The Never Ending Voyage Year in Numbers

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Each year, following Chris Guillebeau’s advice, we sit down and go through the tortuous process of detailed self-reflection to get an idea of where we are at the end of the year in relation to where we said we wanted to be at the start, and to set some goals for the coming year.

As with all best laid plans, the present is vastly different than we thought it would be when we imagined it as the future a year ago. Writing down ambitious and exciting targets is easy, the hard bit is the sacrifice it takes to make them happen. Sometimes it’s simply too much—this voyage we are on should be a whimsical journey across life’s seas, blown in whichever direction the prevailing winds happen to take us.

If we are chained to a table, working 60 hour weeks, we’re doing it wrong.

Even if that table is in Thailand.

Business Results

So we started the year as relatively miserable wannabe premium theme and freelance developers and ended it as excited actual iPhone app developers, moving from a failed project and a long, hard and ultimately wasted three months to a successful launch and an exciting new direction with our first major iPhone app, Trail Wallet.

iPhone and iPad apps represent the possibility of exploring all of my various interests at once, from illustration and animation to design, coding, music and sound. It allows a massive amount of creative freedom without any of the hassles of running an online shop ourselves. We just have to build the things and tell people about them, Apple will take care of the rest.

It’s a greater risk, of course, but that just makes it all the more exciting.

It’s safe to say that our financial results have stuttered from this abrupt change of course. Thankfully, this site is picking up the slack and our income actually increased by 40% in 2012, giving us a little room to explore this new direction.

Client work provides guaranteed income at set rates, app production sees hundreds of hours up front with no guarantee of return.

So be it. Happiness trumps profit.

Website Results

On the other hand, Never Ending Voyage has simply exploded beyond our wildest expectations.

We finally got around to releasing our first free eBook, South America Highlights for subscribers to our newsletter. Prior to the release, it had taken two years to reach 386 subscribers to our email list. At the end of 2012, we were at 2,570 and messages were pouring in about how useful the book and monthly newsletter are.

We increased our followers on social media too, without really trying to. Our Facebook page has grown by 157% and Twitter by 73%. We’ve recently added accounts on Pinterest and Instagram too.

Then there are the visitors.

In 2011, we had 105,019 unique visitors to Never Ending Voyage.

In 2012, 352,859.

You guys! One third of a million!

As ego-expanding as this insanely large number is, what’s more important is the stuff it brings with it—the Facebook messages, tweets, emails and comments that we get from people all over the world saying all sorts of embarrassingly nice things that make us blush.

This site really has been a labour of love. It has also been a labour of swearing, crying and throwing things. The support we have received has been phenomenal and touching and has made all of the hard bits worthwhile and all of the great bits even greater, so thank you.

We hope that documenting all of our fortunes and failures can help others realise what’s possible if they are willing to lay it all on the line and go chasing rainbows. It’s certainly not easy, but then life is all about the struggle and if you’re going to struggle, may as well struggle with something you love.

We hope you all have a successful and happy 2013.

Love and hugs from Mexico,

Simon and Erin

P.S. We’ve been nominated for Best Photo Blog in the Skyscanner Travel Bloscars. If you wanted to vote for us, we’d totally be cool with that. 🙂 (P.P.S We won! Thanks guys!)

2012 in Numbers

  • 352,859 unique visitors
  • Averaging over 40,000 unique visitors a month by the end of the year
  • 1,300,000 pageviews since the site started (making it to a million was pretty exciting!)
  • 168 posts
  • 1529 comments
  • 2,184 new email list subscribers
  • Featured in The Guardian newspaper twice
  • 10 countries visited (Thailand, Burma, Malaysia, Italy, Belgium, Portugal, Jordan, Egypt, USA, Mexico)
  • Reached 1000 days as digital nomads.

Top 10 Most Popular Posts of 2012

  1. The White Temple, Chiang Rai: A Photo Essay
  2. 35 Random Observations About Thailand
  3. Sleeping with Monks: A Night in a Japanese Temple in Koya-San
  4. Lisbon Highlights
  5. The Cost of Living Luxuriously in Chiang Mai
  6. 35 Random Observations about Burma/Myanmar
  7. The Fairytale Palaces of Sintra: A Photo Essay
  8. Garfagnana: A Hidden Corner of Tuscany
  9. Planning a Trip to Burma/Myanmar
  10. The Black House, Chiang Rai: A Photo Essay

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16 Comments (1 pingbacks)

  1. I am thrilled to see you out there travelling and making it work for you. What you have done and are doing is brilliant, brilliant! Thank you so much for sharing your stories and advice with the world! I am a vegan traveler moving to Japan soon and your advice on vegetarian eating has really helped a lot! Good luck and I look forward to reading more and more of your adventures!

    Reply

  2. congrats on all of your achievements- 1 million + visits, thats amazing. I’m currently only at 11,300, haha. I have a LONG way to go!

    any tips on how you got more traffic to your site? i am a new blogger and would really appreciate ANY advice! thanks in advance!!!

    the two of you are so inspiring- keep traveling!

    check out my new travel blog, hope you don’t mind me listing it here:

    Reply

    • Thanks Jessica.

      We grew our site by focusing on writing quality, helpful posts; building relationships with other travel bloggers by commenting on their sites; sharing others content on Twitter and Stumble Upon; writing guest posts; and just keeping at it. It just takes time. Good luck with it!

      Reply

  3. Congratulations on your achievements!!! You deserve this success. I read many of your articles and love your “The White Temple, Chiang Rai: A Photo Essay”. You represent it beautifully.

    Reply

  4. Funny to see another Leigh posted right above me. That doesn’t happen often.

    So yes, congrats. It’s wonderful to see how much your site has grown, not that it’s a surprise. I did a similar accounting for Cloudhead this year. I hope you don’t mind my sharing it here:

    Cloudhead by the numbers in 2012

    It’s also heartening to hear how your growth went exponentially like that. Cloudhead has also been slow growth. Nice to think we may hit some kind of tiny tipping point.

    And congrats!

    Reply

    • Thanks Leigh and congratulations on your own success. You’ve created something fantastic that seems to benefiting so many people. Hopefully we’ll make it back someday so we can see for ourselves.

      We definitely had slow growth for a while. In 2011 I felt like we flatlined (although when you look at the numbers it was growing) and it wasn’t until the last year when things took off.

      Reply

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