Another new era for Breathedreamgo

Another new era for Breathedreamgo

On the Ganga River in Rishikesh, 2019. Photo credit: Siddhartha Joshi

I finally have the travel blog of my dreams! And now … it’s all about you …

BREATHEDREAMGO IS ALL ABOUT transformation … and now the site itself is transforming. There are lots of changes underway — new home page design, new guides, newly updated and expanded content, new affiliate partners — but the big change is the underlying shift.  Driving all of this change is a new focus on helping others travel through better site navigation, extensive guides, the ability to book travel directly on the site (via affiliate partners) or through me, via the India for Beginners custom tours … and much more to come.

Our purpose is to encourage you with inspiration and information to live your travel dreams.”

I started travel blogging in 2005 – I’m truly one of the old-timers – and I now feel the stars are aligning: I feel healthy, positive, and supported. And I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to be a successful blogger – both from successes and failures, from fans and foes, from trial and error … and from endless learning.

With an amazing team of people, I’m putting everything I’ve learned into practise now and working on improving all aspects of Breathedreamgo (following an illuminating SEO Audit last fall). Thanks to everyone who contributed to helping me get here, including and especially:

  • The Department of Canadian Heritage, Government of Canada for funding Breathedreamgo
  • Chris Richardson of RTW Labs, who offers the best WordPress management service available for travel bloggers: highly recommended!
  • Victoria Ward, my sister, who is my biggest ally and supporter plus the SEO and Affiliate Manager for Breathedreamgo
  • Kathryn Barlow, of kbarlow designs, a very talented designer whose expertise covers web development as well: highly recommended!
  • My friends, especially the Roncesvalles trio, who helped out with so much of the design
  • Siddhartha Joshi, who took the “mermaid” photo of me on the Ganga – which is now my signature photo and by some miracle, matches my brand colours
  • My supporters and readers, in India, USA, UK, Canada, and Australia (and around the world)
  • And my family, who feel like pillars to me.

Living nine lives in one

So, welcome to Breathedreamgo version 9.1! Ha, I’m actually kidding about version 9.1 … but it does feel as if Breathedreamgo has had nine lives. And me, too. I could be the poster girl for coming back from the brink of disaster, or rising like a phoenix from the ashes … or whatever metaphor works for someone who has felt on numerous occasions as if their life was over. If this is you, here’s my hard-earned advice. 1) Never ever ever ever ever ever give up. 2) Change your personal story.

My personal story is that I started travelling and blogging to recover from a terrible phase in my life punctuated by trauma and loss. That dreadful period went on for about 6 years, and I thought my life was over. I was sunk in a deep depression. But something in me was fighting back and seized on the idea of travelling to India in late 2004. And it worked!

I travelled in India for six months in 2005 and 2006, and started travel blogging on Travelblog.org … and the rest is history. Since then, my life and blog have evolved and transformed again and again.

Canada, Heritage, fundingThe most recent transformation started almost two years ago when I received funding under the Canada Periodical Fund Program, Business Innovation Component, Department of Canadian Heritage, Government of Canada. In the first round of funding, I transformed my blog to a “multi-contributor digital periodical.”

The second round of Canadian government funding was to help “monetize” my site and make it commercially viable. Previously, I had seen my blog more as a platform for my writing than as a business. I thought of myself as a creative person – a writer – not an entrepreneur. That was an important phase of my life because I had never before explored my potential creative talents, never stretched my creative wings, and never followed my heart.

India national bird peacock

Moving forward with purpose and confidence

But it was time to move forward – and to do so, I had to get beyond an ingrained negative and self-limiting personal story. Luckily, with help from many sources, I was able to find / grow the confidence to believe I can be successful – and give Breathedreamgo the chance it deserves to reach its potential, too. I also had to switch my mindset from creator to entrepreneur.

Don’t hustle: align

Some of the changes are already evident, and others will be coming in the next few months or so.  

  1. The biggest and most important change is that I am methodically going over all the content on the site, and updating it and expanding. I’m creating very comprehensive guides on a range of topics. Six are already featured on the home page, and you will see more to come. Please check out and share the following guides – and if you can link to them from a website, I would really appreciate it. It helps build authority for these pages
  1. With my friends Anjani and Ujjwal from Cloud Itineraries, I have created India for Beginners custom tours. These custom itineraries are designed to give first time visitors to India the amount of hand-holding they feel they need – from planning, to booking, to being available 24/7 during your journey.
  2. I signed up with MediaVine and I’m now running ads on Breathedreamgo. This is the preferred company for many bloggers, and they are great to work with.
  3. With my Affiliate Marketing Manager Victoria Ward, we’re looking for like-minded affiliate partners for the site. We are only going to work with companies and brands that we feel offer great value and service, and that fit with the Breathedreamgo brand. Novica is a perfect example. It’s a fantastic company that sells fair trade products made by artisans in India.
  4. I hired a young travel blogger from India, Tanisha, to help with Breathedreamgo on Pinterest. We are busy creating lots of beautiful new Pins and putting our strategy together. Pinterest can be a major traffic driver – which will help us meet our various goals for the site.
  5. I’ve revived my Travel Newsletter and I try and make it brief, uplifting, inspiring, and helpful. Please sign up in the sidebar.

And lots more new things to come as I again pour my heart and soul into Breathedreamgo, my labour of love. Thanks so much for reading, following, supporting and coming on this journey with me. I appreciate you all. 

In memoriam

In the last two weeks, the world lost two incredible women, who both inspired women to travel: Evelyn Hannon of Journeywoman and Rachel Jones of Hippie in Heels. This is a big loss for all of us, and of course especially their family and friends. 

But I have to say, this is a big loss for me personally. Evelyn was a mentor to me when I first started out as a travel writer and blogger. I had lost my own Mother, and Evelyn supported me the way my Mother would have — by encouraging everything I did, attending every gathering, and giving me the confidence to take the risks and just do it!

Travel Tweetup in Toronto

Janice, Evelyn, Mariellen and Nora at Toronto’s first travel tweet up 2009

Rachel inspired me with not only her enthusiasm for travel in India, but for taking her blog to the next level in terms of professionalism and business savvy. Her success showed me what could be done, and gave me hope, courage, and motivation. 

Both Evelyn and Rachel will continue to inspire women to travel, to go after their dreams, and to turn their dreams into reality. So if you need a kick in the behind just meditate on this: we’re all going to leave this world and we don’t know when. Do not put your dreams on hold for “some day.” There might not be a some day.

Mariellen, Rachel and Anna in Goa

Me with Rachel and Anna of Global Gallivanting in Goa in 2016


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