2015 Year in Travel (and Blog) Review!!!
What an amazing year 2015 was!!!
I want thank you, dear reader, for following the journey throughout the year. Without your continued support of the blog and cheerleading, none of this would have been possible.
I want to start off 2016 by first recapping 2015. I realize that many bloggers posted their 2015 Year in Reviews in 2015, and I am late to the game. I have my reason, though:
- I dedicated December to hustling my freelance writing career. If you caught my last Periscope happy hour, you might remember that I said December is the month of opportunity. While the rest of the world takes the month off to prepare for the Holidays, the successful leap on the opportunities left on the table. I didn’t have time to be introspective as I was seizing opportunities (And I can’t wait to tell you what I seized!!!). Finally, I settled down to spend a few days with family
- I wanted this post to be part of a two-part series about personal and professional goal setting. The best way to plan for the future is to first see where you have been and learn from those successes and failures. I want to walk readers through that process by using my own 2016 goal-setting as an example.
The Year in Travel Review
In 2015, I was fortunate enough to travel to 4 countries and 13 cities. This number would be higher but the year included four trips to the same city, Asheville, and a hosted weekend by the Omni in my hometown of Charlotte. Also, becoming a father limited travel for several months but was by far my greatest accomplishment of the year.
Here’s where we’ve been in 2015!
Decided that we were in desperate need of a travel break and booked a weekend to attend Raleigh Rare Beer Festival
Learned that we were expecting
Visited my parents new house in The Villages, Florida
Ate (and drank) my way through Barcelona, Spain
Attended TBEX in Lloret de Mar, Spain
Had one of the most memorable meals of my life in Palafrugell, Spain
Biked and kayaked in Terres de L’ebre, Spain
Village-hopped in the Spanish mountainside
Learned French cooking with Le Calabash in the Loire Valley, France
Crossed sipping Westvleteren 12 from the source off my bucket-list in Westvleteren, Belgium
Ate the best frites in the world at Maison Antoine in Brussels, Belgium
Finally visited Wicked Weed in Asheville, North Carolina
Brewery hopped at Fonta Flora Brewery and Catawba Brewering in Morganton, North Carolina
Went on a babymoon in St Lucia and stayed at the most delightful resort – Fond Doux Plantation and Resort
Attended BBC15 in Asheville, North Carolina
Caught up with high school friends at a wedding in Canton, Ohio
The Year in Blog Review
Along the way, I also:
- Successfully launched my freelance writing career
- Narrowed down The Wandering Gourmand’s niche to focus on the food and craft beer of travel
- Re-designed the site (again)
- Began publishing income reports
- Started writing about the business of blogging and freelance writing in response to reader feedback
- Appeared in Trip101, CraftBeer, TravelVersed, Charlotte Agenda, Travel Blog Success, Hipmunk, and Green Globe
- Made my radio debut with a segment on Dubai Today
Of course, the year wasn’t without some failures. A look at 2015’s goals shows that I have a few areas that require room for improvement.
Goal 1: Publish / self-publish a novel. I’m sitting on two completed drafts of two different novels. I tirelessly shopped the first novel, It’s Always Personal, to over 70 agents with nothing to show but a pile of rejection letters. After reading their feedback and the feedback of a few published writers in my circle of friends, the novel would most likely do better as a trilogy in the self-published world. Those changes will require a lot of effort.
The second novel, What Lies at Home, should be ready to shop to agents by now. Alas, chasing freelance and blogging goals became all encompassing towards the end of the year. The car accident also limited the amount of time I can spend seated in front of a computer.
Lesson Learned: I believe this goal could have been accomplished with better time management and regular goal check-ins.
Goal 2: Make money from freelance writing. While it wasn’t a significant source of income, I did begin making money as a freelance travel and craft beer writer. I spent a good portion of 2015 learning the ropes of freelance writing. I look at 2015 as my time in the minors. I have to prove myself before I can even play for a low-budget, major league team.
Lesson learned: Never give up. I’m earning my success the best way possible – through hard work.
Goal 3: Have enough blog followers to qualify as B-level. This was a dumb goal as I never quantified what level of traffic this was. Thus, I can’t really say whether or not I achieved it. From a pure numbers game, I want to say I’m not there yet. However, from the notice I’m getting from sponsors and other bloggers leagues ahead of me, I might be there.
Lesson learned: Don’t set a goal you can’t quantify.
Want to know what 2016 has in store for The Wandering Gourmand and my travels? Then check back on Thursday! Or, you can always sign-up for my newsletter for updates to your inbox.