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The Travel Hack: How it all began

The Travel Hack: How it all began

Hi and thank you for stopping by The Travel Hack!

My name is Monica, I’m 33 and I live in North Wales with my partner, Sam, and our three kids, George (5), Joseph (4) and Alba (1).

I’ve been blogging for 12 years and I’ve been doing this full time for eight years! The thing I’m always asked is, ‘How did this all begin!? And how did you keep blogging after so long?’ 

So here is my blogging timeline to show what I’ve been up to for the past 12 years and to show some highlights from each year….

If you’d like to keep up to date with the blog, you can sign up to my newsletter where I send out weekly updates.

Here’s my blogging timeline…



2009 – In 2009, I finished university, where I’d studied English Language and Literature at The University of Liverpool. I then set out on a two-year backpacking trip with Sam. I started the blog as a way to document the journey – partly because I’d always loved to write a journal and partly because I was hoping to pursue a career in journalism so I saw the blog as work experience (little did I know that the blog would soon become my career!)

Back in 2009 we booked one-way tickets to Australia with a 3-month stop in Hong Kong. From Hong Kong we flew to other places in South East Asia.

We visited:

  • Hong Kong
  • Thailand
  • Cambodia
  • Vietnam
  • Laos

And then flew to Sydney to work for a few months and spend Christmas and New Year there.

Read more: How and why I started travel blogging



VW campervan in Australia

2010 – We bought an old VW camper van in Melbourne and drove around the entire coast of Australia.

We stopped to work on a scuba diving and fishing island on the west coast of Australia and gained our second-year visa so we could stay a little longer on our Working Holiday Visas.

Read more: How to survive living in a campervan…for a year…with a boy



2011 – We left Australia and travelled through South East Asia again on the way home.

We visited:

  • Indonesia
  • Malaysia
  • Thailand
  • Home!

I then moved to London to complete an NCTJ in journalism and I started working for travel site called Gap Daemon. I was also doing a lot of travel copywriting at this time to help with the living costs in London!

Read more: What my journalism course taught me about blogging.



^ One of my favourite trips was to Sun Peaks in Canada


2012 – This is when I started to really get into travel blogging and I realised a career in blogging would be much more exciting than a career in journalism!

I started working as the UK social media manager for Flight Centre and began attending lots of press trips for my blog.

My travel highlights from 2012



Blyde River Canyon, South Africa

^During a dream trip to South Africa

2013 – I quit my full time job to travel blog full time – this is when the fun really started and I was travelling 2-3 times a month.

Read more: I’m going freelance!

My travel highlights from 2013



^ Taken during an epic trip to Miami

2014 – I moved from London back to North Wales and Louie, our gorgeous fur baby, came into our lives. Oh, and I continued to travel a lot!

Read more: The real reason I got a dog

My travel highlights from 2014



2015 – Sam and I had our first son, George, and bought our first house which we renovated over a year.

Read more: The house renovation project: 8 months on

Introducing Baby George



2016 – We travelled a lot with George and then had our second son, Joseph.

My travel highlights from 2016

An Introduction to Joseph




2017 – I released a Travel Hack Cabin Case!

My travel highlights from 2017



Watergate Bay Hotel review

2018 – 2018 was the year of finding the balance between travelling, family life and running an online business. There was a lot of travel and a lot of fun, but also a lot of time spent at home in the UK and discovering some gorgeous places on my doorstep. We bought a caravan on the Llyn Peninsula in Wales too so we spent a lot of time on the coast!

Read: My travel highlights from 2018

How I’m managing the work/life/blogging/babies/travelling balance

Buying a static caravan




2019 began as a very busy year with trips to Morocco, Montenegro, Menorca, Switzerland and lots of UK trips. I also launched The Travel Hack Backpack! The second half of the year was busy in a very different way as we built an extension on our house and our baby girl, Alba, joined our family!

Read more:

Our first three months with our baby girl

What’s it like to have three children?

The Travel Hack Backpack


Aston Rose pushchair by Ickle Bubba

2020, wow, what a year. It’s fair to say that 2020 has turned the world on it’s head, chewed us all up, spat us all out and we’re currently wiping ourselves down and hoping it doesn’t happen again.

Despite the global pandemic, I have actually been very lucky and all of my loved ones are safe and well. I’ve missed travelling this year but COVID-19 and lockdown did make me rethink a few things and use the downtime as an opportunity to rethink my career and introduce more family lifestyle content to the blog.

I really hope you enjoy reading The Travel Hack and please do follow me on Instagram for daily updates!

Jessica Friend

Monday 5th of October 2020

This felt like the Monica's 'Greatest Hits' in a lovely feel-good way! And I've loved revisiting all your milestones again - avid follower from 2010! :-)


Monday 5th of October 2020

Hehe, I should have made a cheesy album cover for the greatest hits!


Thursday 19th of December 2019

In all photos you look so joyful such a great photography and i am appreciating your blog. Perfect Travel blog.

Liz Allan

Thursday 6th of June 2019

I really enjoyed seeing your travel timeline and having a little roundup! I’ve only started to follow you recently and I’ve only started traveling out of the UK in the past few years. Thanks for sharing ?

Danica Watson

Wednesday 10th of April 2019

Thank you so much for sharing!!

sumit saini

Saturday 23rd of February 2019

I truly appreciated seeing your movement course of events and having a little gathering! I've just begun to tail you as of late and I've just begun going out of the UK in the previous couple of years. I've as of late been to North Sweden and gracious my I cherished it to such an extent! I'm eager to perceive what 2019 has in store for you