This is not a travel blog, it’s a …

By | March 6th, 2011

Let me start by saying this isn’t my site, even though it bears my name. It’s yours.

Always was.

Without you, I would have moved on to the next thing a long time ago. But your interesting questions and lively comments keep this site going. They keep me going.

Thank you for an amazing 15 years as a consumer travel advocate.

I wanted to let you know about some important changes coming to your site, and I wanted you to hear it from me first.

Maybe you’ve noticed an increase in the general-interest consumer advocacy content in my weekly newsletters. That’s no coincidence. A few months ago, I decided to broaden my mission to help all consumers, which led to the founding of a wiki and blog called On Your Side.

Why? Nothing sharpens your focus like a frivolous defamation lawsuit and subpoena served on you by a heavy-handed government agency. Add one healthy rescue complex to the mix, and it’s the only logical result.

In a few days, I’ll be taking the next step down that path by starting a related book project. I also have a new online advocacy column I’m about to begin. I’ll have details on both soon.

At the same time, I’m not abandoning travel. I’ll still be following important transportation-related issues here, but I’m going to shift some of my travel content to another site. (I can’t tell you where I’m going yet, except to say that you’ll immediately recognize the name.)

Along with these changes, I’ve been reflecting on what this means to me. I’m not as comfortable with the label blogger or journalist as I used to be. I prefer consumer advocate.

Time to come clean, then: I am biased, of course. I’m advocating for you.

Related story:   Is the TSA coming for your iPad?

There are some who think I should be holding myself to the same standard as a salaried beat reporter at a mainstream media organization. While it’s true that I strive to be as fair and accurate as my resources allow, anyone who thinks they’re reading a New Yorker article on this blog is still living in the 20th century.

I wanted to mention one other major change, and it’s the one I’m most excited about. As you know, I have three young children that I promised last year I would spend more time with. We’ve had several opportunities to travel with them (including next week, but more on that in a moment).

I’m happy to tell you that I’m involved in a really innovative social-media/online family travel project that is just getting underway, and will allow us to be together a lot. I hope you’ll join us for this adventure.

Many of you still remember the trip to Hawaii I wrote about last year. Well, I’ve been invited back next week to visit one of the islands I missed: Maui. I’ll be there with my six-year-old-son, Iden.

I want to thank American Airlines, Budget, Grand Wailea Resort, Kā‘anapali Beach Hotel, Maui Visitors & Convention Bureau and Sandi Yara for asking us to return to Hawaii.

If there’s anyone who knows how to survive 14 hours in economy class with a kindergartner, please let me know.

Safe travels, and I’ll see you online.

(Photo: Rene Magritte’s The Treachery of Images)

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