Yesterday was a special day for me. My little baby, otherwise known as God Save The Points, turned 5 years old. My, how much it’s grown. Before getting into anything else, I have only you to thank – the people who actually read. I don’t care about the rest. My focus from the beginning has always been to share travel as I see it and provide the most timely and honest account of the best opportunities, places to go and things to do, for anyone with an internet connection
I believe I’ve stayed true to you with that, one painstakingly dry, bad joke at a time. Looking back, I honestly wonder how we got here though. How did I convince millions of you travel nerds that my opinion matters? Or better yet, how did I convince my wife to marry me!
Five years ago GSTP was a thought and a dream. I was reading blogs, loving the way personal finance was unlocking opportunities to travel more, and how the “right” travel decisions could bring incredible experiences time and time again. There was so much of the world I still wanted to see, and without huge income, I wanted to find a way to see it all.
My God, I was a rookie. Looking back, I knew so little. I should probably be ashamed for even having the thought of starting a blog and sharing info with others, since I barely had any worth knowing! But I emailed Gary Leff, and he told me that if I loved it, that it’s satisfying and to go for it. I did. I’m so very grateful that my blogging hero wrote me back, otherwise we probably wouldn’t be here.
I did have one thing though: passion.
And ok, maybe another – a vision. I read blogs frequently enough to know what I liked, what I didn’t, and where I thought I could carve out a space for myself. I felt that most blogs spoke too much in acronyms, and that the barrier for entry was too high. I found some topics many people found to be complicated and tried to demystify them.
If I had to guess, it’s all kind of worked because of luck, and…
To this day, I avoid ever using an acronym without explaining in layman’s terms what it actually is. It’s why I say Avios Points, instead of Avios, in case someone might think I’m just constantly writing lots of articles about misspelled Spanish goodbyes, and how you can benefit.
I wanted to create a blog that my dad could understand. He’s a brilliant lawyer, but learning acronyms about loyalty programs isn’t his job, nor is it yours, unless you’re one of the airline or hotel executives who read this blog. Understanding them in relatable terms felt like a much better way to drive home their value.
Is it actionable? Is someone going to end up better off or better informed because of this? Those are the only essential criterion for every article. Eventually, Gary hooked me up with Randy, the godfather of miles and points and founder of BoardingArea. The rest is history. I think Randy decided it was better to have me in the tent pissing out, than outside the tent pissing in.
I wonder why…
If this were a movie, we’d start to roll credits, as the scene fades away from me making a nice upper middle class living off my work, sitting at my desk and smiling. I’m incredibly lucky and I love what I do more than ever. My fire was reignited this year, and I hope to continue to play even just a small part in your travels.
But before I go
I want you to understand why a fire exists in me. Like a singer with an audience full of people, I feed off of you. When it’s quiet, I rarely bring my best. But I get a rush unlike anything else in the world when a story goes viral, or better yet, when I get lots of comments saying “booked”, or “omg, we’re going – thanks Gilbert”. I live for your feedback and I just want to feel like I’ve helped you in some way to explore the world the way you want to.
I love making a living doing something I love, but I get to live this voyeuristic life watching other people discover their own travel joys, and that’s what makes me grin from ear to ear. It really does happen, sometimes. I’m not the world’s angriest man, despite what you’ve heard…
Thanks so much for letting me live the dream.
Gilbert (but you can call me Gib now, like my friends do).