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Earlier this week, I celebrated my fourth travelversary by recapping my last twelve months of travels. Today, I’m toasting to another big milestone — four years of tapping away in Wanderland. Let’s take a peek at my last twelve months in blogging, shall we?

Four Years of Blogging

My Year in Blogging

This year, I wrote 191 posts, uploaded 4,233 photos and left 5,809 comment responses. While 191 posts seems like a lot, it’s actually down quite a bit from last year, in which I wrote 235. No wonder I’m months behind in chronological time (I promise I work hard to make those posts worth the wait, though!) There’s almost a mind-boggling amount of content on Meihoukai in Wanderland now.

And there are more of you reading than ever. Last year, I was proud to report that Meihoukai in Wanderland was receiving 28,000 unique monthly visitors and 110,000 monthly page views. This year, I’m amazed to have watched those numbers grow to over 80,000 unique monthly visitors and almost 250,000 monthly page views. Holy cow!

It’s kind of hard for me to relate those number into real people — until I’m face to face with them. One of the most unexpectedly fun things about my recent Central America travels was being approached by readers who recognized me on the street. It’s definitely happened in the past — my sister was even recognized once in a bar in New Orleans — but six readers approaching me in the span of three months was definitely a first. (And also made me paranoid about my in public, but you have to take the good with the bad.)

I say it in the comments often, but I really do feel like I’m the luckiest girl in the world, not least because I get to do every trip twice. Once, live and in person, and again, here with you all. And I couldn’t dream of a better set of virtual travel companions. I’m still humbled by the sense of community here, and constantly inspired by your travel feedback and blogging suggestions. While I’ve heard other bloggers bemoan the fact that commenting is down overall due to more users reading via mobile or connecting via social media instead, my day is still made by your regular comments!

Four Years of Blogging

My Year in Makin’ Money

I spent more than I made in year four, which was a disappointment after having a net profitable year for the first time in year three. It felt like moving backwards, even if I did earn slightly more gross income. But considering what an indulgent year of travel I had — a pricey jaunt to Europe may have been involved — it’s no surprise. And business expenses were higher than ever as well. I redesigned my website, I upgraded my hosting, and I hired a part-time assistant.

I have high hopes and solid plans for year five, though. With my travels slowing down and primarily based in the US and Southeast Asia, my expenses will be significantly reduced. Naturally, business costs will continue to rise — I’m planning to take on another part-time assistant and I just had a huge expenditure on camera gear — but that’s a positive progression.

On the income side, I’ve slowly been shedding freelance work in favor of focusing primarily on my blog — still a process, but getting there. In my third year of blogging, 61% of my income came from sources outside my blog — freelance design work, outside writing projects, etc. In this fourth year, that number plummeted to just 16%! I still enjoy the occasional design job and I want to keep my name out there with writing projects, so I’m happy for that number to stay where it is right now. However, considering I more or less devote the same amount of time to this blog regardless of how much I’m making, it’s nice to see that time reflected in my income.

So how am I making money these days? Mostly by working with big brands on big campaigns. As my traffic grows, so do my rates, which brings me closer and closer to my goal of working with a highly curated, extremely small number of sponsors that share my love of travel and storytelling. Additionally, affiliate income continues to grow while SEO-based link sales continue to diminish, and I’m working on adding two totally new income streams to my site — selling traditional sidebar adspace and adding sponsored blogger features — that I think will be a great fit for Meihoukai in Wanderland. I continue to get great feedback from both advertisers and readers alike, and it gives me all kinds of warm fuzzies inside.

Last year, I said my honeymoon with self-employment was over. That’s still true. I had more than one client skip out on payment (this was the first year I’ve ever had that happen, which I know some freelancers would say makes me lucky), and at one point, with more than $10,000 due in outstanding payments from advertisers and clients, I overdrew on my accounts for the first time in history. Let me tell ya, calling your mom from Central America as a twenty-five year old woman and asking her to put some cash in your checking account to hold you until you can sign some incoming checks over to her is not a great feeling. Yet I feel that I am on a solid path to a more stable situation. Fingers crossed that by the time I’m rounding a half-decade of this whole blogging thing, I’ll more or less have things figured out.

Blogaversary

Superlatives

Looking back at my posts from the last twelve months made me realize that there’s a lot I’m doing right, but more still that I can do better. I think I’ve hit a good stride of mixing informational and inspirational posts, but I still want to continue to flex my creative muscles to bring you even more unique content. Look out for an upcoming reader survey in which you’ll be able to tell me what you want more of — your feedback and support moves mountains here at Wanderland HQ!

Most Commented
Welcome to the New WanderlandCatcalls and Question Marks How Much Does Tomorrowland Cost?My Travel Plans For 2015

Best Photos
The 2014 Coney Island Mermaid ParadeThe Allure of ImerovigliInspiration Around Lake AtitlánYi Peng: A Festival of Light and Love

Best Writing
Mermaids Are Real: The Magic of Weeki WacheeEquilibrio Festival: Under The SunTrekking the Opium Trail in Northern ThailandGreetings From The GulfIn Defense of Phnom Penh

Musing-est
A Year of GivingProud to be an AmericanGratitude at Twenty-FiveAnatomy of BurnoutBoobs and Boarding Passes

Most Useful
The Complete Guide to TomorrowlandHiking on Koh TaoBeyond Sunday Funday: What to Do in San Juan del Sur

Four Years of Blogging

Goals

Last year, I set some goals for my blogging and travels. Let’s see how I did — and set some new ones.

Goal: To bring more spontaneity back into my travels.
Verdict: I definitely feel I achieved this in the second half of the year. The first half was tightly scheduled and regimented due to flight itineraries and the cost of travel in Europe. Yet I arrived in Central America with only the roughest skeleton of an itinerary, and loved blowing wherever the wind took me. A lot of this comes down to letting go of the idea of comped hotel stays and activities as a perk of the job. In the past, I focused heavily on that in order to keep expenses low — but over time, I realized it just kept me tied to a rigid schedule, and the vast amount of time it took to arrange those could be better used elsewhere. These days, I’d rather focus on increasing my income and paying out of pocket, giving me more time and more flexibility.

Goal: To work smarter, develop office hours, and find more effective ways to manage stress and expectations.
Verdict: I at least made a step here in hiring a part time assistant. Yet in general I still spend too much time trying to keep my head above water and too little thinking about the big picture — for example, how I can maximize passive income so that I can spend my time on creating beautiful content, or how I can stop seeing my inbox as public enemy number one.

Goal: To return to Southeast Asia.
Verdict: Nailed it!

Goal: To slow down my travel pace in order to reflect the fact that I am not just a carefree backpacker, I am running a business from the road.
Verdict: Again, started to get there in the second half. I truly believe that this year ahead will be a turning point toward achieving this goal.

Goal: To find a more significant way to give back to both the communities I visit on my travels and the community I’ve built here.
Verdict: I’m not sure I achieved this, but looking back I’m not 100% sure what I could have done to have felt I did. It was kind of a vague goal, which is the worst kind. One thing I know I would like to focus on more going forward is emphasizing ways to be a more eco-friendly traveler, which is an issue I care deeply about.

Photography in Belize

While I still have some work to do on some of those goals (namely, working smarter and slowing down), I have a few new ones — both business and personal — to add to the docket as well.

Goal: Get my time back. I’d like to be able to go offline for larger swaths of time without my universe collapsing. I plan to achieve this by slowing the f down, developing a home base, hiring out the aspects of my business that I am ineffective at, and developing more passive income streams.

Goal: Take trips that reflect my passions. I mean, I’m clearly not really lacking in this right now. However, I’d love to try to carve out time for both diving specific trips and perhaps even a yoga retreat this year.

Goal: Get my inbox under control. I am literally plagued with guilt on a daily basis over the hundreds (thousands?) of unanswered, flagged emails in my inbox. I am hoping that by turning the business ones over to someone else I will be able to focus more on the personal ones from readers.

Goal: To be open to commitment again. I haven’t been in a relationship where I didn’t have one foot out the door in a long time. It’s been years since I committed to anything — a lease, a long term boyfriend, a monthly gym membership. I’m ready to try living life without an escape plan. I’m not saying I’m going to force any of those things — least of all the gym membership, I mean have you ever tried to get out of one of those contracts? — but I am going to allow myself to be open to them.

Goal: To turn down press trips guilt-free. To be fair, I’ve already nailed the “turn down press trips” part of this goal (I graciously declined about ten in the last month alone), though I do struggle with nagging guilt that I’m missing out on some amazing opportunities. Still, I know that focusing on taking one or two prefect-fit press trips per year and doing my own thing the rest of the time is the right move.

Goal: To focus on improving my writing craft. Two of the highlights of my year were participating in the Koh Tao Writer’s Retreat and leading a writer’s workshop in El Salvador. I want to carve out time for writing classes, attempt to get some essays published, and to remember to write for the joy of it.

Blogaversary

Whew! What a ride it has been. I absolutely love writing these yearly roundups and the reflection and introspection they inspire. Pausing to look back certainly reminds me that I need to hone my business sense, sharpen my prioritizing skills and work on a million other weaknesses. But it also shows me how much I’ve grown, and reminds me that I’m moving in the right direction.

In the past, when people asked me what I do for a living, I’d mutter something about blogging in an apologetic tone. These days, I feel confident that while I may wear a bikini most days, I’m most certainly a badass businesswoman. Like any entrepreneur I have good days and bad ones, and I struggle with the erratic nature of my industry. Yet knowing how restless I’d be confined to a cubicle, I’m grateful every day I found a way to make my office anywhere.

And whenever I feel that I’m missing out on the camaraderie of coworkers, I remind myself that I have you, lovely readers. This blog wouldn’t exist without ya, and not a day goes by that I don’t remember that and thank my lucky stars for the whole lot of you. When it comes to expressing gratitude, I like to stick to the classics. And thus, I’ll close this blog post the same way I have for four years running:

Thank you.

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98 Comments...
  • These round-ups (whether monthly or yearly) always give me happy goosebumps. So pleased for you, especially that you got to slow down in the second half of your year. As always, the photos and stories are great. Make sure you’re traveling to the places that you’re passionate about, and I’m sure you’ll find we’re just as passionate to read them. Also… crazy yoga pose photos always make us smile (go for the yoga retreat!).
    Victoria | Girl Tries Life recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      July 2 2015

      Looking into different ones in Southeast Asia for the year ahead… can’t wait!

      • Joanna
        July 10 2015

        Hi alex! First, thank you for sharing and giving us so many tips! And second.. I wanted to ask you about this yoga retreat places, because I’m planning on going for a while to Southeast Asia and I was wondering where could I check for those! Thank you 🙂

        • Meihoukai
          July 13 2015

          I’ve actually yet to go to a yoga retreat in Southeast Asia, Joanna, but I have heard good things about one from a friend. I’ll email you!

  • Laryssa
    July 2 2015

    Congrats, Meihoukai! You’re always keepin’ it real, and I’m not a blogging expert or anything, but it certainly seems you must work super hard — you deserve any success that comes your way!

    And also because dang, 190+ posts still sounds like a LOT.

    Here’s to year five!
    Laryssa recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      July 2 2015

      Thank you Laryssa! Recently some close friends asked me, “what’s the one thing you wish people knew about you?” I didn’t even hesitate in my response — I wish people knew how hard I work! So I do appreciate hearing that it comes across sometimes!

  • Neysha
    July 2 2015

    Thanks for sharing Meihoukai! I love your monthly roundups. I have a blogging question, if you don’t mind: Do you upload your photos on the wordpress media option, or do you upload them somewhere like Flickr and then add them to your posts? I’m always nervous that I’m doing it wrong!
    Neysha recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      July 2 2015

      I don’t mind at all, Neysha! I upload directly to Wordpress. And yeah, four years and counting and I’m still nervous I’m doing it wrong 😉

  • Lauren Bishop
    July 2 2015

    Badass business woman for sure. Congrats on all your successes and lessons learned. Thanks for continuing to entertain and inspire us!

    • Meihoukai
      July 2 2015

      You’re the best Lauren! Thank you so much for your kind words and support. Entertainment coming right up 🙂

  • Kacy
    July 2 2015

    Congratulations on such a successful year! I love your honesty and all of this information is really helpful and insightful. Even though blogging isn’t now or may never be my full time occupation – I love learning more about the process and seeing successful examples of how it’s done.
    Kacy recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      July 2 2015

      Me too, Kacy! I love hearing the nitty gritty behind different jobs (hence my Earning Abroad series!) so I like to try to share that information as well about blogging when I get the chance.

  • Sonja Riemenschneider
    July 2 2015

    I love seeing things working out for you! Gives me some hope that it’s possible, with a lot of hard work and ups and downs. I don’t know when I’ll be able to say my blog supports itself, but I have learned so much already following you on your blogging journey. Thank you!
    Sonja Riemenschneider recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      July 2 2015

      You’re so welcome Sonja! It has indeed been a journey. Best of luck on your own!

  • Chintan
    July 2 2015

    Congrats Meihoukai! I know what to say. Job well done!!

    191 posts, uploaded 4,233 photos and left 5,809 comment this isnt easy i will say. Keep up the good work and shout us if you need anything, you know where we are!
    Chintan recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      July 2 2015

      Thank you Chintan! I was definitely amazed when I crunched those numbers. I’ll definitely be looking for lots of advice in my upcoming reader survey 🙂

  • becky hutner
    July 2 2015

    Can I be you in my next life?

    I absolutely love these round up posts & will never stop being impressed by your ability to make this self-sustaining travel life happen x
    becky hutner recently posted..

  • Silvia
    July 2 2015

    This post kept me smiling all the way through – way to be a blogging badass, Meihoukai! It’s amazing that you’ve grown your blog so big, though not a bit surprising considering how addictive your writing is 🙂
    Silvia recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      July 2 2015

      Oh Silvia. You always make me smile! Thank you so much my dear. Here’s hoping it continues to grow!

  • Victoria
    July 2 2015

    I found your blog randomly a few months and have become a loyal reader since day 1. I wish I would have found you years ago! I read many travel blogs and yours is my favorite. You are an articulate, smart, honest writer and your fun & friendly personality shows. And I LOVE your photos! Looking forward to see what you capture with your new camera! Congrats and wishing you the best in the travel year ahead!

    • Meihoukai
      July 2 2015

      Thank you so much Victoria! I’m virtually blushing 🙂 I’m already obsessed with my new camera and can’t stop snapping.

  • Susan
    July 2 2015

    Happy blogiversary, Meihoukai! You’ve had a really impressive year, and I’m so excited for you! I owned a photography business for six years and I learned that probably one of THE smartest things is to outsource the parts of the biz where you are, as you put it, inefficient. (I didn’t do that, and I burned out. Oops!) You’ll feel lighter in your flip flops for it! I can’t wait to see where things take you/where you take things in the next year.
    Susan recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      July 2 2015

      I’m learning that more and more every day, Susan! Now that I have income coming in, it would be crazy not to reinvest it wherever possible. PS: Love the phrase, “lighter in your flip flops” 🙂

  • You’re welcome! lol, and big congrats Meihoukai. It’s carried over to your blog as it is also, certainly, badass and something I always look forward to reading.

    Sounds like this will be a professionally evolving blog-year as you manage all that growth with some personal growth tucked in for good measure. Can’t wait to read more.
    Shaun’s Cracked Compass recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      July 2 2015

      Thanks Shaun. So appreciate your continued support over the years!

  • Sophie
    July 2 2015

    The picture above “My Year in Makin’ Money” looks like this most idyllic blogging location ever.
    Congratulations on 4 years of travelling and blogging, Meihoukai! I look forward to reading about all your adventures in years to come! 😀

    • Meihoukai
      July 2 2015

      That’s up in my beloved Pai! Thanks for following along Sophie. It is so very much appreciated!

  • Ashley
    July 2 2015

    Congratulations on your blogging successes, Meihoukai! It’s crazy how quickly your readership grew in a year – but it’s also not surprising, considering the quality writing and photography you consistently publish! I remember reading last year’s blogaversary post, and the year before that – which makes me realize how long I’ve been following along on your adventures on an (almost) daily basis! Thanks for bringing me along for the ride!
    Ashley recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      July 2 2015

      Thanks for coming, Ashley 🙂 It’s amazing how commenters who have stuck around through the years feel like friends now. You’re one of them!

  • Janice Stringer
    July 2 2015

    Hi Meihoukai,
    A big THANKYOU for writing these roundups. I learn so much from you when I read these, I can’t really express it clearly enough!
    It sounds like life is achanging little by little for you. Good luck with all your doing. Love your writing as usual 🙂
    Janice Stringer recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      July 2 2015

      Thank you miss Janice! Life is indeed continuing to ebb and evolve. And I’m loving the ride!

  • tina
    July 2 2015

    I really enjoy your blog. Especially your dive posts! Before reading you I had only done discover scuba. Now i want to get open water certified. I was wondering which is better, padi or ssi?

    • Meihoukai
      July 2 2015

      I’m a PADI girl, Tina 🙂 Congrats on choosing to get your Open Water! You’ll never regret it… prepare to have a whole new world open up, my dear!

  • Justine
    July 2 2015

    Congrats on year four Meihoukai! I’ve been reading your blog obsessively for the past year and a half now and it’s so cool to see how much your blog has grown over that time. Seeing the numbers is pretty crazy. Although, as a bunch of others already said, it’s not at all surprising. It’s very evident that you put an amazing amount of time, effort and love into every post. It’s no wonder that all of us love your blog so much. And I can’t wait to see where the next year takes you. Something tells me it’s going to be a great year for you 🙂
    Justine recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      July 7 2015

      Wow Justine, that means so much to me! Thank you so much for all the love and support. I’m so very much looking forward to the year ahead!

  • Dani
    July 2 2015

    Congrats, Meihoukai, and happy blogaversary to Meihoukai in Wanderland!
    Dani recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      July 7 2015

      Thank you so much Dani! Cheers to another year!

  • Chalsie
    July 2 2015

    Congrats on your blogiversary Meihoukai! What an achievement this year as been! I look forward to following your journey and checking off those goals into the next year of wander! x

    • Meihoukai
      July 7 2015

      I hope I can stay accountable to those intentions 🙂 It’s good to do a little goal tending every year — keeps me on track for the bigger picture!

  • Janna
    July 3 2015

    Congrats, Meihoukai! And awesome work 🙂 Been reading your blog for the past year and you are an inspiration.

    • Meihoukai
      July 7 2015

      Thank you so much Janna. That’s an honor to hear! Hope you’ll stick around for year five 😉

  • Thursa
    July 3 2015

    I really enjoyed reading this (…and all your posts) – thank you for so much entertainment and inspiration!

    • Meihoukai
      July 7 2015

      And thank YOU so much for reading, Thursa!

  • Andrew Low
    July 3 2015

    Congratulation Meihoukai!!! You did a splendid job. Should give yourself a pat on the back for all the exhilarating stories and beautifully captured photos…..always kept me hooked and coming back for more…looking forward to reading your next story…

    • Meihoukai
      July 7 2015

      Thank you Andrew! There is always more to come back for 🙂 Lots of great adventures coming up soon ’round these parts!

  • shahbaz
    July 3 2015

    hey alex!! check this out..i have created a “Mobile App” exclusively for you and have made a live demonstration…check it out in the link below…and tell me if you like it….Cheers!!

    • Meihoukai
      July 7 2015

      I’m flattered, shahbaz 🙂 Thanks for creating that, it was fun to watch!

  • Julia Nix
    July 4 2015

    good on you. u need to take a break sometimes and not overpressure yourself.
    about bitch resting face – i have it too because ppl at work really, really make me angry. been a long time i had been holding my tongue & i think i might, just might lose it one day.
    turning to your wanderland to escape my trapped mind. i think u can empathize 🙁

    • Meihoukai
      July 8 2015

      Always happy to provide a little brain escape, Julia! I’m sorry to hear you are unhappy at work — hope you can find a way to improve or change your situation! Wishing you all the best.

  • Naomi
    July 4 2015

    These round-ups are SO interesting to see and read. Especially considering the traffic you have. Very cool! Thanks, as always, for sharing this all with us 🙂 and slowing down is totally necessary at times, especially if you truly feel like you need to! Can’t wait to see what’s next for ya!
    Naomi recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      July 8 2015

      I’m so looking forward to a slow year and fast one in blogging! 😉 Thanks for coming alone for the ride Naomi!

  • Katie
    July 4 2015

    Great round up Meihoukai. I especially love how you see yourself as lucky, I think I am really lucky too to be able to travel as much as I do and to have the opportunities to do so when so many others don’t. It really annoys me when some of the big bloggers say that they aren’t lucky and that they are annoyed when people say they are. Sure we have to work to make our lives what we want them to be but a lot of us are blessed to be born into developed countries where there are so many more opportunities
    Katie recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      July 8 2015

      Yeah, I get where people are coming from when they say they aren’t lucky (they want people to realize how hard they work and the sacrifices they make, etc.)…. but come on. The only scenario that does somewhat frustrate me is when someone born into extremely similar circumstances gives me a “must be nice,” which is definitely eye-roll inducing. That said, I still nod along and agree that indeed, it is nice — aren’t I lucky that I have the guts to go chase those dreams rather than just be watching enviously as others do!

  • Congrats! Your comment about “muttering something about blogging” made me laugh, because that’s where I’m at right now. I blog sometimes from my desk at work, and whenever someone asks what I’m doing, the automatic response is “NOTHING!”

    Congrats on growing your blog so much in just four years! I can’t imagine having to hire an assistant at this point. I love reading your posts – especially ones like this, which I find so inspiring! I can’t wait to see what you get up to in your fifth year of blogging!
    Beth | Adventuring the Great Wide Somewhere recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      July 8 2015

      Ha, I can relate to that! It’s a shame too, because when I think of all the people I’ve met in hostels and on buses and around the world, I think… I should have handed them a business card and had a new reader. Ah well 🙂 Late is better than never.

  • Found your blog in 2012 and I’ve been hooked since. So I have to say, thank YOU, Meihoukai! For being such an inspiration, for sharing your stories, for showing us what a great joy it is to experience the world. Thank you a million times over! Will never get tired of your writing. At this point, I can only wish for more from and for you! <3
    Anne (@Girl Chasing Sunshine) recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      July 8 2015

      Well this left me with a big ‘ol smile! Thank you so much for this lovely day-brightening comment, Anne!

  • Serendipity Tess
    July 5 2015

    You are a bad-ass businesswoman! And my favourite out there in the travel blogging sphere by far. Congrats Meihoukai! You’re awesome! 🙂
    Serendipity Tess recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      July 8 2015

      Right back at ya, Tess! Thank you for reading and cheering me on!

  • sara
    July 5 2015

    I really loved this post, it was so honest and nice to read. A lot of people think it is easy being a blogger, maybe because a lot of bloggers show just the funny part of this job. i love blogging but I’m not earning nothing at all from it. 🙂

    • Meihoukai
      July 8 2015

      Monetizing is definitely the hardest part of blogging — I still struggle with it today! Best of luck, Sara!

  • Dave Jones
    July 5 2015

    Congrats on the milestone Meihoukai! Always fun following your travels. Hoping to cross paths one of these days. I’ve been in SEA for about 1 year now, and not sure if I’m leaving anytime soon. Great goals by the way!
    Dave Jones recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      July 8 2015

      Thanks Dave! I really enjoy setting them and then being publicly accountable. Feeling good about achieving the ones I set out here!

  • Tammyonthemove
    July 5 2015

    From the bottom of my heart congrats on your success. You really deserve it. From the gazillion travel blogs that are out there yours is by far my most favourite and the only one I read regularly. A lot of other blogs I used to like became either too boring or too commercial, but yours absutely hasn’t. Even when you write commercial posts I am genuinely interested in them and you always manage to stay honest. Keep doing what you are doing and I am sure next year you will have 500000 pageviews…
    Tammyonthemove recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      July 8 2015

      Fingers crossed for that, Tammy! Wouldn’t that be a milestone? 🙂 I really appreciate what you say, especially about branded content, which I work hard to make interesting and fun and above all, interspersed with the same kind of posts I’ve been writing since day one. I do love the challenge!

  • Amy M
    July 5 2015

    I love that you are achieving so many of your goals and i am so so proud that more people have stumbled across the beautiful place you have created here, both in style and community, and stuck around as regular readers. Congratulations xo
    Amy M recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      July 8 2015

      Thank you so much miss Amy M! I read this comment a few times because it kept making me smile… so thanks for that 🙂

  • Couldn’t have said it better than Tammyonthemove ^^^ CONGRATS on such an amazing milestone and turning your dreams into reality. Totally laughed at how you used to mutter something about blogging when people asked what you do cause I feel like I’m there now. My blog is steadily growing and I’m constantly learning the business side of things but am definitely having tons of fun along the way! Keep up the terrific content – can’t wait to travel with you on year five! xx Shelly
    Shelly I Norway to Nowhere recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      July 8 2015

      You’re a great travel companion, Shelly 😉 Couldn’t be happier to have you all coming along with me! We are all just learning as we go along in this blogging game… and like you said, on the good days, it is a lot of fun.

  • Ása Steinarsdóttir
    July 6 2015

    Meihoukai you are such an inspiration! 🙂

    Congratulations on such an amazing milestone! I remember you are the first travel blog I started to follow and since then I have believed that everything is possible. My environment has always tried to tell me that long term travelling isn’t a lifestyle. That I should just continue to educate myself, get a job and have children’s haha! But you truly prove that it is possible 😀 Now I’m heading down the same path!
    Ása Steinarsdóttir recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      July 8 2015

      That makes my heart very happy to hear, because discovering the world of travel blogging certainly did the same for me when I first stumbled upon it all those years ago! Congrats on making it happen for yourself — and on a super cute domain name!

  • Anna @ shenANNAgans
    July 6 2015

    Meihoukai, you are a star. I love your posts and aspire to one of these days be equally as awesome.

    Thanks for remaining true to you, writing from the heart and sharing your adventures. YOU ROCK!!!

    Wishing you a very happy blog birthday and a wonderful year ahead. 🙂
    Anna @ shenANNAgans recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      July 8 2015

      Thank you so much Anna! Birthdays are my favorite, and my blog’s is no exception 🙂 Thanks for coming along for the ride!

  • Sofie
    July 6 2015

    First of all: congratulations.

    I’ve been following you for over two years now and although I may not be the most regular commenter, I always love your pieces. I’m approaching year 3 and although I still have a very long way to go, there are a lot of thoughts you utter here that resonate with me. The turning down press trips guilt-free, for example, but especially: “Yet in general, I still spend too much time trying to keep my head above water and too little thinking about the big picture”.

    But now I need to go check out that writer’s retreat, as it’s something I’d love to do myself.

    So let me end by saying as well: thank you.
    Sofie recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      July 8 2015

      <3 Thank you, Sofie! Here's hoping this is a big picture year for both of us!

  • Leigh
    July 6 2015

    Congratulations on this milestone! I love your honesty in showing the good, bad and the ugly! While I’m quite a bit older than you, and travel within the confines of a corporate job with paid vacations, your posts are an inspiration to me and a good reminder that anything is possible, you just have to get your priorities straight!

    Best wishes in your 5th year!

    Leigh
    ~campfiresandconcierges.com
    Leigh recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      July 8 2015

      That is such a lovely compliment to hear, Leigh. Thank you! It is all about those priorities, isn’t it? I know mine are ever-evolving!

  • Great post, Meihoukai!! And it’s true, you are a BADASS BUSINESWOMAN.. and that’s the best kind! More power to you.

    I love how inspirational this is and how you re-visit your goals. Definitely a testament to your dream to constantly improve your life and reach for the stars.

    Also, love that you break down your unique views and how you’ve turned this blog into a business. Very informative! Congratulations on all your success!

    <3 xx
    Kerjan of Backpack Babe recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      July 8 2015

      Thank you so much Kerjan! I definitely like to look back on goals I’ve set… otherwise what’s the point, right? Hoping that I can stay on track with these ones this year 🙂

  • Kristin Addis
    July 8 2015

    Bitch face is something that afflicts us all. I, too, suffer from RBS and often have to tell myself, “hey don’t look so mad”

    I saw a Scarlett O’Hara/ Vivien Leigh meme once that said, “smiles give you wrinkles, resting bitch face keeps you pretty.”

    While I think wrinkles are beautiful and a sign of a good life, I liked the meme nonetheless.

    Thanks for the frank write-up of your blogging journey. I feel good about where I am (and the amount I spend in a given year) from reading this kind of thing. You’ve got another year of experience on me and it’s nice to see that I’m not alone in “re-investing” so much back into it, whether that be travel, a redesign (to come!) or a new camera (yes, me too and it made my life even more glorious). Here’s to the half-decade mark next year!
    Kristin Addis recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      July 9 2015

      Half a decade… that’s going to be a doozy! Yes, I think reinvesting is a big hurdle to get over mentally at first. People think of blogging as an overhead-free business but these days I pour tons of cash into it. They say you have to spend money to make money and I have found that to be true. Paying people like my assistant and a designer are the ones that feel really good — I think of it as buying my own time back.

  • Congrats! I am so impressed and motivated by your goal setting and then public re-visiting of those goals. What a way to keep yourself on track! We also hit the four year perma-travel-versary this year, but have been so up and down with our blog I wouldn’t call it a blogaversary. I have been trying really hard to keep posts constant and somewhat edited/helpful over the past year and a half and now I am totally inspired to write myself some goals. Thanks!
    Jenny @ Till the Money Runs Out recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      July 10 2015

      I think it’s a great exercise, Jenny. It really helps me think about what I want my future to look like, and to see what themes I’m now still working on two years running. Also, NOTHING feels as good as recognizing that you have indeed achieved one of those goals!

  • Diana Edelman
    July 9 2015

    I am so freaking proud of you and happy for you!!! What great goals to have/had.
    Diana Edelman recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      July 10 2015

      Thanks miss D! I appreciate that… and I miss ya!

  • Abi
    July 9 2015

    What a wonderfully fresh and open post. Congratulations – and where’s wishing you well for the year head!
    Abi recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      July 10 2015

      Thank you Abi! I can’t wait to see what the next year brings…

  • Mindy & Ligeia
    July 10 2015

    Your stats are mind-boggling and an absolutely amazing accomplishment. Congratulations and here’s to many more successes in the future!
    Mindy & Ligeia recently posted..

  • Juno
    July 11 2015

    Congrats! I’m having my four year anniversary myself. 😉 Congrats on your success!! xx
    Juno recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      July 13 2015

      Blog twins! 🙂 Happy anniversary to you, too!

  • The Guy Who Flies
    July 14 2015

    Many, many congratulations on your successes Meihoukai, 100% deserved.

    You put so much into your work and it shines through. That is why more and more people discover you everyday, and now on the street!

    Amazing results with page views and unique visitor numbers. I remember about 2 years ago when one of your old blog designs had a sign up form which said “Join 14,000 other monthly visitors” – do you remember that?

    Always interesting to read the income and cost experiences of full time bloggers like yourself. You’ve invested a lot which is why your site is a premium product. However the struggles you’ve had should be a warning to aspiring travel bloggers that to go full time is far from easy, nor far from financially secure. Very, very few bloggers will reach the levels you have.

    I wish you well in the slow down bit. I know I’m looking at slowing down a little, even if to just recharge the batteries and provide a fresh focus.

    Wishing you well for your 5th and most successful year!
    The Guy Who Flies recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      July 14 2015

      I do indeed remember that — I keep a monthly spreadsheet and it is always a great reminder of how I’ve grown (man, I need to update my current graphics!)

      I definitely never believed that blogging would be easy money or a passive income — and for me, it has not been. Watching some of my other friends go freelance in their design, non-blogging careers has reminded me there are much more efficient ways to earn a location independent income than to blog. You’ve got to do it for the love!

  • Camille
    July 15 2015

    Thanks for sharing all those insights Meihoukai, it’s truly fascinating for less established bloggers like me. Congrats on your achievements – keep being awesome and you’ll no doubt keep growing!
    Camille recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      July 16 2015

      Thanks Camille! Fingers crossed it’s onwards and upwards…

  • Gaby Barcenas
    July 15 2015

    Congratulations on your four year anniversary! I recently celebrated four years at my job, and it’s insane how quickly the time seems to fly by.
    I’m glad that you’re trying to bring some spontaneity to your travels. I’m nowhere near that brave, but I am looking forward to a 2-week long train journey exploring the continental US.
    Congrats again! I look forward to reading about your further travels.
    Gaby Barcenas recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      July 16 2015

      That sounds awesome Gaby! I am trying to work more domestic travel into my life and have loved exploring different corners of the US. Trains are such a great way to travel… I’m drooling thinking of your trip!