Miles to Memories Has Moved to the BoardingArea Homepage – This Is How We Got There!

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Miles to Memories BoardingArea
Our throwback logo. Looks vaguely familiar doesn’t it?

This Blog’s Journey

I started blogging full time here at Miles to Memories just about 14 months ago. During that time readership has grown tremendously and I feel like I have grown as a writer. In other words, I am proud of what I have built here.

Family ‘Round the World

My road to becoming a full time blogger didn’t start like many. I didn’t just wake up and decide that I should write a blog. Back in 2007 I launched a blog called Family ‘Round the World to document my family’s 18 month backpacking trip. It was this blog that led me to fall in love with writing and sharing my travel experiences.

I loved Family ‘Round the World so much that I kept it alive once we returned with very infrequent posts. I also secretly loved the fact that almost every moment of our trip was online to be viewed at a moment’s notice.

The Blog Returns

Kotor, Montenegro. Taken during our three month trip in 2013 where I was inspired to start blogging again.
Kotor, Montenegro. Taken during our three month trip in 2013 where I was inspired to start blogging again.

Then in January of 2013 my family and I spent three months backpacking through Europe and I dusted off the old blog and began writing again. Something had changed though since the early days. By that time I was heavy into miles, points & credit cards. My writing still involved travel, but there was a lot more.

Throughout 2013 I continued to write Family ‘Round the World. After we returned from Europe I posted somewhat regularly, but my efforts were far from full time. Then in September of 2013 Daraius at Million Mile Secrets posted that he was hiring. I thought it was a perfect fit for me.

A Possible Job

To apply for that job I had to construct a post about loyalty programs for the infrequent traveler. I spent way too much time writing and editing that post to match the voice of his blog. My efforts seemed to work because I was one of a select few who were asked to fly out to meet both Daraius & his wife Emily in person.

As you may have guessed, Daraius didn’t hire me, although the experience of meeting both him and Emily inspired me. They were so gracious and while I wasn’t a fit for their blog, I knew my voice was unique and I felt there was a space for me in this crowded space.

Miles to Memories Is Born

Miles to Memories BoardingArea
Look familiar?

It was shortly after my trip out to meet them that I decided to commit myself full time to blogging. I knew that Family ‘Round the World didn’t fit as a name anymore, but I also wanted to keep all of the old travel content. I decided I would simply re-brand the old blog instead of launching a whole new one.

For weeks I went over names. Sometimes I would have a great idea only to find out that it was already taken. Other times I would like an idea only to sleep on it and discover it was terrible the next day. Then one night I awoke from my sleep and the name Miles to Memories came to me. I swear it happened exactly like that.

I liked the name so much that I immediately grabbed my phone to see if the domain was available. Indeed it was an I purchased it immediately. I had a name!

The Early Days

Writing is like exercise for the brain and it took awhile for me to get used to flexing my mental muscles in that way on such a regular basis. I was constantly struggling for content, so early on I dusted off the post I had written for MMS, tweaked it a bit to match my own voice and published it. (I still owned the rights to the content.) That was one of my most popular pieces early on. You can read it here.

For about a month after the relaunch I was chugging along with 50-100 readers a day when Daraius emailed asking if I wanted to do his Friday interview. We hadn’t spoken since my job interview and I still am not sure to this day if he ever realized I was that same person. Either way, the interview brought a tremendous amount of traffic to the site and out of that some loyal readers.

A Slow Growth

This little boy's smile inspired me while traveling to India on the Kerala Blog Express.
This little boy’s smile inspired me while traveling to India on the Kerala Blog Express.

From there readership grew slowly as I continued my commitment to write at least six days a week. Sometimes it was difficult to find topics to write about, but I managed. Back then I did news recaps on Saturdays and other various features to make sure I had regular content.

Then I was chosen to go to India for the Kerala Blog Express. Once there I met a tremendous group of bloggers who helped me grow in my craft. While I was the only miles & points blogger there, I felt at home in that group of true travelers. After all, I used to be one of them.

Coming back from India I was re-inspired to keep the momentum of the blog going. By that time traffic had grown to 250-300 people per day, which isn’t much, but it represented a 300% growth from only a few months earlier. Just a week after my return, I attended FTU Seattle where I had hoped to meet Randy Petersen (Founder of BoardingArea, Milepoint, FTU & More), but a combination of me being shy and him being busy kept that from happening.

Getting to Meet Randy

After returning from Seattle I still felt determined to meet and speak with Randy. By that point I had decided that BoardingArea was where Miles to Memories belonged. If only I could get Randy’s ear and show him. One day I hopped on Twitter and found that he was in my hometown of Las Vegas. In a courageous moment I decided to tweet him and was pleasantly surprised when he responded and agreed to meet me.

During our two hour long conversation Randy proved to me how genuine he is and confirmed for me that BoardingArea is where I belonged. By the end of the night he had complimented my work and offered me a spot on his new blogging network Prior2Boarding with the full support of his team. Of course I wanted to be on BoardingArea, however he made it clear that I would have to earn it. That was fine by me.

A New Network Is Launched – Prior2Boarding

BAcon Conference

When Prior2Boarding launched, I realized that Randy had assembled a fantastic group of bloggers for the new network. We definitely weren’t a second tier group and I was and still am proud to be associated with each of them. Prior2Boarding had such a strong contingent of talent, that with our shared resources and support from the BoardingArea team, traffic doubled on this site very quickly.

For the next couple of months I continued my daily efforts, spoke at FT4RL and began looking forward to the BoardingArea Convention which was held this past September. Not only was I able to meet some fantastic bloggers, but I left that convention armed with new knowledge and tools for success.

A New Chapter – BoardingArea

Since BACon, traffic and readership of the website has grown at a rapid pace. During that time I have increased the amount of time I spend on the site and my dedication to it. I also feel like the quality of the content has continued to improve.

Finally we have arrived back at today. Just this morning I was given the news that Miles to Memories is finally making its way to the BoardingArea homepage. I am both humbled and excited to usher in this new chapter for the site just as my wife and I are ushering in a new chapter of our life with the birth of our daughter in March.

Going Forward

For those who aren’t familiar with Miles to Memories, I write about a wide range of topics. I try to combine my years of family travel experience with my background in finance and sales to provide analysis on a number of topics including: family travel, deals, credit cards, miles & points, manufactured spending and more.

These topics are all close to my heart and I am thrilled to be able to share my knowledge and perspective with others. It sounds a little corny, but I get immense joy out of helping others achieve their travel dreams for pennies on the dollar.

To my long time loyal readers I just want to say thank you. To Randy and his entire team at the House of Miles I am so grateful for your help and support. Finally, for those who are new to the site (and those who were brave enough to read this far) I am here to answer your questions and I always welcome your feedback. Thanks for being there!


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18 COMMENTS

  1. Shawn,

    Congratulations! So glad to have you one the common board where I do most of my reading. Excellent place to be and they will be rewarded with your presence and contributions.

  2. Congratulations and good luck. Nice to see hard work advance.

    The harder you work, the luckier you’ll be! 🙂

  3. Congrats! I love reading about your family’s travels and adventures. You are truly making lifetime memories.

  4. […] Miles to Memories Has Moved to the BoardingArea Homepage – This Is How We Got There!  –  Miles To Memories    We get a little history of the blog and how it graduated from the minors to the Major League in front of the Boarding Area page. Obviously, the blogger is very happy and proud for achieving this so congrats. He reveals how he had applied for the full time job at Million Mile Secrets. What just stands out at me and can’t believe it is this: “As you may have guessed, Daraius didn’t hire me, although the experience of meeting both him and Emily inspired me. They were so gracious…” Whaaaaaat? Inspired, seriously? I just absolutely despise that blog and what he has done in my hobby (don’t get me started now, I leave it for Blog Buzz please!).  I mean, look at the Blog Buzz and the crap that blog is unleashing every day and he was inspired? I feel sick…I also wonder who were the “fantastic bloggers” he met in Bacon14. Pleeeease. Is kissing ass a requirement to be in Boarding Area or…just a business decision? Sooooo, who was hired?   Congrats on the birth of your daughter by the way, must be exciting. Not done yet… […]

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