The Grand Tour Story

How it all started

I’m KJ.  My story includes using credit card points to take dreamy luxury vacations.  I put in the hours and became an expert.  That’s right on the mark.  And…

…it’s about so much more.  It’s about making a dream come true for me and my family.  Creating that peak life experience that pulls us from our daily existence.  Where will it take you?

Back when I was in school my wife set it all off by saying “I want a nice vacation.”  My mind raced thinking how much we really need a vacation.  But, we didn’t have any budget for a great vacation.

I went into research mode like only a crazed person can.  I researched credit card points and hotels to figure out how to make the whole thing work.

At first trying to understand the credit card rewards was frustrating.  The credit cards points sounded great, but how to use them?

By now I must have researched travel for 10,000 hours so I have a good idea of how to use the credit card points.  To me, it’s fun to search out new destinations and figure out how to use points to make it happen.  It’s just me.

The Resort at Pelican Hill
The Resort at Pelican Hill

Puerto Vallarta

My answer to my wife’s wish for a nice vacation went something like this.  Well, it was Spring Break so I really wanted to get some place warm.  That meant flying.  So I got one credit card for airfare and another for an all inclusive resort in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.

That trip to Mexico really opened our eyes.  I mean we traveled to Mexico for almost free.  And on that one they even fed us.  It’s like we were royalty.  Couldn’t even afford to stay home.

I was so excited about our ocean view room.  I had my wife stand on our balcony while I went down to the pool.  She took this Where’s Waldo like picture of me down there with my arms in the air.

KJ - View from Puerta Vallarta room
That's me with my arms up in the air!

Take it to the Top in Cancun

I kept learning about credit card points and we kept on taking amazing vacations.  New Year’s Eve 2019 we flew into Cancun.  The New Year’s Eve party at the Ritz Carlton was incredible.

The dance floor on the beach blew my mind.  I mean, first of all it was warm outside.  On New Year’s Eve.  Got to say it was so much fun dancing with my three year old daughter.  And it felt so good to see my daughter having the time of her young life.  She still says she wants to move to Cancun.

By this time we were having these regular luxury vacations.  They would sweep us away from our usual days and energize our life.

Cancun Dance Floor
Cancun Dance Floor

The St Thomas Promise

In June 2018 my wife and I sat on our balcony looking down at the St Thomas bay.  Our daughter was asleep for the night in the bedroom and we were taking in the warm evening air.  We just breathed it all in.

Thing is that we just wanted more.  Wanted to really relax and sink into a feeling of endless travel.  We wanted to travel the world for the whole Summer.

On that balcony we promised that no matter what we would travel the world in Summer 2019.  That trip still blows my mind.  And we did it on points.

View of St Thomas bay
View of St Thomas bay

The Grand Tour

In the Summer of 2019 we went on our Grand Tour to Puerto Rico, Santa Fe, Costa Rica, China, Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Idaho, and California.

I remember the first night in Puerto Rico watching a beautiful sunset over the beach from our hotel room.  I stood, and then sat, there taking it all in.  We were actually doing this.

For three months we traveled the world visiting friends and family.  Of course it was amazing.  And life changing in a way that we didn’t expect.

First we got a chance to focus time with our family.  In our every day life we never had so much time together.  Like all the time together.  It was wonderful.

Second, after a couple of weeks the stress, worries, and thoughts of life dripped away.  We left them behind.

My wife writes more poetically than me about this change.

Puerto Rico Sunset
Puerto Rico Sunset

What does it all mean?

For me it was about pointing to something and making it happen.  For those three months we lived a dream.

Maybe there’s something to that question – if life was all a dream how would we ever know we had one?  For me, it’s not about living on endless vacation.

The change in my mind and mood is permanent.  That’s the real deal.  I’m not saying a luxury stay is a spiritual experience.  Then again, I’m not saying it isn’t.

Beyond Me
Beyond Me