Top Posts After 3 Years of Blogging

Rose Scam in Italy

It is hard to believe that three years ago, almost on a whim, I started this blogging venture. It has been more rewarding, more fun and way more time consuming than I ever thought it would be, which is a good thing because it has kept me out of  trouble. In addition to having a creative outlet and being able to share photos and stories with family and friends, I have met up with fellow bloggers, received tons of feedback on my photos and even made some online friends.

Below is a look back at my 11 most viewed posts and a little explanation on why I think they were more popular than others.


Bear Spray Accident in Denali

11. Bear Spray Stories Part 1: The Golden Grizzly Award

Reason for popularity: shared by my friends

The bear spray stories series made me slightly famous among park rangers and workers in Denali and I know many friends and acquaintances shared these on Facebook. Since I made these posts, I have received emails and messages about other bear spray mishaps or links to stories of bear spray accidents in the news. I know of 12 times when bear spray was used, only once on a bear.

Timpanogos Cave National Monument



Rinjani Trekking Map

10. Trekking Rinjani Day 1: A Day of Suffering

Reason for popularity: search engines

I almost didn’t publish these. Many bloggers had already written about the trek and since I didn’t make it to the top or get great photos due to a brush fire, I felt that my story wouldn’t stack up. It probably doesn’t, but somehow it is in the top 10 on many Google searches. One thing that makes me feel good: about half the readers continue on to part 2 and 3.


Blue Hour Boats in Venice

9. Venetian Blue Hour

Reason for popularity: shared on other websites

This post has been linked by other bloggers and I get a lot of traffic on it from those sources. I am happy that this is in the top 10 because I like the photos. Conversely…

piazza navona at night

8. Rome at Night in Black & White

Reason for popularity: shared on websites and Facebook.

Looking back at these photos, I don’t like many of them. Like many photographers, I am my own worst critic. I think I could do so much better now. Having said that, it ranks fairly high on some image searches and I know a few people shared it on social media when it first came out.


7. Six Reasons I Am Proud to Be an American When I Travel Overseas

Reason for popularity: search engines

It ranks on page one of Google for people searching “reasons I’m proud to be American” right there with two posts from FOX News. Take that FOX NEWS!!! Even liberals can be proud of ‘Murica! (Although I do feel unclean seeing my name next to FOX News on the internets.)

Proud to Be American Fox News

Symi Sunrise with pink sky

6. Is Symi, Greece, the Most Beautiful Small Town in the World?

Reason people read it: Shared on social media

This was shared widely on social media by hotels and tour companies in Symi and Rhodes. I think the awesome sunrise I was lucky enough to see (photo above) had something to do with the shareableness (new word).

Istanbul Sunset from Galata Bridge

5. My Favorite Photos of Turkey

Why is it viewed: Freshly Pressed

This post doesn’t get much traffic now, but when it was featured on Freshly Pressed it got hundreds of views an hour and received over 300 comments.


The Taj Mahal

4. Top Photos of India Part 1: Places

Why is it viewed: Freshly Pressed

This post was featured on Freshly Pressed during my third month of blogging and I am thankful that it was. It gave me some confidence to keep blogging and kept me inspired. I’d just returned from India and didn’t have any real direction of where I was going with the blog, or whether I’d continue doing it.

Sacred cow poop.

Sacred cow poop feels the same as regular cow poop when squished between the toes.

3. 17 Things I learned While Traveling in India

Reason for the views: Google and India’s toilet shortage crisis. 

Okay, I am slightly embarrassed by this one. I stepped in some sacred cow poop in Agra outside the Taj Mahal. I snapped a photo of it and included it in a blog post. For whatever reason, this posts ranks near the top of Google searches about the toilet shortage in India, especially those with the word “poop.” I can always tell when a major news outlet runs a story on the issue because I see a big spike in views.

Screen Shot 2015-08-27 at 8.53.10 PM

Aurora Borealis Near Denali

2. Photos of the Aurora Borealis from the Solar Storm of Sept 12

Why is it so popular: Timing, Twitter and

I was in the right place at the right time, then blogged about it immediately. There was a massive solar storm on Sept 12, 2014, and I got some adequate photos. They got shared widely on twitter and featured on NBCnews which was really cool.

Rose Scam in Italy

1. The Rose Scam

Why is it so popular: search engines and

This post has 5 times the views of the next most popular post, in large part because of Google.

Here are the current Google rankings:

  • Rome + scam #6
  • Italy + scam #5
  • Venice + scam #4
  • Why+do+they+try+to+give+you+roses+at+the+spanish+steps+in+rome #2
  • Rose + scam #1
  • Free+rose+scam #1

However, the real reason it has so many views is Reddit. A man on a subway car in NYC bought 140 flowers from a street vendor and told her to give them away so she could be done working for the day. Someone captured this scene on video and posted it on YouTube.

It found it’s way to Reddit where it was a top story of the day. In the comments section, someone linked to my post and within a few hours I had 10,000 views. It was crazy.

The lesson: Reddit > NBC News.

What a world we live in.

I’d like to give a special thanks to the following people for all the support you’ve given me over the last three years.

Kevin Meyer – gave me the push to start blogging and has been a faithful reader and commenter ever since.

Mom – My 2nd reader, always likes my posts on Facebook

Wife – Part-time reader, part-time editor, full-time travel companion

Lyle Krahn – Blogger at, a blog that combines humor and wildlife photos – check it out.

Sue Slaught – Blogger at Travel Tales of Life. Her and her husband travel the world on adventure trips and her posts are funny and informative

Laura Mahoney Blogger at Touring New Hampshire. She shares photos and tales of her road trips through the picturesque New England state.

Badfish – a relatively new blogger, his posts are funny and interesting.

Alison and Don – A Canadian couple who retired and has been traveling the world for several years. It is an entertaining and informative blog written in a travelog style. Warning – you can get stuck on it for hours reading about their adventures and seeing photos.

James Louie – Fellow blogger who gave us a tour of Hong Kong. He is currently traveling through southeast Asia on an extended journey.

Bama – Indonesian blogger whose posts were a big help in inspiring us to visit Indonesia. He is currently traveling with James Louie.

James and Terry – Inspirational, world-traveling couple whose blog features slightly off-beat places and is very informative.

Also, thanks to all my friends, family, and friends of my mom, who read and may not comment. I appreciate the support!


34 Comments on “Top Posts After 3 Years of Blogging

  1. I’m glad to see you have kept up the motivation to keep blogging. I however have lost all motivation, probably because my explorations are greatly reduced. While I love road biking around my new home, it doesn’t make for interesting posts. Perhaps when I quit my job and become a penniless English teacher in some developing country…

    And damnit, I felt pressured to comment since you called me out on it!

    • We miss your blog, but the one thing I have learned is that you have to have material and passion for your subject. You could blog about road biking or conservative politics, two things I know you love. You could be the next Eric Erickson!

      • A couple of weeks ago I had an interesting conversation with a co-worker who told me that her father keeps at least 2 rifles and 3 handguns in his vehicles at all times. She didn’t appreciate my comment about his readiness for the zombie apocolypse.

        That’s apropros of nothing, but your comment about conservative politics got me thinking…

  2. Dear Jeff,

    Congratulations on completing three years of blogging and I am so happy that I have been following your adventures for majority of this period 🙂

    Your posts were always visual treats and no wonder why it attracted so much people and news or social media …

    Coming back from a long hiatus, it’s really interesting to read your analysis on the top posts, there is some really valuable lessons here 🙂

    Thank you so much for sharing and have a beautiful day ahead 🙂

    • Thank you Sreejith! I saw you posted again the other day and was happy to see it.

      It was a fun trip down memory lane to put this together, but one of the interesting things is that many of my favorite and best posts never got over a 150 views. It is strange how some get viewed and shared and others die a lonely death.

      Thanks for reading and for the compliments!


  3. Wow, I’m honored to be in such great company. I love reading your posts and I think your images are outstanding!! It’s interesting to try and figure out how and why certain posts cause such huge spikes in stats. Great job. Congratulations on the 3 year mark! I’m approaching mine in a few weeks.

    • Thanks Laura,

      I appreciate you following along and commenting. Comments are the lifeblood of any blog and a big part of what keeps me going. As I commented earlier, some of my favorite and best posts have almost no views, so it is hard to know what will get shared and read.

      Congrats in advance of your 3 years.

  4. Congratulations, Jeff! Your blog is one of my very favorites, and I am thankful that you continue to spend countless hours creating insightful and humorous posts for us to enjoy. Your photography is outstanding, but I especially love the ones featuring your cartoons. Even though it didn’t make the Top 10, “The F-Bomb Heard Around the World (Heritage Site)” is one of my personal favorites. I am looking forward to reading your blog for many years to come!

    • Thank you Alison! The F-Bomb post is my personal favorite and I’m glad you like it too. I wish it were in the top 10. Maybe I need to spam social media with it!

  5. As usual the first thing I must say is your photography is breathtaking! Now that I’m in Turkey I’m sure gonna go for some nice shots of Pamukkele, and a sunset shot from Galata Bridge. Looks gorgeous the way you’ve captured it. I did manage to get some nice shots of some lovely ladies outside of the Blue Mosque.
    What a great post! And congratulations. I bet some of your page views are astronomical! Our about page has the most views, followed by the freshly pressed one – salt flats and bowler hats. I started blogging in 2010 on Blogger, switched to WP in 2012 I think. They never send me any of those annual notifications about how long I’ve been blogging with WP, and I can’t remember. Oh well. I agree, it’s “been more rewarding, more fun and way more time consuming than I ever thought it would be.”
    Thanks so much for mentioning us, and for the compliments.

    • Alison, thank you for the compliments. I will be excited to see your posts from Istanbul – it is a very photogenic and interesting city. I wonder what the mood is like there now. When we went, there was no ISIS and other issues hurting the country.

      I noticed one time that your about page had like 600 comments, and then I saw that Nomadic Matt mentioned you once, so I am sure that lead to a lot of views. I don’t know how my page views stack up, probably quite low, but it is enough to keep me happy. Comments to me are the most important part and I appreciate you stopping by and giving your feedback and opinion.


      • We were lucky enough to be interviewed by Nomadic Matt about 2 years ago, and he still links back to that interview from time to time. It created many page views, and many new followers. I do agree though, comments, connecting with people, are the most important part. Fun!

  6. A superb round-up, Jeff – and congratulations for running this blog the past 3 years! It sure takes a lot more commitment than people realise. Like Alison, I too am surprised the F-bomb post didn’t make it to the list… that to me is one of the funniest posts you have published to date.

    Thank you also for the special mention at the end. Bama and I have just arrived in Tana Toraja and we will be seeing a funeral tomorrow. I am mentally prepared for the animal sacrifice but am wondering if I can convey what happens (in pictures) without all the blood and gore…

    • WE NEED BLOOD AND GORE!!! Use a zoom lens – that was my biggest mistake. 🙂 Hopefully you can do a blood-less version if that is what you want. Either way, you will have a great time. It is a fascinating experience.

      You are right about the commitment. If I were to give some one a piece of advice, it would be to write about something you love and have new material for. Otherwise, like 95% of the blogs out there, it will die quickly.

      • Agreed. I have several posts I need to finish, or post, from Indonesia. I even have a gore-less look at Sulawesi, but what is the fun in that?

      • Sorry to disappoint you, Jeff – we showed up at the funeral and were told the sacrifice would be next week! There was a big pen with two buffalo locking horns – a crowd had gathered to cheer them on because the men had placed bets on who would win.

      • Well, there wasn’t very much happening at the funeral… we did see the temporary huts built for guests and the effigy of the lady who passed. The buffalo weren’t keen on fighting and had to be prodded (i.e. slapped on the butt repeatedly) to do so.

  7. Congratulations for your third year blogging, Jeff! Really hope to meet you and Kristi one day, and share some tips to keep the pace with the real world Neo that is James. 🙂 — I still laugh out loud every time I read that post.

    The world of travel blogging becomes more interesting with people like you. So keep up the good work!

  8. Well that was interesting trip down memory lane – great idea! You have created so many good posts but the reminder of the bear spray still makes me smile. Thanks for the shout out!

    • Guess what? Monday I have part 5 of Bear Spray Stories coming out!

      Thanks for following all this time. I think you were one of the first regular commenters. I appreciate it.

  9. Congratulations on three great years of blogging! I loved the video of Miracle on Train 6 as well as all the pictures of India — a country I would love to visit again. You deserve Freshly Pressed and any accolades that come your way. All the best for continuing strong!

    • Thank you very much for the kind words. It is funny how in the comments section of that touching video I got so much traffic. This internet is weird.

      India – my favorite country. I am glad you enjoyed those photos. Thank you again.

  10. Jeff, I’m obviously waaay behind, but I wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed this post. First, congrats on 3 years of blogging – I can’t imagine my WP reader without one of your posts to make me smile. I’m am ardent fan of your bear spray stories – since they scare the crap out of me. And your photography and cartoons are a joy! Here’s to the next 3 or 30 years of blogging. 🙂 ~Terri

    • Thank you Terri. I appreciate that you follow along and I enjoy your stories. I am interested to see what you encounter in Europe. As you know, three years worth of blog posts takes a lot of work and people who comment and read and what keep us going!

  11. Jeff I am so sorry for not showing up here sooner. It was one of your readers commenting on my blog who told me about your kind mention. I am somewhat relieved to see this post was published two days before our daughter was married so we were in full celebratory and unplugged mode at the time.
    However, I am truly honored by your shout out. I enjoy your sense of humor tremendously and your photos, well they just knock it our of the picture park. With two Freshly Pressed awards and a gadzillion followers I stalk about your every move hoping to learn from you.
    Congrats on three years and my heartfelt apologies for being so late to the party.

    • Thanks Sue, and no worries about reading it late or not at all. You are one of my biggest supporters and I really appreciate it. I am sure you were very busy during wedding week. Congrats!

      • Thanks for the understanding Jeff. Wedding week was fabulous and exhausting. 🙂
        You have me hooked on your blog. One I always look forward to seeing a new post from. I always wonder what you have dreamed up now. 🙂

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