Well, April is already well on its way and I’ve been slacking on March’s Bordeaux in 365 Bottles update. Slacking, plus I hit the ground running this month and have just been incredibly busy. I haven’t been home to put in a full day of work in April yet, and it doesn’t look to be slowing down any time soon.
I worked on the #WelcomeTo England campaign with Visit Britain and iAmbassador
It was a whirlwind trip with a schedule so busy I actually cried from being so tired, but the #WelcomeToEngland was a really great campaign to work on with Visit Britain and iAmbassador.
The premise was that a local blogger would welcome two international bloggers to their city in England and show both the top tourist attractions, plus his or her favorite local things to do in their city.
I actually met and traveled with Heather from Heather on Her Travels almost two years ago now when we did a wine themed trip in Luxembourg. So it was great to see Heather again, and even better to actually see her city. Heather lives in Bristol and she’s always telling us bloggers when she sees us and in our professional Facebook groups that we should all come to Bristol.
We covered a lot in three days time and even did a live tv spot for Made in Bristol TV.
Suffering a bit of expat depression
As much as I love Bordeaux and living in France, it’s not all wine and macarons (or whatever your equivalent of sunshine and rainbows is). It may not look like it when I’m posting photos of beautiful châteaux and seemingly always off at some event or another, but at times it can be downright lonely. Especially when I’ve lived with my husband and best friend for 14 years before this.
Having Tim visiting for more than half of February and all the fun we had together may have just been what set off this little bout of just feeling lonely and down.
Plus, I turned 37. I know age is just a number and everyone says you’re only as old as you feel. But I found my first gray hairs, y’all. I stood gawking at them in the mirror and wondering how I’m old enough to have gray hair. Thankfully I’m blonde, so they’re probably undetectable to just about anyone else.
But it made me stop and think about where I thought I’d be at 37 and where I actually am.
I’m definitely not in the career I thought I would be in. And as much as I do love what I do, running my own blog as a business is a roller coaster of highs and lows.
Let me tell you. When your lifelong best friend plans a trip to Italy – the very country that you lived in for seven years – but doesn’t even think to tell you, let alone ask you for recommendations, you feel like a complete and utter failure at the very thing you do for a living.
Yup, it was taking a punch to the gut to find out my friend is going to Italy and planned her trip with some travel agent who has likely never even set foot in Italy. Not only does this blog has loads of information about Rome, I could have told her what tours she was thinking about that are a waste of money. And if she booked flights, hotels and tours through our affiliate sites like Booking.com, Viator, Walks of Italy and Skyscanner, I would have made a commission.
Affiliate income is an important egg in our basket. We spend time trying out tours, hotels and products that we genuinely want to recommend, and when readers book those tours or hotels or buy those products, we earn money. Our affiliate income each money makes up about a third of our total income.
Creating those passive revue streams is essential to us being able to travel and focus on researching that destination. Otherwise, I’d have to be more concerned about also trying to work by doing other things like writing freelance articles, doing Instagram takeovers and writing sponsored content for clients. When I’m pulled in so many different directions and I’m worried about where this month’s income is coming from, I’m not at my best for any of those clients.
Anyway, I let it all eat at me and I spent the better part of March just feeling down, tired, lonely and like I’m not doing anything with my life.
Slow going with launching the food tour business
I’m working on some totally out-of-sight things like I sent off the mock-ups for the pages of the website to my designer. But launching Bordeaux Bites & Bottles Food Tours is going to be a long, slow and frustrating process.
The main hold up is I have to complete my visa renewal first, then only after I can begin the process to change the type of visa I have…and then I can finally start to file paperwork to register my business in France.
I just received my notification of my visa renewal appointment and it isn’t until the beginning of May. So I’m already getting together the heaps of paperwork I’ll need to bring with me to that appointment, including getting financial documents from my American banks and retirement accounts translated to French and officially certified.
Ooh la la (which actually is more like our “oh my God” – yes, we Americans generally use that phrase entirely incorrectly), the French sure do love their paperwork.
Most Popular Post
I was really slacking in March with writing. I just couldn’t pull myself out of my funk and was experiencing some major writers block because of it.
I did quickly get my article put together from my trip to Bristol. It’s always easier to write when it’s still fresh, as opposed to looking back through notes and photos a few weeks later. Plus, campaign contracts typically have tighter deadlines and you don’t get paid until you produce the work. That’s certainly some motivation!
I published on the very last day of March and already the article has taken off. If you haven’t checked out yet why Bristol should be on your radar, give it a read.
Most Popular Instagram Photo
I’ve actually slowed things down with how often I travel internationally, so I’ve had a lot of photos of Bordeaux in our Instagram feed. I realize not everyone might love Bordeaux as much as I do, so I’ve been trying to mix things up a bit.
Tim and I used to travel to Sint Maarten every year. We haven’t been there in a while, and Instagram didn’t even exist when we were traveling there. I threw it way back and shared some of our favorite beaches and things to do from one of our favorite places in the world.
Throwing it back to one of our favorite islands in the world. We used to own a place on Saint Maarten and visited every year. It’s been far too long since our last visit and United planes don’t even land at Princess Juliana International Airport anymore. Now you can catch @klm flights soaring just feet above you on Maho Beach. Definitely a must for any plane lover!
What I’m Drinking This Month
I actually didn’t drink a whole lot of wine in March, but there was lots of cider and craft beer over my three days in Bristol. I’m working on a post about our cider tasting experience, but you might be as surprised as I was to learn that cider tasting is a lot like wine tasting.
I only attended one wine event in Bordeaux in March, a Salon Art di Vin. It’s an annual event put on by students at one of the wine schools here in Bordeaux and local artists come together with châteaux to exhibit art and wine. Since everyone was volunteering to help the students earn money, I found that even some of the best châteaux of Bordeaux were definitely not exhibiting their top quality wines though and I was a bit disappointed with most of the tastings.
One of the tasting highlights was the Champagne Virginie T, which I tasted both a Brut and their La Grande Cuvée 6 ans d’âge which is aged six years. It was quite different and I really liked it.
I also tasted:
- Paul Kibler Riesling Breitenberg from Alsace
- Savennières Clos de Saint Yves 2014 from Loire Valley
- Savennières Clos du Papillon 2011 from Loire Valley
- Close des Lunes Lune d’Argent 2015, a white Bordeaux
- Domaine de la Solitude Rosé 2016 from Rhône
- Château Marquis de Terme Margaux 2013 and Margaux Grand Cru Classé 2014
- Château Pedesclaux Pauillac Grand Cru Classé 2014
- Château Lilian Ladouys Saint-Estèphe 2012
- Château Cos Labory Charme de Cos Labory Saint-Estèphe 2012 and Saint-Estèphe Grand Cru Classé 2012
- Château Lafon-Rochet Saint-Estèphe 2007
- Château Grand Corbin-Despagne Petit Corbin-Despagne Saint-Émilion Grand Cru 2011 and Saint-Émilion Grand Cru Classé 2014
- Château Fombrauge Saint-Émilion Grand Cru 2007
- Château Les Grands Chênes Médoc 2012
- Château Rabaud-Promis Sauternes Premier Cru Classé 2010
- Château Guiraud Sauternes Premier Grand Cru Classé 2008
Bottle Count: 157
Coming Up in April 2017
I did manage to get myself feeling better. The warm weather, sunshine, longer days and an absolutely packed month full of exciting events and trips definitely helped.
Early April is always En Primeur in Bordeaux, meaning “future wine”. It’s when journalists and wine professionals like negotiates get to sample the previous year’s vintage to get a feel for how the wine will be. The 2016 vintage was harvested a little later than has been typical in past years. The wine has barely been in barrels for four months, so it’s very young for Bordeaux wine (which typically ages for 5-10 years before it’s truly ready to be drunk).
En Primeur already happened this week, which is why I’m so late getting this month update out. If you follow me on Instagram Stories, you got a look inside the tasting events. But I’ll be writing all about exactly how En Primeur works and my 10 picks for wines to buy when they’re finally bottled and released in about a year or two.
I also can’t believe this is only 11 days away now, but Tim and I are meeting in the Seychelles. It’s a new country for both of us and we’re working with an amazing private island resort called Fregate Island Private, whom I met with at the Traveller Made Essence of Luxury Travel conference I attended in Normandy in February. It’s the only place beside the Galapagos where you can find giant tortoises and we’re very excited to meet some of the tortoises, add some more dives to our log books and discover this beautiful African island nation.