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8-Year Blog Anniversary

8-Year Blog Anniversary

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This post is 5 months overdue *insert emoji of two hands covering my face* There’s been too many things happening in my life hence I couldn’t find the motivation to write this. But now that 2023 is finally over, I’m in a better shape to write this article! So, here we go!

On 2nd August 2023, my blog turns 8! And all I wanted to say is, “Wow! Covid is over and this little travel blog survived the catastrophe!”

Year 8 was the best year I’ve had in my blogging business so far. I’ve had the best number of traffic, best income and the most number of overseas trips to-date (7 trips in the span of a year, wow!)

It was a very productive year for me, I wrote and updated so many articles in a year, while doing a lot of traveling.

Unfortunately, at the end of Year 8 (at the end of July 2023), after all of those highs, I burned out (oops!). That explains why I couldn’t bring myself to publish this post.

Anyway, I’m now in a much better shape in every aspect of my life. So, let’s kickstart Year 8 review!

Where I Traveled to

August 2022 to November 2022: exploring Singapore
December 2022: Indonesia (Jakarta & Yogyakarta)
January 2023: Malaysia
March 2023: Vietnam (Ho Chi Minh City, Da Nang, Hue, Hoi An)
April 2023: China (Beijing, Great Wall of China)
June 2023: Thailand (Bangkok)
July 2023: Indonesia (Medan) and Philippines (Manila)

Highs and Lows

1. HIGH: So many new experiences in Singapore

Swissotel The Stamford Review - Executive Lounge View
View from Swissotel The Stamford

Nope, Singapore is not boring at all if you are open to try new things! I’m so grateful to experience so many new things in Year 8 of blogging. Here they are:

2. HIGH: Trips to neighboring Southeast Asia Countries

Guide to Visiting Candi Prambanan - Candi Sewu
Candi Sewu at Prambanan Temple Compound
Things to do in Hue - Hue Imperial City
Hue Imperial City

Staying in Singapore, I always love the fact that I can fly to neighboring countries in just 2 or 3 hours. Here are the highlight of my Southeast Asia trips:

  • Indonesia (Yogyakarta): We spent 3 full days in Yogyakarta, visited Borobudur, Prambanan, Mendut and ate so many ayam goreng (fried chicken)
  • Malaysia & Indonesia: We spent a couple of days in Malaysia and Indonesia visiting families.
  • Vietnam (Ho Chi Minh City, Da Nang, Hue, Hoi An): A week-long trip to Vietnam visiting Cu Chi Tunnels, Mekong Delta, Hue Historical Monuments, My Son Sanctuary, the beautiful town of Hoi An, and the peaceful city of Da Nang.
  • Thailand (Bangkok): We spent a day living like an upper class in Conrad Bangkok, and 4 days hunting for street food in Bangkok. It’s a weird combi but that’s who we are, we love street food and we love luxury hotels.
  • Philippines (Manila): We visited Manila for 6 days, but we didn’t do much apart from visiting Intramuros, Binondo, spending a day at Conrad Manila, and reuniting with my sister and my niece. More in the lows section.

3. HIGH: Traveled independently in Beijing

Badaling Great Wall - North Section
Great Wall of China – Badaling Section

It’s already tough planning a visit to a country that isn’t well mapped out in Google Maps and whose tours/tickets aren’t being sold on online travel agency sites. And it’s even tougher when you visit it right when they announced they’re opening up but they hadn’t reinstate the visa-exemptions yet (we had to scramble applying for a visa and spend countless of hours worrying if this trip will eventually take place).

Thankfully all went well and we managed to travel independently (means without joining a tour) to Beijing! Woohoo, it felt quite like an achievement!

We spent a week visiting Temple of Heaven, Summer Palace, Forbidden City, Great Wall of China, took the bullet train, and ate plenty of local delicacies while shivering due to spring weather.

4. HIGH: Visited 12 lounges

Inside SilverKris Lounge at Singapore Terminal 3
Inside SilverKris Lounge at Singapore Terminal 3

I’m quite shocked when I did the math, that’s an insane number to me pre-covid haha. Thanks to the free lounge accesses that I got from my credit cards, from a travel mishap, and our business class flights, we managed to visit 12 lounges in a year.

Here they are in no particular order:

5. HIGH: Flew on Business Class not once, but 4 times!

Seats at Singapore Airlines A350 Business Class
Flying Singapore Airlines A350 Business Class

One of the items in my 40 before 40 bucket list is to fly on business class. We managed to accomplish this by redeeming our hard-earned miles. We didn’t just fly once, we flew 4 times woohoo!

The first 2 flights were from Singapore to Beijing, and return. Meanwhile, the latter 2 flights were from Singapore to Manila and return.

6. LOW: Challenging travel in Manila

I will not try to sugarcoat it, traveling in Manila is challenging! The traffic, the typhoon, the lack of taxi, the roaches, a food poisoning episode, and the laid-back attitude (aka super slow service) were too much for me to handle.

I will be writing more on our Manila trip in the coming months.

7. LOW: Flight delay for almost a day

Of the 17 flights I took this year, only 1 flight was a screw-up (thank God!). This flight was delayed by almost a day, and we ended up being stranded in Singapore’s Changi Airport for 24 hours!

The good thing is, the airline took responsibility and booked us an overnight room in an airport hotel, gave us some lounge vouchers and rebooked us to a better flight. All is well.

8. LOW: Blogging Burn-Out

This year, I burned out because I worked too hard. And there were 2 reasons behind why I worked too hard. Firstly, I traveled too much (in my mind, I was thinking: travel restrictions are no more, it’s the best time to travel!).

Secondly, my apartment rental increased by 50% in 2023 due to shortage of property supply cos of Covid, so I had to earn even more to cover my expenses.

Looking back, it’s no surprise. Overworking obviously lead to burn-out.

Blogging Stats

Number of blog posts published/updated in Year 8 (Aug 2022 – Jul 2023): 98
Traffic in Year 8 (Aug 2022 – Jul 2023): 1,546,676 pageviews

What’s Next

After a hectic Year 8, the upcoming Year 9 will be a slow year. I have so many backlog of articles to write and videos to edit from my travels that I think I’ll need a few months to catch up.

Plus, I’m working on a new professional project, as well as big personal project, which I’ll announce when I’m ready.

I don’t see myself taking more than 5 overseas trips in Year 9, but we’ll see!

Thank You

Lastly, I’d like to say a big thank you to all of you for reading my blog, for giving me encouragement to keep going, for sharing my articles to your friends, for buying me a coffee, for making your booking through my blog, and for supporting me in any way. Thank you!

Here’s to many more travel in years to come!

Read past blog anniversary posts:

If you like my work, you can buy me a coffee! Your support will help me to keep going!

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