Month in Review: April 2017

April was a busy month for me! I took trip home to North Carolina, a business trip to Chicago, and spent a week near Oregon’s coast.

This month also marked some major progress for my blog. I recently started an awesome blogging course, which really seems to be paying off! I’ve received a ton of sponsored post offers (most of which I’m not accepting, though), hotel stays, and a few freebie travel-related products. My traffic is way up thanks to some serious Pinterest marketing, and my page now ranks on the front page of Google for several gap year key words! I plan on devoting more time and money to my blog, and I am excited to see the results!

Overall, it was a wonderful month spent with loved ones and work friends. I got to see a lot, and come up with some awesome content for my blog! Now that I’m back in Washington and the weather is finally warming up, I can’t wait to see what the summer brings.

Below are the highlights of April 2017…

I Went Home to Visit My Family in North Carolina

After a pretty brutal winter in Washington, it was nice to enjoy some warmer weather! Temperatures in Raleigh hovered around 70-85 degrees with lots of sun, which was much-needed after a long, wet winter! During the winter in Washington, I hated talking to my mom about the weather because it was always sunny and warm in NC while it was cold and rainy in Washington! Now that summer’s coming up, I’ll get to brag about the nice weather here compared to the swampy, humid summers in North Carolina!

Downtown Raleigh – photo by James Willamor

At home, I mostly caught up on family time and did some serious work on my blog. The highlight of being home was going to see “Jesus Christ Superstar” off broadway. In case you aren’t familiar with the show, it’s a rock opera depicting Judas’ perspective before Jesus’ crucification. I went into the show with no expectations and it didn’t disappoint. The music was awesome as well! I downloaded the whole soundtrack on Spotify and some of the songs still get stuck in my head nearly a month later! If you haven’t seen it, I absolutely recommend it! Whether you’re religious or not, it’s really entertaining.

I Decided to Shift My Blog’s Focus to Gap Years

After realizing how popular my gap year blog posts are, I have decided to switch the focus off my blog to highlight the benefits of a gap year, how to plan one, and sharing others’ gap year experiences. I will still cover traveling tips and new destinations. With the exception of exploring the Pacific Northwest and exploring Europe this summer, I don’t plan on traveling nearly as much as I used to. I still want to provide valuable info for others, though. So, covering a travel-related topic I know a lot about seems like a good move!

I Visited Chicago for a Business Trip

While I mostly work remotely, sometimes my job requires me to travel. Last year, I made several trip to Columbus, Ohio but it looks like my business trips will be taking me to some slightly more exciting destinations this year! My first business trip of the year was to Chicago and I will be going to Albuquerque later this month!

I only had one day to devote to sightseeing in Chicago. So, I spent it exploring Millennium Park and trying deep dish pizza! I was disappointed that I wasn’t able to walk along Lake Michigan, revisit the Navy Pier, or check out the art museum. However, I did get to try some seriously delicious dim sum with my Chinese coworkers. The office where we held our meetings also had a gorgeous view of Lake Michigan, which sort of made up for being in meetings all day.

I Spent a Week on Washington’s Coast

In some of my previous posts, I mentioned that my before works in IT for a company that produces casino games. This means he gets to travel a lot for work. Sometimes it’s to cool places (last year his company sent us to Vegas for two weeks), but most of the time his work takes him to some pretty mundane places.

His most recent business trip was at a tiny coastal town in the very south of Washington called Tokeland. It was a booming tourist destination in the 1930’s but now there is basically nothing besides the casino. Since I love the hotel there, I decided to join him – it’s super cozy and has gorgeous ocean-front views.

The town of Westport is nearby and has some good restaurants but not much else! One gem we found was Aloha Alabama, which serves a fusion of Hawaiian and Southern Barbecue. Unfortunately, it was too cold to enjoy the beach. Hopefully, it will be better when we revisit in the summer!

We also took a trip down Scenic Highway 101 to Astoria, Oregon. It was a gorgeous ride and goes all the way from Washington to California! Most of the route goes along the coast; I would love to drive the whole route this summer!

Astoria proved to be a cool place with lots of antique stores, boutiques, awesome food, and beautiful scenery. The highlight of the trip for me was exploring vintage stores and visiting the Astoria Column. The Astoria Column offers beautiful, panoramic views of Astoria and shouldn’t be missed!

I Made the Switch to a DSLR Camera

My boyfriend bought me an Olympus Pen camera for my birthday last year. I’ve barely used it in the last year. It was fairly expensive and I worry something will happen to it. Now, I’m finally in the habit of bringing it anytime I go anywhere new.

My pictures are so much better now and I’m having a blast learning more about photography as I go. Out with the grainy cell phone pictures and in with high-res photos!

How was your April? Did you go anywhere or do anything exciting!? I’m planning on doing these monthly reviews every month, and would love to hear what’s going on in your lives as well!

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