I went back and forth on whether I should even mention the fact that this blog turned three yesterday. After all, it’s not like my site is breaking records in terms of readership or revenue growth. But it’s still around against all odds, and that’s something worth celebrating, I think.
So, about three years ago I typed up my first post not knowing if anyone aside from my cousin-in-law would ever see it. My youngest one was only two and still in diapers, and my daughter was about to start kindergarten. At that point I had been reading miles and points blogs for about six months (after doing this hobby on my own for many years).
I couldn’t find anyone saying exactly what I wanted to say. So, I figured, since I would have a bit more time on my hands, why not start this fun little project? After all, how hard could it be to write a few words now and again, maybe even make a little bit of money while helping others?
It turned out to be so much harder than I ever imagined, in so many ways. I look back and it’s clear that this site was a hot mess during its first year and still is to some degree, I suppose. I was all over the place in terms of my message and topics. And I got on a high horse one too many times. I wish I had a time machine so I could go back and give this advice to myself:
- Start three years earlier.
- Don’t be a woman.
- Don’t be a stay-at-home mom.
- Don’t play late-to-the-game/woman /SAHM card.
- Don’t be a jerk and mind your own business.
- Don’t try to reason with unreasonable individuals. It’s similar to banging your head against the wall. You end up wasting time, getting a headache and in the end, accomplish absolutely nothing.
- Stay away from drama and people who like to create drama.
- Don’t take yourself/your message too seriously.
- Put your real family first, always.
- Don’t take anything personally.
The last one is probably the most important point of all. If you can’t separate your blog life and your real life, it’s time to pack up your virtual bags. I can’t stress how crucial it is not to tie self-worth to success of your blog. There shouldn’t be any correlation between page views/comments etc., and your happiness as an individual.
I have to sometimes remind myself just how incredibly blessed I am. I have a husband who constantly tells me I’m hot (or maybe he just humors me). I have two beautiful, healthy children. We have a decent house, enough food on the table and plenty of miles/points for a vacation or two (or three). If this blog lost all of its readers today, I would still be the luckiest gal in the world!
In many ways, this site is a love letter to my family, a record of our adventures together. Years from now, when my kids are grown and out of the house, I hope to be able to go back to trusted ole’ blog of mine. I will laugh, cry and reminisce about this best time of our life. I will wish I would have appreciated it more while it was happening. Live more in the moment instead of plan the next big trip, the next big thing…
Of course, this site isn’t just about me and my family. I want to be useful and provide actionable material you can read and apply in your life. Rather than see you as a collective blob from which I can make money, I’ve always viewed readers as individuals. Basically, I’ve tried to treat you in a way I would like to be treated.
Obviously, not everyone feels this site adds value. I know for a fact that quite a few consider it total garbage. I get it and don’t take it personally. I’ve never really tried to be all things to all people or claim to be an authority on, well, anything!
I don’t have to have anyone’s blessing or approval and don’t need a license or degree to write posts. While I do my best, mistakes will happen now and again. My hope is that the good outweighs the bad, and that those who truly benefit from my content will stick around and overlook inevitable slip-ups. My humor and writing style can be a bit abrasive, but I never want to come across as mean-spirited.
This world is a crazy place, and my goal is to create a refuge from all the stuff that are happening around us. Travel is fun, an escape from harsh reality of everyday life. That’s why I want to keep my content positive. Of course, I’m human and have the same problems as everyone else. Occasionally, my life gets messy and poop hits the fan. Though not literally. Not anymore.
So, thank you once again for sticking around and for all of your support. I value your comments, emails and the fact that you choose to use my affiliate links. A huge thanks to Nancy who is a tremendous asset to this site! I appreciate you being my loyal reader from the beginning and all of your hard work so far.
This is the part where I’m supposed to do a giveaway. I was planning on it, but decided to save it for another time. Why? Well, I’ve noticed that those type of posts bring in a disproportionate number of positive comments and love. Even trolls avoid giveaways.
I have nothing against love. I LOVE love. I just have a strict policy of never paying for it. So, at the risk of attracting furry creatures, I hope you leave a comment with suggestions on future topics as well as things you like/don’t like about my blog. Have something to say? Here is your chance. Consider it AMA (ask me anything) type of post.
As always, I have a strict “no profanity” rule, otherwise, say whatever you like. I won’t delete it.
Leana is the owner and founder of Miles For Family. She enjoys beach vacations and visiting her family in Europe. Originally from Belarus, Leana resides in central Florida with her husband and two children.