Travel tales

My fourth year On the Luce

My fourth year On the Luce

July’s a month for celebrations – with a family wedding and a lot of birthdays the prosecco supply’s in danger of running low. And among the milestones is a big blogging one as On the Luce reaches its fourth birthday. Back in 2011 I was setting up my WordPress.com blog and amazed when people actually read it. Four years later On the Luce has grown up a bit, but I still love exploring the world, photographing everything in sight and sharing my travel tips and stories. And year four has been the biggest year on the blog so far. Travel-wise I made a long-awaited trip to Canada, fell in love with the pretty French city of Annecy, walked the Berlin Wall and spent sunny autumn days on the Amalfi Coast – as well as travels closer to home.

Read more blog birthday posts

Quadra Island, British Columbia, Canada

At April Point, just off the coast of Vancouver Island

Blog-wise the last year has seen over 80 posts and 500 photos, a new obsession with Instagram and Pinterest, and a big redesign (involving the never-to-be-repeated resizing of all 1700 photos on the site). I also got to meet some of my favourite bloggers at Traverse in Kingston and let someone else take the travel-planning reins on press trips to Wales and Canada. And most importantly people kept on reading. It’s a bit of a cliché but a blog really is all about its readers, and mine are fantastic! You’ve doubled in numbers again this year, which is just incredible, and I just want to say a massive thank you to each and every one for reading, commenting and following along. Hopefully there’ll be lots more travel adventures to come.

So, just like in previous year, I’m going to use this as an excuse to look back at my most popular and favourite posts from the last 12 months, as well as giving you a preview of what’s coming up in year five On the Luce.

Annecy, France

Springtime in gorgeous Annecy

Most popular posts

Europe by train – Five great one-week rail trip routes: Not just my most popular post this year, my round-up of European train trip ideas quickly became my most popular post ever. It looks like I’m not the only rail travel fanatic out there. In two months it’s already had more views than any other post in the whole history of the blog – crazy! Gives me the perfect excuse to go out and do a few more rail trips as research then.

Alternative things to do in Paris: I can’t stay away from Paris, so am always looking for new and unusual things to see and do. This guide to some of my favourite lesser-known sights was really popular with second- and third-time visitors – when you’ve already seen the Mona Lisa, climbed the Eiffel Tower and seen the skulls at the Catacombs. Coming up soon is a London edition with more hidden city highlights.

Visiting Vienna on a budget: Everyone wants to make the most of their travel budget, so after my Las Vegas guide appeared in last year’s top three, this time it’s Vienna’s turn. This fairytale-pretty city is packed with history, culture and architecture, but it comes at a price. So I shared tips on how to get the full Vienna experience – museums, opera, dancing horses and plenty of sachertorte – without blowing the budget.

Vienna's Staatsoper Opera House, Austria

History and architecture in Vienna

My favourite posts

Travel and anxiety – Fighting the fear: Travel is a wonderful thing, but that doesn’t mean it’s not scary too. I came clean about some of my many travel anxieties, from flying to spiders, and how I try to manage them. And I’m not the only one, with so many comments from readers fighting their own battles with fear – who knew there were so many plane-phobic bloggers out there? – who don’t let it stop them.

Following the stories of the Berlin Wall: Although I’m fascinated by history, it can feel so distant. But in Berlin it’s right there in front of you, with stretches of the Wall still standing around the city. It’s shocking to think that within my lifetime the city was torn apart and families and neighbours separated for 28 years, and the personal details and stories at the memorials really brought the history to life.

My six ages of travel: After realising I’ve been travelling for over 30 years now (eek!) I got a bit nostalgic and looked back on my different ages of travel through the years – from childhood trips to France, through budget Ryanair weekends in Europe and round-the-world adventures, right up to blogging trips. It reminded me that changes in travel style mean you can have a totally different trip to the same destination.

Palm tree at Cahuita National Park

Costa Rica beaches – one of my ages of travel

What’s coming up in year five?

Coming up on the blog in the next few months are stories about Canada and Copenhagen, and I’ll be launching my new monthly newsletter later this month (there’s still time to sign up!). Other plans include putting my publishing day-job experience to use with my first foray into ebooks. After the popularity of my European rail routes post, the first will be more of the same, with lots more train trip ideas and planning tips. I’m also working on a new website project, combining my love of UK holiday cottages and train travel to create a directory of great places you can stay at without needing to have a car.

When it comes to travel, one of my plans for the year was to embrace spontaneity, planning a bit less so I could take advantage of being freelance and take up last-minute opportunities. So my travel plans for the next few months are a bit of a mystery, even to me. But that doesn’t mean I don’t have a few trips in the pipeline. The definites are Copenhagen later this month and the Greek islands of Ios and Santorini in the autumn. The maybes are Scotland and Slovenia. And the possibles are endless!

Blue and white in Fira, Santorini, Greece

Can’t wait to see these views again in Santorini

Thanks again to everyone for reading and here’s to a great fifth year!

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37 Comments

  • Reply
    holidayaddict
    July 16, 2015 at 2:41 pm

    Happy blog birthday! I get so much travel inspiration from you Lucy – it’s so great to see things ramp up and I can’t wait to follow your new projects (ebook? Amazing!). So exciting!

    • Reply
      Lucy
      July 17, 2015 at 10:58 am

      Thanks Clare, have been meaning to get into ebooks for ages – make some use of my work experience! – so hopefully it’ll work out!

  • Reply
    The Vagabond Baker
    July 16, 2015 at 2:57 pm

    Happy blog birthday Lucy! You’ve had an amazing year, it was so great to meet you at Traverse. I’m very excited to read your Canada stories and I love Copenhagen – I think your posts on that may inspire me to return in the winter!
    I like that your travels are vague, that’s pretty much my year. We ended up going to Shetland on a whim after realising our plans for a road trip around Scandinavia were a bit grand for a four week gap in our schedules!

    I hope year five will be even more fantastic for you!

    • Reply
      Lucy
      July 17, 2015 at 11:01 am

      Thanks Rachel, it was so nice to meet you too – hopefully we will catch up on the road somewhere again soon. Yes I’m trying to embrace the vagueness, I have a week in August free at the moment and so many ideas I have no idea how to narrow them down!

      • Reply
        The Vagabond Baker
        July 17, 2015 at 11:57 am

        Haha, are you going to Blogstock? could catch up there!
        I know that feeling, it took us so long to commit to the Trans-sib when we could have gone anywhere in the world! Totally glad we did though!

      • Reply
        Lucy
        July 17, 2015 at 12:23 pm

        I’m not sure about Blogstock yet as might be away then, but if not will definitely come!

  • Reply
    amaatk123
    July 16, 2015 at 5:02 pm

    All congratulations Lucy on absolutely everything. And above all on developing such an amazing blog. As I mentioned on Twitter my little Swindon-centric blog has undergone a transformation of late. Here’s a link so you can take a quick peek! 🙂 Kind regards. Angela – aka – Born again Swindonian.

    http://swindonian.me

    • Reply
      Lucy
      July 17, 2015 at 11:02 am

      Thanks Angela – and congrats on the blog revamp, it’s looking great!

      • Reply
        amaatk123
        July 21, 2015 at 11:08 am

        Oh – thank you Lucy. Yeah. I’m pretty pleased with it myself. 🙂

  • Reply
    restlessjo
    July 16, 2015 at 7:47 pm

    Another super year, Lucy, and lots to look forward to still. I do envy you Copenhagen 🙂 An ebook? Sounds like a good idea. Here’s to another happy year for you!

    • Reply
      Lucy
      July 17, 2015 at 11:03 am

      Thanks Jo, crazy how time has flown since the Simonseeks days isn’t it!

      • Reply
        restlessjo
        July 17, 2015 at 2:21 pm

        It certainly is, and you’ve made the very most of it! 🙂

  • Reply
    Darlene
    July 16, 2015 at 7:59 pm

    Congratulations on 4 fabulous years of blogging. Love your posts. <3

    • Reply
      Lucy
      July 17, 2015 at 11:03 am

      Thanks Darlene, here’s to lots more years of travel and blogging for us both!

  • Reply
    rhonda mckenzie
    July 16, 2015 at 10:48 pm

    I found your blog when I was looking for somewhere to stay in London. Ended up beginning my journey at the lovely Nadler and finishing at the Soho. I spent five weeks travelling by train all over the UK with a side trip to Belgium and the Netherlands. I travelled to the top of Scotland and then down to Cornwall. with stops in between. I could have travelled for a year and not gone on all the trains Id wanted or seen all Id wanted to see. An ebook such as you are talking about would have been brilliant. Thank god for the internet which made planning much easier from my home way across the world. I hope you do write your book. I doubt that I will venture so far from home again but will enjoy reading what I might have done and I do have grandchildren planning their adventures.

    • Reply
      Lucy
      July 17, 2015 at 11:05 am

      Thanks Rhonda, so glad that my London post came in useful and it sounds like you had an amazing trip, we are so spoilt for choice when it comes to great train journeys in this part of the world. Though yes I can’t imagine having to plan it all with paper timetables, the internet has made it so much easier!

  • Reply
    Sarah
    July 17, 2015 at 10:10 am

    Lovely round up here! 🙂 Looking forward to your newsletters and all of the new adventures. You have made me think a lot more about rail travel too! Thanks x

    • Reply
      Lucy
      July 17, 2015 at 11:06 am

      Thanks Sarah, hopefully there are lots of adventures to come!

  • Reply
    Vlad
    July 17, 2015 at 8:24 pm

    Happy anniversary! I love reading your posts and I can’t wait to read about your future travels. Sad we will miss each other in Copenhagen though 🙁

    • Reply
      Lucy
      July 21, 2015 at 10:26 pm

      Thanks Vlad – such bad timing on the Copenhagen trip but hopefully we’ll get to meet in person one day soon!

  • Reply
    Shobha
    July 17, 2015 at 10:52 pm

    Congrats! I’ve been reading you for ages but can’t believe it’s been 4 years. Looking forward to the ebooks next year!

    • Reply
      Lucy
      July 21, 2015 at 10:27 pm

      Yes I can’t believe where the time has gone – though its hard to remember ever going on a trip without taking hundreds of photos and making notes on everything to blog about it!

  • Reply
    Suzanne Jones
    July 17, 2015 at 11:13 pm

    Happy 4th Blog day Lucy! Congratulations on all you’ve achieved so far. I’m looking forward to following your year five – especially your Canada and Copenhagen posts and your newsletter 🙂

    • Reply
      Lucy
      July 21, 2015 at 10:28 pm

      Thanks Suzanne, newsletters have been on my to do list for ages so I thought an anniversary was a good time to get on with it!

  • Reply
    Shikha (whywasteannualleave)
    July 19, 2015 at 10:46 pm

    Congratulations on your blogging success thus far! Your travel and anxiety post was one of my favourites from you as well! Looking forward to seeing your Canada posts as I followed along on instagram (I’m a bit obsessed with it too). Great to finally put a face to the name at Traverse too ☺

    • Reply
      Lucy
      July 21, 2015 at 10:29 pm

      Thanks Shika, it was lovely to meet you at Traverse. Lots of Canada to come once I finish sorting out my hundreds of bear photos!

  • Reply
    mjcolbert
    July 21, 2015 at 1:48 pm

    Congrats, Lucy! I’ve loved watching your blog ever since I started two years ago now. Keep it up!

    • Reply
      Lucy
      July 21, 2015 at 10:25 pm

      Thanks so much, crazy how time flies when you’re blogging isn’t it!

  • Reply
    Madhu
    July 22, 2015 at 12:36 pm

    Time does fly! Congratulations and best wishes for another wonderful year filled with adventures! Look forward to the ebook.

    • Reply
      Lucy
      July 23, 2015 at 8:48 pm

      Thanks Madhu, yes it’s just flown by – can’t wait to see what year five brings though!

  • Reply
    Packing my Suitcase
    July 22, 2015 at 4:57 pm

    Congratulations Lucy!! Your 4th year means I have known your blog for 1 year. I remember reading your post form last year when i was just starting my blog 😀 You certainly have been an inspiration for me!
    I hope more and more will come 😀
    Hugs from Germany!

    • Reply
      Lucy
      July 23, 2015 at 8:51 pm

      Thanks Allane, here’s to lots more years of travel and blogging for us both!

  • Reply
    MummyTravels
    July 25, 2015 at 11:14 pm

    Congratulations on four years! Looking forward to seeing what the next one brings – ebooks and all.

    • Reply
      Lucy
      July 27, 2015 at 9:53 pm

      Thank you, yes I’ve been meaning to do an ebook for ages so I thought if I announced it then I’ll have to!

  • Reply
    emilycharlotteray
    July 26, 2015 at 2:54 pm

    Happy blog birthday, Lucy! I’m always in awe of your thoughtful, well-written and informative posts, and you make every destination you travel to sound absolutely incredible. Can’t wait to follow your progress over the next four years and beyond! x

    • Reply
      Lucy
      July 27, 2015 at 9:56 pm

      Thanks so much, that’s lovely to hear! Here’s to lots more blogging and travel to come.

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