In the world of blogging, 10 years is a momentous milestone!
When you consider that statistics show 80% of new blogs fail within 18 months following their launch, it really puts into perspective how massive a whole decade of blogging is!
The Rocky Safari travel blog has come A LONG WAY since that January morning in 2013 when I woke up feeling a conviction to embark on a new journey by starting my own blog.
THE ROCKY SAFARI TURNS 10 YEARS OLD TODAY!
THE DECISION TO START A BLOG
Travel blogs have always been an incredible source of inspiration for me.
Reading blogs got me dreaming about destinations I might one day get the chance to go and visit. Never was that feeling more pronounced than during my four years of high school. Recognizing how rewarding it was to read other people’s blogs as a student, I decided I’d try to make my own in 2013!
Blogging appealed to me because it was positioned in this unique digital space somewhere between storytelling, scrap-booking, teaching, helping people, and creating a community.
By starting my own travel blog, I could document stories and share photos of where I’ve been all while providing my community with insights, inspiration, and education about the attractions I have been to around the world.
Ultimately, I wanted to help people recognize that travel can be affordable, attainable, and sustainable.
Explore, Travel, & Design Your Dream Lifestyle
As an introvert, telling people stories through writing is what comes most naturally to me! I find it comfortable because I can go as in-depth as I’d like while writing a post and then when you visit the blog, you get to pick and choose which stories you deem are worth diving deeper into.
THE ROCKY SAFARI IN 2023
Every year when January 23rd rolls around, I sit down to reflect and think about my blog anniversary. Normally, I find I have a lot to talk about.
- In 2018, I wrote about 50 takeaways from 5 years of blogging
- In 2022, I shared 9 things I learned from 9 years of blogging
This year was a bit different. The words wouldn’t come. I think it may be because 10 YEARS is such a long time and it feels so BIG. In spite of accomplishing quite a few feats with my blog including turning it into a business, I actually feel like I’m only just beginning this whole endeavor.
Even though this blog technically was created in 2013, it didn’t start to pick up until 2016, and 2018 was when it really started gaining momentum. To get to this point today, it took:
- Years of experimentation.
- Trial and error.
- Pivoting, learning, and honing my skills.
BLOGGING BY THE NUMBERS
10 years is a long time. It’s a full decade! I started this blog when I was 17 so I’ve now spent a greater portion of my 20s researching, writing, and sharing my thoughts on traveling, blogging, and all of the other topics that have made their way onto this website.
- Over ten years, I have published over 1,267 posts
It’s pretty wild to stop and think about all the time I spent writing my heart out to create literally THOUSANDS of posts.
Turning this into a long-term career option was a path I never envisioned in the beginning. I blog because I love everything about it – writing is my ultimate passion! The income it produces is a bonus, but it was never why I started. I blogged for years before I ever saw any financial return.
- Currently, my blog has 815 live posts
Last year, I needed to respond to an update to Google’s algorithm so I made the difficult decision to remove over 400 blog posts spanning from 2013 to 2016 because of how low quality they were in the beginning.
- Readers have left over 5,000 comments
Possibly one of the things I have enjoyed the most over the past 10 years on here has been all of the connections and interactions I have been fortunate enough to enjoy thanks to blogging. The internet is an amazing tool and it’s pretty incredible how it connects people who share similar interests. If you’ve ever reached out by leaving a blog comment, message, or email- you can bet you’ve brought a big smile to my face. Those interactions are probably the most rewarding part of having a blog.
- The Rocky Safari blog has been read in 193 out of 195 countries
I have had readers visit this website from almost every country around the world. In 2023, I’m just waiting for someone to log on from these two remaining countries in Africa: Gabon and Southern Sudan.
CELEBRATING WINS ON THE BLOG
The Rocky Safari has been featured on popular websites including CNBC, HuffPost, Acorns, VoyageDenver, and others.
I was interviewed face-to-face on Acorns about how I used multiple credit cards to leverage points for travel.
I even got the chance to appear on television thanks to blogging!
Since 2013, I have had the opportunity to partner with numerous businesses! These partnerships taught me how to work with brands, elevated the quality of my work, and taught me how partnering with established businesses can help form the early stages of building a profitable business in blogging.
KEEPING A FINGER ON THE PULSE
Even though 2022 was one of the best years I’ve had with this blog, it is always nerve-wracking to think about how so much of my success with blogging is directly linked to Google’s algorithm.
Whenever challenging life events (physical injuries, relationship struggles, mental health, etc.) pull me away from blogging for any length of time, I always have some level of paranoia that I’ll be penalized for not creating content often enough by Google’s standards.
One time, Google made a change to the algorithm and my traffic dropped 50% overnight. I needed to make rapid changes to my website to restore my statistics back to their prior level. It is a scary feeling to accept that Google has so much control over my organic discoverability, traffic, and blogging income.
Looking back, I can’t help but feel a pang of nostalgia for the internet in 2013 which was an ENTIRELY different landscape. Ranking for keywords was totally different. Internet culture then was nothing like the internet as we know it today. Blogging was less competitive, ranking for keywords was far easier, and it was a lot more common for people to blog purely for enjoyment. Naturally, I miss those days!
MEMORABLE BLOG POSTS
I would like to share some of my favorite blog posts from the past 10 years. These are not necessarily my most popular posts. They may not even be very high-traffic or viral posts.
These are simply the posts that make me smile and take me back to memorable points in my blogging journey. In no particular order, here are some of my all-time favorite posts:
- I Bought a One Way Ticket To Greece at 3 AM
- 5 Foods You Have to Try Before Leaving Spain
- How To Harvest Olives For Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Revisiting Brighter Times: My Month in Zadar, Croatia
- Can You Befriend a Wild Pigeon?
- Saint Martin’s Butterfly Garden Is the Most Peaceful Place on Earth
- Huh? What Do You Mean I’m Going to China!?!
- Meet Pancake: The Friendliest Eastern Chipmunk on Earth
- The MBTI Changed My Life Forever (Story of a Gay INFJ)
- Welcoming Bentley Into the Family – Meet Our New Puppy
If I have ever published a post that stuck with you, I’d love to hear which one it was down in the comments! 😊
PLANS FOR THE NEXT 10 YEARS
Looking back, I think part of the reason that I feel strange celebrating 10 years of blogging is that in many ways, I feel like I’m still just getting started. Even though this blog was technically first created in 2013, it wasn’t until the past few years that I really elevated my blogging skills to take this seriously.
In a lot of ways, I feel like I’m brand new to all of this! Every single day I am still learning how to grow, improve, and level up. Blogging is a field that involves constant changes and you have to be willing to adapt to stay afloat!
As I transition into a different stage in my life, I find myself working through doubts about the future just like the next person. I know I want to keep traveling (I can’t imagine anything will ever change that), but I definitely do catch myself stopping to think about the implications it has on my family, my friends, my beloved new puppy, and my life as I know it in the United States.
I really have to consider how long I am willing to be away from home to accomplish the travel goals I have set out to achieve. I can’t help but struggle with these decisions as meeting them means also deciding what I am willing to forego. I always knew those feelings might surface someday and that’s why I am truly so grateful I went backpacking straight out of college.
I know travel will always be a huge part of my life (no intention of stopping) but as we enter this next era of 2023 and beyond, I really want to determine how I can achieve the healthiest balance between these different areas of my life.
THANK YOU FOR BEING HERE!
The one thing I know for certain is that I’ll never quit blogging.
I am so grateful to all the amazing people this blog has allowed me to connect with. From my supporters who have cheered me on to my critics who have challenged me to think differently, I have always done my best to value each and every visitor’s input who took the time to stop by and contribute.
Blogs are a creative outlet and this one was ten years in the making. I think that’s something worth celebrating and I am so excited to see what The Rocky Safari will look like 10 years from now. In the meantime, I hope you’ll continue to fly with me as we go on to see where this plane lands us. 😀