As Father Time prepares to hand over the reigns to Baby New Year, allow me to offer a few reflections on 2014.This was not the year I imagined it to be, with the beauty of married life and unplanned travel to exotic lands consternating sincere plans to make it a year of trip reports.
On the first day of this year I wrote:
But for all my travel plans, this will not be a travel year. This year, the focus will be on catching up…I have so much to write about that has gone unreported. Cuba, Cambodia, Malaysia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Burma, Australia, Singapore, Bolivia, Iceland, Moldova, Transnistria, Latvia, Estonia, Finland, Cyprus, and many more destinations I have visited, had fascinating experiences, yet written almost nothing. I have dozens of hotel reviews to publish and a huge number of longhaul flights to write about. Although the travel bug refuses to dissipate, I will do my best to exhibit self-control until I am caught up. There is so much to write about and as the days turn into months, and months into years, my notes and memory grow foggier and the information falls out of date.
I still must publish trip reports on Cuba, Cambodia, Malaysia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Burma, Australia, Singapore, Bolivia, Iceland, Moldova, Transnistria, Latvia, Estonia, Finland, Cyprus, and now a raft of other places.
Award Expert continues to prosper, but it is hard work — even with the assistance of my incredible team, the days are long and the hours are numerous in trying to make this venture a sustaining success. With my choice to focus on this company rather than practice law, it is my only source of financial sustainment.
And that is a problem — this blog does not bring in a lot of revenue. No credit card affiliates or sponsors means I write because I like to write and nothing else. And yet I have no plans to give up this blog, for I continue to amass travel experience that is unique to every other blog out there.
But I realized this year more than any other that blogging takes an immense amount of time and discipline. I am not a magician like Gary Leff who can churn out ten posts a day in three hour’s time — each post is slowly constructed and when you throw in photos and the editing required for those, you can better understand why there has been so few trip reports this year.
My new year’s resolutions are unchanged from last year — the question is whether I can keep them better in 2015 than I did in 2014.
With United Airlines MileagePlus devalued, airfare up, and mandatory air travel now much more limited than in 2013, my revenue flying was halved this year. I will not qualify for 1K status, breaking a five-year run. Last year I attained MilionMiler status with United so I am now Premier Gold for life, or at least until UA decides to devalue that program. That means no more complimentary domestic upgrades (incredibly, my upgrade record remained perfect this year) or free award ticket re-deposits, but I will still have reduced change fees, free confirmed changes, and Economy Plus at time of booking.
With first class cheaper (though hardly a thrill anymore), buying paid premium tickets can often be justified.
But I traveled just as much this year as I did last year thanks to miles — a lot of award redemptions as I completely depleted my UA account prior to the 01 March devaluation.
Here’s a look at my travel (and personal) highlights for 2014:
January – My Day Trip to Washington to be an Escort, moved back to Germany
February – Adjusting to life in Germany
April – Another month in Germany
June – An epic adventure to make it from the “bachelor’s party” (it wasn’t really one) in HNL to the wedding in time, HNL-NRT-ORD-FRA; marrige and a brief honeymoon in Paris
August – A birthday celebration in Austria and stay at the new Park Hyatt Vienna
October – Moving to South Africa
November – Another weekned in London, a slow goodbye to Germany, and a RTW celebration to mark the sucess of the Africa trip: CPT-LHR-LAX-LHR-HKG-BKK-BWN-MNL-ROR-GUM-KIX-BKK-ICN-LAX-EWR-ZRH
December – The trip home to America
More on the year ahead tomorrow. Happy New Year!