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!

  • What a privilege to be in @visitbentonville this weekend to celebrate the opening of @themomentary and our friend, @addie_roanhorse. Addie’s Osage ribbon work- inspired design is featured on this tower at the Momentary and it is just fabulous! 
This new space opens to the public Feb. 22 and general admission is free, thanks to the generosity of the @waltonfamilyfdn.
  • In @visitmasoncityiowa, you'll find the boyhood home of famous composer Meredith Willson. Perhaps best known for his musical, "The Music Man," Willson based the show in large part on his experiences growing up in his hometown.⁣
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Mason City has kept Willson's memory alive through an extensive museum and convention space, which we got to see on our hosted tour of the town, called The Music Man Square. A part of the experience at Music Man Square is a tour through Willson's childhood home.⁣
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Now is the perfect time to head to Mason City for a visit. Hugh Jackman is set to play Professor Harold Hill in a Broadway revival of, "The Music Man." With that show opening in 2020, all eyes will be back on Mason City.⁣
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@thehughjackman @musicmanbway
  • When the @museumofamericanspeed invited us to come for a complimentary visit, we weren't sure what to expect. ⁣
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Yes, the museum is chock-full of race cars, engines, history, and car-related memorabilia. But it also houses other collections like one of old lunch boxes.⁣
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We had so much fun standing and taking in the lunch boxes, looking and trying to find the ones we had when we were kids. Ann had "Charlie's Angels" and Steve had "Super Friends." ⁣
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If you're ever near Lincoln, Nebraska, check out the Museum of American Speed. It's a true hidden treasure in the midwest. ⁣
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What kind of lunch box did you carry to school? Any kids of the 70s and 80s who had the ones we had?
  • Sometimes you find things in your own backyard.⁣
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Just up the road from our home in Crete, Nebraska, we found the National Museum of Roller Skating. Our curiosity piqued, we stopped in and took a look around. There we found the world's largest collection of historical roller skates, costumes, and memorabilia. ⁣
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It took us back to our childhood and spending time at the roller skating rink (do kids even skate anymore?). We remembered crossing over on the turns for the first time and bending at the knees for "Downtown" by Petula Clark. So many great memories. ⁣
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Sometimes, we focus so much on getting away that we forget that we have some really interesting places close to home, as well. The next time you feel a hankering to go somewhere, maybe try going down the street. You never know what treasure you might find and what memories it evoke.
  • This was our Valentine’s Day dessert last year. Chef Kurtess Mortensen at The Pioneer Woman Mercantile created this memorable dish he called “Fat Elvis.” It was a chocolate bread pudding, served alongside banana brûlée and caramelized peanuts then topped with marshmallow cream, homemade peanut butter ice cream, and a candied bacon garnish. We are giddy with anticipation to see what he comes up with tonight! We are budgeting our calories accordingly. 😉
  • “Actually, the best gift you could have given her was a lifetime of adventures.”
– Lewis Carroll
  • It's been a long winter. I need to see flowers again! Are you with me?Let's talk about these flowers. ⁣
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We are often asked about our favorite place we've ever visited. While that question is hard to answer, we almost always mention Tallinn, Estonia, as a contender.⁣
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Estonia has an interesting history. Conquered in 1227 by Denmark, it never again enjoyed independence until  1920. That freedom was short lived, however, as the Soviet Union occupied the country in 1940. Finally, in 1991, Estonia regained its independence and has remained free ever since. The country joined NATO in 2004. ⁣
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Visiting Estonia, we could see the remnants of Soviet control. Large block buildings dominate the landscape. They are of Soviet Communist design: utilitarian in nature with no thought given to design. They look just like the buildings you've seen in movies about the Soviet Union. ⁣
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Now free, Estonians have done what they can to erase the gray days of Soviet control. The Soviet-style buildings are painted bright colors, and flowers abound in the streets. The people are warm, cheerful, friendly, and welcoming. ⁣
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Yes, Estonia is a wonderful country, and we can't wait to return.
  • Each year from late February to early April, hundreds of thousands of Sandhills Cranes migrate through Nebraska on their way north to their breeding grounds. It's considered one of the greatest spectacles in nature, so thousands of people come to experience this incredible time.⁣
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We traveled to Kearney, Nebraska, one of the best cities for crane viewing, last year. Because the best times to view the cranes is sunrise and sunset, we found ourselves with some free time during the day. It turns out that Kearney has a lot to offer in terms of things to do.⁣
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Scroll across our highlights on Instagram, and you'll find the stories highlights we made during our time there. On our blog (link in bio) you'll also find a post we wrote with ideas for 20 things to do in Kearney while you wait on the cranes. ⁣
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Put crane viewing on your bucket list. It really is one of the most amazing experiences we've ever had in nature. And don't worry about being bored between sunrise and sunset--Kearney has too much to offer.

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