Bloggers seem to be into numbers. Likes, followers, comments, page views, posts, sessions, bounce rates … The list goes on and on and on. When Steve and I started our blog, we couldn’t help but watch the numbers ourselves. Then, last May, we went to TBEX North America, a conference for travel bloggers and we heard a fantastic speaker named Lou Mongello. Lou is a Disney expert, host, speaker, and entrepreneur whose WDW Radio show has been named the Best Travel Podcast nine years in a row!

Two of the best bartenders we’ve ever met, Edgar and Bruno on the Celebrity Eclipse, helped us celebrate a milestone last summer.

Lou said some things that really made sense. He told the audience that “success is measured in levels of happiness.” It’s not really about the numbers. And he is so right. We still track some numbers as a way to gauge our growth. But at the end of the day, the numbers that mean the most to to us are these: How many people were inspired to travel somewhere new? Did someone write out a postcard for the first time in years? Were new perspectives understood? Who changed their views of a place or experience because of something we wrote? Is there greater understanding of the world  today than yesterday?

These are the numbers that we care about. They’re not easy to track or quantify but they represent what matters most to us. So, please keep telling us your stories, sending us your postcards, and sharing your ideas on what you’d like to see on Postcard Jar.

And for those of you who ran to your 8 a.m. stats class with excitement, here are a few breakdowns about how we’ve grown, by the numbers.

Facebook

Facebook is interesting. Just about the time we figure something out with Pages, it changes, so we’re constantly learning and trying to figure things out. Despite all of this, we saw a 74% increase in followers this year. We ended this third year with 1,491 followers, most from our home state of Nebraska. Posts about our travels abroad helped us increase our international followers from 17 countries last year to a whopping 43 countries this year! We now have followers from places like St. Kitts, Tunisia, the UK, and even Romania, Sri Lanka, and Norway. And by the way, you all speak 17 different languages, which is quite impressive.

It’s always nice to get likes, shares, and comments on Facebook, but the number we really look at is engagement. What we love most is when people are engaged with our content (i.e. “like,” “comment,” “share”). We love meeting new people online, hearing your stories, and answering your questions — so thanks for reaching out! You can follow us on Facebook HERE.

Instagram

I’m not ashamed to admit it. I have a crush on Instagram. I love taking photos. I love seeing other people’s photos. And yes, I’m falling madly in love words that weren’t even in my vocabulary five years ago, like Perpetua, Ludwig, and Hudson. We had 216 new Instagram posts this year and saw a 209% increase in followers.

 

I’m not really sure how to track which photos were the most popular, but I can share my favorites: the blue bricks in San Juan, Puerto Rico; the close up of sweet corn from a local farmer last summer; and the small section of a mosaic wall in the gold room at Stockholm City Hall in Stockholm, Sweden. You can follow us on Instagram HERE.

Pinterest

Pinterest has me in a conundrum. I enjoy pinning things from our blog to our Pinterest boards and seeing what others are pinning. However, more times than not, I plan to take “just a few minutes” to do some pinning and suddenly I’m off to the nursery for supplies for a new arrangement in my front porch planters, or I’m scavenging the pantry to see if I have everything I need to make salted caramel brownies. It is just so easy to get distracted!

Nonetheless, we added 11 boards this year and our followers grew by 101%! Some of my favorite boards on our Pinterest page include: Decorating with Travel, Teaching Kids About Travel, and Travel Gifts. You can follow us on Pinterest HERE.

Twitter

Steve manages our Twitter account and we grew our followers by nearly 160% this year. Of course Twitter is a bit difficult to manage when you have a full time job and no access to your feed during the day. Steve is in his 7th year as a middle school principal and sadly, the Twitterverse rolls on without him while he’s supervising the 6th grade lunch room and tending to the rest of his duties at school.  We do try to tweet evenings and weekends and of course, when we’re traveling.

Twitter moves so quickly and we’re trying our best to keep up. We’ve joined some Twittter chats with our midwest travel bloggers and are still finding our way. While our account may not have quite the pizzaz of President Trump’s, we typically have some interesting travel-related tweets and tips that we hope don’t offend anyone. You can follow us on Twitter HERE.

YouTube

We have exactly one YouTube subscriber. But then again, we haven’t done too much with YouTube just yet.

We have posted 19 videos so far, including our mixology class on the Celebrity Eclipse, airplanes landing over Maho Beach in St. Maarten, and our most viewed video of the sounds from the Gonda Building at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota [below].

You can follow us on YouTube HERE.

We’d love to get your feedback about Postcard Jar, as well, so let us know what you’d like to read more about. Did we share something that has inspired you to travel more this year? You can reply in the comments section below. Again, thanks for following along on our journey. You mean the world to us!!

  • Yesterday was Day 16 of social isolation for us. Because of Ann's underlying heart condition and suppressed immune system, we've cooked all our meals at home (no takeout). We've starting to get more and more creative as time has gone by. ⁣
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Last night, we made chicken and shrimp vindaloo and learned online how to make homemade naan.⁣
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It wan't as good as our favorite Indian restaurant, The Oven, but it did satisfy the craving we've had for Indian food. ⁣
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What are you craving these days?
  • We moved our living room furniture around this week and put two swivel chairs near the sliding glass door. Each day, we take time to turn around, rest our minds, enjoy in the view, and just be. #webelieveinhome
  • Our daughter, Meghan, is a cardiac ICU nurse. Despite all of the current uncertainties in healthcare during this pandemic, early this morning she put on her scrubs and went to work a 12+ hour shift. 
She is not alone. Across the country and around the world, healthcare workers are putting the safety of themselves and their families at risk to help others. It's what they do. Every. Single. Day. 
We are incredibly grateful that there are selfless people like this in the world and we pray for them and we hope you'll join us. 
We couldn't sleep this morning, so we wrote instead. Click on the link in our bio to read our morning thoughts and prayers.
  • Trying to decide where we’ll travel this weekend. Covered porch? Living room? 😉
  • We are staying home. 
We've been here for almost a week now because Ann is one of "those people." You know the ones. Those people with an underlying health issue. Those people with a suppressed immune system. One of those people who could become seriously ill, need hospitalization, and even die if exposed to the coronavirus.  Those people need your help to stay safe and live. And all you have to do is stay home when you don’t NEED to be out.

Over the past few days, we’ve seen photos, videos, and witnessed first hand people of all ages (but mostly young people) gathering in groups for what us mid lifers would consider “non essential” reasons: birthday parties, movies, youth sports practices, St. Patty’s Day celebrations at the bar, spring break at the beach, and the like. 
We don’t understand it. 
We try not to judge. 
But just for a time during this worldwide pandemic, could we ask people who are participating in non-essential activities to consider who “those people” most at risk really are?

Those people are already battling serious illnesses.

Those people want to see their grandchildren grow up.

Those people need to do their jobs as nurses and doctors.

Those people are first responders. 
Those people run the grocery store, and the pharmacy, and the gas station. 
Those people pray for you and your generation. 
And what about those other people? 
The ones you know.

Those people who made sacrifices to meet your needs.

Those people who took care of you when you were sick.

Those people who went to your games and cheered you on. 
Those people who taught you in school.

Those people who helped you pay for college.

Those people who cooked your favorite dish for you.

Those people who taught your Sunday School class.

Those people who have forgiven you.

Those people who will always love you unconditionally.

We keep wanting to scream, “It’s not about you, it’s about those people!” But the truth of the matter is, IT IS ABOUT YOU. 
You have the power to help.
You have the power to influence others.
You have the power to flatten the curve.

And by not changing your behaviors, you also have the power to harm. 
How will you choose to use your power?j
  • We’re sharing your postcards and encouraging you to help others and stay positive. 
If you’d like to send us a postcard, mail to: Postcard Jar, PO Box 334, Crete, NE 68333.
  • Stuck at home? We're just social distancing here in Nebraska and thinking up ways to experience travel without leaving our home. ⁣
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We have a NEW BLOG POST (link in bio) with more than a dozen ideas of ways you can curb your wanderlust while stuck at home. ⁣
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What are you up to today?
  • It’s Day 2 at home together and here’s what we’re up to. Let us know what you’re doing in the comments below.

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