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The Pink Backpack Turns Three!

The Pink Backpack is officially 3 years old!

I can hardly believe it.

I never dreamed that when I started The Pink Backpack, it would morph into what it’s become today.

the pink backpack

Cheers to three years!!!

If you are unfamiliar with me or my story, then allow me to introduce myself (or read more about me here).

I’m Steph, a PhD researcher and travel writer from Ontario, Canada. I started this blog during the first of a 4-year PhD program back in 2016.

Initially, the idea was to share my travel stories, connect with other like-minded folks and stay immersed in the world of travel during a period of my life that I anticipated would not involve much travel.

Ironically, in the last 3 years of blogging and PhD-ing, I’ve travelled to over 25 countries, totalling 50 countries across 6 continents (read about how I’ve travelled while doing a PhD debt-free).

My favourite trip during this time was my solo backpacking trip across Africa from South Africa to Tanzania.

To see where I’ve gone, you can browse through my annual travel roundups for 2016, 2017 and 2018.

The Pink Backpack Turns Three

I read somewhere that most bloggers quit within their first year. I can totally see why. When I first started out, I had no freaking clue what I was doing, and at times it was overwhelming. I kept at it though and spent hours learning from free youtube tutorials, online courses and books from the library (you guys, I actually borrowed SEO for dummies #lol).

I was so broke that I had plastic furniture in my apartment and resorted to some pretty drastic measures to find money for traveling (read about the 7 craziest things I’ve done to afford travel).

I now have over 100 blog posts on The Pink Backpack, with nearly 1 million all time views (okay 800K, but who’s counting?). The blog has received awards, has been featured in several travel media outlets and my writing was even published in a book last year!

Backpacking Africa

My point in telling you this aside from bragging rights is that you don’t need to be an expert or have capital to start something and to succeed in what you do.

You just need the passion and the drive; the determination to keep going in the face of adversity. When you want to quit, and you feel as though life has given you every reason to….those are the exact moments you need to keep going the most. True strength is earned when you feel like you can’t go on, but continue anyways.

Blogging has honestly changed my life for the better in so many ways.

It’s given me the tools to evolve into two things I never foresaw myself being: a writer and an entrepreneur. So, whether you continue to come back here, or you are here for the first time, thank you for reading! I couldn’t do this without readers like you.

How You Can Support The Pink Backpack 

If my blog posts have helped you to plan your own travels, if they’ve entertained you, or you just want to show your support, there are a few ways you can help me.

  • As most creatives would say, sharing our content is one of the quickest, easiest and free ways you can show your support for us! As we all know, the power of the internet is insane, and it only takes that one click for a post to go viral, which is life altering for a content creator. So, if you’ve enjoyed any of my posts or photos, please do share!
  • All of the content I provide here is completely free for you to access. The majority of it is also add-free and not sponsored, meaning I spend a lot of time doing unpaid work. I earn my income through affiliate programs, which means when you click on one of my links and purchase a product, I get a small commission at no extra cost to you. If you are going to buy a product online either way (e.g. something from amazon), then using an affiliate link is an easy way to show your support.
  • Social media is becoming more and more important these days for bloggers, so if you aren’t already following me on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, let’s connect! I’m happy to follow back, just leave me a comment so I know how you found me.
  • If you would like to help fuel my writing, you can buy me a virtual cup of coffee here.
  • Finally, if you would like to stay in touch, please subscribe to my email list. No spam, I promise….just pure travel goodness!



Top Misadventures from The Pink Backpack

#Faceplant

Now on to the moment you have been waiting for….my most memorable travel and blogging misadventures!

You didn’t think I would skip out on an opportunity to embarrass myself for your reading pleasure, did you?

Drum roll please…

Biggest Travel Fails

I accidentally booked a 30,000 £ car rental in Glasgow…and crashed it.

With a transport truck barrelling towards me on a single lane road, I proceeded to drive straight into a Highland ditch in the middle of nowhere. I managed to escape unscathed, with no vehicle damage and even made a new friend in the process! You can read the full story here.

I fainted on a mountain…while hiking by myself in Colombia.

During my solo trip to Bogota last year, I left the city in favour of nearby mountains and accidentally drank untreated water (oops). I woke up feeling pretty sick, but still soldiered on as it was my only day to hike. Unfortunately shit (quite literally) hit the fan halfway up the mountain.

Since I was alone and by this point couldn’t stand or sit without passing out, I had to literally lay down in the middle of the trail, periodically turning my head to vom. I don’t know how long I laid there until some poor soul found me, but it was long enough to end up with plenty of ant bites.

I got a parasite…in my leg.

Yep, you read that right…sand worms actually, in both legs. The worst part of it all, is that it was a dang selfie that did me in (isn’t it always something related to a selfie nowadays?).

I knelt down on a Tanzanian beach to pose for a photo and a week later the parasites emerged in my shins. Thankfully I was already in South Africa by this point and was able to see an awesome doctor who knew straight away what the issue was (cue obnoxious affiliate link for travel health insurance).

Unfortunately, I developed an insect phobia from this incident which still impacts me on and off (I experience anxiety and compulsive behaviours relating to bugs), but it does make for a pretty crazy story to tell and provides a great opportunity to openly talk about mental health.

I got Nitrogen Narcosis

I got nitrogen narcosis 120ft below the ocean while diving the blue hole in Belize. What is nitrogen narcosis you ask? It’s a scuba diving related condition where too much nitrogen in the blood stream induces psychological symptoms, including confusion, delirium or panic.

At our bottom depth, I didn’t know if we were actually at 120 ft or if we had more to go, so I attempted to check my gauges….that’s when I realized I had narcosis. I couldn’t figure out how to read the dials! It was like forgetting how to read time, or looking at numbers but forgetting what they mean. The good news is that we had already started our ascent by this point, and all symptoms subsided once we went up a few metres.

Seriously, never a dull moment!

Biggest Blogging Fails

I missed a flight during a long-haul layover

On my way to a blogging event, I missed my connecting flight…during a 6-hour layover. Say what? How is this even possible you ask? Let’s just say jet lag is not a friend to my brain and I had camped out at the WRONG GATE.

In a cruel twist of fate, there were two flights going to my destination at the same time and while looking at the electronic departure board, I read the WRONG one.

Once I finally realized (it only took me 6 hours), I ran through the airport (yes I was that person #cringe). I showed up sweaty and out of breath to my actual gate and watched my plane taxi away. To make matters worse, I was wearing a poncho and floppy hat in an attempt to look fashionable (#diditforthegram) and the hat flew off my head while I was running. I am quite certain the poncho must have looked like a cape, gallantly flowing behind me as I sprinted through the terminal.

You can read the full mortifying story on the blog, proving why I will never be a fashion blogger.

My website got shut down for porn

My website got hacked last year and was completely shut down by my old web host for 4 days for….“inappropriate adult content”. Say what? Have you even seen my website? It’s pretty PG rated, aside from the odd bikini photo so let’s go with PG 13. When I found this out, I was shitting myself thinking that someone hacked my site and published porn, but it turned out to be a false alarm… just good old fashioned malware.

In all seriousness though, at the time this felt like such a setback. After SO much work on this website over the years, I seriously considered quitting for the first time ever….but I’m still here (obvs) and thankful I didn’t quit in the midst of a difficult moment…so let the misadventures keep on rolling!

*FYI: During this incident I switched my website hosting over to Siteground, who I cannot say enough good things about. If you are considering starting a blog, I highly recommend them. You can read more about how to start a blog, or use grab your own domain for less than your Starbucks latte with this link.

I accidentally posted my ex’s facebook profile pic

I was creeping the Facebook page of a guy I dated a while back and somehow accidentally (and unknowingly) pinned his profile photo to several of my blog’s Pinterest boards and group boards (damn you tailwind plug in!!!!!!!).

Pinterest is one of the blogging tasks I find super tedious, so I may or may not have been multitasking (and by multitasking, I mean pinning while drinking wine and watching Netflix).

For reals though, since I use Tailwind to schedule pins so I don’t have to spend tons of time on Pinterest, I didn’t realize until maybe 10 days later (#thehorror).

I mean, in what alternate universe do these awkward things actually happen? What is my life? It took me hours on shitty wifi (digital nomads, you feel me?) to comb through every single Pinterest board and group board I have to make sure all of them got deleted.

That’s all she wrote

As always, I post my crazy and embarrassing misadventures in hopes of bringing a smile to your face! The main goal of my blog is to inspire you to get out there and travel, while providing authentic information to help you do so adventurously, affordably and safely.

If my blog posts have helped you plan your travels or just given you a laugh, please leave me a comment below or find me on social media. I would love to hear from you!

Happy travels!

Like it? | Click the Photo to PIN it! 

the pink backpack

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Pssst…this post contains affiliate links.

If you purchase a product through one of my links, I get a small commission at no extra cost to you.

This goes towards the cost of maintaining this ad-free website and creating free content for readers like you!

Please read my disclosure for more info. 

Thanks for your support.

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