Year in Review: 2022 Blog Stats and Recap

For me, 2022 was a profoundly strange year, filled with ups and downs. We finalized adopting our cat and moved from Mexico to Virginia, I succeeded in my 100-lb weight loss goal, took a road trip to Florida, started my fourth tour in Washington, DC, and visited the west coast three times in one year. I got promoted, saw my favorite band live, took fun beach trips with my husband, and took a family trip to Europe. But I also was knocked off-center by the traumatic death of an old friend, struggled at times to learn my new job, and dealt with illness – both my own and that of multiple family members.

Year in Review

Similarly to how I started 2021 (with high hopes and fingers cautiously crossed), I began 2022 with relief to leave a dysfunctional work situation in Ciudad Juárez. I was looking forward to moving and setting up our new house in Virginia.

In January, we prepared for a PCS move, and packed out our house the first week of the year. We left Mexico the following week, driving across Texas, Arkansas, and Tennessee, where we got stuck an extra day in a snowstorm and had to take our poor cat Dzish to an animal hospital to treat his recurrent eye infection. We eventually made it to Virginia, where a few days later I hit the 100-lb weight loss milestone I’d been aiming at for the past 13 months.

We spent the next several weeks of February and March settling into our new house – once we could move into it and had received both our air freight and household effects – which I talked about here and here. It was strange to do home leave on the east coast rather than with my family on the west coast, but I was grateful I got home leave at all; I had banked sufficient home leave days during service abroad, but it isn’t typical to have any home leave authorized prior to a domestic tour. The whole purpose of home leave is to acclimate stateside between overseas tours. However, the Department, after reading the justification I sent, granted me the maximum home leave of 35 days.

I dealt with my readjustment issues the best I could, marked the eighth anniversary of the blog, and took a solo road trip down to Florida and back for a dear friend and former bridesmaid’s baby shower. Then I started my fourth diplomatic tour in Washington.

In April, spring began to really blossom and our yard filled with flowers. Easter came and went, we bought a new orthopedic mattress and bedroom furniture set, and we had some visits with dear friends including one who visited from Texas. I also stumbled upon unexpected news of the suicide death of an old friend, who was also my college-era boyfriend. My search for answers about his passing and the circumstances around it plunged me into deep grief that still hasn’t abated one year later.

In May, I marked the 10th anniversary of passing the FSOA and started reading a lot about grief and suicide loss. We hosted some of my husband’s visiting friends from Macedonia at our home for dinner. I also took my first solo road trip from Virginia to the west coast and back, returning back home in June.

When I returned, I put another new set of tires on my 12-year old road warrior Volkswagen, and went to a barbecue honoring colleagues who were studying the Macedonian language at FSI to serve at U.S. Embassy Skopje. In July my stepdaughters A and D came from North Carolina and Georgia, respectively, to visit us in Virginia before departing with their dad to Macedonia to see their grandmother and cousins. I also went to see my favorite band Incubus play in rural Virginia and visited with a college friend in town from Peru.

In August I marked 17 years of federal service and then joined V and A in the Balkans myself for a few weeks of summer vacation. (D had departed prior to my arrival to organize her move to Tennessee as she started her sophomore year in college.) V, A, and I took a road trip through the former Yugoslavia, visiting Macedonia, Serbia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, and Croatia (written in eight parts, beginning at the link). When we came home, we took a day trip with A to see George Washington’s estate, Mt. Vernon, which we’d all already seen. But it’s magnificent and always worth a visit, especially being located so near our house.

The summer overall was kind of a blur, between health issues in my family and my own sadness and disbelief about the death of my friend. In September I marked National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, renewed my tourist passport (they have a cool new look inside!), and had dinner with another college friend in town from southern California as well as with an A-100 colleague in town from Brazil.

In October I celebrated my birthday, went to an office retreat with my team, and saw one of my favorite podcasts – Terrible, Thanks for Asking – live on stage at DC’s Lincoln Theatre. I also volunteered at the Out of the Darkness suicide prevention walk on the national mall.

In both November and December, I traveled to the west coast, first on another solo cross-country road trip and later by plane to celebrate Christmas with my parents for the first time in eight years. We had a peaceful New Year’s Eve at home since V was struggling with COVID, but fortunately he recovered well and I didn’t contract it.

Otherwise during the year, I enjoyed lots of nature walks I never posted to the blog about, reflected in the spring upon passing the FSOA a decade earlier and later on the expenses of a domestic tour. I also took six major road trips as a solo driver, spending more than 70 days on the road and traveling over 21,000 miles through almost half the states in the union.

I wrote several other topical posts, too: about social media’s effect on modern-day friendships (here and here), about our first Foreign Service pet (parts one and two), about the phenomenon of neighborhood “buy nothing” groups and how ours helped me rediscover community after moving back to Virginia, and about the Foreign Service promotion process.

Blogging in 2022

  • In 2022, I only wrote 23 new posts, down for the third year in row (from 28 in 2021, 38 in 2020, and 47 in 2019). However, the average words per post continued to get longer and was the highest ever at over 2,500; the previous year’s average was around 2,100 words per post.
  • The most posts I wrote in any month was in January, with a high of six. The previous all-time highest number of posts written in a month was in December 2021 with 10.
  • Blog readership in 2022 was up, but only slightly. Unique page and post views rose by one percent to 38,757. Unique visitors also increased marginally, rising only one percent over the prior year to 15,904 but setting a new all-time high.
  • The blog surpassed 250,000 total lifetime views by a mere 140 hits.
  • No month in 2022 broke the highest-ever number of monthly views for the blog (5,111 in August 2020). However, during all 12 months there were at least 2,400 page views per month, with six months being above 3,000 page views per month, and three months being above 4,000 page views per month.
  • Blog readers in 2022 landed here on the site from 151 different countries, up slightly from 146 in 2021. See below for a list of the top 20 countries from which visitors most frequently viewed the blog:

Where does your VPN say you are? Although the majority of 2022 blog visitors hailed from the United States, I’m happy the blog still received readers from almost every country in the world!

  1. United States
  2. Australia
  3. Canada
  4. United Kingdom
  5. Mexico
  6. India
  7. China
  8. Germany
  9. Philippines
  10. Japan
  11. Morocco
  12. Austria
  13. Italy
  14. France
  15. Spain
  16. Belgium
  17. Netherlands
  18. Singapore
  19. Peru
  20. Bosnia & Herzegovina

Below is a list of 2022’s top 20 posts and pages ranked by the number of the views they received, and including their year of publication:

  1. Tips for Authenticating Louis Vuitton Multicolore (2020)
  2. I Left My Heart at the Iberostar Grand Paraíso (2021)
  3. Foreign Service Housing (2019)
  4. My Foreign Service Timeline (2014)
  5. How I Lost 100 Pounds in 2021 (2022)
  6. Becoming an FSO Part II: The QEP (2014)
  7. I Love a Sunburnt Country (Wide Brown Land) (2019)
  8. A Decade After the Oral Assessment (2022)
  9. Becoming an FSO Part III: The FSOA (2014)
  10. About the Author (2014)
  11. Suckerpunch II: The Last Guardrail (2021)
  12. Anagen (2022)
  13. Farewell, Mexico (2022)
  14. No Nepenthe (2022)
  15. PCS Countdown, Part II (2022)
  16. Not So Far Away: Last Hurrah to the Sunshine State (2022)
  17. Flag Day Announcement… IV (2021)
  18. Flag Day Recap (2014)
  19. Year in Review: 2021 Blog Stats and Recap + Eight Years in Blogging (2022)
  20. 1,940 Miles Later (2022)


  • I wrote less often in 2022, but more in-depth. I’m thinking for 2023 to try and write shorter posts, more often.
  • Of the top 20 most-viewed posts in 2022, nine were written in 2022 and the other 11 were written in earlier years.
  • The 2020 post about my Louis Vuitton rainbow purses continues to drive more traffic to the site than any of my Foreign Service-related posts. And… that fact continues to make me laugh a little, since I am in no way a fashion blogger.

Thank you as always to blog readers who enjoy coming here, especially to those who send me questions about the Foreign Service. I enjoy corresponding with you and I promise that I will return your email, even if it takes me a while. You can ask me anything you want; no questions are off-limits. But please be aware that I’m not able to commit to interviews or on-camera conversations at this time; email is best (see contact info below). I may also include include your question – totally anonymously and without attribution – as part of my on-again, off-again “Your Questions Answered” blog series.

~ Special shout-out to the January 2023 A-100 class: I heard from one in your midst that Collecting Postcards was mentioned more than once in the halls of FSI. ~

I hope the first quarter of 2023 has been good to you all, and that you have plenty to look forward to in the coming months!

Contact me!


Facebook: @collectingpostcardsblog

Twitter: @pennypostcard

Instagram: @life_in_multicolore (purse-related; just for fun!)

Great memories with my husband V in 2022

  1 comment for “Year in Review: 2022 Blog Stats and Recap

  1. April 13, 2023 at 06:06

    Always get so much out of your writing!

    Liked by 1 person

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Sarah W Gaer

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