And, believe it or not, it has been completely by choice.
I absolutely adore this website. In the five years that I've written about my life and my travels, I have learned incredible things about blogging, marketing, and writing, and I've met some wonderful, wonderful people.
I adore it, and I always will. I wouldn't change anything.
However, after many, many talks with my husband, I've decided to slow down on blogging. Why?
1) Time with family
If you've read this blog for any length of time, you'll know that I have a very enthusiastic and adventurous toddler. When she was a baby--and stayed where I put her--updating the blog was fairly easy. She'd kick on her playmat while I wrote, and we were both happy.
However, she can now climb, open doors, throw things, and generally wreak havoc if I stop watching her for more than a second or two. Since she's so much more active now, the time that I had to work on the blog dwindled to her naptime and whatever time I had between her bedtime and mine.
Those few precious hours had to be divided between blogging, my husband (who most of the time got ignored while I worked), marketing the blog, finding new places to travel, and my freelance writing.
Since taking a break from the blog, I've had time to breathe, talk to my husband (oh, hey, there!), take my kid to the playground after dinner, and generally enjoy the summer. I can't say I hate the extra time.
2) My freelance writing
While blogging is my first writing love, freelance writing is what brings home the bacon for me. While I could absolutely make money off this blog (in amounts that exceeded my freelance writing), I just don't have the time or energy to devote to making that process happen right now (see reason #1). At least for now, I'm focusing my extra time on my freelance writing, and blogging will take a backseat.
3) Travel demands
Running a travel blog requires that you travel (duh). Preferably a lot. In the 18 months since I became a travel blogger, I have done an incredible amount of traveling, considering that I had an infant-to-toddler in tow, and I had to work around the schedules of my full-time-working family members. I'm not a full-time traveler: I can't be, and I honestly am not interested in that lifestyle. It definitely works for other people--and I LOVE reading about their adventures--but leaving my house and life here in Charleston wasn't ever in the plans.
I traveled when I had the time and the budget, and I'm quickly discovering that the budget for travel shrinks exponentially as your kid gets older. Which brings me to reason #4....
4) My daughter
Parenting news flash: if you feed your kid, she'll get bigger. I know--mind blown.
Now that Britton is moving and grooving (and telling us about it every minute of the way), she needs more stuff. She needs lots of shoes and clothes and all that, but there's more to it than that.
She's starting preschool this year (my baby! Cue Mom sobbing.), so my time with my favorite little travel buddy has just gotten much more restricted. She needs to be with other kids her age right now, and traveling solo with a toddler is far more difficult than it was when she was smaller.
Plus, there's the whole preschool tuition thing. The majority of our travel money is now going towards the Britton Education Fund.
5) My new baby (!!!!)
Ah, to save the best for last.
Yes, our family will welcome the newest little Cosmos Mariner in early 2016. I've been crazy exhausted and sick throughout my first trimester, and I've had no inclination to travel or write...or really do anything than take a nap. I've actually canceled two trips because of how I felt recently, something I had to do with a sad heart. But you've got to do what you've got to do.
We're incredibly excited to meet our new little one, but that addition means even less time for my blogging and traveling. I'm the kids' primary caregiver since my freelance writing is far more flexible than my husband's finance job, so what the two of them need supersedes what I want to do.
Traveling, marketing, maintaining a blog, and keeping up with my freelance writing career with one small kid is tough but doable. Doing all of the above with two under the age of three is going to be nearly impossible.
One thing that I did with Britton as an infant that really set me up for disappointment was my desire to do everything. I quickly realized that I couldn't--no one is Super Parent--and that was an incredibly hard time in my life.
This time around, I'm streamlining my life, and I'm getting help. Unfortunately, "streamlining" in this case means taking the focus away from my blog and putting it elsewhere, but my family is worth a little bit of short term sacrifice.
So, what does this mean for the blog?
I'm not totally sure yet. It's not going away--you'll have to pry the computer out of my cold, dead hands to get me to give it up completely--but it will be slowing down.
I do have a few bigger trips coming up later this fall now that I feel a bit better, and I'm looking forward to those. I'll definitely be sharing those on the blog and my social media, as well as any smaller or day trips that we take before the little one comes next year.
I won't be posting three times a week anymore as I have done in the past. It's just too much on me right now.
As my family and life evolve, so too will the blog. I thank each and every one of my readers for accompanying me on this journey, and I hope that you'll stick with me as I traverse this new and uncharted territory!