November 26, 2012.  I sat at my keyboard, full of ideas and hope, and crafted a pretty terrible first post (so bad that I kinda don’t want to even link it).  I couldn’t think of a creative title for the blog, so I just called it Andy’s Travel Blog.  The tagline at the time?  “Imagine a more creative title” (which actually got me some good search engine traffic from people searching for “creative blog titles”).  I hit Publish, not knowing the journey upon which I was departing.  Eight years later, here we are.  In a year that’s been crazier than any of us ever could have predicted, it’s no coincidence (ok technically it’s a coincidence but hear me out) that this blog’s eight-year anniversary comes on Thanksgiving here in the United States.

two men sitting in a chair

two men standing in front of a stone building with Western Wall in the background

I started Andy’s Travel Blog after a deeply meaningful trip my brother and I took to Israel on a $430 mistake fare.  I was tired of just saying “good” when people asked how the trip was, because there was so much more context and depth to the trip than that.  This blog was my vehicle to share my stories and, now, my photography with the world.  What started off as a small blog is, well, still pretty small, but I never imagined I’d be talking about pageview numbers in the millions.  I’ve worked incredibly hard on some posts only to watch them fall flat and not quite as hard on others that have absolutely soared, but I’ve tried to keep everything authentic and from my heart.

I don’t have anything profound to say ever today, except for maybe this: there’s always a reason to be thankful, but some days you’re going to have to find it.  This year has been hard for so many, but even in hard times there are small hopes to get you to the next day.  I’m sitting here in my recently-purchased condo in Dallas with a possible case of COVID-19, having canceled all my Thanksgiving plans, missing my family.  My younger cousin is fighting for her life, battling the same cancer that took our amazing grandmother from us, and recently had another obstacle she’ll have to fight through.  A very dear friend of mine confided in me the other day that she’s about to start chemo for a cancer I can’t pronounce.  Even something like my blog’s 8th birthday is heavy for me, as my 8th birthday was the last one I celebrated with my dad before he passed away a few months later.

Point is, there’s so much negativity out there, we’re in a hard time!  But let’s not lose hope.  There are always reasons to be thankful, if for nothing else that when you woke up this morning and drew your first breath, there was air there.  All that means that your time here isn’t done yet.  Find the hope and find the gratitude, I promise it’s there.  My prayers for all of us are not only that the times will get easier but that we will become stronger.

  • I’m thankful for every single reader that has visited this blog over the past eight years, all 1.2 million of you!
  • I’m thankful for every pageview I’ve received, just crossing the 2 million pageview mark this morning!
  • I’m thankful for the team and my fellow bloggers at BoardingArea, led by the incomparable Randy Petersen, for taking a chance on a no-name blog called Andy’s Travel Blog back in 2014 and, to this day, always supporting me even when I don’t write very often
  • I’m thankful for the encouraging comments you all have sent over the years.  Nothing makes me happier than knowing something I wrote or an experience I shared made a difference for you
  • I’m thankful for my airline friends and family, for getting me where I needed to go and being a part of the amazing journeys I’ve taken
  • I’m thankful that you all have supported my photography habit.  There are over 5200 images on this blog, and I’ve taken nearly every single one.  I hope you know how proud it makes someone feel when they put their work out there and people like it

You make this blog, not me.  You keep me writing, even when travel isn’t what it used to be because of a global pandemic.  You‘ve inspired my creativity and have been so wonderful with your support.  Thank you.

If you’ve ever been curious, here are the top ten stories (not posts, but actual stories I wrote, as some of the most viewed posts were about cheap flight deals), based on pageviews, in the history of Andy’s Travel Blog:

  1. They Will Fly Again: an Aerial Look at Grounded Jets across the USA
  2. Courtyard by Marriott Clemson trying to cancel dozens of reservations nine months after customers booked them
  3. I lost my Executive Platinum status and couldn’t be more thankful
  4. Singapore Airlines Suites Class: What It’s Really Like
  5. To the people of Singapore, Reddit, and the rest of the world: THANK YOU! (written after the author of a mega-viral story about Singapore Suites Class blatantly plagiarized my work and Reddit went crazy on him)
  6. EXCLUSIVE: Details of Casey Neistat’s FAA investigations
  7. What I Use to Take Pictures and Why None of it Matters
  8. I Stayed at the Marina Bay Sands Just to Swim in the Infinity Pool, was I insane?
  9. Did Saturday Night Live just make the most accurate travel expectations video ever?
  10. My $28000 First Class Trip Around the World

a man standing on a rock

As for the future, don’t worry: the story ain’t over.

Thanks once more from this grateful heart.

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