2011 New Year Traveling Webmaster Goals
ZIPOLITE, Mexico- “I am a man who wants to have it all, this is the story about chasing down every wild dream: traveling the world, working for myself, and raising a family.”
I wrote this on New Year’s Eve last year in New Jersey, these words represented where I stood at the opening of 2010. At the beginning of 2011, I must say that I am still in the same place: I am still a man who wants to have it all — though I now know that I am vastly closer to getting it.
At the end of each year I tally up my accomplishments, take a look at the path trailing away behind me, look down at where I am now standing, and then plot a course for the year to come. This travelogue entry is about acknowledging the goals I’ve obtained in the previous year, analyzing where I’ve come up short, and setting new projections for the next 365 days ahead.
On New Year’s Eve last year I stated that I wanted to accomplish two goals:
1. Travel with family in South America
2. Make a real living off of Vagabond Journey.com
I must report that I have come very near to scrapping the gunk out of the bottom of the barrel on both of these goals. I did not travel with my family in South America this past year, but we did travel through the Caribbean, Central America, and the south of Mexico. Same, same as far as accomplishment is concerned. I have also come very close to making a true living off of VagabondJourney.com.
At the end of this year, 2010, I sit back, take a deep breath, and sigh: this was a big year, this was a year that truly casted a mold for the years which will follow. There are certain turn key years in a person’s life where they set up the foundations for an era of their timeline. In 2009, I was married and had a child; in 2010, I found that I could make it work. I found that the life I had proposed to live at the end of 2009 really could be lived at the end of 2010.
I really can travel the world with a family, I really can make a living off of a splatter gun themed budget travel website.
I must say that I came away from 2010 a little surprised myself.
“Chip away at it,” is what my father would tell my mother when she was in college and faced with a mountain of school work that seemed impossible to scale. Chip away at it, I have repeated to myself over and over again this past year as I continue this attempt to scale a very large accomplishment: to make enough money to travel off of a travel website. I’ve chipped, and I’ve chipped, and I am nearly through to the other side.
2010 started off with me making $7 a day, now I make nearly enough to traveling on with a three person family — though keep in mind that we are vagabonds and can live off of shoe leather and chicken feet.
Travel with family in 2010 evaluation
As of New Year’s Eve 2009, my daughter Petra was four and a half months old and we had already logged around three months of travel with her in the USA. She flew from Maine to Arizona with her mother and joined me where I was working on some archaeology projects. We traveled around Arizona from job to job for a while before turning back east for the long ride. We visited friends in New Mexico, St.Louis, my family in Upstate NY, and then more friends in Brooklyn and New Jersey.
In 2010, we went abroad together as a family for the first time. We went to the Dominican Republic, I went to Haiti, and then we all joined back together and traveled through El Salvador, Guatemala, Belize, and Mexico. I went to four new countries in 2010, seven in total.
But this is all just stats, the real story is found in how my family developed on the road, which is a topic much too large for a single entry — it is my impression that to do this you would need to read through the entire archives for 2010, a feat that only the truly strange would dare attempt. But a few key points were as follows:
- Getting on that first international flight with Petra.
- Watching her roll over for the first time in the Dominican Republic
- Petra crawled for the first time in El Salvador,
- She learned how to stand up in the jungle of Guatemala.
- Petra took her first steps at Mexico
- Petra began speaking in both Spanish and English in Mexico.
More importantly, I found that traveling with a child and wife is not only a new responsibility but is fun as well. My daughter made me laugh each day in 2010, my wife made me smile. 2010 showed me that I can travel with a family, though I know that it is not going to get any easier.
Vagabond Journey yearly evaluation
At this time last year, VagabondJourney.com was bringing in around 2,300 visitors a day; this year, we count 3,500 per day — a rise by over 50%.
926,007 — nearly a million — visitors came to the site this past year.
I was featured on AOL’s Shelterpop.com, The Longest Way Home.com, Off Track Planet.com, Grumpy’s Getaway Guide, TravelBlogs.com, Students in Europe.com, Extended World Travel.com, Travel with a Mate.com, and a couple of times on Rolf Potts’ Vagablogging.net.
In 2010, VagabondJourney.com also received a couple of big honors: I was inducted into TheLongestWayHome.com’s Great Modern Traveler hall of fame, VagabondJourney.com was one of Off Track Planet’s Most successful travel blogs of 2010, and we also came up in a couple of other “best travel blog” lists.
In point, 2010 was a pivotal year.
What am I talking about? All the starting years of doing a new business are pivotal.
It was in the spring of 2010 when my friend Andy Hobotravler.com shared with me a piece of business knowledge: he told me that in just about any business you can’t expect to make any money during the first three years.
We are far beyond this now with Vagabond Journey, we are getting there.
Goals for 2011
Simply put, setting goals and trying to attain them is fun — scorecards, stats, and striving for finish lines are all mind candy. For ambition to double back and congratulate itself, goals are of absolute pertinence. The following are my goals for 2011.
VagabondJourney.com goal for 2011
I posted on Gary Arnt’s Facebook group that I wanted to be bringing in 7,000 daily visitors on VagabondJourney.com by the end of 2011 (we had over 5,000 yesterday, but this was a peak day for traffic). Daily visitors and page views are the only two stats that I care about, as they are the final reconing of all other blogging stats. It does not matter at all if I have 30,000 Twitter followers if none of them click over to VagabondJourney.com, and I feel the same goes with Facebook fans, RSS subscribers, and the garble of other ways that travel sites are now evaluated. In point, I am a webmaster — I want people on my pages.
Normally, Vagabond Journey brings in around 3,500 unique daily visitors. I want to double this in 2011. My main goal for VagabondJourney.com is to average over 7,000 visitors and 12,000 page views daily.
Travel goal for 2011
Traveling is my lifestyle, I should continue to travel perpetually in 2011. But there are various styles and modes of travel. Travel as I generally try to do it now could be called “real life travel.” I go to places and build temporary homes there: I make friends, I interview people, I learn a little about what is going on in a deeper sense than if I were just passing through. Real life travel is about learning and understanding, it is about projects, work, and for truly exploring the subtleties of the planet. But there are other modes of travel, and I know that I need at least one good, fast traveling sans-family adventure per year to keep the blood pumping.
In 2010, my adventure was to to Haiti, and it went a little bust as after the earthquake hotels doubled and tripled their already high price of accommodation — many refusing to take less than $50 per night for a roach room in shoddy hotel. In 2011, I will be sure that this does not happen again: this year I am looking at either crossing through the Amazon from the coast of Brazil to Colombia or traveling an overland route down from Ethiopia to Tanzania. At the terminus of either route, the rest of the VJ family will join me and we will return to real life traveling once again.
Family goal for 2011
As far as fathering goes, my role increases exponentially in proportion to the age of my daughter. I have recently been discover by her as the “other mommy” and we can now play, run, wrestle, and do dad stuff. I can no longer leave Petra stuffed all day long in my wife’s bosom, it is show time from here on out.
The 10’s decade of the 2000’s is now gone — it was truly a fast decade. In 1999, I began traveling; in 2000, I went abroad for the first time — the 2000’s decade was one in which I wove this pattern of events, experiences, and impressions that I call life. I became a traveler during this past decade, and I enter into the next one fully resolute to keep traveling down this same road.
Traveling, I know of no better way to live.
When I look back on this past year — when I look back on this past decade — I must say that I am satisfied.