When we were travelling full-time, we used to love doing these round-ups, and based on comments and emails we've received over the last year or so, it seems that many of you did too!
So, we've decided to bring them back.
With our Instagram and blog often being a little out-of-sync with our real time goings-on, we want to have a space to catch you all up. No muss, no fuss just the travels, life updates and blogging forays of Along Dusty Roads.
So, here it goes...
we were shortlisted for the uk blog awards
If you pay any attention to our blog or social media channels, you're probably already aware of this (we kind of couldn't stop talking about it), but early January 2018 we discovered that Along Dusty Roads had been shortlisted for the UK Blog Awards.
Out of hundreds of other travel blogs, we made it into the final six. We are still completely overjoyed, but we know all too well that we (literally) couldn't have done it without you and your votes. From the very beginning, Along Dusty Roads has always been about giving back, about helping others to travel more and travel better. Each and every vote received gives us hope that we're doing exactly what we set out to when we started this thing back in 2014 (gosh that feels like a long, long time ago!).
The judges have made their deliberations already (cue us doing a few urgent repairs to some things on the website!) but the winner won't be announced until 20th April at a fancy-schmanzy awards ceremony. Of course we'd love to win (Emily has promised not to drink too much wine on the off-chance that she has to get up on stage and come across as vaguely professional) but honestly, a nomination alone has given us a warm and fuzzy feeling it'll take a long time to forget
Emily did #Veganuary
I (Emily) do love a block of cheese. But in the last year or so, that just didn't sit well with what I know about the dairy industry. So, when January rolled round, I leapt on the opportunity to try veganism out for a few weeks.
After the initial 'what the hell do I eat for lunch if I can't have eggs' debacle, a dangerous liaison with too much smashed avo on toast (trust me, it is possible), it actually became much, much easier, and, nearly two months down the line, I've completely kicked my cheese habit!
Although I've had the odd slip-up, eaten vegetarian rather than vegan for certain events & family get-togethers, and have cracked the occasional egg (come on, three in two months isn't that bad!), I know that this is a change for the long term - and I couldn't be happier.
The real challenge will be trying to take this new approach on the road.
We went to Seville
We don't know about you guys, but this winter feels like it has lasted for-ev-er. Seriously, we are so over the cold, of working at our desk in multiple jumpers and a wooly hat and of never seeing the sun. We needed to get out of London and somewhere that reached the dizzy heights of at least 15C.
Spain was the logical choice. We both love it, can bumble on along in Spanish (note to self - we need to start studying more) and are desperate to tick more spots off the list. We didn't however, expect to end up in Seville. That's not to say we didn't want to visit - we've wanted to go for ages, it's just Skyscanner could never find us cheap flights there.... until January, when we got a return for just £50. How could we not book that flight?
We found ourselves a little Airbnb in a cool area and wandered around in the sun for four days. It was wonderful.
We ate too much, probably drank too much, spoke to anyone who would listen, raised awareness about NOT visiting the bullring, explored the most touristic of sights and local of neighbourhoods, and quickly realised that Seville was definitely somewhere we could live!
our new newsletter went live
Along Dusty Roads has existed since early 2014. Since then we have sent the grand total of... wait for it... four newsletters. Yep, turns out we sort of missed the mark there. The thing is, we didn't exactly know what to send you guys. We didn't see the point in churning out what was essentially an RSS feed of our latest posts (because we totally unsubscribe from blogs that just do that) and as far as travel updates, well, we were either too busy travelling, or not travelling enough to warrant taking up space in your inbox.
Instead, we wanted to create something that you craved receiving, something to be enjoyed with a cuppa and something to really inspire your own adventures.
Something that we ourselves would want to open and read.
And in January this year, that's exactly what we did; we created The Constantly Curious.
Each month we personally select and curate our favourite travel stories and experiences from a diverse collection of writers, bloggers and websites, and share them with you, our little community of intrepid, adventurous modern day explorers.
Hopefully some of you have already signed up, but if not, feel free to follow this link and get on the list. We've also started a hashtag on Instagram for our readers - #TheConstantlyCurious - so feel free to put it on your next best 'gram!
Reaching a blogging milestone...a little earlier than expected
If you're a blogger reading this, you'll know that there was a bit of an uptick in page views for many of us in January. We knew it would be a good month, we just didn't know it would be 250,000 page views worth of good.
And it's all down to you. Thanks for reading and liking our stuff. With so many excellent blogs out there, the fact that so many of you return to ours each month means the world to us!
We were featured by Canon
Canon or Nikon.
Rarely do people transfer from one company to the other. Instead, you pick one brand early on in your photography career and vehemently defend their wonderfulness for ever more.
For us, Canon will always be king.
However, we always expected that this love affair would be one-sided, an unrequited love some may say. We never in a million years imagined that they'd know who the hell we were and call us PHOTOGRAPHERS! So you can imagine our pee-in-our-pants excitement when, out of the blue, they contacted us for a feature piece on their site.
With so many amazing photographers out there it was really wonderful to have the biggest photography company in the world want to talk bout us. We'll be dining out on this for years. Not seen their post? Check it out here.
We also treated ourselves to some new additions to our camera bag, including a dream lens and our first full-frame camera body (unfortunately, these were not provide to us for free by Canon in exchange for the interview...).
We went to Scotland
One of our travel resolutions for the new year was to try and take at least one trip every month. Unfortunately, a few fell through for February at the last minute, but we did make it up to north-east Scotland to spend some time with Andrew's family.
This also included with a day spent driving around some spots not very far at all from his house, which Andrew didn't even know about, let alone visited in the decades he'd live there.
It just goes to show, you can travel the world and not even know what's on your doorstep...
Some very exciting news
Okay, confession time, we've been keeping something from you guys, something rather exciting...
When Along Dusty Roads was created, we were travelling full-time. In fact, we travelled full-time for 2.5 years. But, when we decided to settle back into London for a while, Andrew went back to his old job.
We knew we still wanted the blog to be a huge pat of lives, but we didn't know whether this was it for the future.
Well, roll on 18 months, and we are delighted to announce to you that that is EXACTLY what Along Dusty Roads is - our future.
And, to that end, from March, we will both be full-time again! We won't be back on nomadic again until the end of summer, but there will be a lot more travel from now on and we are both 100% determined to build Along Dusty Roads into exactly what it can be for travellers like you and us.
So, watch this space - life is about to get interesting (and slightly terrifying).
Our favourite blog posts
Remember how we went to Puglia last September? Well, we're finally getting all that content out, and this last couple of months have definitely been very Italy-centric. Here's what we've done:
Latvia: Winter Road Trip Diaries | A three day road trip through the eastern countryside of Latvia revealed the mysteries and stories of a country where, at times, it felt like we were the only people there. We're really proud of this one (it went a little bit viral in Latvia), so go on, give it a read!
A Short Guide to Locorotondo, Puglia's Prettiest Little Town | We didn't spend nearly enough time here, but fell hard for it none-the-less. Full of (we think) beautiful photography, this is a short guide to a must-see on any Puglia road trip.
17 Really Useful Things to Know Before Visiting Puglia | We love a good practical post, and this one is full of, unsurprisingly, some really useful things to know before you head off to Puglia.
Our Favourite Instagrams
the big reveal...
After a pretty quiet start to the year, March is going to go off with a bit of a bang!
First off, we're back to Puglia on a project to indulge in more pasta, explore little towns and villages we didn't make it to last time and generally just enjoy the Italian way of life for a week.
Then, after a few days back in the UK, we're off on our biggest adventure in quite some time. We can't give you all the details yet, but we can say that we are going to be overlanding and camping through...southern Africa! That's going to include a little bit of Zimbabwe, and a lot of Zambia, Malawi and Tanzania.
Our faces were like this after it was confirmed....
Neither of us have experienced this part of the world before, and we genuinely have that sense of wander about stepping into the unknown (unknown to us at least!) and having a new bunch of travel experiences ahead of us.
Safe travels, wherever you are in the world.