger, more ambitious goal, although it will probably take me some time to actually get there.
Note: The above figures are for income earned during the month but are often not paid until 60 or 90 days later. The numbers do not include income from freelance writing which is another significant source of income and my primary side hustle.
Don’t Forget: If you’ve got any upcoming travel, please book your flights, cheap accommodations, and so forth through my Travel Resources page. I will earn a small commission at no cost to you.
I know many of you have enjoyed my periodic expense reports, so I thought I might try to more regularly incorporate them here… These are only my personal expenses and do not include any business-related expenses — I actually take a salary from the business income.
I’m living on the cheap here in Medellin at the moment and trying to keep expenses below $1,200 per month.
Considering we were traveling to Lima and not always doing activities that were on a super tight budget, I’m pretty happy that expenses were still kept low. The flights, of course, were already paid for. So this is mostly just on the ground costs in Lima, as well as life in Medellin… I still had quite a bit of pesos on hand, so I didn’t need to withdraw much money from the ATM (except for what we needed for Soles in Peru).
The next trip(s) I’ve got planned aren’t going to be quite so cheap as Peru, so best that I stick to my budget for the time being… Next trip is in less than a month!
A few notes: The uncategorized section is cash that I’ve withdrawn for things here in Medellin so they don’t get categorized neatly like my credit card transactions. I also may use any cash left over from previous months during this month.
I track my spending with Mint.com and highly recommend it to anyone who wants to get a grip on their overall financial picture, and which is a crucial part of how I manage my money while traveling.
Read More: Get Your Financial House in Order
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That’s all I got for you this month. Are you following along on Instagram or Facebook? Be sure to do so, if you want to get the latest. As always questions, comments, and feedback are extremely welcome.
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