About

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By The Pointer

I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone who said, “I hate travel and I wish I could do less of it.”  Travel is a wonderful thing!  I love it, and I want to help others travel more.  That starts with helping people get over the biggest barriers that hold them back from their travel dreams: thinking it’s too expensive or that they don’t have enough time.

Here I am at Rano Kau, an extinct volcanic crater on Easter Island. I got there affordably using miles and points.

How this site can help you

I started writing this introduction in an auberge in France along the Tour du Mont Blanc hike.  That trip started with a flight from New York to Geneva that cost me $0 out of pocket, nothing, nada, zilch.  When I was working a full time office job, I took international trips like this 4 or 5 times each year, and my friends and family regularly asked me how I can do it without bankrupting myself.  Fair question!

I strongly recommend the Tour du Mont Blanc hike. It takes you around Mont Blanc, hiking through France, Italy and Switzerland.

Then, I took it to the next level, and retired from my office job at 35 to have the time and flexibility for even more travel.  Don’t worry, I’m not one of those crazy free spirits that just says f**k it, and leaves work one day.  I was in a financially secure place that allowed me to fund my lifestyle forever.  Again, people asked me how that’s possible.  Again, fair question!

I was able to do these things by reducing the cost of travel with miles and points, and giving myself the time I need by making investments that fund my lifestyle.  However, stopping there isn’t a very satisfying answer.  What you probably want to know is how you can do the same.  Good.  This website is dedicated to explaining the “how”s.  My goal for this site is to help you travel freely.  I want to make sure that lack of money or time doesn’t prevent you from reaching your travel dreams.

My Miles & Points Background

Making travel affordable is near and dear to my heart.  When I was in graduate school, I studied abroad in Barcelona, Spain.  I arranged my schedule so I’d only have classes on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and I’d use my incredibly long 5-day weekends to visit other European cities with my friends.  I thought it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.  Once I went back to work, I wouldn’t have as much time to travel or the access to cheap, local European flights and trains.

Then, I started my job, and the story ends there…well, no, not really.  The travel bug kept biting at me so I basically said, “Screw that once-in-a-lifetime thing!”  I looked up flight prices, and was disappointed to see that I’d have to work for weeks, just to pay for a 1-week trip.  There had to be a better way.

After a few Google searches, I found the world of miles and points blogs, and I went straight down the rabbit hole.  Along the way, I picked up a ton of knowledge that allowed me to visit 40+ new countries for next to nothing.  I did all of this while maintaining my full time job.  I just used my vacation time to the max, and I paid most of the costs with miles and points.

My Financial Independence Background

As I was going down the miles and points rabbit hole, I read an interview with a blogger that used travel hacking as part of his pursuit of financial independence.  He was saving the majority of each pay check, and investing the money in stock market index funds to get to the point where the earnings from those investments covered his basic expenses.  My first thought: good for him, but that’s crazy and unrealistic.

A couple of years later, I was going through a particularly stressful period at work.  I was questioning why I was putting so much of my time into a job that was so frustrating, even if it paid well.  That led me down my second rabbit hole: FIRE (Financial Independence Retire Early) blogs.

I defined how much money is enough for me to lead a happy life, how much money I would need to “retire” early, and how to invest so that I can create passive income streams that fund my lifestyle perpetually.  About 4 years later, I left my office job to live off my investments and travel more.

What Makes Pointing to Dreams Different?

About now, you must be thinking “Good for him, but there are lots of travel websites and blogs out there.  What’s so special about this one?  He just said he learned the basics from other sites.”  Touché!  I see this site being unique in 3 ways:

  • Dedication to Resources Over News and Deals – If you casually browse other miles and points sites on the internet, you’ll find that the majority of their content is about the latest hot credit card offer or how there’s a rumor that one airline is considering making an offer to maybe buy a piece of another airline. While this information has a role, it doesn’t have lasting value.  I want to create in-depth guides that you bookmark and come back to again and again for a quick refresher.  Even if I can’t have the most traffic of any travel site on the net, I’d love to have the most bookmarks.
  • Quality Content for Free – It’s not hard to find someone selling an online course or eBook on how to use miles and points. They’re going to cost you, though.  Even if you’re willing to pay the $25+, you could get a book that hasn’t been updated since its publication.  This game changes all the time.  Take Air Berlin, for example.  It was one of the best airlines for flying to Europe without having to pay high fuel surcharges.  Today, the airline is dead.  Free blogs suffer from the same problem.  They focus on the news of the day while their beginner guides are either out of date or lack depth.  This site will be dedicated to quality resources that I hope you bookmark and come back to because it’s always in-depth and up to date.
  • Ethics – As I mentioned, I’m already financially independent.  I don’t have to earn another dollar for the rest of my life, and I’ll be doing just fine.  Sure, I hope to make some money from this site, but it’s not my primary motivation.  I want to help you, and I want a fulfilling way to spend my “retirement.”  Doing this responsibly means that you should never feel misled.  When I say my guides are free, that doesn’t mean the first installment is free, and there’s a charge after that.  It really means free.  I firmly believe that the best way to ensure this site is managed responsibly is to set guiding principles publically and in advance.  You can check out these principles in the Ethics Pledge section.

I hope to see you again

Well, that was longer than I expected, but hopefully, it encourages you to read on.  There’s a big world out there, and there’s nothing stopping you from experiencing it!