My bag is packed, my plane outfit ironed, my alarm set, and my brand-new, as yet un-stamped passport ready to go—along with my one-way plane ticket.
Oh, what a feeling.
On the eve of an exciting new chapter, I figured it was about time for a little life update and preview of our travel plans for the rest of 2018 and start of 2019. It’s also the perfect time to set some intentions for the blog—I’m counting on you to hold me to my commitments!
If you follow me on Instagram, you might have noticed that I’ve been offloading a bunch of Vietnam photos in the past few weeks. Truth is, I’m still processing all the wonderful/challenging experiences we had during our year in Hanoi—and still sifting through some 5,000-odd photos.
On August 19th, we packed up our little apartment and said goodbye to Hanoi for good. As always, we had mixed feelings about stepping onto the plane. It was difficult to part with friends (for the first time in a long time, I formed some truly special relationships in Hanoi); but on the other hand, both Ross and I felt like a change of scenery was well overdue.
One day I might write an honest account of what it was like living in Hanoi. But then again, I might not. I never really shared much about my experience living in Cambodia, either. In a way, these experiences are almost too personal and too complex to try to put into words. So instead, you can read my much lighter posts about our neighbourhood in Hanoi and our travels around Vietnam.
…And Hello Australia
For the past two months we’ve been back home in Brisbane, staying with family and living the high life (i.e. eating cheese toasties topped with hummus and with a side of Tim Tams for every meal).
The more time I spend away from Australia, the more I appreciate home time and the ease that comes with familiar surroundings. I’m an absolute homebody through and through—I relish routine and predictability, which makes travelling and living overseas quite a challenge for me. But it’s a challenge I love—which is why we never seem to stay put for too long.
What’s been happening with Wander-Lush?
If you’re a regular reader then you might have noticed a few changes over here on the blog. In the final days before we left Vietnam, I reached a major milestone—I hit the traffic threshold required to join Mediavine.
I never planned to (or let’s face it, dreamed that I ever could) monetise my blog. It’s a cliche, but Wander-Lush has always been a passion project and something I wanted to do for myself without really caring what anyone else thought. That changed about a year ago when I started to feel frustrated at the immense amount of time and energy I was pouring into the site for little or no recognition. Around July 2017 I was actually considering abandoning the whole thing and letting my hosting expire. That was until Ross convinced me to start taking things more seriously and set some realistic goals. I did—and let me tell you, having a clear direction has been a game changer.
Hosting ads on my site allows me to cover the costs involved with running a blog (and there are more than a few). I still have a long way to go, but right now, I’m earning enough to justify spending so much time working on it—which is in turn motivating me even more.
A new adventure
That one-way plane ticket I mentioned earlier is actually a stack of boarding passes an inch thick. It takes a lot of time and a lot of mileage (and money!) to travel from Australia to… Colombia!
Colombia/South America has always been in the cards for us, but we thought it would come much later. That was until a friend announced his plans to marry his Colombian girlfriend in her hometown. That’s one wedding invitation we just couldn’t pass up.
This will be our first time in South America and the sixth continent we’ve visited as a couple. Although it was never top of my travel wish list, I’ve heard great things about Colombia and can’t wait to experience it for myself. Our plan is to spend a few weeks in Medellin before travelling to Monterrey (a small town outside Yopal, which is an even smaller town outside Bogota) for the nuptials. We’ll round-off our five-ish weeks with a road trip with the wedding party back to Bogota.
We’re still planning to save the rest of South America for later. For now, Eastern Europe is calling.
From Bogota, we’ll fly to Lisbon and spend a week or so in Portugal before continuing on to Sofia for Christmas. From there, we hope to travel around the Balkans and revisit our favourite country, Georgia.
I wish I could tell you that we have a well-laid plan but honestly, we don’t. Where we go and how long we spend travelling all depends on a number of personal factors. We’re literally going to take things week by week. There’s only one thing we know for sure, and that’s that we’re going to travel slowly. With Ross studying and me working online, we need to travel at a pace that allows us both to satisfy our commitments and gives us time enough to get to know a few cities/countries really well.
What you can expect from Wander-Lush in the coming months
For starters, I’ll probably start posting fresh content on Instagram again.
Last time we travelled long-term I published a weekly series of photo blogs. Although I loved putting these together and found that it kept me focused on the blog, I don’t think I’ll be doing it again. Instead, I’m hoping to stick with a realistic schedule for posting new stories, re-focusing on Wander-Lush’s theme of ‘colour, culture and creativity’.
This time around, I’m also planning to create videos. I know, I know—I say the same thing on the eve of every trip, but this time I’m serious. I feel like it’s now or never with video and if I don’t bite the bullet and start pushing myself, I’m going to regret it six months down the track when everyone is producing high-quality video content. My plan is to create short videos to accompany select blog posts as well as share longer clips on YouTube. Be sure to subscribe to my (brand new) YouTube channel for the latest.
I’ll also keep churning out my monthly newsletter. If you aren’t already subscribed, this is a great way to get an overview of what’s been published on the site in the previous 30 days. I only ever send one email per month (on the last day of the month), so no need to worry about your inbox getting flooded.
As always, a heartfelt thank you for reading and for following along. These are exciting times for Ross and I, and for Wander-Lush—I hope you’ll stick around for the journey ahead!