Miles, Maps, Memories.

My husband and I have this one main goal in our married life that seems to stand out a little more than all the others.

 

T-R-A-V-E-L. A lotttttttt.

Although I will say that being debt free or hiring a full-time maid would be a close tie for second place.

But that’s a blog for another time…

Anyhoo…so, last fall I bought this pretty awesome wooden map sign off Etsy from a very talented friend, with the intentions of painting in every state we have visited in our married life. It hangs on the wall above the desk in our office as an encouraging reminder that every time we sit down there to budget out our paychecks or lick and stamp another bill-filled envelope to be mailed off that we are working hard towards our next adventure. And it keeps us going. Surviving. Saving our pocket change. Looking forward to more memories and priceless Kodak moments with each other. Imagining what this will all be like years from now when we have our kiddos tagging along in the back seat—because we promised each other that we will never let parenthood compromise how wanderlust and adventurous we are. (Although we should probably get skydiving, Vegas, and scuba diving out of the way first, just to be safe…)

So every day that wooden map hangs there for us to see, reminding us of all the crazy adventures we have taken so far and anticipating all the ones that await. And I will say that for only being married for about three years, I am pretty impressed with how much it has already filled. Every time I paint another state, I am so anxious to see what the next one to be colored in will be. Maine? Hawaii? California? Perhaps all three at once? (Seriously, you never know with us…)

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Map, map, on the wall…
While we no doubt have so much more to see before the map is filled (if my calculations are correct, I think we can knock the rest of the states out in about 8 more trips…) we have seen and done more in the past three years than a lot of people get a chance to do in their lifetime.

Don’t be mistaken. It’s not because we make bookoos of money…(**ehemmm, hence I am a teacher, he is a lineman/farmer…) Believe me, we live paycheck to paycheck just like everyone else. It’s just that travel is a huge part of our lifestyle…something we value and budget for just as much as groceries and gas – and especially my morning coffee. We would much rather wear thrift store clothes, buy off-brand paper towels, eat PB and J’s and hamburger helper, and live in a small house with popcorn ceilings and laminate counter tops if it means we can ski down a mountain, stroll the streets of New York City at night, or walk a beach boardwalk at sunset (and camp in tents, stay in 2 star hotels, and eat from fast food dollar menus along the way).

But that’s just us.

We work very hard and pinch and save every penny we can and cash it in every year to take a break from life for a few days and see what else this world has to offer—besides bills, gray hairs, and dirty laundry.

So in honor of commemorating all those state lines we’ve crossed, miles we’ve tacked on the speedometer, and unforgettable pictures on our camera rolls, I have compiled a list of our top 21 favorite adventures so far–that we believe everyone should take if they ever get the opportunity! I never really considered myself a travel blogger, but hey. There’s a first time for everything!

<Insert drum roll here…>

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#1 – Getting lost in downtown Washington D.C (So much history in one little place!)

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So this was actually an FFA trip we took in high school long before we were married, but we still count it anyways because we were there together and dating at the time! P.S – Yes, we are high school sweethearts!

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One of our favorite sites in D.C was Iwo Jima!
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Washington Monument with the sparkling memorial pool in the foreground to compliment the 98 degree weather…which makes FFA official dress corduroy jackets even that much hotter!
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Arlington Cemetery…something everyone needs to see. Absolutely humbling.

#2 – Watching the cotton harvest in the Missouri Bootheel

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We’re so southern. And yes, I totally snatched a boll for a souvenir…

#3 – White water rafting in the Smoky Mountains

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“Riding the bull” on the Ocoee River in Tennessee.

#4 – Parasailing at Panama City Beach, Florida

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Hanging by a moment in the Gulf, above the waves and dolphins! Parasailing was such a great way to kick off our adventurous life together on our honeymoon.

#5 – Lounging on a secluded beach in Navarre, Florida

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Navarre Beach: Operation Honeymoon
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When NO ONE and  NOTHING is around but seagulls, sunshine, gentle waves, and warm breezes? It is amazing.

#6 – Tent camping at Niagara FallsIMG_4186[1]

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Easily the coldest and greatest tent camping experience I have ever had.

#7 – Scaling a waterfall by a hot air balloon in Letchworth State Park, NY

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Letchworth Falls, NY several hundred feet above!
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Everywhere this hot air balloon went, ours went too! I was able to get some awesome shots of the other balloon while we were floating over a waterfall! CRAZIEST thing ever!

#8 – Venturing around NYC and hiking across the Brooklyn Bridge at sunset

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Manhattan Skyline from Brooklyn
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Brooklyn Bridge, NYC
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She sure is a lovely Lady!
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Empire state of mind
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Having some fun in Times Square
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Took some time to pay our respects at the World One Trade Center….absolutely breathtaking and heart stopping. Forever remember 9-11.

#9 – Driving the covered bridge tour in the Ohio countryside

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Ohio was full of miles and miles of back roads with the neatest bridges!

#10 – Blazing through the Sand Dunes by four-wheeler in Oklahoma

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What a hot, wild, sandy ride!
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Wayanoka, Oklahoma Sand Dunes – Little Sahara Park

#11 – Boating across Beaver Lake near Eureka Springs at sunset

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We enjoyed quite the peaceful view from a lakeside cabin for a weekend with my brother and sister in-law.

#12 – Cruising back roads on farmland in upstate Pennsylvania

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Some of the most beautiful farms were on our interstate commute through Dutch Country!

#13 – Strolling the beaches of the Great Lakes

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Lake Erie when it was warm…
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Annndddd Lake Michigan when it was not-so-warm…

#14 – Counting windmills on the Kansas and Texas prairies

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Pretty sure  I counted at least over 500 before I gave up and took a nap…

#15 – Standing (because I suck at skiing) on a mountain top in Boulder, Colorado

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Eldora Ski Resort, Nederland CO was BEAUTIFUL! Even if I couldn’t get past the bunny slopes…
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Pictures really don’t do it justice.

#16 – Stalking elk in Estes Park, Colorado

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Nothing like getting stopped in traffic for a classic Elk Jam in Estes Park…

#17 – Driving I-70 through the Rocky Mountains

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EVERYONE needs to make this drive on I-70 through the Rockies at least once in their life…Mountains for miles!!!

#18 – Rock climbing in the Utah red rocks

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Arches National Park in Moab, Be-Utah-Ful.

#19 – Hiking in the Grand Canyon

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It sure is grand!
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I just couldn’t help myself…

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Living life on the edge!
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Seriously. This place is the ultimate definition of God’s amazing creation. It’s indescribable.

#20 – Wandering around the Petrified Forest…and of course, taking cactus selfies

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We got bunny ear cacti…

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And yellow buckhorn cholla cacti!
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Petrification — a 2 million year process of trees premineralizing and turning to beautiful and colorful stones after a flood wiped out a once-existing forest in Arizona.

#21 – Last but not least…roaming around our farm together

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Because no matter where we go or what we do, home is where the cows are.
So until next time…we will continue to reminisce on these photos, stare at that wooden map on the wall, and dream of the day when we once again pack our bags, grab the Rand McNally, gas up the Mazda, put our shades on, crank that iPod playlist, and take off for another great adventure together…

<— Wherever that might be —>

 

wanderlust-o

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8 thoughts on “Miles, Maps, Memories.

  1. Great post! I just love the variety of things there are to do here in the USA. I haven’t spent much time in the south but I would love to someday! I’m always looking for posts on traveling while on a budget, if you’re interested in working together. ✌🏻

    Liked by 1 person

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