Two years ago today I officially launched Turning Left for Less. So how did it start?
It all started nearly 4 years ago when I was told I needed a kidney transplant. At the time I was working as a manager in Air Traffic Control, having been an air traffic controller for many years before that. When things like that happen, it makes you question your life and what is important to you. I was working very long hours and my work-life balance was definitely not right. When I wasn’t at work, I would be heading straight to the airport to indulge my main passion in life, travelling.
I took a lot of time to think about my future and eventually decided that I wanted to do something that I felt really passionately about, so I decided that I would leave my job a few months before the transplant. I had been very lucky as a number of people had come forward to be tested for a match and all of them came out as potential matches. Just over a year ago I received my best friend’s kidney (which we nicknamed Kevin) and proceeded to make a great recovery. I counted myself very lucky to have such amazing friends.
Whilst I had been waiting for the operation I had gone through lots of options for what I could do next and eventually decided that I would start a blog and see what happened. I wanted to do something that was related to my main love in life and had always been a big reader of travel and points/miles blogs. I had begun to think that there was a market to do something more focused on the luxury end of travelling but aimed at those that still like to get a bargain. There was no single blog that gave me as a reader everything I wanted, so I decided to write the blog based on what I liked reading. Lots of in depth reviews of hotels, business and first class flights, as well as lounges, was what I enjoyed most. I also liked to see what offers were around without reading hundreds of emails (which is ironically what I do now for TLFL!).
And so two years ago I officially launched TLFL. I had been running the website for a few days before to test it worked before the official launch on 28 November 2016. It was a steep learning curve as I knew nothing about how to set up a blog or do all the behind the scenes things. I saw a video on YouTube about how to design the website and thought it looked very simple so I would give it a go. After spending 9 days trying to centre a logo with various codes, I began to think that perhaps that wasn’t the case… However, I persevered and the result is what you see today. This year we celebrated our million view and expect to reach two million early next year.
As is traditional on such occasions I would like to say thank you to a few people. First and most importantly it is to you, my readers, for continuing to read the blog and chat to me on social media which I always enjoy. It is great to hear your comments and please do keep letting me know whether there is something you would like to see covered or improved on the blog.
As you will know as a regular reader I have built up a team of great contributors who allow me to have the odd day off! The blog wouldn’t be the same without them so a heartfelt thanks from me to all my team who contribute some fantastic articles.
Roving Reporter has been there since day one and shared some of his madcap travels with you all. Roving Reporter and I travel together frequently and became firm friends after working together many years ago. We bonded over a shared love of travel, appreciation of the finer things in life plus of course plenty of fizz and laughs. He holds Gold status with BA.
Mrs B was the next to join who was also an ex-work colleague and travels in a more sedate fashion (ie like a normal person not a mad tier point runner!).
Next came Claudio who I met through my British Airways Gold + GGL Facebook group. We soon became friends after doing a quick tier point run to Catania together and Claudio is now Editor of the Brazilian version of Turning Left for Less. Claudio is naturally our South America expert but also our resident InterContinetal expert too. He holds Gold status with BA.
The final member of the team is Paul who only joined very recently. Paul (known as teledude on Flyertalk) organises many of the Flyertalk BA meet-ups and we became friends after meeting at a few of the events. Paul has now taken on the role of Deputy Editor to allow me to spend time working on the Brazil TLFL too. Paul is our expert on all things Oneworld, in particular, tier point runs and ITA matrix. He holds GGL status with BA along with top tier in most hotel programs.
Finally, I would like to say a massive thank you to all my blogging friends that have supported me since the start. One of the things that surprised me most was how much of a community there was among bloggers. I had always assumed it was quite a solitary profession but apparently not. I have made some fantastic friends over the last year and I would particularly like to say thanks to Michael from TravelZork, Gilbert from God Save the Points and Ben from Jetsetting Ben for their advice and friendship along the way.
So finally I would like to ask, how do you think TLFL should progress? Are there things you would like to see more of or less of or done differently? Let me know in the comments below or on social media.
Thanks again for sticking around!
Really great article as always. It would be good to see more around tier point runs and any neat tricks that can help maximise the miles and reduce cost. But not in economy. Some of us don’t acrue miles from business travel, so any hints and tips are always invaluable.
Congratulations! I only found TLFL a few months ago, but look forward to reading all of your reviews. I especially enjoy those related to tier point runs and business class offers. Keep up the fantastic work and thank you for such entertaining content.
Thank you so much for sharing your story. I find myself in a similar situation where I was diagnosed with lupus 2 years ago.It now seems like it is affecting my kidneys. I’m so scared that a transplant might be on the cards in the not too distant future. I also gave up work and have started my own food blog. Cooking is my passion and it gives me a lot of comfort. Thanks for sharing your story and giving me hope! X
Thanks Roshini and sorry to hear about your condition. All I can say is that a transplant is not as scary as it seems and afterwards you can still lead a pretty normal life with plenty of travelling.
Thanks for sharing your story and introducing the team! I love reading your blog and congratulations on the 2nd birthday. I am a great believer in shopping around and getting Bargains on Business class travel – most people think it is extremely expensive (and it can be!) but there are bargains out there – so your blog has been very informative! Am still a Gold member with Emirates! I live in Cape Town so my options are limited as it can be a ‘closed’ market but I do also travel within Europe and I just love reading about travel! Would be my dream to have a travel blog also so you are very inspiring!
Thanks Christine. Lovely to hear you are reading it over in CPT.
What an amazing story Michele! I just started following you a few months ago and really like your angle of the blog and learning about tier point run (which I knew nothing about! And still to do one) I’m finally hoping to do one next year so I can achieve BA gold.
Funnilly enough I’ve contemplated being an air traffic controller, I’ve always loved everything about planes and airports! But the sound of shift work and being placed in remote places to train up put me off. But one day I hope to go into a career in aviation world one way or another:)
Thanks so much Faze. The shift work isn’t too bad as it gives you a lot of time off. I never went anywhere very remote apart from Stansted airport for 6 weeks for my training. Most of it is done at the main centre in Hampshire now.
Simply put dont change a single thing! I’ve been reading your blog since nearly the beginning( I actually thought TLFL was older than it is & only realised today that I found you just a few months in!). Yourself and the team have provided countless inspiration and lead myself and my partner to earn our Silver just the other week in just under 6 months as purely leisure travellers.
I actually look forward to seeing the email in my inbox daily.
Thanks for all the amazing work and here’s to many many more years of TLFL
What a lovely comment Clayton! So glad you managed to get Silver and continue to enjoy the blog.
Happy 2nd birthday TLFL and well done Michele! I’m glad you found a happy outlet for your talents and I hope you go from strength to strength. I might even do a review for you sometime, I spend enough time on BA & One World aircraft!!
Thanks Jonathan! A review would always be very welcome. Hopefully catch up with you in a BA/OW lounge sometime!
A truly inspiring story. Well done on everything – you have built a branded blog with a real following that i’m sure will go from strength to strength. It’s by no means easy, i’ve tried and failed in the space. I would like to see more non-BA content. I love the BA content but I think you could branch out a bit more beyond that.
Thanks Phil. Trying to do more reviews that aren’t Oneworld definitely but will look at other articles too!
What a great read Michelle.
I too am a passionate traveller and have more time now as a retiree.
And I have only recently decided to ditch cattle class and settle for nothing below BC.
First is on the bucket list though ???
I have just recentl got an Amex Gold card, and have managed to collect 35000 points in just under 1 month, so very pleased??
My husband has one now ( after I referred him) and we are working on his 22000 now.
Want to get a reward flight to Russia next year – out to Moscow and back from St P.
Moscow’s ok, but can’t seem to find one from St P!
But I’ve definitely got the bug and love reading all your stories.
Keep up the good work
Thanks Terri. With regards to St Petersburg the best thing to do is look 355 days before as that’s when seats are released. There is also baredemptionfinder website where you can set alerts.
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