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…)
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…>
#1 – Getting lost in downtown Washington D.C (So much history in one little place!)
#2 – Watching the cotton harvest in the Missouri Bootheel
#3 – White water rafting in the Smoky Mountains
#4 – Parasailing at Panama City Beach, Florida
#5 – Lounging on a secluded beach in Navarre, Florida
#6 – Tent camping at Niagara Falls
#7 – Scaling a waterfall by a hot air balloon in Letchworth State Park, NY
#8 – Venturing around NYC and hiking across the Brooklyn Bridge at sunset
#9 – Driving the covered bridge tour in the Ohio countryside
#10 – Blazing through the Sand Dunes by four-wheeler in Oklahoma
#11 – Boating across Beaver Lake near Eureka Springs at sunset
#12 – Cruising back roads on farmland in upstate Pennsylvania
#13 – Strolling the beaches of the Great Lakes
#14 – Counting windmills on the Kansas and Texas prairies
#15 – Standing (because I suck at skiing) on a mountain top in Boulder, Colorado
#16 – Stalking elk in Estes Park, Colorado
#17 – Driving I-70 through the Rocky Mountains
#18 – Rock climbing in the Utah red rocks
#19 – Hiking in the Grand Canyon
#20 – Wandering around the Petrified Forest…and of course, taking cactus selfies
#21 – Last but not least…roaming around our farm together
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 —>