Survey Results, Creativity, And Blogging Calibration

Recently, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about what direction I am going to take this blog.

As I’ve done so, I’ve realized that either 1) generating significant revenue, 2) fomenting a movement, or 3) impacting lives are the main things that would sustain me in the long run with this little corner of the web.

And so, every now and then I like to check in and see how I’m doing.

From a monetary standpoint, I make a couple of pennies every month from the blog through affiliate sales, but nothing significant, and certainly a lot less than many blogs of similar size to mine. I’m intending to address this rather soon, and to get a product out this year which will begin to close that gap.

From a production standpoint, I personally have enjoyed writing the ~120 posts that I’ve published so far. Even though occasionally I have had a tough time churning out the content, I think the whole experience has been positive. I think my writing has improved, and I personally enjoy reading what I’ve written.

From an engagement standpoint, I’ve got a lot of good comments along the way and hundreds of positive emails from readers, many of whom I’ve at least partially inspired to travel. I get new subscribers everyday, and I really love hearing from them; if you haven’t yet written me, do so here.

I put up a survey a few months back to get some more feedback from you my dear readers, and I’d like to share with you some of the results.

First, I have a number of older expats and travelers reading this blog. I generally write for a younger audience, but the reception among the longer-lived seems to be positive. There are some who have been expats 10 times longer than I have, and I love to hear from them.

Second, I attract a number of online entrepreneurs and bootstrappers who are trying to do a similar thing as I am, namely earn income online and be mobile. I can understand this because a lot of my posts are about things that matter directly to them (i.e. why South America might not be the place to get it done).

Then, the free responses to the survey questions were quite interesting…

In response to the question, “What are your two favorite posts on Ryan Goes Abroad?”, the response was overwhelmingly my post about being flaked on by a Colombian girl. This is mildly amusing to me, as I honestly wrote the post in a fit of frustration an hour after the incident happened. But nevertheless I get a lot of Google love for that post, and it’s by far the most viewed post of the last 12 months.

Other favorite articles mentioned were the cost of living articles, like my first one from living in Medellin, along with one from living in Cuenca Ecuador.

In response to the question “I have stuff to say regarding what governments around the world are doing, for better or worse… Even though politics is a controversial topic, would you like to hear my thoughts / notes on these issues?”, a large majority, around 70% of the respondents, said Yes, while 12% said Maybe, and 18% said No.

Wellllll now… looks like ya’ll wouldn’t mind a little forΓ© into the world of talking heads! πŸ˜‰

Here are some free-response comments from the survey and my responses to them in bold.

“{Your blog is} hugely entertaining lunchtime reading and highly educational information which would never appear in normal travel journals.”
Gracias!Β 

“You talked me in to buying those boxer briefs.”
Enjoy the freedom, my friend.

“I just started but your candor and humor rock!! I was thinking….hmmm if I ever visit Medellin I’m gonna meet this guy to see if he really is so cool.”
Awww shucks. πŸ˜‰

“Your comments about how you meet women sometimes come across as… er… not good. Not gentleman.”
Not sure which blog you’re reading. I’m not aware of an episode where I didn’t act gentlemanly… Although, when reggaeton comes on, that’s another story. lol

“When are you going to Uruguay?”
Not anytime soon. I have no reason to go, plus I hear it’s expensive and insufficiently inhabited 2/3 of the year.

“Go to the Guianas and tell us what thats all about”
No, YOU go to the Guianas, you lazy ass!… Juuuust kidding. πŸ˜›

“Unlike other writers that travel the world mainly looking for women and whose posts are borderline offensive, your blog appeals to all sorts of people and not just the “seduction community”.”
I appeal to the seduction community?! #winning

“I think your site design could be improved. A functional menu might help some people around your site more.”
Agreed on the need for a re-design, but navigation is pretty easy via the sidebar.

And my favorite comment by far:

“I wanna see… maybe some pictures of you rampaging around medellin with an 8 ball with two models, maybe getting into a couple of fights, shaking hands with cash-rich mafiosos, all in 80’s style montage format like in scarface. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z8g__x6ExM8

Check that out man. It would be really easy for you to do and hilarious. You have everything you need to do a mock-montage. It’s Medellin… You could progressively become richer and more influential in each frame of the montage, while also showing the progression of other people’s relationships in the background, like Tony Montana’s sister and his business partner… Think about it.”

Hahaha. Good one. I’m considering doing more video in the future.

Creatively, I really feel I’ve got to do something to change things up.Β  Life is short and I feel more strongly than ever the need to take chances and seize opportunities where I see them. I really don’t want to skate the middle of the road the rest of my life.

As someone has said, “If no one hates you, you probably are not making much of a difference in the world.”

I now have a couple of real haters due to a few of the posts on this blog (who could hate me, right? πŸ˜‰ ), but they are very few and far between. So, I feel that a sign I’m doing something more significant would be an increase in the number of haters. In other words, if the next 100 posts are like the previous 100, I don’t think I’m on the right track.

And dear god I do not want to be another travel blog… I could almost write an entire book satirizing travel writing, and how utterly cliche and boring it has become, especially on the larger travel sites. I personally don’t read too many travel blogs myself anymore because of it. Wikitravel tends gives me enough info to get going.

Perhaps world travel is romantic for the uninitiated (and that’s fine by me), but once you’ve sat on a bus for 10 hours going through a desert in the middle of nowhere a couple times, you realize that it’s not all magical. There are some cities that are dumps, some people that are undesirable, some places that are not worth your time. I’ve found a lot of travel can just be a hassle.

Furthermore, there is something inherently unwise about seeing opportunities in front of you and NOT seizing them in order to “travel.” Putting your energy into where you are is almost always better than putting your energy into where you’re not.

There is one thing for sure, and that is that our time is limited. None of us has infinite youth to twiddle our thumbs and hope something significant comes to us.

We have to make things happen. We have to seize our divine moment.

So here’s to taking that road and seeing where it leads… πŸ˜‰

  • Steve

    Hey Ryan. Its been a while since I visited your site. I really think you are doing fantastic! Your information is useful and unique, and it specializes on Colombia so its not all over the place like some (like my blog, lol) and even comments on your experience in other S American countries too which is also helpful. Its a very easy read and easy to navigate. I plan on converting my very busy site into a simpler format not unlike yours. And you keep it positive, there is no bitterness to your writings like similar sites that comment about foreign women and culture, you convey the advantages and disadvantages between women and culture of the US and Colombia, so reading your material is pleasant and refreshing. Your site is as good as any I’ve seen, so not sure why you wouldn’t be getting lots of traffic and be able to capitalize on some revenue to boot. I’m kind of like you in that I’ve had my own blog up for several years and have yet to make a penny (never cared to or even tried to, I was always driven by passion on getting the word out ) You have a passion and you want to share and truly help others. Keep up the good work, and in my opinion, you are on the right track and I cant really think of anything that could be done better within your site. Your site is even an easier read and easier to navigate than Roosh V who undeniably is at the top of the manosphere realm and has gotten massive media attention of the negative kind though lol. As you hinted at, maybe that’s the key. lol. But I hope one doesn’t have to be a jerk to get traffic. lol. I think you just need to work on getting exposure, and SEO. The site is great! I cant see anything wrong or that needs improving. Just thought id drop in with my 2 cents worth.