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I started this blog almost three years ago at the encouraging (insistence) of my husband. At the time, I read far more mom and parenting blogs than miles and points blogs, and had no idea why I should be a mom who blogs about miles and points. Sure, I lived and breathed miles and points for my own family, but I had no background or interest in blogging. I really think my husband was just tired of hearing about miles and points and wanted me to have a regular outlet other than his ears, so he directed me online. He picked the website name, got it all set-up, and enjoyed managing the IT side of things (especially at the beginning before the site was hosted by BoardingArea). At that time, my daughter was a little over one year old, and we had just come off the hardest year of our lives. Having an infant was not what it looks like in the sweet commercials with sleeping babies for us, it was a ton of crying, some terrifying moments in the hospital, and a ton of sleepless nights. There was some good in there too, but it was overshadowed at times by the ridiculous level of exhaustion and being overwhelmed.
When the blog began, we had just started to travel again after taking some time off to be home with our (not-so-easy) new daughter. Before her we traveled pretty regularly, but after her arrival, the focus of travel had dramatically shifted from exploring new places on long weekends and having fun, to visiting relatives to get her connected to family. I give all of that background to explain how when this blog started one of my biggest travel goals with miles and points was to fly “coach to Kansas” as that is where my husband’s parents live. Going there not only got my daughter connected to grandparents, but it let us breathe for a few minutes with some extra helping hands on Little C. That was three years ago.
Since then so many things have changed. I went from having a full time social work job for the State of Texas to having Mommy Points be my full time endeavor (which I didn’t even know was possible three years ago). I went from having a one year old toddler to a very grown up four year old little girl. I went from having a travel-resistant husband, to one that almost really likes travel…as long as it is done in comfort. I went from having a steady, though smaller, stream of miles and points, to having the sky almost be the limit with all the sign-up bonuses and earning opportunities out there. I went from having miles and points mostly being a life-line to other family members, to it being the gateway to explore the world, both with and without my kiddo by my side.
I share this brief summary of three years of events to help explain how our travels have changed. Often when I write up trip reports to places beyond Grandma’s house or Disney, such as my most recent trip to Norway, I will get some comments related to how my blog has lost focus. These comments will reference how the site used to be focused on getting family to Grandma’s, and now it is just like “all the others” with pictures of champagne in first class. Normally I just take the good comments with the bad as it comes with the territory of being on the internet and sharing a portion of your lives with others. However, these comments are a bit different for me, and I think are worth addressing in a round about way because they don’t just relate to me, I think they relate to all families.
When you start a family, virtually everything about your life changes in an instant. For some this change is probably a bit less abrupt than it was for us, but regardless, if you are doing a halfway decent job as a parent, then your priorities and available time literally change in a flash when your first child is born. This isn’t a bad change, but it is a big change. Then, over the next several years the changes continue as your child(ren) gets older. They go from being totally dependent on you, to being almost self sufficient for many daily tasks within a few short years. They go from crying when you put them down in their crib, to literally doing a choreographed happy dance when a weekend with Grandma and Grandpa is scheduled. Because we all know that everything goes at Grandma’s house! This may seem tangential to travel, but in our cases it is directly related. We still fly to Kansas in coach several times a year to visit family, but now our travels have been able to expand beyond there as our daughter has grown-up so much. We now also get to (very occasionally) fly “First Class to Frankfurt”, as I did in my recent trip to Norway.
For me, this doesn’t mean that our family, or the blog has lost a focus of family travel. It means that over the course of several years we have been able to increase the scope of our travel. We still do the type of travel we did before when our daughter was still so young, but now we can expand beyond just that. My own big girl will be taking her first trip to Paris this spring with me, and it will indeed be in a premium cabin as I sure don’t play the miles and points game as much as I do to have us fly in coach and arrive more tired than necessary. That is a luxury that has been afforded to us (and likely many of you) thanks to this wonderful hobby. She is counting down the days, and together we are learning a tiny bit of French via a free app (Duolingo) to make the trip both exciting and educational. Sure, our wings have expanded beyond coach to Kansas, but that doesn’t mean the focus isn’t still often on family travel. It is just different travel that a maturing family can do.
While not every traveling family has a blog that shares their travel evolution piece by piece to anyone interested in reading, I do think that every family goes through transitions where things that once seemed out of reach, eventually become not only doable, but easy. This may be taking the kids to a sit down restaurant without chaos ensuing, or it may be flying with them to Europe. It may be mom getting to leave the house for an hour all by herself to get the grocery shopping done in peace, or it may be mom enjoying a few days with a lifelong girlfriend on a ski trip in a far away land. All of those things seemed impossible at one point for us, but they are all now not only within reach, but wonderfully almost easy. This isn’t because we changed as people overnight, it is because life has a way of constantly moving you along with it.
If we were to have another kiddo join the crew, I’m betting our travel patterns would once again shift pretty dramatically for a while. And then, I bet they would slowly, but surely, expand once again. If our not-so-Little-C is the only child in this traveling family, then our travels will likely have a different and ever expanding path. I don’t know what the future holds, but I do know that my family, and family travel, will always be the main focus for both my own life and this site. However, how that looks in practice will vary from day to day, year to year, and season to season. Every now and then, mommy may have a glass of champagne in first class, too.
If your family has also experienced some changes in your travel patterns over the years I’d love to hear about them!