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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…
It seems hard to believe, but Andrea and I just celebrated our five year anniversary! That’s five years of pretty awesome adventures together, from the Northern Lights in Alaska to road tripping across all of Latin America, to just hanging out and watching stuff on Netflix.
To celebrate the occasion we went to one of Medellin’s fanciest restaurants, Carmen, which offers up some pretty gourmet food, not unlike the time we went to El Cielo. However, Carmen features more traditional presentations, compared to the strange molecular gastronomy of El Cielo.
At Carmen, we both opted for the seven-course tasting menu, each dish paired with a glass of accompanying champagne, wine, beer, or cocktail. It was a pretty incredible experience, also quite extravagant for our normal budget travel sensibilities.
But at $190 total (including tax and tips), I still thought it was a pretty amazing value. I tend to think that living on the cheap, in general, allows me to splurge on things like this when/if I want to.
If you’re ever visiting Medellin, I’d highly recommend it!
Exploring New Parts of Medellin
Speaking of Medellin, while being able to try different restaurants would be an endless task, I had thought I’d pretty much seen and done everything here in town, but then I’ll be caught by surprise and discover something totally new…
One of those things was hoping on a “Barrio Transformation Tour” with Real City Tours, to a neighborhood that I won’t name directly, but which was absolutely fascinating… It tells the story of the former garbage dump of Medellin growing into a mountain of trash, upon which many the city’s poorest people began to build their houses (working in the trash, as well). I mean, these people were literally living in the worst possible conditions.
Today, the trash mountain still stands, although you wouldn’t realize it because it has been covered by earth and green gardens, another verdant green hill in the middle of the city. There are still a number of houses on top, among the so-called resistance, but it is nothing like it once was.
Indeed, much of the neighborhood, even below the trash mountain, is a focal point for transformation and change, most often at the behest of the locals themselves rather than being forced upon them by external forces.
Truly a fascinating experience, one that I will definitely be adding to my article on the best Medellin tours and activities.
Desk to Dirtbag Hat!
Totally random, but I was super happy to get my own custom made hat with the Desk to Dirtbag logo! I ran across a shop here in Medellin that will “print” (it is actually sewn on with a computer linked to a robot) any logo or design on a hat of your choice.
Dorky, but I loved it. And the custom made hat only cost me $12 total! Crazy.
No, I’m not selling them or anything like that… It was a hat just for me! If you want though, you CAN pick up a cool Desk to Dirtbag T-Shirt here. 🙂
Travel Prep / Next Plans
At the very beginning of June, I will be flying back to the United States for the month. It’s a time to visit friends and family back in the Seattle area, but I’ll also be doing a lot of travel within the country as I bounce around to two different business conferences (Craft+Commerce in Boise and TravelCon in Boston).
Ultimately, that travel means challenges in the form of trip planning, hotels, road trip logistics to and from Boise, flight logistics, etc. I enjoy those things, of course (else I wouldn’t be a travel writer), but they are still challenging nonetheless.
I’m stoked that the flight to the United States will be First Class, whoop! Again, it only cost me points and $100 out of pocket. Yes, the whole travel hacking thing really works. My return flight was purchased outright and is actually an open-jaw flight via Boston (a tactic I discuss in my guide for how to find cheap flights).
This will be my longest stretch of travel since we returned to Medellin at the end of October last year, and the longest Andrea and I will have been apart for a few years now. 🙁
If you have any tips or recommendations for either Boise or Boston, I’d love to hear from you!
Most Popular New Article of the Month
A Subjective Guide to the Safest Countries in Central America – Somewhat surprising, but this article seems to intrigue a lot of readers. TLDR, I think the whole region is safe on the whole, but there are certainly some countries which feel a little safer than others… That’s the basis for this article.
Other New Articles
- How to Find Cheap Flights: The Ultimate Guide to Saving Big Money
- Why You Need International Travel Insurance and What to Look For
- The Ultimate Guide to Choosing the Right Travel VPN for You
- 12 Best Bogota Hostels: Where to Stay in the Coolest Neighborhoods
- The Ultimate Guide to the 7 Best Cartagena Beaches
- The 12 Best Cancun Tours and Activities for Your Next Trip
- Where to Stay in Mexico City: A Guide to the Best Neighborhoods
- The Ultimate Guide of the Best Things to Do in Lima, Peru
- The 13 Best Lima Tours and Activities That You Should Check Out
- Where to Stay in Lima: Ranking the Best Neighborhoods
- 10 Best Lima Hostels Perfect for Every Type of Traveler
That makes for another 12 new articles published here on Desk to Dirtbag during the month of May, same as the past two months, meaning that I’ve published more in the first half of this year than I did during all of last year… Oops? I guess that means last year was pretty bad… Haha.
But on the flipside, that means that things are going quite well this year, which will hopefully lead to being in a pretty good position by the end of summer, especially if I can keep up this three times per week schedule. That’s the goal! #hustle
Most Popular Instagram Photo
Be sure to follow me on Instagram for more photos and regular story updates from my adventures.
What I Read
This terribly scammy sounding book is actually quite a great read on the nature of getting ahead and avoiding the whole work 9-to-5 for a steady paycheck thing that I preach against. It talks about how to avoid the whole work your whole life away to maybe have a bit of wealth to fall back on in retirement.
Think of it along the lines of the Four Hour Workweek, but more about all the hustle and struggle that goes into building a “fastlane” business before you could ever consider implementing Ferriss’ DEAL acronym (Define, Eliminate, Automate, Liberate).
I haven’t finished it yet, but so far, so good. Check it out.
What I Watched
I’m a sucker for Netflix documentaries if you haven’t realized from my previous monthly recaps… Being a Washingtonian, I’m familiar with Ted Bundy, of course, but I wasn’t really familiar with the story beyond the fact that he killed a lot of women.
This four-part documentary goes into Ted’s murderous rampages across the country, his escapes from jail, and his ultimate unraveling and execution in Florida.
It’s a sad and twisted tale, but an undeniably interesting documentary. Recommended.
Game of Thrones
(Does Not Contain Spoilers)
Since they are finally wrapping up this series, I decided to get back into it, but that means since the VERY beginning again. We already saw up through Season 6 a few years ago, but I’ve honestly forgotten basically all the details… I mean, I remember a number of big turning points but can’t recall who was perpetrating them or how they came about.
Does that happen to anyone else? That’s one big reason I hate watching series as they play out on TV. You’ve got to wait another year and by then I’ve forgotten most of it.
Anyways, we are slowly working our way through from the beginning again, so no spoilers about what is to come! 🙂
May 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…
- $70.36 – Big Travel, Small Budget book sales
- $413.00 – Amazon Affiliate Sales
- $92.77 – REI Affiliate Sales
- $30.91 – World Nomads Travel Insurance
- $0.00 – D2D Apparel, Stickers, Etc 🙁
- $184.75 – Get Your Guide Tours
- $3,652.63 – Mediavine Display Ads
- $145.00 – Direct Advertising
- $32.50 – Booking.com
- $40.50 – Survey Junkie
- $25.44 – YouTube Videos
- $12.21 – Skimlinks
TOTAL = $4,700.07
GOAL = $6,000 per month
78% of goal covered
May 2019 revenue marks an 11% increase over April 2019, so we are in a nice upward trajectory, despite the fact that my overall website visits have been basically stagnant for the past few months… I can’t quite I’ve been struggling to break through the 100,000 session level, and was finally able to do so this month, albeit barely!
I recently saw someone online talking about blogging like that marshmallow test for children, which goes something like an adult offering one marshmallow to the kid now, or two if they can wait to eat it until the comeback… Of course, plenty of kids can’t resist. That’s the whole delayed gratification thing, much like having a job and getting paid by the hour, versus something like blogging where I work for free and hope it results in money later on…
As mentioned above, I’ve been releasing LOTS of new content over the past three months, but it takes a few months before those articles start to see any traffic from Google. And even then, I don’t get paid for the income that those articles make for ANOTHER couple months, so we’re talking about something like six months before I receive a return on my efforts.
Of course, the idea and goal here is that those same articles will continue generating money every single month after that, like planting lots of little seeds and later collecting the fruit.
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.
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.
Beyond a few indulgences, I was trying to keep expenses low for this month, considering that June will be pricey, I’m sure. It also doesn’t include any cash spending, since I had a fair bit left over from previous withdrawals. But all things considered, May was pretty pampered, with two deep tissue massages, fine dining at Carmen, and more. #dirtbag
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.
Latest posts by Ryan (see all)
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- May 2019 Monthly Recap and Income Report - June 4, 2019
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- Where to Stay in Lima: Ranking the Best Neighborhoods - May 19, 2019
- The Ultimate Guide of the Best Things to Do in Lima, Peru - May 12, 2019