2015 was a big year.
The US & Cuba started to open relations again. Donald Trump called for a Muslim ban. Selfie sticks were outlawed at Disney Land.
On a more personal note, 2015 was big for me too. It was the year I decided to start this blog.
Not that that’s a big deal or anything, it was just hard as hell for me. There are so many little technical difficulties to deal with! If you would have asked me a little over a year ago to edit a WordPress child theme’s CSS, or troubleshoot a podcast RSS feed glitch I would have WUT?‘d you so hard.
But guess what’s even harder than starting a blog? Maintaining it.
I’m having lots of trouble with the work/travel balance. I have so much content piling up from previous travels, and every day brings even more. I can’t seem to catch up.
That being said, I’m determined to figure out how to create more compelling content, and do so more efficiently without taking away from actually enjoying traveling in real life.
So I wanted to write a quick recap of some 2015 blog activity (10 days into the new year lol), and then detail what’s next for 2016. Since launching last year in late March, the blog has had over 13,000 views from 126 countries.
That’s chump change to most websites, but it’s a start. I just think it’s pretty cool when someone a place like French Polynesia hits my site!
A Few 2015 WTG? Blog Superlatives
Most liked/commented/shared post on social media:
Most popular post according to Google (without a doubt):
My personal favorite post:
Post that still makes me laugh & cringe when I read it:
Posts that best model how I want to incorporate Spanish learning into Where’s the Gringo?:
Need to do more posts like:
So What’s Next?
By the time y’all read this, we’ll have already scooped one of my best friends and his girlfriend from the Mexico City airport, and all 5 of us (my brother is here too) will be en route to Oaxaca, Mexico. We have an epic 2 weeks ahead of us, driving down the Oaxacan coast, and into the Chiapas jungle.
We’re going to be traveling at a quicker clip than I normally like to, but I want to squeeze in as many cool places as I can while I have my friend & brother. Here are some highlights of Oaxaca that we’re going to revisit (all photos taken from last year’s trip)
Oaxaca City – the capital of Oaxaca state, what many consider to be the most culturally colorful state in all of Mexico. Filled with beautiful architecture, indigenous flair & plenty of delicious cuisine.
Monte Alban – mountaintop ruins of a 2,000 year old, ancient Zapotec city located right outside the city.
Mazunte – our favorite secluded beach town on the Oaxacan coast. There are prob. only a few hundred people who live here.
Punta Cometa – the southernmost point of Mexico (except for Chiapas) that sticks out into the ocean like a giant finger pointing towards another unforgettable sunset every night.
Zipolite – another chill beach town in Oaxaca that was discovered by wandering hippies in the 60’s, and has slowly grown in hippie fame ever since.
After we’re surfed & sunned out, we’re headed farther east into Chiapas, the southernmost state of Mexico, filled with steamy jungles, mysterious Mayan ruins, thundering blue waterfalls, & imposing canyons. I haven’t been there yet, but I’ve been drooling over the Google images for over a year now. I’m most looking forward to:
Las Cascadas del Agua Azul (The Waterfalls of Blue Water)
Cañon del Sumidero (Sumidero Canyon)
To say that I’m ecstatic doesn’t quite capture it.
Unfortunately, my friend & brother have to return in late January to oversee Tallulah Fest (don’t miss it if you’re a whitewater fanatic), at which point Gio and I will settle into some volunteer work.
Volunteering in Mexico
For those who may not know, my girlfriend and I are just now starting a 2+ year adventure down the Pan-American Highway. One of our main objectives is to volunteer with worthwhile projects & plug into communities along the way. So for, we have 2 more volunteer projects set up in southeastern Mexico:
- Tutoring & teaching impoverished children from indigenous communities with an organization called Sueñinos in San Cristobal de las Casas.
- Volunteering in a Salvation Army children’s home in Merida.
After returning home for a wedding in early April, I’ll be flying back to Cancun and will have 11 days to drive down the Yucatan Peninsula and leave the country. Remember the $300 deposit I put down from Driving into Mexico: The Border Crossing? I need to drive the car out of Mexico by April 17 to get that back.
The only other volunteer project that we have arranged in Central America is in El Salvador, so we’ll be freestyling until then. Our general timeframe looks like (subject to change):
Belize: April 17-May 1
Guatemala: May 2–Mid June
El Salvador: Mid June–July 4
Honduras: July 5–Mid August
Nicaragua: August 15ish–Mid October
Costa Rica: October-Nov
Panama: End of 2016
Apart from late May/early June when 2 more friends are flying in to travel Guatemala with us for a few weeks, our backseats are open! Let me know if you want to join up for some roadtrip action, there are sure to be many more beautiful places like those pictured above that are just waiting to be discovered!
And finally, I want to thank everyone who followed & supported this blog in 2015!
I greatly appreciate when you guys take the time to read along, comment, and share Where’s the Gringo? content with others. I really do want to create stuff that is useful and inspiring for people, so when you guys respond, it makes all that head banging against the keyboard worth it!
2016 is going to be a huge year. It still hasn’t truly sunk in that I’m choosing a life on the road, and have no clue exactly how I’ll be spending my days, nor where I’m going to lay my head at night.
All I have is a map and ideas, but I’m looking forward to the new experiences, culture, people & places that will come to define those countries for me.
Have a great year, and keep checking back as I do my best to share the entire journey with you here!