A year ago I was at home, and bored with the limits put on our travels by the pandemic. Travel outside the UK was clearly going to be off the agenda for a while yet, so what to do? Maybe this was the perfect time to start a new challenge, one I had been considering for a while. I would launch a blog!
The aim was to showcase my twin passions of travel and photography. I had done so in the past elsewhere; photos on Flickr and Instagram, of course, and writing on the now-defunct Virtual Tourist and on TravellersPoint, a blogging site. But now it was time to spread my wings and develop my own site.
I called it ‘Travel with Me’, a strapline previously used on my Virtual Tourist homepage, and on 30th August 2020 published my first post, Meeting Leo. Little did I know then that the blog would become something of an obsession, and that the theme of encountering interesting people on my travels, like Leo, would run like a thread through many of my posts.
- I have published 252 posts including this one
- Received 3,333 comments
- Acquired 259 followers (241 on WordPress, 18 email subscribers)
I discovered the world of blogging challenges a few months after that first post, in October 2020, and since then:
- I have participated in 15 different blogging challenges
- Posted 180 individual posts in response to challenges
- Guest-hosted 1 challenge (Bird Weekly)
- Become a co-host of 1 challenge (Friendly Friday)
Some more numbers:
My most popular post to date based on likes: My love of travel https://www.toonsarah-travels.blog/my-love-of-travel-some-special-moments/, with 46 likes
That’s also the post to have received the most comments to date, 34 (I’ve subtracted my own replies from the total of 64)
The next most popular are:
2. Birds with long tail feathers https://www.toonsarah-travels.blog/bird-weekly-52-birds-with-long-tail-feathers/
3. Yellow big and yellow small https://www.toonsarah-travels.blog/gallery-yellow-big-and-yellow-small/
4. Reflecting on birds https://www.toonsarah-travels.blog/gallery-reflecting-on-birds/
5. Welcome to my wonderful world https://www.toonsarah-travels.blog/gallery-welcome-to-my-wonderful-world/
But if I judge posts by the number of views, a different pattern emerges:
1. Carnival parade in Praia, Cape Verde https://www.toonsarah-travels.blog/carnival-parade-in-praia-cape-verde/ (boosted by a strange flurry of interest from Cape Verde residents!)
2. In for a penny: a visit to Kew Gardens https://www.toonsarah-travels.blog/in-for-a-penny-a-visit-to-kew-gardens/ (a very recent post, so surprisingly high)
3. A warm welcome in the Thar Desert https://www.toonsarah-travels.blog/a-warm-welcome-in-the-thar-desert/
4. My ‘Who am I?’ about page https://www.toonsarah-travels.blog/who-am-i/
5. Mountain, desert, jungle or ocean https://www.toonsarah-travels.blog/gallery-mountain-desert-jungle-or-ocean/
I have written posts about 36 different countries, from Belize to Zimbabwe.
My blog has been visited by people from 139 different countries. The ‘top ten’ are
2. United Kingdom
9. South Africa
Single hits have come from as far afield as Fiji and the Maldives, and closer to home from Jersey and Latvia.
And if Google Analytics are accurate, I have had nearly 20,000 page views since I started the blog!
So that was the first year – let’s see what the next has in store …