This past weekend was the one year anniversary – blogiversary – of The Royal Tour, so I thought it would be appropriate to take a look back at this first year, what I’ve done, and where I am going.
First, though, I want to sincerely thank you all for reading and supporting this endeavor. To all my friends and family who have had to endure frequent pleas to share my posts, thank you and I am sorry. To those who don’t know me at all but have been part of this journey, thank you for inviting me in. I know that at times I have struggled to find a consistent voice, and I appreciate your willingness to put up with that as I have gone along. To have random people reading my posts is humbling and an honor.
Year One By The Numbers
In the past twelve months, I have visited eight countries and sixteen states.
I have taken 38 flights for more than 80,000 miles, and driven many thousands of miles more.
I have written 132 posts, and attracted more than 27,000 views.
One brave friend contributed a post, sixteen bloggers collaborated with me on posts, and countless friends, family members, acquaintances, and strangers followed, shared, and read the blog.
Six amazing individuals took a chance on me and my concept to have their stories documented in The Royal Tour interviews.
So Where Did I Go?
Here is a short photo diary of some of the trips:
My first trip with the blog was to Memphis. Sun Studio was amazing!
Chapultepec Castle in Mexico City. What an incredible trip!
The Great Wall of China was a bucket list item!
Toledo was the highlight of my trip to Spain!
I really enjoyed getting to know Philadelphia, and Independence Hall was super cool!
Oh Auckland. Stunning!
It was incredibly meaningful getting to see the Korean DMZ.
What Were My Highlights?
As amazing as visiting new places is, it is the journey of self-discovery and introduction to issues I hadn’t known anything about that stand as highlights to me.
I took my first foreign solo trip this year, and emerged from it stronger and more confident than ever before.
I opened up to the world about my struggles with mental illness and, despite my mother worrying that it means I will never again be hired for a job or find a serious relationship, I have found peace with my condition and a voice to help others.
I faced a fear of death on an ATV in the Arizona desert.
I saw México for the amazing place it is and not for the drug and crime infested rathole that the media would have you believe.
I was educated into the need for American prison reform through a last-minute side trip in Philadelphia.
I learned the incredible story of the Maori people of New Zealand.
I saw firsthand the Korean demilitarized zone and left feeling hope, not fear.
Most importantly, I found through my travels that people are generally similar and good, I saw the world through other perspectives, and hopefully shared those experiences with many of you.
So What Comes Next?
In the next year, I hope to have more of these experiences, and to continue to grow both as a writer and a person.
On the professional side, I am excited to have my article on traveling with a mood disorder appear in this month’s issue of Advocate magazine! I am also thrilled to take my first two sponsored trips, to Medford, OR and Spokane, WA, and hope to do justice to their faith in me.
I will also be taking another step, pushing myself further out of my comfort zone, and will be renting out my house to become a full time nomad for 2019. There will be much more on that as it gets closer, and I am excited to share that journey with all of you.
Most importantly, there will be many more glimpses into the intersection of travel and deeper issues, content that will hopefully provoke thought and discussion as we, together, do our best to understand the world in which we live.
It’s going to be a heck of a ride.