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.
Are you looking to explore the world? I recommend:
Last summer my family and I tried fishing up in Northern Saskatchewan. We had a great weekend, but we caught nothing. I wasn't too disappointed though, as I have never actually caught a fish. After 25 years of fishing and failing, I have officially given up on the sport.
That is until I was invited to visit Medicine Hat, Alberta and go sturgeon fishing on the South Saskatchewan River. I was hesitant, but I said yes. I really didn't want to spend eight hours out on the water just to come home empty-handed, but I figured to give it one more shot.
My guide for the day, Brent Thorimbert, picked me up at my hotel around 8:30 a.m. and drove us to a valley located just outside of Medicine Hat. We got out on the water about 9 a.m. and arrived at our fishing spot twenty minutes later. Brent explained that sturgeon fish are "bottom feeders" so they swim along the bottom of the riverbed and eat up bugs and small fish. Our fishing lines were weighted for this very reason. The bait should sit on the riverbed and would get sucked up by an unsuspecting sturgeon.
150 years ago, Canada became a country, albeit a much smaller one. Since then, Canada has grown much in size, reputation and as a favorite for travellers from around the world. Lonely Planet recognized these accomplishments last year and ranked Canada as the #1 travel destination in 2017. With the addition of free National Parks all year long, 2017 is the perfect time to visit the Great White North!
I am always interested in Canadian adventures, so I thought I'd check out G Adventure's website to see what tours they have planned this year. Since G Adventures is a Canadian based travel company, I figured they would have something going on this year to celebrate our sesquicentennial. Instead, all I saw were the same eight tours as last year, and the year before. Thinking maybe there was some big announcement coming for 2017, I emailed G Adventures asking about it, hoping, praying, that maybe there was something, something, anything at all… but I received no response.
Now, don't get me wrong. G Adventures has eight great Canadian tours, and they all look really awesome, but they only show off a small sliver of what Canada has to offer. In fact, four of the tours are almost exactly the same:
I recently had the opportunity to test drive a 2017 Ford Explorer. I grew up learning how to drive a Ford Windstar so I figured an Explorer shouldn't be that much different. Sure, one is an SUV the other is a van, but a Ford's a Ford, right? Well, not exactly. From the moment I sat down, I knew it would be a very different experience from what I was used to.
There were things about the Explorer I liked, and some that I didn't, but it was overall a very nice vehicle. It drove smoothly, turned nicely and handled grid roads very well. I found the brakes to be a little touchy, but by the time the week ended, I mastered how to brake without awkwardly lurching myself forward.
Beyond the learning curve with the brakes, here are my positive and negative experiences with the 2017 Ford Explorer: