Sunday, August 9, 2015

Travel....we will get there

Some people love the experience of traveling and exploring; others are home bodies that just don't feel that instinctive drive to go. Everyone in my family is the latter; my parents and sisters are all homebodies that would much rather be at home than venturing out somewhere new and unknown.   My mom's twin sister and her parents had the traveling gene though, and they are the ones I must have inherited my love and desire for traveling from. I remember my eighth grade year being heartbroken because my parents wouldn't let me go on the eighth grade field trip to DC and NYC. It was from about that point on that besides the happily ever after family dream that every little girl has, I wanted to travel. I wanted to explore this amazing world we live in. Unfortunately, in college I still didn't have the opportunity because of funds. Rather than spending funds on spring break trips I was working to earn more money to get through the rest of college. But I was determined when I was finished I was going to start working towards my travel goal.

The travel dream, much like the family dream, isn't just a dream that's a one and done deal either. It's a lifelong process or maybe it's a lifestyle, but either way it's not something that can be quickly achieved. Luckily my husband shares this genetic trait, and if the first couple years have shown us anything I think our girls share our love for travel too.

Sometimes I get flustered that I haven't made it to some of the places on my list, particularly out west. Even though there are places internationally I would love to travel just like I knew I couldn't start nationally until I was established on my own after college, I know internationally is a goal I'll have to work towards later in my life like in my retirement/parent to grown children years. But in the meantime I have to remind myself in ten years  I have reached a total of 22 states, Mexico, Canada very briefly, and the Bahamas visited and explored. I would love to hit all 50 by the time I'm 50 so I have 28 more to go. I love sharing this goal with my family . My oldest has visited seventeen states in her six years of life and my youngest  has visited fifteen. I would love to have explored all 50 of them as a family by the time they leave home.  Maybe their adult travel dreams will be to explore our world internationally. 

As someone who finds both the city and country setting fascinating my travel goals revolve around the National Parks and big cities. So far we  have camped, hiked, or canoed the National Parks of Yosemite, Sequoia National Park, Redwoods National Park, Badlands National Park (only one I did as a child), Great Smokey Mountains National Park, Ozark National Riverways, Assateague Island National Seashore Park, Everglades National Park (didn't get to explore much though or take pictures so must go back) , Shenandoah National Park, Allegheny National Forest , Harper's Ferry National Park, Gettysburg National Military Park, Arlington National Memorial, and Niagara Falls National Heritage. I have loved nature since I was child so part of my travel agenda is to explore as many of our national parks as we can. I love exploring the beauty of nature; it really is inspiring to me.  Some of the NP that  are on my must visit list are Yellowstone, Glacier, Acadia, Utah's National Park, the Grand Canyon, Denali National Park, Isle Royale of the UP of Michigan, and Rocky Mountain National Park. Eight big ones left to go.
                                                             Yosemite National Park
                                          Baby girl on the beach at sunrise in  Assateague Island
                                                       Smoky Mountains National Park

Nate with his cousin and grandma and Me and with Bettis in Shenandoah


                                                     Niagara Falls on the Canadian side
                                                       Hiking through the Sequoias
                                                              Harper's Ferry National Park
                                                             the Pacific Coast at sunset

Canoeing through the Alleghany National Forest

Just as I love exploring the different National Parks I also love to experience the diversity of our cities. I   love visiting different states  and cities to experience the different cultures, different foods, different dialects, different people, and explore the history of where we've been as a country. As  for cities I finally got to visit DC and NYC, but also Chicago, Philadelphia (but I want to go back to do the historical stuff) San Francisco, Los Angeles, Nashville, Chattanooga, Orlando, Charleston (no camera at the time to get pictures of the planation homes though :( ), Pittsburgh, Buffalo, Ft Lauderdale, Tampa, Montgomery,  Nassau, St. Louis (but we need to actually go up in the arch sometime), and if you count beach cities there's Myrtle Beach, Virginia Beach/Norfolk, Atlantic City, and Ocean City.  We've passed through stopping for a night and getting a little bit of the city experience in Columbus, Cleveland, Indianapolis, and Atlanta . The cities on my must visit list are San Diego, Boston, New Orleans, Seattle, Portland, Denver, Texas but suggestions on city to make sure I don't miss, Albuquerque, Williamsburg, and Savannah. Ten big ones left to go.

                             San Francisco and somewhere on the Pacific coast between SF and LA

                                                         Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, TN
                                                     Fourth of July in our Nation's Capital
                                        Yes we had to eat the original Buffalo Wings in Buffalo, NY
                                                 Sunrise in Myrtle Beach
                                 Sears Tower in Chicago (tallest building in US after Towers fell)
                                                         Orlando, FL for Disney World
                                    Dr. Martin Luther King's house in Montgomery, Alabama

You can see seven states from the top of Lookout Mountain in Chattanooga, TN
                                                      Lookout Mountain in Chattanooga, TN

                                                     beach on the Gulf of Mexico in Alabama
                                                             OBX, North Carolina


9/11 Memorial at night

There are nine states I haven't visited that don't have a city or NP on my must visit list and they are Oklahoma, Mississippi, Wisconsin, Idaho, Minnesota, Rhone Island, Connecticut, Vermont, and New Hampshire. What are in these states that you know of that I need to add to my must check out travel list?

So even though there's a lot left on my list I have to remember that it's not something I'm going to accomplish quickly and I've made decent headway. We'll just keep chugging away at our travel agenda. Our plans include hopefully next year hitting New England with Boston and Acadia as the main stopping points, and for our ten year anniversary maybe Hawaii or if not that yet maybe we can get away for a couples only trip to New Orleans, then we're going to the UP of Michigan in 2018, and just as soon as the girls are big enough for hiking and remembering the goal is to hit Yellowstone and Glacier together, Rocky Mountain Park and Albuquerque together, back to Yosemite and to check out San Diego, Portland with Seattle and western Canada, I want to take Nate and the girls to the Dakotas and Badlands,  then there's Utah and Nevada left, and the Grand Canyon with Vegas (even though I hate gambling and with my husband's love for gambling am afraid I'd have a money anxiety attack in that city). Finally an adults only trips in there somewhere  to Hawaii and for the Alaskan cruise my grandfather always spoke so highly of when we spoke of his travel adventures. That's twelve trips, plus probably a few others fitting in the nine states I'm not sure what to check out for yet.  I have sixteen years to get it done to reach my goal of covering the US by the time I'm 50. I think I can do it or at least by the time I retire between 53-56.

Then our latest retirement possibility is to join an internationally teaching agency where they send you to different countries  for the school year to teach (I can't remember the one we were looking at a couple months ago. I'm sure it will be someone different by the time we retire anyway.) I think there were five different countries to choose from that we wouldn't mind living in for ten months at a time, and then we'd make a little money to support our travel habit while we're getting to explore a new country in our off hours and days. Seems like a plan to me; I'm sure it will need some revising later but it's an idea to explore when the time comes.

I guess with any dream in order to not get discouraged remember what you have done as you look towards what you still plan to do in the future. This is one of those dreams it's not about the sense of accomplishment at achieving it anyway; it's all about the journey on the way. On top of my goal to travel this country is my goal to get home to both our families each twice a year so the two goals are kind of a tug of war at times when you only have so much money and so much time to plan trips, but we've made it work fairly well so far so just have to hope we can keep at it.

They also say travel is the only thing you buy that makes your life richer. I tend to be a penny watcher, and I always buy the cheaper version of everything. Have never been a label chaser except for the twinkle toes my husband talks me into buying our daughters every other Christmas so travel has and always will be the indulgence I spend my money on. The experiences you get really are a life long learner's dream ( I see why so many teachers are travel addicts). I love that my husband shares this love for traveling and exploring with me, and that we get to share this experience with our kids as they grow up. For all the places we haven't traveled to yet, we will get there. All in good timing and in the meantime we'll enjoy the journey on the way.

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