Novo-World celebrates its 10th anniversary! Yes, it’s been 10 years this August since we wrote our first posts on novo-monde #SmallTearOfEmotion (no kidding, it’s really special to write these lines).
Woowww! If someone had told us when we started our modest little blog of 2 backpackers that 10 years later we would still be there, we wouldn’t have believed you… Even less if you had told us that this same blog would change our whole lives.
Still, 10 years of blogging represents more than 1/4 of our existence… it’s quite a chapter in our life, the biggest one even (and far from being finished)! It certainly deserves a little birthday post, doesn’t it?
Honestly, I don’t know exactly where this post is going to take me and I don’t feel like doing a “10 years blog review” either (I prefer to keep reviews for the end of the year). So I’ll just let myself drift with my inspiration and hope you’ll like it (by the way, don’t hesitate to leave us a little comment at the end of the post to tell us what you thought and wish Novo-monde a happy birthday 😉 )
- The story of our travel blog Novo-monde
- Earning money with our blog: a difficult balance to find
- Novo-monde: a door that opens to many opportunities
- A blog that brings people together and leads to beautiful friendships
- Novo-monde: a space for expression and dialogue that is dear to us
- What has changed in 10 years of travel and blogging
- We got a few wrinkles 😉 and we have a new team member!
- We don’t use Snapseed to edit our pictures anymore
- Writing an article no longer takes us several hours… but several days
- We kind of deserted the social medias
- The blog has more visitors per day today than per month at the beginning
- The way we travel and see the world has evolved
- What are our plans for the next 10 years? (blog, travel, other)
- Video: 10 years of travelling in 10 minutes
The story of our travel blog Novo-monde
I realize that apart from 1 or 2 podcasts here and there, we never retraced the history of our blog here. It’s one of the questions we get asked most often (after the famous “how and how much money do you earn with your blog?”… for those who are curious you’ll find the answer to this question in our yearly reviews or in this video):
Why and how did we created our travel blog?
A blog to share our round the world trip (2012-2015)
It all started with a good bottle of wine (Austrian wine, since we lived in Vienna at the time) and the crazy idea of backpacking around the world (you can read about how we got this idea in one of our first blog posts… that we forgot to translate).
At that time, we had read dozens of travel blogs such as Romain World Tour, Alex Vizeo, Laurent from the blog One Chaï or Lucie from Voyages et vagabondages (and many others who have mostly disappeared today) and we were very much inspired by their travels.
So, as we enjoyed the shared experiences we had through these blogs, we thought we would also create our own for the following reasons:
- To share our trip and give news to our family
- To have a nice souvenir of our round the world trip
- To gather in one location all the information we had found to prepare a round the world trip and to help future travelers.
- To share with other backpackers
- To learn new skills and to have a real project during our trip ( Fabienne and I were a bit afraid of the famous ” blank in the resume ” before our departure).
To earn money online… No, I’m kidding 😉
This is a question we are often asked and we have to confess that we never really know how to answer 😉 . You have to imagine Fabienne and me one evening while having a drink, writing all the names that came to our mind on a sheet of paper… I think we must have thought of something like: “notre monde… votre monde… novo-monde!!!!” (so nothing to do with “new world”). And Bim, 2 minutes later we bought the domain name. That’s it… You don’t have to look any further 🙂
So one year before our departure for our round-the-world trip, we got to work and we created the 1st version of our blog that I had coded at the time from A to Z in HTML, CSS and PHP (web programming languages just in case 😉 ) without using WordPress. As I told you, the idea was also to learn new skills so why keep it simple when you can do it complicated 😉
Those days were pretty crazy since we wrote our blog posts directly in HTML… and maybe the old-timers around here remember but our blog looked like this in early 2013 (thanks archive.org lol):
This year of preparing for the round the world trip was really cool and we really got into blogging at that time. Back then, social medias were not so developed and we exchanged a lot through blogs #nostalgia lol. By having a blog, we somehow integrated the small community of the French-speaking backpackers online and it helped us a lot to prepare our trip.
We also learned a lot about web development, blogging, SEO, photography, social medias… everything was new for us and we were curious about everything. We didn’t count the hours we spent on the blog but we didn’t care because we found it exciting!
Just before we left we also asked a designer friend from Vienna to help us improve the look of our blog… and after hours of hard work to integrate the design, this is pretty much what our blog looked like before we left for our trip. It was already a bit better, wasn’t it? By the way, if you’re interested, you can read our pre-trip report here (it’s in french… sorry about that).
Then we left for 19 months of adventures around the world that changed our lives forever. During the whole journey, we religiously shared all our adventures on the blog and we really worked hard! We devoted a part of our evenings and maybe one day a week where we only did that in a café or a hotel room (and in many other places… even in our tent lol).
To give you an idea, after 1 year of travel and 2 years of blogging (you can read our report after 1 year here… still in french 🙁 ), we had already written something like 160 posts on the blog! That’ s how hard we worked and how regular we were. But we loved doing it and we thought it was great to have a passion project to work on during the trip.
And it was also very motivating because at that time, you were already more than 1000 people to read us every day! We received a lot of emails, comments to thank us for the information we shared… a blog that also helped us meet a lot of travelers along the way (I’ll come back to that later 😉 ). And that was really cool!
Finally, towards the end of our trip around the world, we had an unexpected period of recognition for our work by being elected best travel blog at the Golden Blog Awards 2014 and by stealing the show from our Swiss Federal Councillor Ueli Maurer in the Sunday newspaper (ahah it always makes me laugh to see this page again)… As a result, we came back to Switzerland with more questions than answers, wondering if there wouldn’t be something to develop around our travel blog (you can find our thoughts at the time here).
Back in Switzerland: we keep on blogging despite our jobs (2015-2016)
As soon as we came back to Switzerland, we immediately found a job in Zurich (hello the myth of the gap in the resume)! However, unlike many other travelers, we didn’t give up our blog. Since we knew very little about our own country, we used all our week-ends to go for a hike somwhere in Switzerland. Discoveries that we were obviously eager to share on novo-monde (by the way, all our posts about Switzerland are now part of our most read content).
But we quickly understood that working as employee would be difficult from now on (when you have tasted freedom and flexibility, it’s hard to go back… Besides, when we read again our thoughts after coming back, we already knew that we weren’t going to stay employed for a long time lol). Moreover, we could see that we wouldn’t be able to manage our work and our blog in parallel indefinitely… (answering emails, comments, writing posts, managing the social medias… it takes a lot of time)
This dilemma got us thinking a lot and led to a lot of discussions between us. We started to explore different entrepreneurial possibilities, including trying to earn some money with our blog. During this period we participated to our first travel bloggers events which allowed us to meet other bloggers and to understand a little bit better how this small world works.
It is around this moment that we understood what we were ready to do but especially not to do to earn money with our blog. After 2-3 bad experiences, we quickly realized that “blogtrips” (understand press trips organized for bloggers), ads, sponsored links or product placements were not for us. For the independent travelers that we are, these activities make little sense and it is starting from there that we set clear limits, which we wrote down in our personal blogger manifesto (an post that is almost entirely still valid today).
It is thus with 18 months of savings and the belief that we wanted to develop our own projects that we left everything for a second time towards Chiang Mai in Thailand to start our own business. Even if we had a lot of ideas, we didn’t really know at that time how we would make a living (as I said, we rather knew what we didn’t want to do). Besides, this post sums up quite well our state of mind at that time.
Our blog to document our travels and our life as nomadic entrepreneurs (2016-now)
Novo-monde has always been a place to share with you our travels, our thoughts, our way of life and we didn’t want that to change because we were starting our own business.
So we quickly understood that if we wanted to be true to our beautiful principles, we would have to develop other activities to sustain ourselves financially (even if Thailand is quite cheap… it was also why we went there). So during these first 6 months of entrepreneurship spent in Chiang Mai, we worked mainly on the following projects:
Create a new version of Novo-monde with WordPress (while keeping the soul of the blog)
It was fun at first, to learn, to write our blog posts in HTML and to code all the features of our blog (commenting system, newsletter…) by hand, but with the WordPress CMS it’s much easier. Moreover, we wanted to use our blog as a skills showcase to start developing freelance WordPress sites for clients and create an additional source of income.
So after months of hard work, the V3 of Novo-monde (which is still the current version except for a few details) was finally finished! And we are still very proud of the work done today.
Writing of our 1st book: Destination Tour du Monde (in french and german)
And while I was geeking on the new version of Novo-monde, Fabienne was working on a project that probably gave us the last push we needed to quit everything and start our own business: our 1st book Destination Tour du Monde.
You have to know that writing a book is a long process that is hardly compatible with the life of an employee at 100%. So when Hadi, the founder of our publishing house, offered us to write this first book, we saw it as a sign of destiny. And so it was in Chiang Mai that Fabienne started to write the first pages in order to create a draft of our first book one year later.
Sharing our new nomadic life and our travels on Novo-monde
Of course, we also took advantage of our newfound freedom/flexibility to go on adventures whenever we had the chance. For example, while we were living in Chiang Mai, we explored the north of Thailand by motorbike and we discovered Myanmar for a few weeks. Trips that we had great fun sharing with you on the blog.
How sad it is to think about this trip to Myanmar, the wonderful encounters we had there and the terrible situation in which the country has found itself since 2021. Besides, it was in Bagan that we got our first website development contract after meeting a charming couple, owners of an excellent Italian restaurant in Bagan… Let’s hope that the situation improves in this country.
And since then, Novo-monde has been the witness of our travels and our entrepreneurial adventures. Thanks to the incredible freedom our nomadic lifestyle gives us, we’ve had the chance to work and travel in many different countries in Europe (because yes, since we came back from Thailand in 2017, we’ve stayed on the European continent).
Here is a small non-exhaustive list of places where we have traveled and worked in the last few years in chronological order… adventures that we have obviously documented and religiously shared with you on the blog:
- Our 1st trip of several weeks in Brittany (2017)
- Back home to hike across Switzerland on the Via Alpina trails (2017)
- We settle a few weeks in Menorca in the Balearic Islands (2017)
- We left to discover the Baltic countries in winter (2018)
- 6 months of roadtrip through France to write our 1st Beer Hiking guide (2018)
- Trek in Swedish Lapland and roadtrip to Lofoten (2018)
- Our 1st trip to Tenerife where we discovered the concept of Coliving (2018-2019)
- Backpacking trip to Turkey (2019)
- Bus trip through Zagreb and Budapest to Bansko in Bulgaria (2019)
- 2nd trip to the Canary Islands in coliving mode in Gran-Canaria and Tenerife (2019)
- We test a new coliving in Briançon (2020)
- We hike across Switzerland a 2nd time along the Jura crest trail (2020)
- Small trip to Piedmont (2020)
- Departure for Galicia to test the Anceu coliving with our new van (2020-2021)
- several roadtrips in different regions of Galicia (2021)
- a full summer of hiking and working in Switzerland (2021)
- 2 months roadtrip in Brittany to write our 2nd Beer hiking guide (2021)
- Departure for a roadtrip with our van for several months in Spain, including 10 weeks in Andalusia (2021-2022)
- 2nd stay in Anceu Coliving and roadtrip in Castilla y León (2022)
It’s pretty crazy to think that we have lived all these experiences these last 5 years, despite the Covid, while working on many different projects at the same time! I hope it can last another 10 years!
Earning money with our blog: a difficult balance to find
I won’t hide that since we came back from our round-the-world trip and decided to start our own business, we thought a lot about how to make money with our blog while sticking to our principles. Instead of keeping it to ourselves (money is often a taboo topic), I think it’s interesting to share our thoughts with you so that you understand our way of doing things and our values.
What probably makes the strength of Novo-monde, is the fact that it is a personal blog, like us, where we share our independent travels, practical information, hikes but also our thoughts, our way of life, our problems…
I sincerely believe that if you keep following us after 10 years, it’s because you feel the humans behind the blog, that you trust us and that you share our values.
Moreover, if we decided to leave everything in 2016, it was to retrieve more freedom/flexibility but also to work on projects that make sense to us, that motivate us and that we are proud of!
Out of respect for you and for us, we want to be coherent and transparent about how we make money with the blog. I think from 2015 to 2017 we fumbled a bit and slowly came to a pretty clear work ethic around 2018-2019:
- No ads: You would certainly find it strange to have ads for club med or costa cruises on an post where we tell you about our backpacking trip in Turkey 😉 no? So as long as it is not possible to display ads relevant to the content of an article, we will do without this source of income (which would be far from negligible with the number of readers we have on the blog each month).
- No sponsored articles (or sponsored links): You’d be surprised how many emails we receive every day from people who want to pay us to write a post about this or that subject on our blog so they can include a link towards their site (it’s good for SEO) or to promote a service. These mails usually go directly to the trash because we don’t see any interest you would have to find this kind of articles on our blog.
- Press trips / blogtrips: On Novo-monde we talk about independent travels, with a reasonable budget, hiking… So proposals for group press trips, with a timed and predefined program, nights in luxury hotels etc… Not for us! Therefore, we only accept press trips if we are 100% free to choose our program / our accommodations and if nobody knows that we run a blog (to avoid preferential treatment). These two conditions eliminate almost all the offers we receive and on average, we don’t do more than 1 per year. The two latest ones are the Saint-Bernard hike in the summer of 2020 and an 8-days van trip in the canton of Grisons in 2021. As you can see, this is not how we make a living and 99% of our trips are private and paid by our own money.
- Affiliate marketing: On our blog you will find so called “affiliate links” which redirect you to products (that we bought with our money) or services that we use and that we recommend. If you click on one of our links to buy something, we get a small commission and you don’t pay anything extra (we even negotiated discounts sometimes). For example, you’ll find affiliate links in articles such as how to prepare for the Kungsleden trek, our guide to bivouacs, or our comparison of the best insurances for backpackers (and many others).
What we like about affiliate marketing is that it allows us to be paid for our work while remaining 100% free and independent in our travels and the way we write our articles. It is the way we prefer to earn money with our blog and it represents about 50% of our income. For the sake of consistency, we also do not include any affiliate links to Amazon because we do not share the values of this company.
So by clicking on one of our links to buy something, rent a car or take your backpacker insurance, you support us in the creation of free and independent articles on our blog. If you want to know more about affiliate marketing and how to support us, we just created a dedicated page that explains our approach and lists all our main affiliate partners.
As you can see, we’re not trying to maximize our income with the blog at all! We just want to stay in line with our values, to be transparent with you (if there is a partnership or an affiliate link in an article, it is always clearly indicated) and we don’t plan to do any compromise on these points (so if you see any advertising for club med around here, it’s because we are really hungry lol).
I also think that this is one of the reasons why we keep blogging after all these years. We don’t have any pressure linked to partnerships, we don’t have any obligation to write this or that thing… The blog remains our road book where we share our travels and our thoughts as we feel like (because sometimes we just don’t feel like it too 😉 ) and that’s what we like!
So to conclude this part about money, we don’t make 100% of our living from our blog. But one thing that has proven to be quite incredible over the years is how much the blog has been a showcase of our skills and a vector of incredible opportunities for us.
Novo-monde: a door that opens to many opportunities
As I told you above, our so-called “plan” when we set up on our own and moved to Chiang Mai in late 2016 was:
- to lower our daily costs by living in a minimalist way in a country where the cost of living is lower than Switzerland.
- to revamp our blog so that it reflects our skills in terms of web development, SEO, photography etc…
- to start developing websites as a freelance for clients to create a new source of income.
And here I have to tell you that the blog worked beyond our expectations because we never had to prospect to find customers.
Our blog as a showcase for our skills
From 2016 to 2020 we did a lot of website development with WordPress, website optimization, website audits, we gave conferences on topics like SEO or speed optimization etc… And all our clients without exception have found us through our travel blog Novo-monde.
So of course we had created a page on the blog to promote this aspect of our activities (page that we hid since we don’t really need these activities to make a living now), but at the beginning we were clearly expecting to have to do some marketing.
And yet, whether it’s thanks to people we met while traveling (I told you that we met one of our first clients in Myanmar) or simply through internet, the blog gave us enough visibility and credibility for people to trust us for their project. And that’s great!
Obviously we had also created a website dedicated to these activities which also played a role in convincing our clients, but the first contact always came from our travel blog.
From bloggers to authors of printed and digital books
This too is the result of a series of events, a nice “combination of circumstances” that was greatly facilitated by the blog. In 2013, we released a free ebook to help future backpackers to prepare a round-the-world trip. This ebook, we updated it several times and thought at the time that it would be cool to create a printed version.
But it is by buying the book Beer hiking in Switzerland the day of our return from the trip and by talking about it on our blog that we had then the chance to meet the author of the book as well as Hadi, the founder of the publishing house Helvetiq (next to Fabienne on the picture below… it was at the book fair of Paris and we were clearly the only authors of the fair to offer a craft beer tasting to present our “work” 😉 ).
The feeling with Hadi was immediately good and that’s how, one thing leading to another, he first offered us to write a book about the round the world trip (2018)… then, once this first project was completed, he offered us to create Beer hiking in France (2019) then Beer hiking in Brittany (2022)… 3 printed books in 5 years, not bad?
Regarding the creation of hiking ebooks, everything also started from our trek across Switzerland on the Via Alpina trails in 2017, an adventure that we also widely shared with you on the blog and social medias (including through one of our rare videos 😉 ).
Following this video and our blog posts, we received a lot of questions about this wonderful hike and how to prepare it. So, instead of answering questions directly on the blog, we thought we would create a complete digital guide that would answer all the questions of future hikers.
Same thing for our last ebook that we created for the Dents du Midi hike… It’s while doing this wonderful hike next to our place that we met Fabienne, who manages the promotion of the tour as well as the Salanfe hostel, and who offered us to create this guide.
Today, half of our income comes from the sale of our printed and digital books… maybe in 2022 we’ll be more authors than bloggers! (which would be pretty incredible) But what is certain is that all of this could not have happened without our travel blog and the visibility it offers us.
A blog that brings people together and leads to beautiful friendships
It’s maybe THE thing that we like the most with our blog is that a lot of discussions on the Internet have turned into real life encounters… and sometimes even into long lasting friendships. During our trip around the world, we met some people who read our blog, especially in South America (among which a couple from Brittany who will recognize themselves, met in Puerto Natales and we kept in touch with them and saw them several times in France).
But it’s in Chiang Mai in 2016-2017 (so after having left our jobs to start our own business) that we realized how many French-speaking backpackers were reading our blog to prepare their trip. In Chiang Mai, we were getting several emails per week from readers who were passing by and offered us to grab a drink…. we couldn’t believe it! So this story had turned into a French-speaking travellers’ meeting in Chiang Mai lol (we obviously enjoyed this time a lot).
On the pictures above you may notice a couple that appears several times 😉 . They happen to live not far from us in Switzerland and we still see each other from time to time (and we even featured their portrait in our book). Same thing with a Swiss family and their 3 children who were passing by Chiang Mai during their round the world trip and who then welcomed us for 2 days at their place while we were hiking on the Jura crest trail when the weather was really bad.
It’s still in Chiang Mai that we met other blogger friends like Anaïs and Florent from Les Gros Sacs, Audrey, Fabien and their family from FamilyGlobExchange during their 1st world trip with 3 kids (we also wrote a double page about them in our book and they are finishing their 2nd world trip with 4 kids at the moment 😉 ) or Violette and Antoine from VlogExpedition.
Otherwise, since we travel mainly in Europe, it is especially during our various trips in France that we make beautiful encounters thanks to the blog. Except during Covid, we often organized spontaneous meetings (like 1 day in advance 😉 ) and we were always surprised by the number of people showing up at the last minute to have a drink with us.
And then, there are those people who spontaneously welcomed us in their homes without really knowing us (just by having read our blog or our book), who hosted us, took time to make us discover their region! Some of these people became real friends over the years and we will never thank them enough for these beautiful shared moments.
Finally, how can we not mention all the other travel bloggers we have met on various occasions over the past 10 years. I’ve often read on the web that the blogging world is nothing but hypocrisy, jealousy, backstabbing and so on. So I’m not saying that it doesn’t exist! But as far as we are concerned, the travel bloggers we met are mostly cool people, passionate about travel and who simply like to share their adventures on the internet.
We made a lot of great friends in the blogosphere (I’m thinking about Aude and Nico from Planificateur à-contresens, Pauline and Simon from péripléties, Vincent from Evasion bordelaise, Caro from Tongs et Srilanka, Maryne and Jules from Explore le monde, Laurène and Olivier from carnet d’escapade, Elisa and Max from Bestjobers, Delphine and JP from Lostintheusa, Mariette and Quentin from Shoesyourpath and a lot of others that we forget)… Even if we don’t necessarily see each other very often, it’s as if we had a lot of friends scattered all over France. When we go to Paris, Lyon, Bordeaux, Montpellier, Lille, in Alsace, in Jura etc… We always have a blogger friend in the area to meet. And that’s really cool!
Novo-monde: a space for expression and dialogue that is dear to us
As you have certainly understood by reading these lines, Novo-monde is much more than a travel blog for us. It is a space where we feel at home, where we have the freedom to share our travels but also the backstage of our lifestyle or our thoughts on subjects that are important to us (such as environment, success or the quest for purpose)… without any constraint either on the content or on the format.
It is also a precious space for sharing with you. Even today, we are surprised by the quality of the discussion in the comments when we share a thought or an yearly review (like this post about the idea of success or our 2021 review). We are also very happy to see that many travelers take the time to comment on articles about destinations to give a recent feedback, to correct information or simply to thank us for having helped them prepare their trip independently.
Novo-monde has more than 9000 comments in 10 years! And even if the number of comments has decreased a bit with the evolution of social media, it remains an incredible space of discussion and one of our main sources of motivation to write on the blog. When we read your emails or comments, we sincerely feel like we’re doing something useful and it really makes the time we invest on the blog worthwhile.
What has changed in 10 years of travel and blogging
As you can imagine, in 10 years, we have changed a lot, whether it’s in our way of traveling, seeing the world or even blogging. I thought I’d share with you a little list of things that have changed a bit in the last 10 years 😉
We got a few wrinkles 😉 and we have a new team member!
No kidding lol! Admit that between our first backpacking trip in Greece on the left (before our round-the-world trip… look at those backpacks 😉 ) and this nice family picture from 2021 in Galicia, there is a major difference. Yes it’s obviously Winchy that we adopted in Galicia and that came to enlarge our happy team at the beginning of 2021 (ok, there are also some wrinkles in the corners of our eyes but we don’t grow old all that bad do we?)
We don’t use Snapseed to edit our pictures anymore
Towards the end of our round the world trip, we discovered a smartphone application (snapseed) that allowed us to quickly edit our photos on the phone. Who knows why, during a whole period, we thought it was really cool to over-saturate the pictures and to push the HDR slider. Fortunately for your eyes, this period is over but just for the fun of it, I’ll share some snaps with you 😉
Writing an article no longer takes us several hours… but several days
When we were traveling around the world, even if we were very regular, we didn’t bother as much as now to write blog posts. Basically, we would simply tell you what we did in a particular place, our little problems, all of this with some pictures straight from the camera and some practical information. Then we would share our article on our facebook page… and voilàààààà!
Today, here are the steps needed to create an article:
- We sort and edit the photos (editing the photos for a post often requires a full day of work for Ben)
- We think about the structure of the article and how we could best answer the questions that people ask about this destination
- We do a quick keyword research for SEO
- We write the article by sharing our personal experience but also by trying to give you a maximum of practical information (links, interactive maps, tips, context, budget) to help you prepare your trips. Today our posts rarely have less than 2000 words.
- We format the article
- We create visuals for sharing on social media (pinterest, facebook, instagram)
- We translate the entire article into English
- We schedule the various shares on social media
- We write a newsletter (in French and English)
- We go back to our old relevant articles to put internal links towards our new post
You understand a little bit better why we can’t write 1-2 articles per week anymore like we did during the round the world trip 😉
We kind of deserted the social medias
We’ve already talked about this many times in our different yearly reviews, but we don’t really like the direction that social medias are taking since 5-6 years. You have to understand that the business plan of these platforms is to catch your attention so that you stay as long as possible on their sites/apps and to hammer you with a ton of ads (it’s the attention economy, but they also collect our data to use them).
This way of working creates many deviations like:
- Divide people by reinforcing their opinions: Social media algorithms have been created to keep us on these platforms as long as possible. So they’ll show us the content they think is most interesting for us (they show us what we want to see basically)… and this creates a kind of self-validation loop that artificially reinforces us in our strongest opinions.
- Greatly reduces the visibility of any content that would make us leave their sites. As these platforms have no interest in us leaving their site, if we have the misfortune to put a link towards our blog in a facebook post or an instagram post/story, its visibility will be strongly reduced.
- From now on, you have to pay to have visibility. It’s the good old advertising model… But as far as we’re concerned, we wouldn’t have much to gain by paying facebook or instagram so that you see our blog posts.
- They strongly favor video content which always captures more attention from users (and therefore reduce the visibility of text and photo content)
- And I’m not talking about the other problems it creates like addiction, bullying among young people, FOMO, anxiety…
In short, we’ve been a bit tired of social medias and the increasing pernicious changes of their algorithms for several years now. So even if we still use them irregularly, we don’t try to satisfy the algorithms anymore. We simply share with you our photos and our blog posts knowing very well that few of you will see them in their feed in the end.
Conclusion: If you want to have our news regularly, SUBSCRIBE TO OUR NEWSLETTER (the subscription form is also at the end of the article). It is the medium that we prefer from now on to share our little adventures with you.
Note: I’m not saying that there are only negative sides to social medias either! They allow you to keep in touch with people, to organize events easily, to spread information etc… but you have to be aware of their drawbacks too.
The blog has more visitors per day today than per month at the beginning
Instead of giving you all our numbers, here’s a funny statistic I think: Today we have more visitors in one day (around 5000) than the number of visitors we had per month during the first year of the blog 😉
Since 2012, Novo-monde has had more than 6,000,000 visitors and will soon have 12,000,000 page views… figures that are pretty crazy when you think that we did it all on our own!
The way we travel and see the world has evolved
When we left for a round the world trip in 2013, we needed to break the routine, to take some time for ourselves, to discover the world and to meet new people. We simply took our savings and our backpacks to live an extraordinary adventure, without knowing how long we would travel or what impact this experience would have on our lives. At that time, comfort was not important and we simply tried to travel as long as possible with the budget we had.
When we left our jobs in 2016, our mindset was already quite different. What we were seeking above all was freedom with a capital F! The freedom to work for ourselves, on projects that we felt passionate about and from anywhere in the world! Traveling was still an important part of our balance but it was no longer a finality in itself. At that time, even if everything we owned still fit in our backpacks, we traveled much slower by renting apartments along the way to work with better conditions.
One of the main challenges we faced in the years that followed (besides managing to live from our activities), is that it is not so easy to find the right balance between travel, work, our couple or even having a social life. At this time (at the end of 2018), after 2 years of nomadic life, we discovered a little by chance the concept of coliving which we immediately loved. What we like about colivings is that we can have a nice social life, discover a new region and have good working conditions all at the same place. We sincerely think that it is a way of living/working/traveling that has a future and we would not imagine our life without colivings anymore.
Finally, between 2015 and 2017, we can also say that we were confronted with the reality of climate change and life extinction (after having experienced the Haze phenomenon in Malaysia, the “burning season” in Chiang Mai, and then with the media coverage around the COP21)! This awakening had a big impact on us and we have since implemented many changes in our lives to be more respectful of our planet and the livings. This was also followed by the strange period of Covid, which led us to question the purpose of what we do, with some important questioning at the end.
All this to say that from backpackers to digital nomad travelling in a van with their dog, we have come a long way 😉 . Which brings me to the last part of this anniversary article and our plans for the years to come.
What are our plans for the next 10 years? (blog, travel, other)
Ahah I may be getting a little carried away with the next 10 years! We already have a hard time making plans for the next 6 months, so imagine the next 10 years 😉 .
Yet I have the feeling that we are at the end of a chapter of our life. Since 2016, our main goal was to be completely free: free to live and travel where we want, free to work at our own pace on projects we like, free to go hiking for a week with our tent if we feel like it… and thanks to our blog and all the activities we developed around it, we can say that we succeeded!
Today, the only constraints we have are those we impose on ourselves!
As we explained at the end of our 2021 review, we really want to work on a new project, something more tangible and that makes sense to us.
I don’t think I need to draw you a picture anymore but the world is not going well at all! And facing all these problems / inconsistencies of our societies, we feel a deep need to invest ourselves in a project that, even if it will not solve all the issues, goes in the right direction. And after having thought about it for a long time, the idea that fits us both the most is the creation of a coliving space in a mountain village.
Coliving project… what’s the status?
For us, a coliving space is a place with a soul, where people from all horizons feel at home. It’s a place that allows people to work remotely in good conditions, in an inspiring place, while sharing good moments with other colivers.
But for us the concept of coliving is much more than that!
- It is a way to combine work, travel and social life in a different way! With longer stays (1 to 6 months or more), the colivers have the time to share moments, to discover the region without pressure, while working. It’s a hybrid model of “tourism” that is slower, that works during the 4 seasons and that we think is very relevant for the years to come.
- It’s also a way to dynamize a mountain village. By settling in such a place, we hope to be able to bring life, dynamism by participating in the local life, by creating events or projects open to everyone.
- We also hope to get involved in solving local problems. A coliving is also a concentration of people with diverse and varied skills who are often only willing to help… and we hope to leverage this to have a positive local impact.
And if you do not see yet very well what a coliving looks like, we made a presentation video of Anceu coliving (a place we love and where we lived 7 months) that I share with you below:
Since we shot this video and came back to Switzerland, we’ve been busy. Even if we haven’t yet found the final location of our future coliving, we have already presented the project to many people, including several presidents of Swiss mountain villages who are very interested.
The difficulty is that we are a bit stubborn and we would really like to create our coliving in a mountain village at home in French-speaking Switzerland. Obviously the problem of our beautiful country is the price of a property that would suit our project. So we are forced to be a little creative and try to work with a municipality and/or the region to find solutions.
To date, even if nothing is sure yet, we have some very realistic leads that could become reality quickly (#fingerscrossed)… So in the meantime we continue to contact people, to push doors, to present our project and we are confident that we will succeed in unblocking the situation quickly.
Note: If you know someone who knows someone who might be interested in our project, don’t hesitate to tell them or share their contact information with us. We are willing to explore all possibilities
And the travels… and the blog?
Well, even if we have this new project which motivates and excites us, we have no intention to stop traveling, nor to share our adventures with you on the blog. Obviously, if the project becomes a reality, we will certainly have a little less time at the beginning. But travelling is part of our DNA and we will continue to go on adventures as soon as we can.
First of all, travelling does not mean flying to the other side of the world! Since 2017 we have not left Europe and we do not lack ideas for trips close to home. There are several hikes in autonomy that we would like to do with Winchy in Switzerland or in the neighboring countries (the Alps, the Pyrenees, the Dolomites… we still have quite a playground to explore). And then with the van we still have so many places to discover which are not so far (Italy, United Kingdom, Norway, Eastern countries…).
We still have dreams of travelling far away (USA / Canada / South America in a van for example) but we don’t consider going to the other side of the world just for a few weeks… At a certain point, we try to be coherent and travelling quickly to the other side of the world is not sustainable anymore! So if there is a long trip, it will be a unique experience to which we will dedicate all the time we need (1 year, 2 years… who knows).
And as far as the blog is concerned, we’ve been sharing with you for 10 years our travels but also the evolution of our lifestyle, our thoughts, our entrepreneurial adventures… and there’s no reason for that to change! We have never been and we don’t see ourselves as “full-time bloggers”. We prefer to see this blog as a companion that grows with us and our projects. So we don’t know exactly what the future holds for us, but no doubt we’ll document and share it all with you here 😉 .
Video: 10 years of travelling in 10 minutes
And to finish this blog anniversary in style, Fabienne has dug into our hard drives to create a small summary video of our travels in the last 10 years. Be careful, there are some rare moments that we had never shared with you 🙂 . ENJOY! (And as usual, don’t hesitate to tell us what you think and share if you like it 😉 )
That’s it! I think I’ll stop here because this post is already way too long! I would like to end by thanking you from the bottom of my heart for your trust and support for the past 10 years. Thank you for your messages, your shares, your comments, for supporting us by buying our books, our ebooks (or by clicking on one of our affiliate links to buy something you need 😉 ). Without you, keeping this blog would not have the same flavor and we would certainly have stopped the Novo-monde adventure long ago.
All that’s left is to wish us many more years of exchange around here. And I hope to see you in 10 years for a new anniversary post 😉 . So, let’s leave you with our most beautiful selfies and see you soon!
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