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 the life of a travel blogger.
On to this month’s report…
Christmas in Colombia is way different from the standard American Christmas. Here it is like a big party for the whole month, basically.
The season really kicks off with Noche de las Velitas, the night of the little candles, which is an important Catholic holiday celebrating the immaculate conception. Everyone gathers around on the streets to light candles, send off those floating lanterns (now frowned upon for being dangerous), and they listen to music and hang out on the street.
From that point on, the month consists of lots of loud music, dancing, drinking, parties, and eating. This year we also headed out on a chiva party bus, which takes you around the city to see the lights and the bus itself blares music and has flashy lights for dancing.
For Christmas the tradition is to gather around for a big BBQ with a bit of everything on Christmas Eve and then wait around until midnight to open up the presents.
Then for the New Year we headed out to a finca for a three nights in the countryside and hanging out by the pool in Sopetran, Antioquia.
The heat there was pretty unbearable, but the atmosphere was fun, and the pool was nice when the sun let up a bit.
I’ve had a number of follow up visits for some outstanding dental work that I haven’t been able to handle over the past few years of travel… I needed to remove an old $1,000+ crown from the states in order to get a root canal and have the tooth re-crowned, and then I needed a crown on a different tooth.
For everything it was like $1,100, which is painful, but at least for all of that work it was only about the cost of one mid-level crown in the USA (whereas here I got the “top of the line” all porcelain crowns).
The good news, though, is that I’m all done with that dental work (it was a multi week process). Although in the new year I will probably take advantage of some follow up work replacing old metal fillings or getting some cosmetic work done.
At the bottom of the post I’ve shared my expenses for the month of December.
December was a very unproductive month in terms of work… I basically didn’t do anything.
There was a lot of holiday stuff, hanging out, messing around, and doing unproductive things, but I somehow couldn’t really get into gear and do the type of work that I know I should be doing when it comes to investing in my website and business.
I’m hoping to get into gear and make that change in January, for sure. It’s time to get to work and take this site to the next level…
Most Popular Instagram Photo
This shot of our free truck camping campsite on the outskirts of El Chalten, Argentina was easily the most liked photo of the month.
It is also definitely among my top favorite free campsites… It was exactly in solitude, but the view was incredible.
Be sure to follow me on Instagram for more photos of my adventures as well as regular story updates.
What I Watched
This new Netflix movie with Sandra Bullock was pretty entertaining… About people who must basically remain blindfolded, least they see something which kills them. Netflix produced films are generally pretty bad, but this one was among the best I’ve seen, even if it is just like a spin on A Quiet Place.
December 2018 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 – 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 blog setup tutorial: 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…
- $284.13 – Big Travel, Small Budget book sales
- $328.53 – Amazon Affiliate Sales
- $30.56 – REI Affiliate Sales
- $7.04 – Booking.com
- $2.35 – D2D Apparel, Stickers, Etc
- $110.69 – Get Your Guide Tours
- $2,861.22 – Mediavine Display Ads
- $0.50 – Trusted House Sitters
- $2.47 – Skyscanner
- $22.50 – Survey Junkie
- $44.73 – YouTube Videos
- $0.86 – Skimlinks
TOTAL = $3,695.58
GOAL = $3,750 per month
98.6% of goal covered
December was a modest 2.3% increase over November which was pretty underwhelming. I had high hopes that I would be able to meet my goal income level this month, but I fell short by just $55. Sales of Big Travel, Small Budget were the highest they’ve been in I don’t even remember how long, which was fueled by paperback sales. But then other sources of income dropped, namely those from affiliate sales with REI.
Of course, I am very grateful for the amount of income, especially considering I did basically no work this month.
The bad news is that December is the high water mark (thanks to increased spending around the holidays) and I can expect a steep drop in income for the first few months of the new year.
The above figures do not include income from freelance writing which is another significant source of income and my primary side hustle.
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’m living on the cheap here in Medellin at the moment and trying to keep expenses below $1,200 per month.
So, I went over my budget by $84, but not bad considering all the money I was spending on my teeth this month… $700!
A few notes: The uncategorized section is cash that I’ve withdrawn for things here in Medellin. I also may use any cash leftover 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.
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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