It’s that time of year again – when I dig out the Champagne glasses and crack open the bubbly (any excuse) to celebrate both me and this blog reaching another birthday. The last three years On the Luce have seen 244 blog posts, 1451 photos, 19 countries covered and 7636 comments – phew! And this year has been the busiest and best for the blog so far – as well as doubling the number of monthly visitors since last year (welcome everyone!), it’s also opened up new opportunities for me, like the chance to work with some great travel companies and tourist boards to try out new destinations and even a totally new way to travel.
It amazes me when I think how the site has grown over the last three years. But a blog wouldn’t be anything without its readers, so thanks to you all – I really appreciate everyone who takes the time to read my posts, make a comment or follow along on Facebook or Twitter. I’ve made some great friends through blogging, and really appreciate being part of such a fantastic group of people who share my passion for travel and are constantly inspiring me to see more of the world. It definitely keeps me going when I’m in the midst of blogging’s less-glamourous phases – stuck inside on the sofa with my laptop, trying to work around the cat, with 800 photos to edit, a backlog of 20 posts to do and total writer’s block!
So just like last year and the year before, I’m going to use this anniversary as an excuse to look back at some of my most popular and favourite posts from the last 12 months, as well as giving you a preview of what will be coming up in my fourth year On the Luce.
Most popular posts
My travel confessions: you might think that after 20 years of travel I’d be good at it, so it was time I came clean about how I’m a bit of a rubbish traveller really – I don’t want to travel full-time or see the whole world, I’m a picky eater and I don’t really like travelling solo. But it turns out I’m not alone, and readers shared their own confessions – going to show that there’s no such thing as a ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way to travel.
Las Vegas on a budget: it’s the city known for five-star hotels, A-list nightclubs and designer boutiques, so it’s no surprise that people want to save money in Sin City. Posts on budget travel – whether that’s budget city guides or trip expense reports – have been really popular this year, showing we’re all looking to make the most of our travel money, and save where we can so we can throw in a few luxury touches.
Following the Sherlock trail across London: inspired by my favourite TV show (and spotting my wedding venue on screen), I headed off around London in the footsteps of Benedict Cumberbatch to visit some of the filming locations from the BBC series Sherlock. The post got a huge spike in visitors from Sherlock fans on Reddit and it was great to hear from a reader who’d gone and walked the route herself and loved it.
My favorite posts
The part-time traveller’s guide to maximing your travel time: ‘part-time travel, full-time travel obsession’ became the blog’s slogan this year, and this article summed up my travel ethos, showing you don’t need to give up your job and life to be able to see the world. I shared my tricks and tips on how to make the most of your annual leave, turn any trip into a holiday and how travel doesn’t need to involve a long journey.
A celebration of female travel pioneers: it’s easy to take our ability to travel today for granted, but it wasn’t always that way, especially for women. Inspired by an adventurous 90-year-old I met on a plane, I looked at some of the pioneering female travellers who explored the world their way, despite having to battle society’s expectations of how a woman should behave as well as facing their own fears.
An interview with… Wine expert Oz Clarke: wine is a big passion of mine, so I was incredibly excited to get to geek out about it with wine legend Oz Clarke, as part of my partnership with Celebrity Cruises. Sadly it was a phone interview so we didn’t get to share a bottle, but he was such a nice guy and gave me a huge amount of great tips on new wines to try and interesting wine destinations to visit.
What’s coming up in year four?
Coming up on the blog in the next few months are posts on my cruise stops in Greece and Turkey as well as my recent rail trip around Europe. There are also a couple of new features I’m going to be introducing. I’ve loved doing the #Take12Trips monthly reports, so I’m going to extend them into more of a monthly round up about what I’ve been up to. After a busy few months I’ve got a bit of a blog backlog (I’m still writing about Norway back in May!) so it gives me a chance to share some of the details of my most recent trips and where I’ll be going next, as it’s great to get your advice on what not to miss.
I’ll also be doing a series of Q&A posts to answer some of the travel questions I get asked and share some of my top tips, so if there’s anything you’d like to know – from destination dilemmas to packing advice – just let me know. I also hope to keep growing the site and developing partnerships with tourist boards and travel companies – though don’t worry I won’t be going down the road of group press trips, sponsored everything and hashtag overload! I’ll still be travelling my own way, with the vast majority of my trips still planned and paid for by me as ever and I’ll always say what I really think.
And in terms of travel, after a summer break to catch my breath and explore places closer to home, autumn will see me heading to Northumberland in the north of England, visiting my 40th country on my first trip to Canada, and revisiting one of my favourite parts of Italy with a trip to the Amalfi Coast. And then who knows – one thing I’ve learnt from the blogging journey so far is that you never know what to expect!