Hello blog readers! I am so glad you have come along for the ride. I am certainly not a serious blogger; my blog posts are published irregularly and my subject matter is all over the place. I am happy if just a couple of people read my blog posts and I am amazed when it is often many more. My blog has had some ups and downs during the Covid-19 pandemic but once people were getting out and about again and starting to plan, 2021 was a pretty good year for attracting readers.
I would probably get more blog readers if I wasn’t a tad lazy. During 2021 I only publishing 36 blog posts, not even one a week! This was mainly because we were either in lockdown and there was nothing new to write about, or we were travelling and I didn’t have time to post or I was writing a travel article for a magazine and also didn’t have time to post! The posts I did write varied from recipes and what was going on at home to traveller tales as we toured all four nations of the UK in 2021, spending time in Scotland and England and making our first visit to Northern Ireland and returning to Wales after a gap of a few years. In 2021 we even spent a short time abroad when we crossed the border into Ireland!
I’ve been blogging since 2009 and, although I cringe when I read those early blog posts, I can see it was useful writing practice for becoming a campervan travel writer. I currently write two different blogs, this one and my memorial benches blog, but posting to both these blog has to take a back seat when I am working on a paid article.
My blog is put together via WordPress and this platform generates all sorts of data for those who are interested. On a wet day in January I checked the stats for 2021 and was interested to see that the post that received the most attention was one I wrote back in 2019 about our trip to the amazing Shetland Islands. Making a return trip to Shetland niggles in my mind regularly, so I am not surprised that other campervan and motorhome owners are planning trips to those northerly islands.
Next up in the rankings [down from number one in 2020] is a post from a few years ago about cooking with an essential piece of kit in our campervan, our RidgeMonkey grill. I am pleased to see that this wonderful cooking pan is gaining popularity and seeing plenty of sales, I wouldn’t be without mine.
Two travel writing posts have remained in the top five since I wrote them. One focusing on my thoughts on the quote, ‘Normality is a paved road; It’s comfortable to walk but no flowers grow‘ feels particularly relevant during the Covid-19 pandemic and I looked at this post again last year and added to it. During lockdown I couldn’t wait to leave the mundanity of normality behind! The second is titled, ‘One’s Destination is Never a Place but always a new way of seeing things.’ This is a Henry Miller quote and in the post I considered how travel keeps my wonderment muscle supple. Since I wrote this piece two years ago I have had to exercise those muscles closer to home and I have learnt that, although I don’t have to travel far to be filled with wonder, I continue to have a need to keep filling my life with new experiences.
A remarkable post that remains popular is one from my long-running Surprising Salford series. This is a post about the astonishing and amusing Gnome Island. This island of gnomes [what else] in Salford Quays received little attention from the public until the new tram line to the Trafford Centre opened and suddenly it was much easier to see the gnomes from the stop near Old Trafford and, if you search for Gnome Island in Salford my blog is one of the few resources that pops up. I am glad Gnome Island hasn’t been cleared away by the corporate giants around Salford Quays and that its creator remains, as far as I know, a mystery. If you’re in Manchester or Salford go and take a look.
The pages where visitors can download articles I have had published in MMM and Campervan Mag are also always popular too and the lists just keep getting longer. The top download for 2021 was my fun piece I wrote from our campervan’s point of view about a trip to Wharfedale meeting the Blue Bus’ siblings [other Devon Conversions vans] and fellow campervans. This was published in Campervan Mag during 2021. Writing this piece was a blast and maybe this comes through in the words and is why people enjoy reading it. The second most popular download was the RidgeMonkey article in Campervan Mag. After that it is my reports on our Devon Tempest in MMM and Campervan Mag that attract most readers who, presumably, are researching what campervan to buy.
I am hoping that 2022 takes me, my partner and our Blue Bus to some fabulous places in the UK and across the Channel. I have no goal for the number of posts I will write on my blogs but I hope you keep reading about the things that inspire me and enjoy joining me back on the road.