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Last week, I celebrated five years of travel with a big ‘ol look over my shoulder at the last twelve months of border hopping. Today, I’m switching gears and celebrating the other big anniversary that rolled around this month – half a decade of blogging under my belt. I guess time really does fly when you’re having fun and replacing Apple laptop chargers!

Considering what a momentous number this one is — if Meihoukai in Wanderland were a high school graduating class, we’d be having our first reunion right now — I’ve decided to write not just one but a whole week’s worth of behind-the-scenes blogging posts. I kind of feel like I owe it to you guys as you’ve politely requested it many times before – your response when I asked if you were interested in posts on this topic was overwhelming – and outside my anniversary roundups I’ve barely said so much as a peep on the topic.

That said, if you’re not so into anything to do with the business side of blogging, feel free to skip this stuff and come back next week, when I’ll be back to covering my time in Thailand (including answering the frequently asked question of “Is Koh Tao safe?,” mapping out a new hiking route, and giving you a tour of Bangkok Treehouse.) If you are into these kinds of posts, I might occasionally sprinkle more of them in. So we’ll see how it goes!

We’ll kick things off with our usual roundup of facts and figures, a few highlights of this year’s content, and some heartfelt reflections.

My Year in Blogging // By The Numbers

• Posts Written: 168. This averages out to 14 per month, or roughly one post every other day. It seems like so many, but it’s actually significantly less than I published the previous two years!

• Photos Uploaded: 3,836 – not even counting social media!

• Comments Replied To: 5,118. That last number went down quite a bit as well which makes me sad because it means there were less comments to reply to – receiving comments is my greatest joy as a blogger and I’ve definitely been bummed by the internet-wide trend to towards less of them as more people read on mobile devices or comment socially instead.

• Group Press Trips Accepted: 2 – Bonaire/Aruba and Trang/Satun

• Group Press Trips Turned Down: 15 – including to Curacao, Italy, Sweden and St. Thomas (those were the ones that really hurt to say no to). I include this number just to emphasize that when I do accept press trips, it’s because they are truly the perfect fit for me. The rest I either turn down with a heavy heart because I’m already busy with my own independent travels, or with a polite no thank you because I’m not interested or I need to focus my time and energy on other projects.

• Unique Monthly Visitors: Nearly 150,000! Y’all, I’m so grateful.

• Monthly Page Views: I hit a high of 300,000 page views, but generally still hover around a quarter million per month. Traffic has leveled out somewhat, which I’m okay with considering I’ve cut back on posting and spent most of my year focusing on restrategizing my business flow as opposed to growing content – but now that I’m back in the drivers seat I hope to head in that direction. I’ll have a lot more details in my upcoming post on goal setting and reflecting!

Five Years of Blogging

Five Years of Blogging

My Year in Blogging // By The Blog Posts

I had fun with writing this year — after all, I published my first poem (ha!) — and focused a lot on writing non-destination specific informational and inspirational pieces, something I’d like to further explore in the coming year. That said, I’d like to push myself to get a little more creative and experiment with different writing styles. One note — because I’m so behind chronological time, some of these posts were written in year five but cover travels that happened in year four.

Most Commented

Ten Things I’ll Miss About ThailandStillness at 26My Travel Plans for 2016How I Afford To Travel the World

Musing-est

What Matters Most is How You Walk Through The FireFive Gifts Travel Gave MeConfessions of a Reformed Picky EaterHow Yoga Won Me OverWhat the &!*# is Burning Man? Two Burns Down And The Question Still BurnsBack to the Beginning in Grand Cayman

Greenest

Planning An Eco-Friendly Dive TripGreen Your BurnSteripen Vs. Clearly FilteredSolid Conditioner Review

Times I Laughed At My Own Jokes

Basically my Entire Belize Series Post Titles •  Tucker’s Tails Series

Most Useful

The Wanderland Guide to Travel PlanningHow to Vote AbroadWhere to Eat in Martha’s VineyardWhat to Pack for BonaireThe Pet Friendly Guide to San DiegoBurning Man Budget 2015Central America Tops and FlopsRoad Trip Facts and Figures

Best Photos

Joshua Tree National ParkLoving Lac BayFifteen Photos That Will Put Burning Man On Your Bucket ListVegas’s Hip and Historic Downtown

Literally My Only Post Ever To Go Viral on Facebook

Newsflash: Guatemala City Doesn’t Suck

Greatest Adventures Shared

Yoga at a Mayan RuinDancing at BatabanoGlass Blowing in New YorkRunning my first 10KGoing to BonnarooDiving in BonaireSeeing BritneyBurningRoad TrippingDiving with Sea Lions

Reflections // Room to Grow

Let’s start with the bad news. Blogging is a job, and sometimes I am terrible at it. So, so cripplingly bad. Like if I applied how bad I can be at blogging to being, say, a bus driver, I’d be the one who is like, constantly on Google Maps trying to figure out where they are supposed to be taking a left and mowing down mailboxes while accidentally leaving old ladies behind on the curb and cringing and yelling helpless apologies out the window. Sometimes I just feel like I have no idea what I am doing.

My biggest problem? Email. I just do not answer it. I mean, I try, I really do. I open every one with the intention of eventually responding. It’s just that I never actually hit reply, and then three months later I’ll be in a yoga class transitioning into warrior one and suddenly I’m like OMG I NEVER WROTE BACK THAT ADVERTISER THAT WANTED TO GIVE ME TONS OF MONEY/AMAZING READER WHO MELTED MY HEART/INSERT REALLY IMPORTANT CORRESPONDENCE HERE. This is a large problem.

Also, I have very little idea what is going on when it comes to any aspect of blogging other than “photographing things,” “writing stories,” and “chatting with people in the comments.” When I hang out with other bloggers and they talk about analytics analyzation and site speed and newfangled social media sites, I nod serenely before politely excusing myself to the bathroom where I furiously attempt to Google away my confusion. This is another large problem.

But this was a really exciting year in terms of being totally clueless. I have reached the income level at Meihoukai in Wanderland where I feel comfortable reinvesting a large percentage of what I earn right back into my business. And that means giving money to people who are way better at certain things than I am, so they can do it for me. I’ll talk more about this in my upcoming post on how I make and spend money blogging, but the short version is that in a year I’ve gone from one part time assistant to one management team and two part time assistants, and it has been a monumental shift for me in discovering how to scale a one-woman business while still feeling grass roots and keeping the fire burning in this passion project.

While I’m calmer and more at peace with the ups and downs of blogging than ever before, I have accepted that being occasionally crippled by insecurity, inadequacy and fear that you’ve made it onto the industry blacklist are an unavoidable aspect of self-employment, and I’ve started to feel comfortable with what my strengths and weaknesses are. I might still be a hot mess a large percentage of the time, but I am developing a great team who keeps me laughing and helps me hold it together.

Reflections // Back to the Beginning

And now for some good news. Have I ever told you all the story of how I first stumbled upon travel blogging? I don’t know where in the world my wanderlust came from, I suppose some of it I was born with and some of it was stoked by tumultuous teen years. But I do know that I was in high school, a restless kid in the suburbs, when I stumbled upon the first travel blog I’d ever laid eyes on, . If only I could remember the weird internet wormhole that brought me there! What I do vividly remember is reading every word of this couple’s extended round-the-world honeymoon story, running into my mom’s room with a laptop to show her this absolute internet craziness, and just completely marveling at the idea that this couple found a way to travel for longer than an annual two week vacation. The world just cracked right open for me. How funny to think of going back in time and telling my younger self that at thirteen months, I was just getting started – and now I’ve been going for sixty of them.

Five years in, I still romanticize the idea of a traditional career path, which I envision consisting of coworkers to happy hour with, weekends off to play with, and fashionable young professional finds from the sales rack at Ann Taylor Loft – I feel like I’d really do well in a blazer. They say you work harder for yourself than anyone else, and sometimes the idea of clocking in and out of a job that someone else holds the stakes in seems delicious to me. But then I remember that along with those perks come frequent drawbacks like commuting, cubicles, and having to request time off for vacation. And that’s a nice little reality check.

The fact that I wake up the vast majority of mornings at my own leisure, my only alarm clock my own excitement to get started on a job I adore, is an incredible blessing. For me blogging started from an incredibly selfish place – I wanted so desperately to hold onto these magical travel memories before they slipped from my forgetful mind – but came full circle to a really rewarding one where I get comments and emails and messages from people for whom Meihoukai in Wanderland was their very own Thirteen Months. It was their aha moment, as Oprah would say — and I do love to say things that Oprah would say — that there are people out there making a nontraditional travel-based lifestyle work, and maybe just maybe they can do it too.

Travel humbles me at every step and constantly reminds me that for every passport stamp I earn there have been hundreds of other explorers out there doing it bigger, better, and with a carry-on, but I am truly honored to think that reading my story could open a door that says, “hey, here you go, here’s the answer to that question that you weren’t sure how to ask.” Because that’s exactly what reading travel blogs, the heartfelt diaries of the hopelessly restless, did for me.

In spite of the inherent struggles of entrepreneurship, I am fully aware that there’s no path I’d rather be walking. Once, while playing the “if we won the lottery” game with a couple of friends, I was startled to realize that there’s really no powerball that would ever see me abandon blogging. Sure, if a cool couple million showed up in my bank account I’d probably drop many of my monetization efforts, but stop sharing my photos and stories of my travels? Never. Being able to answer the question “what would you do if you won the lottery” with “basically, what I’m doing right now” – I am grateful.

I love taking this time once a year to pause, reflect, and write about where I am in this journey of entrepreneurship and self-employment. It always gives me great clarity on where I’ve grown, where I have work to do yet, and how much I have to be thankful for.

Top of that list? You! If you’re reading this blog, you’re a part of what makes Wanderland. I wouldn’t be where I am doing what I’m doing without you stopping to spend a few minute of your day with me, and I never lose sight of that privilege. Whether you’ve emailed me with advice, shared your story in the comments, or just silently followed along (please do feel free to say hi sometime!), I’m sending a big ‘ol dose of gratitude out to the universe for ya. You guys make my day.

Thank you.

Want to Write Your Own Five Year Blogaversary Someday?

Great news for all you fellow aspiring bloggers out there! This week is Summer Sale!

I rarely stop yacking about how helped me make Meihoukai in Wanderland what it is today — a financially successful and creatively fulfilling travel blog that’s kept me on the road for five years. It’s the first thing I recommend to those who write to me for blogging advice, and was instrumental in getting me to where I am now! Our secret member’s Facebook group gives me daily inspiration, feedback, and hearty laughs. Yes, the warmest community in travel blogging is on sale now!

Click to receive 35% off all TBS memberships — potentially saving hundreds of dollars — no code needed! Specialty courses like Videography for Travel Bloggers, which I reviewed here, are also discounted. Sale ends Friday at 11:59 PM EST. Please note that I’m a proud affiliate of the program and thus will earn a percentage of your purchase at no extra cost to you. See you in the forums!

And one more thing — spots are still available for August slots of my Featured Blogger. Come hang out in my sidebar ( other perks!) Get in touch for more details.

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71 Comments...
  • Chris
    June 21 2016

    First of all I’m sure you’d look mighty fine in a blazer!
    And second don’t ever think that all of us with a regular job never feel insecure about what we do! Or I can’t really talk for everybody else but I’m often nervous if I’m doing well enough etc..
    Last but not least: you’ve been my inspiration to travel more! Still haven’t had the guts to quit to travel full time (and think I enjoy having my own place too much to ever let it go) but I’m definitely traveling a lot more than before I stumbled upon your blog! 🙂 So thanks a million times and cheers to your five years of traveling!!
    Chris recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      June 23 2016

      That thrills me to hear, Chris! Not the part about you being insecure at your job — I know how bad that feels! — but the part about traveling more 🙂 I don’t think traveling full time is meant for everyone, but I do love to hear that those who yearn to are getting out and seeing the world.

  • Jana
    June 21 2016

    Love reading your posts Meihoukai, especially these annual reviews. It put things into perspective. I’m just finishing my masters degree and I’m not sure what will happen afterwards.
    Since I’m in marketing, I can pretty much work from anywhere and being in a 9-5 job is so unsatisfying that I’m glad I only work 3 days a week. Couldn’t do five.
    My point is, thank you for these reflections, thank you for saying how hard being an enterpreneur is but also for saying that it is worth it. For now, I’m only doing some freelance jobs a few hours a week which won’t pay the bills but knowing somebody sees the world the way I do gives me motivation to work harder to make it. Not necessarily as a well-known travel blogger (although that is an amazing hobby and I love sharing stories and pictures), but just creating a job for myself, a mix of things I know I do well and having the freedom of working sometimes a lot more than 8 hours a day but working whenever and wherever the hell I want :).
    Have a good day and keep it up!
    Jana recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      June 23 2016

      This comment made me smile ear to ear, Jana! I definitely never want to send the message that everyone can or should quit their job to become a travel blogger, but finding a career path that you’re excited to wake up to every morning? That’s definitely the kind of idea worth spreading! Best of luck on that journey, girl!

  • Dominique
    June 21 2016

    Your a great inspiration, Meihoukai! Keep up the fantastic work 🙂
    Dominique recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      June 23 2016

      Thanks so much for reading and commenting, Dominique! I always love seeing your familiar face here in the comments 🙂

  • Congrats, friend! And I’m still banking on someone coming up with a killer auto-fill app for the phone so the Art of the Comment returns. I miss the days when I averaged 80 or so a post; now it seems as the majority of people do the interacting on FB and IG (which is still appreciated, but I prefer old-fashioned blog communication, HA).

    Proud of you, always.
    Kristin @ Camels & Chocolate recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      June 23 2016

      Me too, my friend, me too! Love your app idea… now we just need a smart person to make it happen.

  • Lisa
    June 21 2016

    You know what, Meihoukai? You might perhaps be clueless about some of those blogging aspects and excuse yourself to the bathroom (I lol’d :p ), but you’ve got an important one nailed down: inspiring people.

    I guess you could sort of say that Meihoukai in Wanderland is my Thirteen Months 🙂 Last week, I talked to my dad about how I wanted to start my own blog and business (of which he is totally supportive – so yay), something that probably would have never happened if I hadn’t stumbled upon your blog one year ago.

    So, thanks for inspiring me (and all of us), happy fifth blogaversy!

    • Meihoukai
      June 23 2016

      That warms my heart to hear, Lisa. Wishing you the best of luck sharing your story!

  • Tali
    June 21 2016

    Happy anniversary!!

  • Kiara Gallop
    June 21 2016

    I found myself nodding and smiling through several parts of this post.

    Firstly emails – I’ve lost count how many times I’ve had a chase-up email from a company wanting to work with me, and I’m thinking “I’m sure I replied to that” and then I find it sitting in my drafts folder two-thirds finished. I do it ALL the time! I start composing a reply, and then can’t decide how to proceed or how to finish, so don’t.

    Also the whole blogging thing beyond ‘I like to write and take photos’ I simply don’t have a clue! I look at Google Analytics all the time and then realise I don’t actually know what I’m looking at or how to interpret the data or what to do with it. I still haven’t created a media kit for the same sort of reasons, but I cannot afford to pay someone else to figure it all out for me.

    Also, whilst I was thinking this all in my head I thought “I’ll actually write it down this time”, because I’m so with you on the joy of receiving and responding to comments, too 🙂
    Kiara Gallop recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      June 23 2016

      Sounds like we are email twins. The drafts folder is my own personal purgatory! And thanks for giving me the joy of reading this comment 🙂 It really is one!

  • Congrats on 5 years! 🙂
    I have my 6 month bloggaversary today and I hope that I will celebrate 5 years.

    Also, totally buzzing that TBS is now on sale- been waiting for that cheeky summer sale. Gonna get me a copy right now!

    Xxx
    Nicole | Wee Gypsy Girl recently posted..

  • Ahhhh, I just love these posts. They’re my fave. Congrats on five years, chica. You already know this but in case you forgot, you were a mega-huge inspiration for me to get started, both blogging and leaving the cubicle for good! So thank YOU for that. It was such a full circle moment for me when you came to Roatan and we got to hang out, dive, and have a dance party. Love watching where you’re going next with your travels and this site! You’re a rockstar! xoxo
    Rika | Cubicle Throwdown recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      June 23 2016

      That was SO FUN! And we need to make Part II happen soon.

  • Laura
    June 21 2016

    Hi Meihoukai, Loved this post! Your blog was definitely one of the first I stumbled across and was my own Thirteen Months! Thank you for being such an inspiration. I dream of a day I can say the same about winning the lotto. Best wishes for your sixth year of travel & I look forward to reading your adventures!

    • Meihoukai
      June 23 2016

      You made my day, Laura! Thank you for reading, and for leaving this comment that made me smile so big 🙂

  • Thuc
    June 21 2016

    I also love these posts 🙂 5 years…what an incredible achievement! Well done.
    Thuc recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      June 23 2016

      Thanks Thuc! More coming up where this came from!

  • Dave
    June 21 2016

    It’s been so fun to watch Meihoukai in Wanderland grow over the last 5 years!

    “Being able to answer the question “what would you do if you won the lottery” with “basically, what I’m doing right now” – I am grateful.”

    I feel exactly the same way, which leads to feeling super grateful that we live in such an amazing time where we’re able to pursue projects and businesses we’re not only passionate about but can be done anywhere with a decent Wi-Fi connection. 🙂

    • Meihoukai
      June 23 2016

      It certainly is an amazing era. Long live the internet, and all the opportunities it has opened for us!

  • Cate
    June 21 2016

    This was really insightful and helpful into your blogging lifestyle. I appreciate how you share both your struggles and triumphs with us, as it makes the goal of reaching our own travel fantasies more realistic! Never stop blogging, as I love reading your posts, and your blog has been the sole inspiration for how mine began.
    Cate recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      June 23 2016

      Thank you so much Cate! Congrats on kicking off your blogging journey… just wait until you see all the places it takes you 🙂

  • Lauren Bishop
    June 21 2016

    I can definitely attest to the fact that you have a huge following of people who are inspired by your travels and the business you have created. I am one of them and I can’t wait to read the other blogaversary posts this week (and many more over the coming years!)
    Lauren Bishop recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      June 23 2016

      Thank you Lauren! Here’s hoping there are many xo

  • Nikki
    June 21 2016

    It’s funny that you say you’re insecure about your blogging! To me, your blog has always stood out from the pack for its high quality. It’s clear that a lot of time and conscientious effort goes into your content, and I t strikes a great balance of feeling personal and relatable while also being glossy and well-written. I appreciate that the sponsored elements don’t overtake the blog, as they do so many others. I especially love the posts that give a behind the scenes peek at your life, describe the ups and downs of the traveling lifestyle, and have an honest, confessional feel (like the round ups). I’m looking forward to 5 more years of living vicariously! 😉

    P.S. Perhaps you have already done this, but I’d be interested in reading a post about handling anxiety and fear while traveling. I’m not the bravest person travel-wise, and it helps to hear how bloggers who seem so courageous handle their own anxieties.

    • Meihoukai
      June 23 2016

      That means so much to me Nikki. I work hard to strike that balance of personal and profitable here on Meihoukai in Wanderland and it really warms my heart to hear someone say I’ve achieved it. As for your post suggestion, I’ll add it to the list! I did touch on that a bit in this post, which you may be interested in in the meantime!

  • Ijana
    June 21 2016

    Hey I haven’t hung around your blog in ages because of a trip that got me out of the habit, but how nice it was to pop back in and read this post! It sounds like you’ve built yourself a fabulous life and career and like you said, are doing exactly what you want to be doing. Even if it’s not the exact same path as yours, I hope I can say the same about myself in 5 years 🙂

    • Meihoukai
      June 23 2016

      We all take a different path 🙂 I truly appreciate you reading and following along with mine whenever you pop back in!

  • Melanie Fontaine
    June 22 2016

    This is such an inspirational post, Meihoukai! I particularly loved your reflections on why you love blogging and how you could not imagine a lifestyle that would make you more happy and I just wanted to take this opportunity to let you know that your dedication to living life just as you want to and not how society or other people think you should is one of the major reasons I keep on coming back to your blog for years. I may never chase a life of location-independence myself and there’s a good chance I will never go on a great escape myself – but your story inspires me to forge my own path whether that’s in travel, in the law or in any other profession and your success reminds me that it’s worth to chase after your dreams whatever they may be.

    I obviously love your travel content, but I think it’s the human element of your story that touches me the most and I’m glad that your blog has never lost its essence and has always stayed both a valuable travel resource and a personal diary of sorts that makes me feel like I am chatting to a friend. I don’t read a lot of travel blogs, but yours is always at the top of my list – and I am thankful that you continue to write your heart out and can’t wait to follow along for the next five years! 😉 I wish you the best for the future! 🙂
    Melanie Fontaine recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      June 23 2016

      You’re the best, Melanie! I do so appreciate you being part of this community here over the years. Marching to the beat of your own drum and really looking deeply at the kind of life you WANT to lead and not the one society dictates you default to is absolutely the most important thing I could hope to inspire people to, moreso than traveling to a specific place or moving a specific way. Here’s to doing things a little off center 🙂

  • Gemma
    June 22 2016

    Fan girl alert – I wasn’t even aware that monetized travel blogs were a thing until I stumbled across you via Google back in 2013 while researching for South East Asia. I thought they were just community sites that you wrote for your families – the modern day postcard. Congratulations on well earned MUVs, you are a magic story teller.
    Gemma recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      June 23 2016

      Thanks so much Gemma — and that’s fun to know I was your first 😉 I wrote a lot more about monetization today, you might find that post interesting as well!

  • Britt
    June 22 2016

    Congrats on five years! I’m glad you are still loving it- there aren’t a lot of people that can say that about their job after five years of doing the same thing.

    Can’t wait to read more of your behind the scenes posts!

    I’m glad I’m not the only clueless blogger, I google things for hours, tearing my hair out with frustration, only to realise it was the easiest thing to do and the answer was right in front of me the whole time!
    Britt recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      June 23 2016

      The thing with blogging is it changes so drastically all the time that it really feels like a different job every year, in a way! That helps keep things interesting after half a decade, for sure 🙂

  • Lorna
    June 22 2016

    Such an inspirational post. I’ve been silently following along for the best part of a year now, so I figured it was about time to say ‘hey’!

    Your blog is my Thirteen Months; when I first discovered it I devoured as many posts as possible! There’s always such honesty in your writing; along with your adventures, this is one of the things that draws me to your blog.

    You must be super proud of such a great achievement, you followed your heart and went for it.

    Congratulations on your blogaversary! I look forward to following along with the next five years of adventures.
    Lorna recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      June 23 2016

      Hey Lorna, thanks so much for saying hi — and for reading! You made me blush with your lovely words, and I greatly appreciate that 🙂

  • Meihoukai, what a huge success – 5 years something to definitely be proud of! I can totally understand about the comments. I find it fun being able to see people’s thoughts on posts and being able to connect over a topic.

    Keep up the fantastic blogging (you’re a pro in my eyes)!
    Amanda | Lesson Plans & Layovers recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      June 23 2016

      Yeah, the decline in comments is something I struggle with a lot these days. It’s hard to stay motivated when people aren’t chiming in and having a conversation in the same way they used to!

  • janice
    June 22 2016

    Looking forward to your next post with interest Meihoukai. Love these ones you do. I learn so much 🙂
    janice recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      June 23 2016

      Thanks Janice! Excited to hear your thoughts on that one.

  • Love this! I don’t remember exactly how I first found your blog, but I know it came after one of those shuddering, tearful epiphanies that I couldn’t sit in one place any more. Since then, I started my own blog, and I love getting to share my adventures with others who share my need to get out there and see the world. Thank you for being one of my biggest inspirations when I first started out, and for posting humorous and warm updates like this so frequently. I laughed out loud at “hundreds of other explorers out there doing it bigger, better, and with a carry-on.” I’m happy you get to love what you do, and inspire others to do the same! 🙂
    Beth | Adventuring the Great Wide Somewhere recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      June 23 2016

      Ha, damn those minimalist carry-on travelers! Just kidding, I envy them terribly 🙂

  • Allison
    June 22 2016

    I loved this post! I’m embarking on my nomadic life in one week, and blogs like yours are one of the reasons I was inspired to think that this kind of life is possible. I’m just now starting a travel blog, and the thing I think I’m most excited about is getting back into writing. I loved writing as an undergrad, but once I started my teaching career, I was so emotionally and mentally exhausted after every work day that doing anything creative felt out of the question. I was so excited to see Travel Blog Success at a discount (I’ve been waiting for it to go on sale again) and just made the purchase!

    Also, as a completely unrelated side note, I definitely owned the same Alice in Wonderland costume as you have in your pics and wore it to Electric Daisy Carnival back in 2006 (my “rave name” was Allison Wonderland). Which may or may not have some bearing on why you’re one of my favorite bloggers to read 🙂
    Allison recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      June 23 2016

      Welcome to the Travel Blog Success family, Allison! My Alice costume was actually sewn for me — so fun to hear you have one too!

  • Jess
    June 22 2016

    Congrats on five years, Meihoukai! I’ve only started following your blog this year but I do love those posts where you put everything in perspective, talk about how much you’ve grown in the business and really inspire people to do the same. You have certainly inspired me. I’m graduating by the end of the year and I’m going to work on a cruise! Travelling the world, making some money, only to spend on travelling all over again! It is my dream to make videos and blog about my travels, it has been since I was younger, but only now I’m working hard to make it a reality. You sure have a big role on that, sharing your stories and making me believe that I can do it too, just like you. So thank you!

    • Meihoukai
      June 23 2016

      This is beautiful Jess, thank you! Congrats on the cruise job — what a cool way to see the world. And best of luck in video and blogging!

  • Stacy
    June 22 2016

    Hi Meihoukai. I’ve actually been reading your blog for YEARS now and never actually commented. I really love this post – I am about to quit my job (for the second time) to head off to try and set up my own freelance / location independent business and am so terrified – its good to read how rewarding it is for you to remind me exactly why I’m doing it.

    I loved the direction your blog went this year. Good luck for the next year and all your upcoming adventures 🙂

    P.S. Funnily enough, before I went travelling (the first time), I somehow stumbled upon Thirteen Months too and read it obsessively from the very first post to the last. Haha!
    Stacy recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      June 23 2016

      That’s so funny that you’re a fellow Thirteen Months reader! I should try reaching out to them via their page and sending them this post 🙂

      • Meihoukai
        June 23 2016

        Oh and HIIIIII! Thanks for commenting for the first time 🙂 I hope it won’t be the last!

  • Lauren
    June 23 2016

    Beautifully said! So happy I also found you in some internet wormhole 4 years ago… Haven’t looked back 😉

    • Meihoukai
      June 23 2016

      Ah, internet wormholes. May they never stop leading us down weird link clicking paths 😛

  • I love the “behind the scenes” posts and how honest you are about everything. Along with the NYT “36 hours” series, your blog is one of the first places I go when researching a destination. When I saw dirt cheap airfare to Panama last year, your blog is what convinced me to click “buy.”

    I have my own cubicle escape planned 13 months from now – I have no idea what I’ll do when the money runs out, but I love knowing that there are so many options out there and they don’t all involve wearing a blazer 😉
    Leigh | Campfires & Concierges recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      June 24 2016

      Ha! Blazers, so aspirational to some and so symbolically oppressive to others. Love the New York Time’s 36 Hours, by the way!

  • becky hutner
    June 25 2016

    Happy Happy 5th Meihoukai! Wanderland remains the only travel blog I have ever religiously followed — chalk it up to your unique combo of joie de vivre, honesty, consistency, gifted storytelling, beautiful photography and design and obvious, unwavering commitment to your readers. Thank you thank you for all of it x
    becky hutner recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      June 26 2016

      You are such a treasured reader Becky, please don’t ever leave me 🙂 xo

      • becky hutner
        June 26 2016

        Aww thank you Meihoukai! I never will. Unless you like completely change identities & decide to devote this blog to heavy metal or something. Then I might leave…
        becky hutner recently posted..

        • Meihoukai
          June 27 2016

          Ha, you know they say to never say never but… I can VERY CONFIDENTLY ASSURE YOU that this will not be a problem 😉

  • Andi
    June 28 2016

    Loved reading this and I love the fact that you describe yourself as a hot mess… a lot like me! I’m new in the blogosphere but hope to have your lifestyle in the next few years. Keep writing and keep inspiring the blogger-rookies like me! 🙂

    • Meihoukai
      June 29 2016

      Ha, that’s pretty much my perfect descriptor 🙂 Best of luck in blogging and hot mess-dom!

  • Rachel
    July 3 2016

    It sounds like its been a great year! You’ve had some pretty awesome opportunities! I’d love to find out more about getting invited on press trips!
    Rachel recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      July 7 2016

      I’ll add that to the list of questions! Thanks Rachel!

  • Nikki
    August 9 2016

    Hi Meihoukai! I’ve just discovered your blog about a week ago and I have to say I’m obsessed! I have read a lot of travel blogs but I think yours is THE BEST and it’s helped me a ton planning my upcoming trip through Thailand. Long-term travel is something that I’ve always wanted to do but was never quite sure how. The more I read, the more I see that it is possible if I start taking small steps in the right direction. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts with us!

    Nikki

    • Meihoukai
      August 10 2016

      That makes me so happy to hear, Nikki! Thank you a million! Enjoy the ride 🙂

  • Kristie
    September 27 2016

    Meihoukai, you look like you are enjoying life! Keep it up! Life is short and I love how you share from your heart!
    Kristie recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      October 5 2016

      Thank you Kristie! That’s a beautiful compliment… I love it.

  • Gally
    October 12 2016

    So disappointed you turned down Sweden! Please find an excuse to come to Scandinavia, I can help! Although it is very pretty so should be easy to come up with 😉
    Looking forward to having you around here!

    • Meihoukai
      October 15 2016

      One of these days I would love to go! Most of the time I don’t turn down a trip because I don’t want to go, I turn it down because of scheduling conflicts, work, etc. I will get to Sweden someday for sure!