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Two Year Blogging Anniversary and New Maps Page!

Well, it’s that time of year again!  I guess this is a chance to reflect on where I’ve been with the blog this year,  and share with you some stats and future plans.  To be honest, I keep double-checking the date of my first post because it feels like I’ve been blogging for longer than two years. Not in the sense that it’s a chore, more that I can’t remember what I did with all my free time before I had Diverting Journeys (other than reading, of course).

But before I get down to that, I’d like to direct your attention to the newest feature on my blog, a maps page! I’ve been wanting to include maps of all the places I’ve visited for a while, as I think it will make it easier for readers to access those posts, and plan their own trips, but I’ve been too lazy to get it done (and I’m not always the most tech savvy person).  However, my boyfriend was kind enough to spend most of last Sunday going through all my posts and inserting them onto Google Maps for your viewing pleasure (and with 173 posts(!), some of them covering 2 or 3 places in one, this was no small feat!).  You’ll see they’re currently divided up into London, Britain and Ireland, Europe (the Continent), and the World (to include the USA and Thailand, and hopefully other countries eventually), although London locations appear on both London and Britain; this is because I hate when you go to look at a map of England and London is just a blobby blur because there’s so much crap crammed into a small area, so I wanted to include a magnified version where all the place markers weren’t on top of each other.  If you click on a place marker, you’ll see a link to that relevant post on my blog, so I think this will be a better way to find things for everyone who prefers visuals to text.  I’m open to suggestions (I’m thinking of colour-coding by destination type and/or ranking), so please check it out and let me know what you think!

And now, onto the year-in-review type stuff.  WordPress informs me that my top posts for the year are still ones I wrote in my first year of blogging, so maybe I need to work on going to more interesting destinations in the year to come!  The Arnold Schwarzenegger Museum still leads the way, which I suspect will always be the case, because it’s Ah-nold, followed by the Police Museum in Copenhagen, and Samuel Pepys’s church, St. Olave’s, confirming that I’m not the only weirdo out there, as the internet seems to share my interest in the grisly and gory, and Samuel Pepys.  I get the most visitors from Britain, followed closely by America, which is not a huge surprise, and Germany is in a distant third place (which I suspect is largely due to a certain picture involving Wellington boots…it’s a long story, and reinforces my argument that the internet is full of weirdos).

I’ll admit that the growth of this blog seems to have stagnated somewhat in the past year, which is disheartening, but I’m not a huge Twitter or social media person (though saying that, I have both a Facebook page and an Instagram account), plus I can’t afford to buy out my domain name or get a custom design or any of that junk, so unless something I write goes viral somehow, this seems likely how things are going to stay.  Which is not to say that I don’t appreciate all the readers I do have, because I really really do!  I’m grateful for everyone who takes the time to read my posts, especially if they leave a comment, and I certainly wouldn’t be keeping this blog going if I didn’t feel like I was at least reaching some people, so thanks!  (And a special shout-out to Misadventures with Michael for letting me guest post on his blog last year, and writing a post for Diverting Journeys in return!)

Travel-wise, however, last year was a pretty busy year for me, and I made my first trip to Asia, as well as a couple trips to the Continent.  Thus, I’ve been able to blog about places in Thailand, Berlin, Rome, Scotland, the north of England, New York City, Pittsburgh, and good old Cleveland, in addition to my usual travels around London and the southeast of England.  I’ve afraid the budget probably won’t allow for as many elaborate trips this year, but I’m going to Belgium in a couple of months, will definitely be going to the States to visit my family at some point, and I’m sure there’ll be a few long weekends here and there (I have some vouchers from East Coast Trains to use up after all), so there will be some variety ahead!  And I’m (yikes!) turning 30 in August, so fingers crossed I’ll be able to go on some sort of trip to commemorate that milestone/try to forgot how old I am.

On a personal level, I’ve been volunteering on a couple local history projects this past year, and will be starting as a museum volunteer as well next week (behind the scenes stuff); while it would be nice if someone was willing to hire me and pay me an actual salary, I do really enjoy spending most of my days immersed in history (though sometimes squinting at microfilm for hours can be a bit much), and hopefully all this will lead to an amazing career someday (or I can get some self-confidence and contact people about freelancing for them, but we all know that’s never going to happen).

I think I’ve bored you all enough with my reflections, so I just want to thank everyone again for reading (and my boyfriend for doing most of the photography for this blog, financing all of our holidays (and being far better than I am at planning them, as I tend to just find museums and ice cream shops and ignore the practical stuff), putting together the maps page, and accompanying me to some random museum or another pretty much every weekend – Diverting Journeys would be a lot duller without him, but he’s pretty shy so mentioning this is probably going to embarrass him)!  I started this blog back when I was in the middle of a real funk, in the hope that having something constructive to do would help, and it honestly has, so all your support means so much!  Here’s to the next year of blogging!

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One Year Blogging Anniversary and some Highlights of the Past Year!

I just marked my one hundredth post last month, and now it’s been one year since I started this blog, so I wanted to take the opportunity to thank all my readers and followers for your support!  I’ve got some exciting trips planned in the coming months, including Rome, the North of England, and Thailand, which will also be my first trip to Asia!  I’m sure I’ll also be heading back to the States for a visit at some point too, so you can expect lots of new posts this year!  (Maybe I’ll actually find a job this year and/or find a way to make money at this whole freelancing thing, so I’ll be able to afford even more holidays in future.)

Anyway, I’m really glad I had the opportunity to visit so many places this past year, and I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about some of my adventures.  I also really enjoyed getting to explore parts of London I hadn’t spent much time in before, and uncovering some hidden gems. I visited a tonne of great places, but some of the ones I really loved, and would recommend are: the Under the Pier show in Suffolk, the FDR Presidential Library and Museum in New York, the Museum of Everyday Life in Vermont, the Hans Christian Andersen Museum in Denmark, Dr. Guislain’s Museum in Belgium, and Crossness Pumping Station in London.

Of course, the most popular posts on my blog aren’t necessarily my favourite places (though some of them are), but I thought I’d link to some of them here for newer readers who might be interested.  My most popular post BY FAR (seriously, it has over 3 times as many hits as the runner-up) is the Arnold Schwarzenegger Museum in Thal, Austria.  I mean, I can see why; people love Arnie, and they had some great waxworks of him that I had a blast posing with.  Number 2 is Lake Bled in Slovenia, which was unbelievably gorgeous, and the dry toboggan run was definitely a highlight!  I wasn’t that enamoured with the Styrian Armoury in Graz after visiting it, but I think loads of people are interested in it (like I was, before I went there), judging by how many searches I get.  Finally, Mansfield Reformatory and Eyam Plague Village are two of my favourite creepy destinations, so I’m happy to see that other people seem to like them too!

Thanks to everyone for reading!  I hope I can continue to gain new followers in the coming year, and entertain those of you who’ve stuck around!

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Me and Arnie are giving you all a big thumbs up!