December 2021 & January 2022 | Recap

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Hello friends! Life has been so hectic the last couple months (you’ll read why below) but I am back and ready to blog. I have sooo many blog posts lined up, but my first step is updating you all on the excitement, chaos, and adventure that has consumed the past two months! Hint: Covid and cross country road trips, oh my…

I also have an announcement regarding these monthly recaps. Going forward I will share my monthly blogging income report in these updates! I know this is a little taboo, and I am nervous and hesitant to share, but it feels like the right move to me. I hope you will all take it as inspiration and motivation, and certainly not bragging. Scroll down to read more about that! (And please comment below if you’d like to read any more specifics about the “behind the scenes” of blogging.)

Me overlooking the Grand Canyon at the end of January… not having known at the beginning of January that I was even going there!! Yup, it’s been a month.

Where was I in December & January?

  • Countries: USA
  • Cities: Lansing and Detroit, Michigan; Springfield, Illinois; Tulsa, Oklahoma; Amarillo, Texas; Santa Fe, New Mexico; Williams, Arizona; Barstow, Sacramento, and Redding, California
  • Flights: 0 – yep, I drove all that…
  • Days on the road: 12

December & January on the blog…

I only published two blog posts over the past two months. However, those two posts were my two favorite posts to write annually. Check them out:

I really feel like the past six months have been a season of life of doing – I’ve been so so so busy in what I feel like has been the ending/culmination of one stage of life. As I enter this next stage I’m planning to write a lot more blog posts. I live alone now with less distractions, and have a lot of energy to devote to writing, writing, writing – and in part, processing these last few months!

My family’s two wonderful pups, Marshall and Maggie!

December & January adventured like…

Holiday celebrations: The majority of December was unexciting and involved a lot of work. However, it was great to celebrate Christmas Eve and Christmas day with my fully vaccinated family, after being apart last year.

Marshall enjoying his Christmas bone!

Dan visited: YAY! At the end of December, Dan flew to Detroit and visited me for three weeks. This was his first time in the USA since 2019, thanks to borders finally reopening to UK residents.

Cross country skiing and snow tubing in my hometown after a snowtorm during one of the early days of Dan’s visit!
Saying goodbye at Detroit airport before his departure 🙁

We spent a weekend in Detroit: When Dan arrived, we spent a couple days in Detroit and it was great! I love this city – even in winter.

“Hey, take this photo of me fist bumping the Joe Louis monument”
Our wintery visit to the Heidelberg Project in Detroit – one of my favorite places in the city that I’ve written about for Roadtrippers Magazine but never for the blog! Should I do a blog post on it?
Downtown Detroit at Christmas time is so beautiful and festive!

Then we all got Covid: BOO! If you read my 2022 travel plans blog post, then you already knew this. But unfortunately just a few days after Dan’s arrival, I tested positive for Covid. I woke up feeling sniffly the morning of our flight to Orlando to visit Harry Potter World, and took one of Dan’s NHS rapid tests. We were shocked that it was positive, and Dan and I quickly canceled our trip and left to isolate at my family’s cottage (which has no wifi, non-potable water, and the pipes to the toilet froze LOL). Soon after Dan tested positive, and had to delay his flight home. Unfortunately, my mom tested positive too a few days later. Somehow my dad, who stayed at home with my mom, never got it… that man has an immune system of steel. Not exactly the vacation Dan dreamed of! Luckily, we all had relatively mild cases, although it was somewhat of an emotional whirlwind and my sense of smell still isn’t right.

A uhhh … very sad and sickly selfie in my N95 mask as Dan and I drove to my family’s cottage. Notice my Gryffindor scarf? I bought that for Harry Potter World *cries*
While quarantining at my family’s cottage we had some SUPER cold weather. Dan kind of loved it – you don’t get icicles like this in England!

I quit my job: Did I just give you whiplash? I told you this monthly recap is going to be packed.

And got a new job: After a lot of hard work and planning, I was offered a job as a travel occupational therapist in California! If you’ve ever heard of travel nursing, then think of this as the same. Essentially, you are hired to work short term (usually 13 week) contracts around the USA at various companies that are in need (usually short staffing due to maternity, sick leave, or uhhhh… health care in a pandemic). These jobs are quite lucrative because as a “relocated worker” you are eligible for generous tax-free housing and meal stipends. My first ever travel therapy gig begins this week!

A solo cross country USA road trip along Route 66: Yesssss, I saved the best for (almost) last! With my new job starting in February in California, I had to get myself there. Cue a solo cross country road trip – in winter no less. It took me about 8 days of driving, with lots of scenic stops along the way because I followed the historic Route 66! This journey was such an EPIC travel adventure and I am so excited to start sharing about it on Instagram and in plenty of blog posts.

Oh, Route 66. What an epic travel experience. This is one of the historic Route 66 signs in Barstow, California, outside a motel I stayed in.
The midway point of Route 66 in Adrian, Texas! The entirety of Route 66 is about 2300 miles but I drove further than that as I was going from mid Michigan to northern California.
One of the motels I stayed in. This was the nicest one by far, in Santa Fe, New Mexico. I’m going to write a full Route 66 itinerary with all the motels I stayed in… and the ones I do and DON’T recommend lol. When I say I had some odd experiences…
I stopped at Pushkin’s Bakery in Sacramento, California on my drive up north. This bakery is 100% gluten free, and on a pretty terrible travel day (6 hours of driving turned into 10 because of an UNSAFE motel), this sandwich totally kept me going!

Six month endometriosis excision anniversary: Finally, just a few days ago I hit my six month anniversary of the major endometriosis surgery I had in August. I still haven’t shared much on the blog about this because honestly, I have been processing and healing. For now I’ll say, none of the adventures I had this past month or will be having in the future would be possible without that surgery. I am so grateful.

Ooh, another thing I did in January (after I quit my job and before I drove cross country) was a 4-day therapeutic yoga for people with traumatic brain injuries course. It was so great.

January blogging income report and update…

It’s a new year and I’ve decided to add a NEW section to this monthly recap! If you’ve been here a while, you know that I’ve been blogging since 2015 mostly as a hobby. Well, that hobby grew and I realized that yes, I do want to earn money from this passion of mine.

Going forward, I’m going to share my monthly blogging income. But seeing as this is my first month of doing so, I’ll include some background information too!

Timeline of how I started earning money from blogging: From 2015-2018 I made pennies blogging, probably a couple hundred per year at most – mostly from random sponsored posts from companies that were taking advantage of me as a naive new blogger. I did not really realize nor care about making money from blogging. I just enjoyed writing!

From 2019-2020 I woke up to the possibility of earning money from my blog – but I did not want to “sell my soul” for SEO just to make money. I like writing in my own style and sharing personal anecdotes, and I struggled with how to monetize that without feeling “icky.” I was also busy starting my career in healthcare, and quite sick with endometriosis at this time. I made enough money blogging (and more from freelance writing) to declare it on my taxes, but certainly not enough to live on.

Entering 2021 a lot of hard work came to fruition and I started earning more, mostly thanks to getting accepted to Mediavine (a higher paying advertising company, that you’ll see provides all the ads on this page!) and figuring out the nuances of freelance writing (of which many opportunities filtered in through this blog, and I count alongside my blogging income because I group all my self employed “content creating” income together on taxes).

Why I’m sharing my blogging income report: I decided that in 2022, I’m going to share my blogging income report within my monthly recaps! I’m not doing this to brag, at all, but rather to track my own progress in my first year of Mediavine – AKA my first year of earning any significant money from Endless Distances.

I would also be so happy to inspire any of you that it is possible to earn money blogging. Personally, I have been super inspired by Amanda of A Dangerous Business, and a few other bloggers who share their own income reports and demystify that yes, it’s possible to earn money blogging! I credit Amanda with a lot of my own motivation just by seeing that it was possible.

January 2022 blogging income

Ironically in my first monthly income report, I’ve honestly been barely keeping up with the blog – but I was super happy to find that despite my inattention, I continued to earn a steady income through Mediavine. Yay!

Here’s how my income broke down in January (I am basing these categories on Amanda’s – she is a full time blogger who earns six figures, and you should check out her income reports for serious motivation):

  • Advertising: $1,573.71
  • Freelance Writing: $2,075
  • Affiliates: $272.30
  • Other: $0

Total: $3,921.01

Note: I’ve decided to report my income as it is paid out, rather than when it was earned. So, the advertising income that was paid out in January was actually earned in November. Same goes for many of the freelance writing gigs. Additionally, this is my gross income, before expenses and taxes.

Views out toward the Grand Canyon – a detour I took during my Route 66 road trip. I’m so grateful for these travel experiences and looking forward to blogging about them!!

Upcoming in February…

I am writing this blog post from the little dining room table at my new rental home in northern California! It is only my second full day here, and I start work at my new job on Monday. I’ve actually never lived on my own before – I’ve always lived with roommates, housemates, or my family. So this is kind of nerve wracking and exciting.

My focus this month is mainly going to be getting the lay of the land at work, and keeping up with cooking, cleaning, errands, chores, and overall taking care of myself! I also have a goal of publishing at least three blog posts in February (not including this one) about my Route 66 adventures.

If there’s time – which I seriously hope there is – I’ll be exploring my new northern California home on the weekends and maybe even make some new friends?!

PHEW! What a massive but exciting monthly recap blog post. I would love to know what you all have planned for February, and how your year has started.

Looking for more?

6 Responses

  1. Wow, so much exciting stuff! Hats off to you for driving solo across the USA – that is so impressive! Can’t wait to hear all about your journey. It’s great you and Dan were able to spend the time quarantining together in the cabin – I’m sure when you look back on it, it will have been such a memorable time to finally be together.
    Also I think I speak for everyone when I say I love to see peoples’ financial break-downs on thing. I understand (as someone who doesn’t like to put much of myself out there) that it feels weird to share those things but people love reading them!

    1. Yesss, I have lots of blog posts planned about the road trip! Hopefully publishing some this weekend, just got to get it together and edit photos lol. SO many photos. And thanks for saying that – I loooove reading other bloggers’ income reports, and at least when I read Amanda’s I never think she’s being tacky or humble bragging. So I tried to style it after hers because she just does it so well. Just for myself too it’s going to be interested to look back – think I’m gonna do a pie chart next month lol!!

  2. What an adventure! I’ll be excited to hear more about your Route 66 adventures – what a trip to make solo! I hope your new job goes well and that you enjoy the change in scenery and locale! That’s a beautiful area to explore, too!

    I got 2 unexpected snow days off last week and the quiet was SO nice. I truly enjoyed the lack of any urgency for anything because no one else was working and there was no zero expectation to do.

    I’m amazed how much you make off advertising! That’s a lot!

    1. It was such a cool solo road trip! And I’m soo excited to publish some posts. Route 66 was never really on my radar to do but it was an iconic travel experience really in the end!!

      And yes – things really changed with Mediavine compared to my old ad provider! They pay really well and honestly are going to make such a difference in my life! I’m excited to track it through the year.

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Oh hey! I’m Sarah, the writer behind Endless Distances. When I’m not here, spilling all my gluten free travel and wellness travel tips, you can… find me on the floor at parties petting the dog.

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