March ended with a lot of uncertainties, especially when it came to advertising and the direction my blog was going since I'm not traveling and since I've run out of places to talk about (40 posts went by faster than I expected!). I also said a big project was coming up, but didn't say much. I'll give more hints about that in this entry, as well as what to expect this month.
First of all, as you may have noticed I have ads on my site again. There are six ads: one at the top before the content, one below the content and four at the bottom. These ads are generated via AdClickMedia. If you read my last update, I mentioned RevenueHits, which is apparently the best alternative to Google Adsense. AdClickMedia is similar to RevenueHits, but I feel their ads are better and they are more relevant. Some are still sometimes "out there", like weight loss pills, but nothing misleading that I've seen, so far.
Along with those, I also mix in ads from Commission Junction. Those ads work how they sound: if you buy something from the site, I get a commission. Some companies offer higher commission than others. For example, some of the Contiki ads offer a 35% commission. That means if somebody books a $2,000 tour from my site, I make $700! Not bad, except my site doesn't have nearly enough traffic to consider than a main method of income. Not to say there isn't traffic, however. This month we passed our 7,000th page view, and had our 1,300th unique visitor!
Another company I'm using for advertising is called Spoutable. Spoutable ads only appear when the script they provided feels the reader is trying to leave the page. (For those who speak tech, it's when the document loses focus.) They offer similar articles around the web, like other places to visit or tour to, or fun things like cute homes or gardening tips. Spoutable seems like a pretty small company, so I don't see a huge variety in their ads, but so far they're doing alright and I haven't heard any complaints.
Today, after having this set up for two weeks, I can happily say I made my first dollar! I'm officially at $1.09! So far this set up seems to be working!
Moving on, having run out of places to write about that I've visited, I have begun doing "Top X Things to See" posts. These have been pretty popular so far, so I'll probably keep doing them for a while. Between them, I've been doing more personal blogs, like "My Travel Bucket List" and my "Why Traveling Solo Is The Worst", which kind of went viral the day after I posted it, generating the most traffic in a single day February! So, thanks for that! I've done a few posts about Europe now, so I am planning a couple about Asia. Some upcoming blog posts will be "10 Things to See in Hong Kong" and "The Justification Behind Bombing Hiroshima", for those who are interested.
I also have been working on a huge post, which has had me on the road almost every weekend. This is coming together really good, and I'm thinking late next week I'll be posting it. It's about a city I know very well, and one that was, at a time, was the richest and more prosperous places in the world.
In March I was nominated for the CBC Future 40 contest. Although I didn't win, it was still really exciting to hear and read about all the people in Saskatchewan that are making a difference for the future. It was also great to know I'm friends with some of the winners! Congratulations to all 40 of the winners, and the 5th grader who won the Consolation prize!
Also, back in February I approached Pacific and Park about being a guest author. They were more than happy to have me write for them, but I haven't had time yet with the move and everything. Being said, I may take a week off this month to do an article for them. They have some great content, and I'm really excited to be a part of them, so be sure to check them out!
I guess that's all that's new this month. I'm making money again, my site is hitting new record numbers, there's some cool articles coming out soon on this and third-party websites and I didn't win the CBC Future 40, but I'm really proud of those who did.
That's all for now. Until next time, keep traveling!
And, as always, a big thank you to my sweetheart Jessica Nuttall for proof reading a countless number of my articles. I couldn't do any of this without you. I love you.
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Nestled between the impressive Mount Royal and the majestic St. Lawrence River is Montreal, a city known for its festivals, abstract art, history and mosaic of countless cultures. Montreal is the second largest city in Canada, with a population floating around four million people. While the city is a dynamic mix of Canada's two primary cultures – French and English – there are areas of the city that are culturally specific, such as Little Italy, Greektown and Chinatown. Known for its artistic and liberal mindedness, Montreal also boasts the largest community of homosexuals in North America in their very own "Gay Village".
Being nearly 375 years old, Montreal was pivotal to the creation of New France and Canada and at a time held control over every waterway from the St. Lawrence down to the Gulf of Mexico. Having such incredible influence over the western part of the New World, Montreal hosted the "Great Peace of Montreal" in 1701, which started sixteen years of peace between the French and over 40 different First Nation tribes in North America.
Since its early days, Montreal has been one of the most influential cities in Canada. Montreal housed "internment camps" during World War I, became an ideal location for Americans looking for alcohol during Prohibition, and was the official residence of the Luxembourg royal family during World War II. Montreal held host to the incredible Expo 67, showcasing some of the most incredible architecture of that decade. The seventies saw serious political reformation in Montreal, with many Americans arriving, fleeing the Vietnam Draft. The late seventies paralyzed the city as a terrorist organization, the Front de libération du Québec, detonated explosives throughout the city and kidnapped and killed political figures. These actions forced the Prime Minster to enact the "War Measures Act" and deploy the military into the city to apprehend the terrorists. The eighties and nineties saw two referendums in the province of Quebec to separate from Canada, with Montreal playing a major role in both decisions. The last referendum in 1995 ended with 51% percent of Quebecers wanting to remain part of Canada and 49% wanting to separate.
Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania shut its doors in 1970. A year later, in 1971, it would briefly reopen and house inmates from Holmesburg Prison after a devastating riot. After the prisoners were returned to Holmesburg, Eastern State would sit empty for over two decades. It would rot, decay and collapse. Trees and shrubs would grow into the structure and a clowder of cats would take residence. These hallowed halls would sit empty, the only noise being the chatter of startled birds and the trotter of feline paws.
The following decades would see various discussions of what to do with the building. Eventually, it was decided to preserve it and turn it into a tourist attraction. Although it officially opened for tours in 1994, attendants would have to sign a waiver and wear hardhats before entering until 2008. They had 10,000 visitors the opening year, a number of tourists not seen in the prison since 1858.
From 1829 to 1970, Eastern State Penitentiary underwent a variety of changes and transformations. This massive, sprawling, 11-acre complex was founded under the belief that solitary confinement was the cure needed to prevent criminals from committing future crimes. It was believed criminals who served in solitary confinement would turn to a higher power to reconcile with themselves for their crimes – hence feeling "penitent". To assist in this process, each cell was equipped with a slit window on the ceiling nicknamed "The Eye of God". It would be the only light source available to the inmate.
As I stood in the courtyard of Fort Henry, I heard screams emanating from within. Fort Henry was constructed to protect the Kingston Royal Dockyard from the invading American forces during the War of 1812. The threat was so real that the capital of Canada – which was then Kingston – was moved to Quebec to protect it. The docks are all that stood between the United States and the St. Lawrence River and both countries were all too familiar with how easily it would turn the tides of battle.
As the screams from inside Fort Henry faded, I turned to the man beside me. He had come with his family. We got talking, trying to calm our nerves as bloodied clowns and undead mimes began wandering out from inside the fort.