Thursday, March 5, 2020

What The Heck Was I Up To For 2 Years?

Last year, I decided to start this blog up again after a two year absence. Since then, I’ve been enjoying exploring the world of craft beer and it’s a choice that I’m glad that I made. However, I feel that I owe you readers an explanation as to what I was up to during my absence as well as what exactly inspired me to come back.

Let’s start back in February of 2017. I was in the last months of my MBA and was prepping for what was to happen afterwards. I was also suffering from burnout thanks in part to my job, school & the need to consistently post on my website. Looking back, a lot of the pressure was things that I more-or-less brought upon myself but, at that moment in time, I didn’t take the time to really step back and think about it. So one weekend, I made the choice to start a website dedicated to travel since I really wanted to shift my focus elsewhere as well as pushing myself out of my comfort zone. Hence, The Sheltered Gallivant was born.

Hiking at Zion National Park

At first, the passion I had for writing about travel was burning brightly. The first article I ever did was on Taconite Harbor, a ghost town along Minnesota’s North Shore and doing the research, as well as visiting site itself, was an incredible & rewarding experience. The following month, I made the journey to Zion National Park and drove across the State of Utah by myself and it was an amazing experience and I only branched out from there further. I would make several trips during the time of running The Sheltered Gallivant and I’m thankful and humbled by the experiences.

Gravity Bar at the Guinness Storehouse

To top it all off, I got to meet and connect with some truly amazing people as well as get the opportunity to do collaboration work with several businesses during my tenure.

However, there was a few things that happened while I ran the website that ultimately led me back to Nick’s Beer Blog. It wasn’t just one big thing that occurred but it was a series of events that made me realize that travel blogging, while fun, wasn’t really my cup of tea.

For starters, about a year after I started The Sheltered Gallivant, I was diagnosed with depression after it hit me particularly hard. In truth, I had been dealing with it on-and-off for the past 12 years but I had never actively sought out treatment for it until after having a literal breakdown, with absolutely no rhyme or reason, while I was going into work one morning. When I got the diagnosis, it confirmed what I had long suspected but to actually hear it being said to me was tough. However, it provided me with an answer to what I was feeling and I was able to get treatment for it as a result. Almost two years later, I’m glad I went in when I did.

My writing, as a result, took a hit. I found myself with no motivation to do any kind of writing. So I decided to start networking with other travel bloggers to find an inspiration of sorts, since I deduced that this was the path I needed to take. So that fall, I attended a travel bloggers conference to find that motivation. It was here that I encountered another glaring problem: I couldn’t relate to them.


My idea of travel blogging versus their idea of travel blogging were wildly different. I tended to focus on more of the off-beaten path of locales I visited while the other bloggers tended to focus on luxury travel. Now I have no qualms about luxury travel blogging since I find it kind of fun to read about, amusing even. However, that just wasn’t me. That’s not to say that they were bad people, far from it; But in the end, I felt I was an outlier of sorts and I left feeling like I had accomplished nothing. Nevertheless, I pushed forward with my writing.

Working press at the Summer Beer Dabbler (2018)

Which brings me to the next thing: I never left beer blogging. Looking back on my posts that I made on my The Sheltered Gallivant, over half of them involved alcohol, wine or craft beer in some capacity. From a cost perspective in terms of website maintenance, it just didn’t make sense. However, it didn’t hit me until later on (which I’ll get to in a moment.)

When 2019 rolled around, I started hot right out of the gate with articles and posts but by the time April rolled around, I had lost virtually all motivation to do any travel blogging what-so-ever. Any motivation I had to start planning for any type of trip was gone. That, paired with the death of my best friend after his four-year battle with cancer, was the proverbial nail in the coffin for my travel blogging career. I had contemplated giving up writing altogether and I was about to pull the trigger on that decision.

What changed that was a visit to my old stomping grounds in Duluth during a weekend in June 2019.

2019's hottest FPS game at Blacklist Brewing

I spent most of my time taking photos of the North Shore as well as doing some drone photography (Weather Permitting) but spent my evenings at the various taprooms in the Duluth Area and one of them was a regular haunt of mine: Blacklist Brewing. During an axe-throwing session, my buddy, who works at Blacklist  was telling everyone that I was a blogger and used to write about craft beer. As luck would have it, one of the people at the brewery actually knew of Nick’s Beer Blog and even said that they missed my articles.

Also, even though I had not posted on the website for over two years by that point, people were still reading it on a regular basis for their own reference. Plus I did check on the dashboard every once in a great while. Sure, traffic had diminished since I had quit, but people were still reading it.

Ursa Minor's Drunk Gandalf: The beer I was having when I decided to bring back Nick's Beer Blog

The following day, as I was driving out of town, I decided to swing by Ursa Minor Brewing to sample some of their libations before heading back to the Twin Cities. As I sat there drinking their Drunk Gandalf Tripel, I put all the pieces together in my head of what had transpired that year and realized that Nick’s Beer Blog needed to return. I quickly made some notes on my phone as to how go about doing that.

I contemplated building a new website from the ground-up, much like how I did with The Sheltered Gallivant but then I remembered that my website was still there, sitting dormant. A couple weeks later, I made my first post in over two years announcing my return. Eight months later, I know in my heart it was the right choice and I’m just as happy to be back as the day I returned.

With that said, I have no regrets about my two year venture as The Sheltered Gallivant. Through it, I got to meet & work with some truly amazing people and experience places that I never would’ve gone to had I never started the website. So yes, even though it didn’t work out the way I would’ve liked, I wouldn’t take back those two years for anything.

So there you have it. I’m looking forward to all the adventures that await me here and I’m excited to share that journey with you.

As always, thank you for reading!

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