Who’d a thunk it? Three years into this crazy adventure we call travel blogging, we’re having the time of our lives and we can’t thank you enough! Readers like you have inspired us every day with your comments and suggestions, notes about your travel experiences, and of course, your postcards.

Thank you, thank you, thank you for sending us postcards from your vacations!

We are so thankful for your interest in our little Postcard Jar and hope you know how grateful we are to be able to write about extraordinary travel for everyday people. This week, as we celebrate our third blogiversary, we thought we’d take a look back at the past year and give you some sneak peeks at where this journey is taking us next.

It was three years ago today when we penned typed out our first blog post from a hotel in Rochester, Minnesota, while visiting the Mayo Clinic. [You can read that first post HERE] We started a blog as a way to take our minds off of the health issues I was facing and share with others one of the things we enjoy most in life — traveling. Shortly after our 2nd Blogiversary last year, we decided to get a little more serious about this whole travel blogging hobby and we attended TBEX North America in Minneapolis, Minn.  TBEX is a conference for travel bloggers and representatives of the travel industry and me just say, all the cool kids were there and they made us feel oh, so welcomed.

The Radisson Blu rolled out the red carpet and this incredible ice bar for TBEX North America.

Not only did we get to experience a fantastic pre-conference tour of Stillwater, we met some of the most interesting people and successful travel bloggers like Maven on the Move,  Lou Mongello, Backpacker Brock, and Vicki Winters.

We also met with lots of destination reps, took in a photography lecture, and learned so much more about all of the social media platforms. And (perhaps most importantly) we got to visit the Nickelodeon Universe at the Mall of America after hours, with free rides and complimentary Dip-n-Dots and all.

Steve was so excited to be able to play all of the carnival games at Nickelodeon Universe after hours for FREE!

The whole experience just got us more fired up about blogging and we put in as much time on our blog as our schedules and my health allowed this year. We documented our visit to England, our road trip across Nebraska, and all of the great ports from our cruise in the Caribbean, including our favorite island of St. Kitts.

A highlight for us this year was traveling to both Stonehenge (in England) and Carhenge (in Alliance, Neb.) within the span of a month.

Since this time last year, we’ve added 40 new posts and worked hard on beefing up our social media presence. We started hosting a few Facebook live events and it was great to connect with our followers online.

By mid-year, our efforts were really staring to pay off. While on vacation in the Baltic Sea, our daughter Meghan noticed a message on our Twitter account [you can follow us @postcardjar] and quickly emailed us about it. A young, social media savvy reporter from our local CBS affiliate had messaged us to ask if we’d be her guests on the 10/11 morning show called First News Nebraska. Natalie Micale had read about our travel blog in Buy Local Buy Nebraska magazine and wanted to have us on to talk about our travels and our blog!

It was so cool to be on our local CBS station with our actual postcard jar!

We agreed and just after completing a weeklong trip across our home state, we found ourselves waking up at 3 a.m. to get to the TV station by 4:30.

Natalie Micale was just great to us!

We ended up doing four segments on the morning show that day and Natalie posted the videos on her Facebook page so were able to share them with our followers who weren’t quite out of bed with the roosters that morning. We had a blast on the show and that only sparked more conversation about Postcard Jar and got us even more excited to share our love for travel.

Seeing the interest in our segment on Nebraska travel, we decided to focus a little more on local and area destinations throughout the summer. We joined the Crete Chamber of Commerce where we live and signed up to sponsor a photo booth at our town’s annual Great Pumpkin Festival in October.

We grateful for help at our photo booth from friends and family like De’Andre and Meghan (and the Pipers).

A month later, we found ourselves hosting a Chamber Tech Tuesday event where we shared our new-found knowledge of social media marketing with other small business owners. And, to top off our business ventures, we got a Nebraska tax ID and we’re now selling customized postcards!

We were humbled that two of our readers drove down to the Pumpkin Festival to meet us and check out our Crete postcards!

Also last fall, I traveled to the western part of the state for the Nebraska Travel and Tourism Conference where I learned so much more about the wide variety of travel and tourism destinations here. Steve wasn’t able to go because of his school schedule (he’s a middle school principal — God bless him), so I took our daughter Meghan with me. We made lots of good contacts there and I was even interviewed by the Omaha World-Herald for a story they were doing about the conference.

Scottsbluff National Monument in western Nebraska,

Upon our return, we were contacted by a nearby community college and asked to teach a class on Nebraska travel. A little hesitant at first, we eventually agreed and were delighted to see “Postcards from Nebraska” offered in the winter non-credit class schedule.

Our very first Postcards from Nebraska class at Southeast Community College in Lincoln, Neb.

Steve and I taught our first class to 18 enthusiastic Nebraska travelers in January and it was a blast! We’re hopeful that we’ll teach more classes in the near future and have even talked with the college about leading some day trip tours. We’ll keep you posted.

It has just been incredible to see how our travel blog has grown in the past year and we couldn’t be more grateful for all of the love and support we’ve received from readers like you. You guys are AMAZING and we can’t thank you enough for coming along on this journey with us.

As always, THANKS for sharing!

  • There is nothing quite like preparing a perfect dish in your own kitchen. Courtesy of @thechefandthedish, Ann prepared a traditional Spanish paella with Cyndi Kane, a.k.a. Ree Drummond's BFF Hyacinth. Sure, learning to make the dish was fun. Savoring the meal, and the friendship that went with it, was the best part of that great afternoon.
  • In the chilly, pre-dawn light of an early spring day on the Platte River in central Nebraska you can be sure of one thing: soon you'll witness one of nature's greatest spectacles, tens of thousands of Sandhill Cranes taking to the air for a day of foraging for food. If you have never witnessed this incredible sight, you must make sure you @visitnebraska so you can experience this for yourself. @visitKearney
  • A good cocktail is an experience. Instead of just having a drink to throw back, we love savoring a well-crafted beverage. Something we love about @celebritycruise is that good cocktails are easy to find. We aren't huge drinkers. Instead, we are strong believers in quality over quantity.
  • Something that always impresses us is the sheer size of a cruise ship. The fact that something that large can move and float and provide great service never ceases to amaze. But one of our favorite views is when we're docked next to another ship, and walking down a pier suddenly feels like walking through a canyon.
  • Here's a bridal shower idea...we put bottles of flavored water, juices, and sparkling wine from @wholefoods and @traderjoes in a large drink bucket with ice. We then served the drinks in stemless flutes with a cute, colorful straw.
  • We've been to many different farms in our lives, but never to one quite like this. Our cruise ship excursion in Grand Cayman took us to an actual turtle farm. We had so much fun walking the grounds, looking at the various turtles and learning all about them. Have you ever been to a turtle farm?
  • We just love tea time on @celebritycruises. Every day there are new, delicious treats. Take this delectable morsel, for instance. One bite of pure deliciousness!
  • Who remembers begging your parents to buy you a bag of these when you were a kid? Well, at the Archway Monument in @visitkearney, you can buy them for yourself! We just love these smooth, colored rocks and all the great family travel memories seeing them brings back.

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