From Hobby To Career: The Complete Evolution Of Our Blog

Nick Wharton Author Bio Picture

When we first started this blog, we had no idea where it would take us. We had the dream of one day making a few bucks from it, and beyond that dream was the idea that it could become a travel sustaining business that we could take with us on the road. We’ve gone through many stages in this blog and we’ve crossed a lot of milestones that we are very proud to have accomplished.

The following article is a chronological timeline of our blog and how it has evolved over the years, from a hobby on the side, to a full-time career.

Note: While I updated our income in this post in 2016, the evolution currently only reaches 2015. I hope to update it further sometime soon.

December 22, 2011: The Seed Of Travel Blogging is Planted in Delhi

Monthly Visitors (Unique) = N/A Twitter = N/A Facebook = N/A Monthly Income = $0

While surfing around the web in an internet cafe in New Delhi, India, Dariece stumbles across this article and says: “We should start our own travel blog. If this guy can make money doing it… so can we”.

February 17 – March 10, 2012: The Blog Begins In Koh Phangan

Monthly Visitors (Unique) = 7 Twitter = N/A Facebook = N/A Monthly Income = $0

After a couple of hectic (but enjoyable months) travelling in India, we feel the need to relax on Koh Phangan, Thailand for a month. This is where the blog truly starts. We think of blog name ideas and I buy our domain and take my first baby steps into the world of WordPress. This is where we make our first crucial mistake in blogging. We copy all of our blog posts and photos from our account and paste them into WordPress, republishing them and thus duplicating content (a big Google no-no). Nevertheless, the blog was born in Lighthouse Bungalows on Koh Phangan Island on February 17th / 2012.

March 28, 2012: We Upload Our First YouTube Video

Monthly Visitors (Unique) = 17 Twitter = N/A Facebook = N/A Monthly Income = $0

After reading about the advantages of videos for blogs, I open a YouTube Channel for Goats On The Road, dust off my Final Cut Pro editing cap and publish this video:

Visual Arts Media was my favourite class in high school and editing videos and publishing them on our YouTube Channel remains one of my favourite parts of the job.

April 8 – 21, 2012: Mapping Out The Blog In El Nido

Monthly Visitors (Unique) = 46 Twitter = N/A Facebook = N/A Monthly Income = $0

Once we reach El Nido in the Philippines, we again stay put for a couple of weeks. This is where the blog starts to get some structure. We sit in a touristy bar with a notebook, pens and a couple of melon cocktails and write down how we want our menus to look and where we will place the content of the blog. For every one answer, we have a hundred more questions and the development process moves at a snail’s pace. A month ago, I didn’t even know what WordPress was.

Start a Travel Blog Today!

Free Ebook

Did you know that you can earn $10K / month or more from a travel blog? Why not start one today in just 10 minutes? With Goats On The Road, you’ll receive a 63% discount off the cost of web hosting with Bluehost, plus we’ll send you our $20 Pro-Blogging eBook totally FREE.

April 21 – Mid July, 2012: Not Much Happens

Monthly Visitors (Unique) = 209 Twitter = N/A Facebook = N/A Monthly Income = $0

At this point we’ve only pasted old blog posts and added a couple of new ones each month. We still don’t have an idea of where the blog is going, and because of this, it doesn’t get much attention for these three months.

July, 2012 – September, 2012: The Blog Evolves and Grows

Monthly Visitors (Unique) = 425 Twitter = N/A Facebook = N/A Monthly Income = $0

During these first few months of teaching English in China, I pretty much ignore the site completely, but Dariece is adamant to keep at it. She continues to plug away adding interesting posts and pictures from our previous trips as well as new information about teaching English in China. Our stats are minimal after having the site for nearly 8 months. One day, I look at the stats and see that there was a jump to 200 page views in one day! This excites me again and instantly I’m back on board, helping Dariece.

September 11, 2012: We Finally Open A Facebook Page

Monthly Visitors (Unique) = 425 Twitter = N/A Facebook = 1 Monthly Income = $0

Our second major mistake in blogging. We completely ignore social media for the first 7 months. Finally, on this day we open our Goats On The Road Facebook Fan Page (after we mistakenly opened a Group instead of a Page!) Our first post:

First Facebook Post


September 18, 2012: We Open Google Analytics

Monthly Visitors (Unique) = 425 Twitter = N/A Facebook = 55 Monthly Income = $0

Our knowledge of blogging grows and we start to realize that it’s important to know how many people visit our site. I open Google Analytics to track our statistics and quickly become obsessed with checking them every day. A bad habit that takes years to break. Our first day of tracking stats shows 69 people visit the site. Our first 30 days of tracking (8 months after opening the blog) looks like this:

Our First Month Of Google Analytics
Stats from September 18th 2012 – October 17th 2012

October 18, 2012 – We Join Twitter

Monthly Visitors (Unique) = 1,225 Twitter = 1 Facebook = 65 Monthly Income = $0

Over a month after joining Facebook, we decide to open a Twitter page as well. With one follower, our first post reads:

First Tweet

November 4, 2012: We Are Featured On Lonely Planet

Monthly Visitors (Unique) = 425 Twitter = 5 Facebook = 77 Monthly Income = $0

Dave and Deb over at generously allow us to publish a guest post on their blog, despite our lack of traffic and writing experience. The article: “The Many Faces Of Travel”, then gets syndicated by The Lonely Planet and we have our first big “As Seen On” moment! Thanks Dave & Deb!

November 10, 2012: Deb Accidentally Gives Me A Goal

Monthly Visitors (Unique) = 1,991 Twitter = 61 Facebook = 79 Monthly Income = $0

Today I email Deb to thank her for allowing us to publish a guest post on her already established blog. I ask her: “When did you start seeing a major increase in traffic” and she replies: “It wasn’t for a couple of years before we passed that magic milestone of 30,000 unique visitors / month”. Deb doesn’t know it, but she’s just given me a goal that I become obsessed with and don’t end up accomplishing for 2 more years.

November 14, 2012: I Find The Top 100 List

Today I stumble upon Nomadic Samuel’s Top 100 Travel Bloggers list and leave this comment and I am stoked by his reply:

Nomadic Samuel Comment

December 6, 2012: We Make Our First Income From The Blog!

Monthly Visitors (Unique) = 2,352 Twitter = 223 Facebook = 86 Monthly Income = $588

At the end of November, we work very hard opening a Goats On The Road Shop on our website which sells t-shirts, pens, calendars and pictures. Not surprisingly given our lack of traffic, the only buyers are friends and family. Our first payment comes to the order of $187.92 USD from my generous brother Justin. Other friends and family also purchase some items, but we close down the store after Christmas when we realize that we’ve exhausted our customer base.

Our First Payment

January 1, 2013: Our First Major Site Redesign

Monthly Visitors (Unique) = 4,986 Twitter = 333 Facebook = 100 Monthly Income = $0

At the end of 2012 I have a breakthrough and finally figure out how to edit CSS. This starts a slippery slope into a very messy and disorganized site that eventually needs a lot of fixing. We launch the redesign on January 1st 2013 and it looks something like this:

Old Site

January 3, 2013: Our First Major Guest Post

Monthly Visitors (Unique) = 4,986 Twitter = 334 Facebook = 101 Monthly Income = $0

Like true veteran bloggers, we time an important guest post right after our redesign (probably by accident). Mike Richard of Vagabondish accepts our article: “Lost In Translation: A Gallery Of Ridiculous Signs From Abroad”. On that day, we see 1,608 page views to our site, 8 times more than any previous day… Thanks Mike!

February 16, 2013: We See Our Names In Print For The First Time!

Monthly Visitors (Unique) = 3,937 Twitter = 551 Facebook = 136 Monthly Income = $0

After reaching out to Nikki, founder of Southeast Asia Backpacker, to ask if I can guest post on her site at the start of 2013, she gets back to me and asks if I’d like to be published in her magazine!

We've Been Published!

2 months later we’re published writers and we receive our copies of the magazine in China! We are jumping up and down with joy and bragging to all of our teacher friends.

Click to page 40 in the magazine below to read our story:

June 20, 2013: We Make Money From Advertising

Monthly Visitors (Unique) = 9,450 Twitter = 1,032 Facebook = 339 Monthly Income = $508

Our first advertising commission is a big deal and we owe it to Nomadic Samuel who adds us to a Facebook Group where bloggers share advertising contacts. We don’t have any solid contacts of our own at this point, but our first campaign pays us $175 USD (which at the time was only $167 CAD because our dollar was so much stronger). We make $508 USD total in the month of June. Whoo-hoo!

July 3, 2013: We Launch Our First “Guest Post Bomb”

Monthly Visitors (Unique) = 22,747 Twitter = 1,003 Facebook = 1,689 Monthly Income = $1,155 

Today we manage to publish 18 articles on 18 awesome blogs. This is, by far, the single largest catalyst to our blog growth and social media following to date. Our traffic spikes, plateaus and we are very excited to see a 60%+ sustained increase in readership.

July 18, 2013: We Travel As Bloggers For The First Time

Monthly Visitors (Unique) = 22,747 Twitter = 1,011 Facebook = 1,598 Monthly Income = $1,155

Today we head into Mongolia and it marks the first time that we are travelling while earning an income online. The blog only makes $1,155 USD this month and while it doesn’t nearly cover our travel expenses, it’s a nice supplement.

January 26, 2014: We Work With Our First Hotel

Monthly Visitors (Unique) = 29,388 Twitter = 5,061 Facebook = 3,349 Monthly Income = $1,100

After a few months travelling around Central Asia, making minimal earnings from the blog and not really having the time to grow it, we return home to Canada for a visit and then take off to Mexico on January 18th. On January 23rd, Dariece sends out our first email pitches to hotels and gets a reply from Casa Hamaca in Valladolid, who hosts us for 5 nights in exchange for exposure. We are beyond excited at this opportunity.

February 8, 2014: Our First Tour Company Partnership

Monthly Visitors (Unique) = 24,762 Twitter = 5,321 Facebook = 3,526 Monthly Income = $1,012

Today we email Toon at MexiGo Tours and ask if he’d like to work with us. He agrees and sends us on two wonderful tours around Valladolid.

February 15, 2014 – I Team Up With My First Dive Shop

Monthly Visitors (Unique) = 24,762 Twitter = 5,825 Facebook = 3,530 Monthly Income = $1,012

Today I nervously call the owner of MexiDivers in Tulum and ask if he’d be interested in partnering with Goats On The Road in exchange for complimentary dives. He agrees and I jump up and down with joy. I haven’t paid for a single dive since.

Emiliano Carefully Inspecting My Equipment For The Refresher Dive
The First Dive I Ever Worked For

February 17, 2014: We Make The Top 100 Bloggers List

Ya!! Today we’re so stoked to see our name next to 99 amazing bloggers. What a great feeling!

On top 100 list

February 18, 2014: Our First Press Trip!

Monthly Visitors (Unique) = 24,762 Twitter = 6,328 Facebook = 3,539 Monthly Income = $1,012

Our friends Casey & Dan over at give us a contact for the Riviera Maya Government Tourism Board and Dariece shoots them a quick email. A couple of days later we have a reply and on February 18th we meet Jessica at the bus station in Playa Del Carmen and she shows us around the entire Riviera Maya for 4 days. We stay in the luxurious Hacienda Tres Rio Resort and for the first time in our blogging lives, we feel like we’ve made it!

press trips mexico
Our First Press Trip! Partnering up with the Riviera Maya Tourism Board in Mexico

April 2, 2014: We Start Our First House Sitting Job

Monthly Visitors (Unique) = 29,398 Twitter = 8,091 Facebook = 3,782 Monthly Income = $2,926

Today we land in Grenada and meet our beloved dog, Spare and his wonderful owners Julia & Peter. Grenada marks a very serious shift in the blog where we start turning it into a business and spending more time working on it. The focus of the blog also shifts from purely a budget backpacker resource, to a complete resource for people interested in travelling forever.

House sitting allows us to live in beach front paradises for free, click here to learn more!

March 15, 2014: We Finally Hire A Designer

After a couple of years of trying to do it myself I finally give in and hire a real pro, Scott at He pimps our blog and helps in more ways than we could have imagined.

June 12, 2014: We Start Our First Steady Freelance Writing Job

Monthly Visitors (Unique) = 29,772 Twitter = 10,000(!) Facebook = 4,095 Monthly Income = $1,225

Today we are very excited because we’ve just locked down our first, reliable salary from writing. Travel Pulse offers us a twice weekly column which helps to get our name out there, and puts a bit of money in our bank.

July 1, 2014: We Reach Our Traffic Goal!

Monthly Visitors (Unique) = 30,002 Twitter = 10,000 Facebook = 4,171 Monthly Income = $1,760

When I open up my analytics, I see that we’ve finally passed the traffic milestone that Deb had inadvertently tempted us with nearly 2 years earlier. 30,000 unique visitors is a huge deal for us, but it’s time to up that number to 50,000.

July, 2014: I Build Our First Independent Press Trip

Monthly Visitors (Unique) = 30,002 Twitter = 10,000 Facebook = 4,171 Monthly Income = $1,760

After emailing and talking on the telephone with dozens of companies in Grenada and the Grenadines, Dariece and I embark on our first “independent press trip”. I call it independent because we aren’t going through a tourism board. I independently contact each company and put together a press trip that works for us. We spend 3 weeks of luxury in the Caribbean celebrating Dariece’s 30th birthday before returning to Grenada for our second house sit.

grenadines travel
Our Fully Comped Trip To SVG

October 1, 2014: We Sign On With Credit Walk

Monthly Visitors (Unique) = 35,331 Twitter = 10,790 Facebook = 4,389 Monthly Income = $5,351

In the past year, we’ve been very focused on saving money for travel, travel hacking and the economics behind living abroad permanently. Credit Walk is Canada’s Credit Card Resource and today they offer us a column on their awesome blog where we get to write about the finance of long-term travel. It’s a great learning experience for us and again, helps to fund our travels.

October 1, 2014: We Are A Top 50 Most Trafficked Blog

Matt Stabile of The Expeditioner adds us to another prestigious list, The Top 50 Travel Blog list! This one is cool because it’s based on traffic, meaning that of the blogs that applied, we’re among the top 50 most popular. How cool is that?!

October 12, 2014: We Become SEA Backpacker Ambassadors!

Monthly Visitors (Unique) = 35,331 Twitter = 10,596 Facebook = 4,739 Monthly Income = $5,351

Remember that awesome magazine we wrote for back in 2012? Well today we have a Skype call with the publications founder, Nikki Scott and she offers us ambassador positions for SE Asia, South America and Europe. This means that we get to travel around, reviewing hostels, hotels, tours and travel companies in exchange for writing about them on the Backpacker websites. We’re not paid for this position, but we get awesome perks, great contacts and some cool colleagues (Nikki included).

October 25, 2014: We’re Published In The Globe & Mail Newspaper

Monthly Visitors (Unique) = 35,331 Twitter = 11,601 Facebook = 4,743 Monthly Income = $5,351

On October 14th I was contacted by an editor of the Globe & Mail to talk about our experiences travelling in South Africa. 11 days later we have our names in Canada’s most read newspaper and online (a killer link for our blog). My mom takes this picture and sends it to me:

Mom Globe & Mail Newspaper

November, 2014 to January, 2015: Not Much Happens

Monthly Visitors (Unique) = 53,746 Twitter = 15,198 Facebook = 5,192 Monthly Income = $4,107

For over 2 months we neglect the blog (to an extent). We have family come and visit us in San Pancho, Mexico and basically enjoy a 2 month holiday, working only a couple of hours / week on average. It is a good test for the blog to see how it holds up without constant attention and we’re surprised to say that our traffic actually increases. Nomadic Samuel once wrote an awesome post about the 3 stages of blogging and in it he states: “Some signs that you’ve reached this stage include traffic not dropping off significantly when/if you haven’t posted in a while”. We’re happy to have reached phase 2 🙂

January 3, 2015: We’re Published in The Vancouver Sun Newspaper

Monthly Visitors (Unique) = 53,746 Twitter = 15,198 Facebook = 5,192 Monthly Income = $4,107

A few months back, I pitched an article to The Vancouver Sun titled: “5 Must-See Off-Track Locations” and they accepted it! Today our name appears in another one of our country’s most read newspapers and we receive a generous commission for our efforts. I’m also stoked to say that Dariece pitched an article this month and it will be published in The Province on Sunday, March 29th. (Click below to see my article)

Vancouver Sun Article P.1 Vancouver Sun Article P.2

January 16, 2015: We Join Up With Hostels Club

Monthly Visitors (Unique) = 53,746 Twitter = 16,000 Facebook = 5,200 Monthly Income = $4,107

Just as we head out back on the road, we form an awesome relationship with Hostels Club who agrees to host us in every hostel, hotel & B&B we stay at in Mexico & Central America. This is an excellent partnership for us and it definitely helps our business and our bank accounts.

January 31, 2015: We’re Featured On Forbes!

Monthly Visitors (Unique) = 53,746 Twitter = 16,000 Facebook = 5,200 Monthly Income = $4,107

Thanks to our fellow blogger and web-friend Jazza over at, we’re introduced to Alexandria Talty of (yes “the” Forbes), who interviews us about teaching English in China. This is, by far, our favourite “As Seen On” moment!

March 6, 2015: We Become “Hovel Hunters”

Monthly Visitors (Unique) = 55,000+ Twitter = 17,600 Facebook = 5,650 Monthly Income = Not Sure Yet!

Thanks to our friend Will Hatton at, an awesome website called agrees to have us on as “Hovel Hunters”. As such, our job is to find cool accommodations for under $99 around the world and write about them on the Hovel Stay website (like this one)! This is a great way for us to share some of the awesome places that we stay in, while helping to put some extra cash in our pockets. Thanks Will!

Today: Where We’re At (March 26, 2015)

Monthly Visitors (Unique) = 55,000+ Twitter = 17,600 Facebook = 5,650 Monthly Income = Not Sure Yet!

Today, the blog is humming along at a good pace. We feel that we’re always learning and growing, but we are happy with how far Goats On The Road has come. Our earnings from the blog more than cover our travel expenses and we’ve teamed up with some pretty great companies as well. We’re now at around 56,000 Unique visitors / month (70,000 Total Visitors) with over 100,000 monthly page views. Stats definitely aren’t the most important thing in blogging, but after the 30,000 milestone set by Deb, we’re very happy to be where we are now.

location independent

As you can tell by our salary as well, the life of a travel blogger/freelance writer is an inconsistent one. Some months we make upwards of $5,000, while others we only make around $1,500. We plan to get a few more regular columns under our belt in the upcoming months to help to even out our income streams.

UPDATE 2016: This blog now earns around $10,000 USD / month. Click Here to learn how to start a travel blog today and we’ll give you our free blogging ebook that will show you how you too can turn your blog into a money making machine!

We’re currently making a shift in our blog and lifestyle. We find that travelling full-time (as we’ve done for the past couple of months), presents many challenges to our blog and online business. We simply don’t have time to complete all of our projects while moving around every 5 – 7 days.

We’ll now be travelling for a month or so, and then renting an apartment somewhere overseas and living like a local for a couple of months at a time (check out our current home in Guatemala here). We’re very excited about this new idea because it will give us the opportunity to share with you just how affordable and attainable the dream of living in paradise can be. We’ll be visiting inexpensive destinations and reporting on exactly how much our food, accommodation, and living costs are for the duration of our stay, as well as sharing practical information on the laws, taxes and visa regulations for expats and travellers living abroad.

This article took an extraordinarily long time to put together so I hope you guys enjoyed it and for all of you aspiring travel bloggers out there, hopefully you can learn from our mistakes and maybe be inspired by our story. A special thanks to everyone mentioned in this article (and those we missed) who helped us along the way. We love being a part of such a great community.

Thanks for reading guys!

A Couple Of Questions For You Readers:

Are you a blogger? What were your biggest ups and biggest downs? Feel free brag and moan in the comments below.

Looking to become a blogger? Does this post help inspire you, or turn you off of the idea?

Like It? Pin It!

From Hobby To Career- The Complete Evolution Of Our Blog

Nick Wharton Author Bio Picture

Written by

Nick Wharton

Nick is the co-founder, editor and author of Goats On The Road. He contributes to numerous other media sites regularly and shares his expert knowledge of travel, online entrepreneurship and blogging with the world whenever he can. He has been travelling and working abroad since 2008 and has more than 10 years of experience in online business, finance, travel and entrepreneurship. Nick's advice has been featured on the Lonely Planet, CNN Money, Business Insider,  WiseBread and Forbes and he spoke at the World Tourism Forum in Istanbul about the business of travel blogging. Learn more about Nick Wharton on the Goats On The Road About Us Page.

Related Posts

How To Blog Properly - Blog Post Check-List

Why We Started a New Website During Lockdown

 Sitting here in Lisbon Portugal on lockdown during a worldwide pandemic definitely isn’t how I thought things would turn out in 2020.  If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you’ll know that Dariece and I were travelling around Europe and enjoying some of the continent’s most romantic cities, drinking wine, eating delicious ...
how to blog properly outside office

Why We Chose Blogging As Our Full-Time Career

If you’ve been on our blog before, or if you follow us on social media, you’ll know that we love our blogging career. I never thought I would say that I love my job, but I honestly can’t imagine a better one than the one I have now. Still, we get the same question in ...

The Secret to How We Tripled Our Blog Traffic in 12 Months

Our ultimate goal in 2018 was to slow down (travel less) and spend a bit more time with our baby (this blog). While we love travelling from place to place every few days and enjoying the road like we did when we were backpackers, when trying to run an online business along the way, it’s ...