A Celebration of My 2nd Blogaversary and BEST Travel Year Yet

To blog= to share, to connect, to create, to inspire
— The Gingerbread Gem

Today is Monday, June 5, 2017.

Monday, ironically, is my favorite day of the week because it is a subtle reminder of my favorite holiday, New Year's Eve.  Monday's are a refresher and allow you to release the past and prepare for the future. So on this Monday, it is heartwarming to know that it is not only just another Monday, but it is officially my 2nd Blogaversary. 

School is out and I am preparing for my next departure for an adventure which will take place this Friday.  I have been celebrating and preparing for this blogaversary and oddly enough, I feel more emotional about celebrating my 2nd than my 1st.  Maybe it is because when you're a novice (which I still am in my head), you are just trying to make it.  The transition between years 1 and 2 meant a lot of work and sacrifice for me.  No pain, no gain though, right?  And you can believe, because I worked hard this year I celebrated hard and I appreciate you all embarking upon this journey with me.

 I cannot believe that it has already been 2 years since I began the blogging journey. Read about my highlights and what's to come for Thirty30Courtney. 

I cannot believe that it has already been 2 years since I began the blogging journey. Read about my highlights and what's to come for Thirty30Courtney. 

My BEST Travel Year Yet

If I am counting correctly, during this past year I visited 10 countries:

  1. Spain
  2. Portugal
  3. France
  4. England
  5. Belgium
  6. The Netherlands
  7. Germany
  8. Italy
  9. Panama
  10. Puerto Rico (repeat country)

I cannot even articulate the various cities I visited.  I took a leap of faith and told my fear of long-haul flights to shove it and trekked across the pond to Europe.  I made connections with strangers that I still speak with to this very day.  I savored the moments and lessons learned, throughout the good experiences and the bad.  I had no idea I would cross out one-third of my travel goal within one calendar year alone but it was the time of my life thus far, and this year has some work to do. 

What I Have Learned During This Past Blog Year

No half-stepping is allowed if you strive to be an influencer in the blogger world.  If you lack the heart and the discipline, you will not go far.  People strive to start new projects but often don't finish them so I am proud to have made it to two years thus far.  I've learned that virtual strangers can be your biggest cheerleaders during the times when you feel alone.  I realize that I shouldn't ever go anywhere without my notebook because I get ideas at the most random times (far too many in the shower).  

While I have always loved to write, I realized that I love the marketing aspect of blogging just as much.  Social media marketing? I want my certificate in it and it's going to get done.  Buffer? It's my new boyfriend.  Most importantly, I have learned to remain authentic and true to myself and to maintain my voice.  The number of travel bloggers in the world may seem daunting but I understand my purpose in this niche and enjoy sharing the good and bad with my readers. 

What can you as a reader look forward to this upcoming year?

Yesterday, on Instagram, my favorite auntie in my head, Myleik, called it "Say It Sunday". When you put your goals out into the universe, it creates a sense of accountability and pressure. There's less time for foolery. I'm not saying talk about everything but I see where she is going. So, this year, you can look forward to the following:

  • New page design (Did you all notice?!)
  • The launch of my YouTube channel *gasp*
  • Monthly live streaming
  • Lodging reviews
  • A newsletter!
  • Travel themed giveaways
  • A project dedicated to my fellow solo travelers. 

All I can say is stay tuned! *wink wink*

To My Readers & Supporters-

Thank you for keeping me going.  As a writer, sometimes you question if your content is being well received but always on cue, I receive a boost of encouragement from you. Every like, share, comment, or click is appreciated because you did not have to engage with this blog. Even though I may not have ever met some of you in person, I love the connection felt over the love of travel. You all are a blessing. 

As far as my "Dallas circle" goes, you all are the GOAT.  I birthed the blog right before my Houston departure and Dallas arrival.  God knew what he was doing by placing me with you all.  I had no idea I would by chance link up with some of the most talented creatives I have ever met.  Dallas does not get the shine of other cities in the creative circus, but you all PUSH me on those late Tuesday nights in Deep Ellum. You all are so lit it makes me go harder because I know you refuse to hang with mediocrity.  I have grown as a blogger thanks to you. 

The work that does matter, is not what gets the Instagram likes. It’s the quiet work, the hard work, the work that you struggle with alone, the work you do without your makeup & bra on. That is the work that matters, the unseen is what builds the empire.
— Tori Lee, BlackGirlsSocial

I have heard the phrase that "Three's a charm" and I am welcoming the challenges and opportunities that will come my way.  Blogging is a labor of love but I would not trade this for the world. I am getting eerily close to my goal of reaching 30 countries and I love sharing the raw experience with you all. Stay with me, because we are going places literally AND figuratively.