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June Newsletter

 

I think I'm a little bit in love with #Tenerife 😍🌊

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Hi everyone,

How did your month go? Mine was super crazy busy with a big holiday and little days out but I’ve had a brilliant few weeks and don’t have long to go until my next big trip! I got back from Tenerife mid way through the month and just before that I had back to back trips to Sofia and Menorca. Since my return I’ve been working non-stop, both at my part time job, and for my freelance clients, so have barely had a minute to myself. I feel as if I have neglected my blog a little lately as I’ve been away so much, but normal service will resume shortly and I’ve got SO MUCH new content planned for you! Here’s how my June went…

 

I went on holiday to Tenerife

 

Just one more 📸 of the amazing mount teide cos I just love it 🗻 #teide #teidelover #tenerife #canaries #traveltuesday

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Literally the highlight of my entire month… my first proper beach holiday/package holiday/relax and chill holiday for THREE WHOLE YEARS! Yep, it’s been a long time since I’ve actually been away and laid by the pool, or fell asleep on a sunlounger on the beach, without being on a crazy busy trip and feeling like my feet haven’t touched the ground. This holiday was so needed, and I enjoyed every second! I went with my sisters and we spent the whole week in the gorgeous Spanish sunshine devouring Tapas, drinking cocktails and taking day trips too. Tenerife totally stole my heart, the island was absolutely gorgeous with tonnes of exciting things on offer to see and do; my favourite day trips were to Mount Teide, where we climbed an active volcano, and to Puerto Colon where we saw whales and dolphins swimming freely out in the sea whilst on a boat trip from the port. I had the most amazing time and will definitely be returning soon… full blog post to follow!

 

It’s been a whole year since my America trip

 

 

I can’t believe it’s been an ENTIRE YEAR since I quit my job to go on the trip of a lifetime across the States. The time has gone by so so quickly, yet at the same time it feels like ages ago since I boarded that flight to LA to start my new adventure. I’ve been reminiscing and posting a few photos on my Instagram page, whilst trying not to get too emosh about everything too :'( This trip totally changed my life, and I just wish I could go back and do it all over again!

 

I was featured by Mail Travel

 

 

So this was totally unexpected but I came home from a shift at my part time job to find that my recent Bratislava blog post had been shared by the wonderful team at Mail Travel – yay! I don’t very often get my posts re-shared, other than from some of my lovely blogger friends lending support, so it felt amazing to have this one recognized from such a well established travel site, and one I’m an avid reader of myself!

 

I popped into London to reunite with my #MustSeeMenorca buddies

 

 

Last week I had the pleasure of being reunited with all my #MustSeeMenorca buddies, but this time in rainy London instead! We headed to super trendy pop up bar Neverland over in Fulham, complete with its very own beach and cocktails served in giant gold swans. It was so lovely to catch up with all my friends, discussing what we had been up to since Menorca, and finding out everyone’s plans for the summer ahead. Can’t wait to see everyone again at the next one! Thank you to Michael and Paul at Traverse for putting on such a fantastic night for us all <3

 

One of my tweets got a lot of attention

 

 

So I casually sent this tweet one afternoon not really thinking about what I was saying, and after checking back shortly after, I’d had an overwhelming response and it had been liked, re-tweeted and replied to countless times. I think there’s been a lot of negative energy surrounding the blogosphere lately, particularly with the rise of bots, fake followers and sponsored ads, so I’m really passionate about making sure smaller bloggers like me get the same opportunities out there as established bloggers too. I know I can’t compete with the bloggers that have been doing this for the past 8 years, or those with 100,000 followers and a DA of 50, but what I CAN offer is quality content, an engaged readership and an authentic, genuine following. I’d love to see more brands working with smaller scale bloggers to allow them the same opportunities as all the rest, so hopefully we start seeing some changes to this industry soon! Thank you to all of those who responded to this tweet, I know so many of you feel the same as me on this one too.

 

May & June were the best 2 months on Twitter to date!

 

 

I’ll end this month’s newsletter on a positive note, and something I’m really proud of! I’m a huge Twitter advocate and absolutely love using it for my blog – it’s my favourite platform and I’m constantly updating my profile. I monitor my stats regularly, and was completely taken aback when I saw my analytics for the past two months were the best they’ve ever been! Despite having only 3500 followers, my tweets reached over 212,000 people in May and over 185,000 in June, and I’ve seen a massive increase in profile visitors and followers too. If you’re looking to get your tweets seen by more people, and would like help increasing your following, get in touch for some bespoke social media help – I have capacity to take on TWO new freelance clients over the next couple of months, and am also helping fellow bloggers by offering 1-2-1 advice too. Visit my Work With Me page for more info, or just contact me with any queries at all as I would LOVE to help!

Another busy month for me, and I think July will be much the same, although I now have a full month at home before my next adventure – a press trip to Switzerland! I’m super excited about this one and can’t wait to share all my photos with you when I’m over there – I’ve got an action packed itinerary with so much to see and do! How did your June go?

Love Jess x

 

Ready, set, USA here I come!

Ahhh my last day at home before my big American adventure tomorrow!! ✈️🇺🇸@contiki #noregrets

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Guys, I can’t believe I’m saying this but this time tomorrow I’ll be boarding my plane to Los Angeles ready to start my big American adventure!!!! OHMYFREAKINGLORD!!! Time has literally flown by since I booked my trip with STA Travel back in January (shout out to Joe for being so amazing) and I cannot believe the big day is almost upon me…

For those of you who don’t know, back in March I announced that I’d quit my office job in order to travel the world, grow my blog and try to make a career in the travel industry. First on my wanderlust list is an epic road trip with Contiki Holidays across America, from LA to NYC, taking in the bright lights of Las Vegas, Miami and Washington along the way. Back then it all seemed like a fantasy, just a distant dream, but now it is actually happening and it’s just starting to feel a tiny bit real!

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I’m not sure what I’m more excited about; the prospect of taking a helicopter ride across the Grand Canyon, or doing a swamp boat tour down in New Orleans! What I do know though is that I’m going to have the adventure of a lifetime and make so many memories. What’s more is that I’m doing it ALL BY MYSELF with no one to hold me back or bring me down and I am so excited to stand on my own two feet, experience a totally different life and just enjoy my month long adventure with my fellow Contiki travel mates.

Now that I’m all packed, my dollars have arrived and I’ve checked into my flights online I can finally start to countdown to my American adventure and look forward to my epic trip ahead!

 

For those of you that are wanting to come along for the ride please follow me on social media as I won’t have the time to write actual blog posts until I return to the UK in July. I’ll be posting as many photos as I can though as and when I have WiFi access so that I can keep in touch with my friends and family back home. As always, you can follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram as well as my new Snapchat account @jessica16_x

So I guess this is it… see you on the other side!

Love Jess x

SPECIAL BIRTHDAY POST: JOURNEYS WITH JESSICA TURNS ONE TODAY!

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HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME!

It’s finally here, my blog turns the big one year today! This time last year I had just started my first ever post, the ridiculously titled ‘Hello!’ with a big smiley face on the front page! The first trip I blogged about was a weekend city break to Barcelona, and since then I’ve been to Prague, Reykjavik, Majorca and tonnes of UK cities. It’s crazy to think how much I’ve grown over the last twelve months. Back then, I could count the number of readers I had on my hand, and now I have over 1700 followers on my combined social media channels and over 43,000 readers on my expanding Trip Advisor account, quite an achievement I feel!

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So to celebrate my blog being a year old I’ve decided it’s time to have a complete re-shape and have totally edited the look of my website. I have been bored with the layout for ages so a makeover was well over due. A long running debate in my mind has been the question of should I stick with my free WordPress.com template or take the plunge and create a brand new site from scratch? I can now say I have FINALLY decided and I’ve gone for the former, to stick with my trusted WordPress template. There are few reasons for doing this, and I’ve outlined them below:

– WordPress is free (bonus!)

– It allows me to easily link all my social media channels

– The brand new Cube design theme is a winner (where have you been all my life!?)

– WordPress has been with me from the start, I wouldn’t be where I am now without it!

I know what you’re thinking, soppy Jess doesn’t like change! But seriously I’ve found a brilliant theme on WordPress, I absolutely love the cube design and hope you do too- it’s something I’ve envisaged for a while and I’m so glad it’s a workable, easy on the eye template for me to use.

I just have a few questions that I hope my lovely readers can help me with…

1) Should the layout be a black background with white writing and blue highlight?

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2) or should it be a white background with black writing and green highlight?

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3) Should I create separate Twitter and Instagram from my personal accounts or keep the current large following I already have and stick with those? I want to be seen to be professional but also friendly and real!

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So what’s next on the 1 year forecast for Journeys with Jessica? Well, I’ve got loads of trips planned with my friends and family and cannot wait for all my adventures. I’m heading to Royal Ascot on 19th June, followed by a trip into Oxford the next day and a theatre show in the evening, and then on 21st June I’m travelling to London for the British Summertime Festival at Hyde Park! I’m also going on a family holiday to Cornwall for a week and then potentially a quick city break either to Budapest or Berlin at the end of July which is super exciting but nothing’s been booked yet so watch this space!

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I’ve also got a special birthday announcement to make… I’M ATTENDING MY FIRST EVER CONFERENCE AS A TRAVEL BLOGGER NEXT SUMMER! AHHHH! I’ve bitten the bullet and booked a space at TBEX Europe 16 which takes place next July- I’ve been wanting to attend TBEX for the last year but haven’t had the confidence to do so until now! The conference is taking place in Stockholm, Sweden and I’m joining loads of fellow bloggers so here’s hoping that my first ever conference will be a success! It’s over a year away so I have plenty of time to plan, but I’m so looking forward to meeting new people and learning lots of new travel blogging techniques. If anyone has any advice on how to get my blog ready for TBEX please please get in touch as I’m eager to prepare as much as I can!

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Thanks as always for your continued support, and here’s to another year of Journeys with Jessica!

Love Jess x

NEW YEAR NEWS!

Blue Happy New Year 2015 Greeting Art Paper Card

Hey everyone,

As it’s a new year I thought I would change a few things on my blog but also bring you a round up of stats that I’ve collected over the past 8 months. Since my blog began back in May 2014 I’ve gained new followers, enjoyed a large social media presence and have continued to build it as much as I can in order to share my adventures with you all.

As a breakdown, my followers on each of my social media sites are as follows:

WordPress – 62 followers/ over 2000 hits

Facebook – 68 Likes

Twitter – 816 followers

Instagram – 161 followers (not bad considering I’ve only had it for two weeks!)

LinkedIn – 222 connections

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As you can see, I have quite a large social media following across the board which I am very grateful for but am keen to grow as much as possible in order to increase my audience. Some interesting stats and information on hits to my blog were detailed in my WordPress Review of 2014 which you can of course read separately!

On the more visual side of things I’ve been wanting to get to grips with changing the layout and design on my blog for a while now as I feel this is quite limited and doesn’t allow as much freedom as I’d like. I’ve opted to edit the theme, homepage and navigation tabs on my site and, although I’ve only made a few basic changes, I’m hoping this will make my blog look a little more appealing and will read better on screen whether it be via a standard desktop computer, or a sleek mobile site.

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The main alteration I’ve made is to have a front page section with a navigation panel on the left hand side so my readers can choose which posts they want to read, rather than scroll through them all from the most recent to the oldest. I’m hoping this presents my blog much more clearly and allows room for my About page to be viewed first before any other posts are read. I’ve also included my contact details on the front page which makes it even easier to get in touch so if you have any questions, comments or feedback to pass on to me then I’d love to hear from you!

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The great debate on my mind at the moment is whether I should continue using my current WordPress blog that provides me with a service free of charge, or whether I should take the plunge and switch to a self hosted site with more flexibility to create exactly what I want without any limitations. I’ve seen a few other travel bloggers ask the same question and also followed the thread closely to see what the general response is. As far as my initial research goes, most of my fellow bloggers advise paying for a self hosted website to allow the degree of flexibility to heighten as much as I want, but I am unsure of taking this step for a number of reasons…

Firstly, as much as I love my blog, I am yet to start making money from it as a business and very much think of it still as just a hobby as I’m only in the early stages of it’s creation. As I’m not generating any income from my blog I therefore don’t have any expenditure, so am reluctant to spend money on websites and themes if I’m not getting anything back other than a pretty display. Obviously appearance and professionalism is important to me, but my writing style is where my skills lie and is unique to my blog so therefore I can write in whatever format I like as long as people are continuing to read that’s the most important factor! Secondly, I’ve built up quite a large number of hits/followers/likes on my WordPress account and really don’t want to lose these if i switch over to a different site! I love interacting with fellow WordPress bloggers and enjoy the ease of the site, along with the basic features that an IT novice like me can deal with!

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If you have any comments on any aspect of this post or would like to pass on any feedback please please do get in touch. I’d also love to hear any suggestions or opinions on the debate that’s at the forefront of my mind at the moment, so whether you vote WordPress or self hosted I’d love to hear your thoughts!

In another news, it’s actually my 22nd birthday on Friday so I’ve got lots planned for the weekend and I’ll be sure to bring you an update on my adventures soon!

Love Jess x

NB. All images other than my profile photo & screenshots of edits to my blog are courtesy of Google images.

2014 ROUND UP!

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Hi everyone, So as we are nearing the end of this year I thought I would round up my highlights of the last twelve months and showcase how much my blog has grown since I started my brand Journeys with Jessica. As many of you know, my blog has only been active for the last six months and I run it alongside my full time job as an estate agent so unfortunately cannot give it my undivided attention although I do try my absolute best to update it as much as I possibly can!

I’ve been on some brilliant trips this year and have loved sharing my adventures with you all, so long may it continue and here’s to more success in 2015! There have been so many to choose from, but my top three highlights of 2014 are as follows:

1) Family holiday to Majorca

2) Winter city break to Reykjavik

3) Summer city break to Barcelona

Please click on the relevant links to view my blog posts for the separate trips! As well as growing my blog I’ve also updated my Trip Advisor account to Senior Contributor with currently over 30,000 readers and have been voted in the top 1%  in Oxfordshire. Please click here to view my Trip Advisor account and to view my travel map!

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I have grown my social media outlets this year and have a record number of followers on Twitter, Facebook and WordPress so that’s all down to you lovely lot! Thank you so much for choosing to keep up to date with all my latest adventures, I hope you continue reading and enjoy my posts – I can’t wait to bring you more in 2015! My current plans for next year are a bit up in the air at the moment, but I am hoping to go interailing around Europe over the summer and will squeeze in lots of city breaks so that I have tonnes to write about whilst getting my latest travel fixes!

Finally, I have made some wonderful friends in the blogosphere over the past 6 months and am excited to take this to the next level when I start attending travel conferences next year. I cant wait to meet some of the people that I have been interacting with recently! A big thanks to you for all your tips, friendly messages and helpful words of advice. Special mentions must go to the lovely Char from Taylor Hearts Travel and to the brilliant Jess from The Travelista as you two have been particularly helpful to me – can’t thank you enough!

That completes my round up for 2014 – it’s been a blast! I would like to wish all my readers a very Merry Christmas and a Happy and fun-filled 2015… speak soon!!

Love Jess x

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