The Discoveries Of

Julianna Barnaby, Founder

London, UK
Julianna at Fortica Fortress in Croatia Julianna in the Seychelles
Reigniting a love of travel

When Julianna Barnaby left university in 2007, she was eager to start her career as a travel writer, jetting off to Dubai to write features. But the honeymoon period didn’t last long.

“As the recession took hold in 2009, I watched the travel supplements in the Sunday papers go from really chunky things to being basically two pages, most of which were ads. I started to really question the future of the travel publishing industry — and I actually decided to leave.”

“I went to law school and worked as a corporate lawyer for several years before deciding it most certainly was not for me. So when I left the law firm I realized things had changed quite a bit since I had left travel writing the first time — now you could make a real living online through ad-supported content.”

In 2016, Julianna returned to her passion for travel writing with the launch of The Discoveries Of. “I wanted a space where I could showcase more of my portfolio and my style of writing to editors. I didn’t want it to be all first-person travelogs, which are great for giving the atmosphere of a place — but unless I give you the details about how I did it, you can't easily translate that into a trip you can plan for yourself.”

As the site continued to grow, Julianna started to think more about how an effective ad strategy could help her monetize the site — and turn this passion into a living. “I've always been completely obsessed with travel and really loved it. And so it became clear to me that I could build a site around something that I love, but also provide a ton of value to other people.”

Julianna at Zion National Park
More access, more voices

“I'm really happy that I started blogging at the time that I did because there were some really, really good communities around blogging,” says Julianna. “I joined a Facebook group called Female Travel Bloggers – I think they've since changed their name to be more inclusive — and people were really open and honest about sharing how they were building their sites. And that was where I heard about Mediavine — so in 2017 I set the target that I wanted to meet Mediavine’s threshold of 25,000 monthly users, then monetize from there.”

After lots of tireless writing, Julianna says she was “madly excited” when she finally hit that goal. “I remember earning my first five dollars and my God I was so excited about that!”

“Since then it's grown year on year, and today I have around 300,000 readers a month. My revenue has grown significantly thanks to ads. I’ve used that income to hire two writers who write pretty much exclusively for the site.”

“It's important to me to offer my content for free because I think that one of the real joys of the internet is that you can read good-quality content that helps you connect with the world in new ways free of charge. I've chosen to remain and plan to continue with an ad-supported model as it has helped my business to grow, whilst providing quality content that readers really connect with and find practically useful.”

“But above all, it's been amazing to see the development of the Internet and what that's meant for accessibility in publishing. Before I used to have to pitch to an editor or I'd have a kind of in-house role. And I just think that the development of publishing — particularly ad-supported blogging — has meant a plurality of voices rising to the front. We get to hear from so many different perspectives now, which I think is a super positive thing.”

Julianna in Chile
The wanderlust continues

Julianna loves that she gets to support herself doing the thing she loves most: jetting off toward new horizons. “Sure, I bring my laptop and am always working while I'm traveling — but it's been life-changing to have the flexibility to research trips, find out about trending destinations, then make them happen in real life. I wouldn't swap it for anything.”

To see others use the blog to ignite their love of travel is particularly gratifying. “I hear feedback from people all the time about how they've used it to plan their trip. It's always joyful when someone emails me to tell me that they've tried somewhere I've recommended and loved it, or that they used an itinerary I suggested for their trip and had a great time - it's wonderful to see your tips and advice being put to use in real life.”

With over a hundred countries under her belt, Julianna’s naturally starting to repeat old favorites — and still discovering new angles that take her breath away. “I just got back from Chile. I had been to the Atacama Desert when I went in 2016. Each time I go, I love watching the night sky — some of the clearest night skies in the world. You can see the Milky Way with your naked eye. It feels completely otherworldly. As I talk about it, I’m like ‘Should I start planning a third trip to Chile?’”

“I’ve learned that, when you go somewhere you're not discovering a place. The place exists and has existed long before you. It has its own culture. It has its own people. But travel always allows for personal discovery. So with The Discoveries Of, I’m always tapping into that idea that when you visit a new place, you are discovering it for yourself — which helps you see yourself more clearly.”

“I just think that the development of publishing — particularly ad-supported blogging — has meant a plurality of voices rising to the front. We get to hear from so many different perspectives now, which I think is a super positive thing.”

About the Publisher

Julianna Barnaby is a professional travel writer and geek extraordinaire. She started The Discoveries Of to help readers to explore the best of new destinations from around the world. Discovering new places is a thrill – whether it’s close to home, a new country or continent, she writes to help readers explore more and explore differently.
Julianna's headshot