Growing up, we didn’t really vacation. A couple of times we drove down to Florida to visit my cousin, once or twice we went to Washington DC to do the same for another cousin, and every summer we made a road trip to Cleveland to see the aunts and uncles, and that was about it. In the meantime, I discovered my childless aunt and uncle traveled most of the national parks in their camper during their vacations. It was fascinating to imagine doing that.
But that wasn’t us. No, I was the kid in the backseat of the family’s light blue Chevy Impala driving down I-95 at 60 miles per hour, in the thick of the summer with all the windows down, head sticking out of said window to stay cool, as if I were the family dog. My long, fine, light brown hair would be a wild mess from the wind….and I’m surprised I wasn’t sunburnt. My cheeks always felt numb after hours of riding just like this, but hey, we didn’t have air conditioning in the car, so what did you expect me to do? Nevertheless, we were going on vacation!
Now why I didn’t think to craft a career in the travel industry, I don’t know….
But after college I found work in public accounting and along with it came the need to travel to different client sites wherever they happened to be. It was awesome. I used to go go go… and man, I loved it! At some point I was traveling five days a week for weeks on end all over the US, and I liked it so much I traveled more for vacation, visiting the friends I made all over the country.
Still, traveling constantly got old after a while, and I wanted a ‘real life’ so after several years I quit that job, married at an age you could say was a little later in life, and then finally had kids. Waiting as long as I did to have all that, I would rather spend my time with my family.
Actually, I’d rather travel with my family and we do. Rarely do my husband and I go anywhere without them, although that’s almost a function of there being very few options to watch the kids so we can have some alone time.
Still, for several years while the kids were young, the wish list of places I wanted to visit was growing faster than I had a means to satisfy it. I kept saying “one of these days”….and it never came.
Enter my high school friend Barb who set a girls weekend away one of as her 2017 resolutions and she invited me to go. Me. I hadn’t seen her in roughly 30 years. I was humbled and thrilled.
Boom! That was the avalanche that started it for me. Yes, I definitely had “More Travel” on the list of 2017 resolutions but before you knew it, 2017 became a year of “yes” and “Why not?” Between fun and work this year, long weekends and bigger trips, I’ve been to New York, Chicago, Columbus, Pittsburgh, Bedford Springs (PA), Seattle, Los Angeles, San Diego, Scottsdale, Traverse City, Orlando, the Bahamas, Savannah, and Amelia Island (FL). These weren’t trips with the whole family each time…these were just the trips I happened to make. Before 2017 is over, I will sneak in Raleigh, and maybe Dayton and Hocking Hills (a beautiful, hilly region in southeast Ohio). What can I say? Wanderlust is in my blood.
I’m not even sure which was my favorite! Amelia Island was beautiful. Barb and I were supposed to go to Cumberland Island to see the wild horses, but we didn’t plan properly for that. Plus the weekend we went was blistering hot. I mean, Denise-is-dripping-wet-hot. I think she realized there was a good chance I would DIE on Cumberland Island had we tried to hoof it for a day. I’m grateful she was cool with hanging at the pool.
Bedford Springs was wonderful in that it was a celebration for a friend after her winning battle against ovarian cancer. The Omni Bedford Springs is a beautiful venue, and we enjoyed our long weekend in April at the hot springs and spa.
Traverse City was a joy to see again. It had been nearly 20 years since I had been there. We took the kids over Spring Break when it was a bit too chilly to enjoy hiking the sand dunes but overall we liked it enough to want to return.
California was the big family trip this year. We crammed a ton of activities into our 10 days in the Los Angeles metro area and San Diego. This was our first time using AirBNB and our apartments were perfect. The kids thought California was exceptional and I’m so glad we got the chance to take them there. We visited Zuma, Venice, and Huntington Beaches, the Dolby Theatre, Hollywood Walk of Fame, the Hollywood sign, Universal Studios, Warner Brothers Studios, USC, UCLA, Santa Monica Pier, Beverly Hills, La Jolla and the sea lions, the USS Midway, San Diego Zoo, and Coronado. Just incredible.
My husband and I even managed a cruise to the Bahamas in early September for my birthday getaway, but it was cut short given Hurricane Irma. I’m telling you those Floridians are fearless in the face of doom. There we were, disembarking at Port Canaveral, and they showed up to their jobs to help us, cheerfully, with the storm nipping at our heels. Humbling.
So you think with all that travel, I’d get rid of the travel bug. Nope.
For the last few years, I had been targeting Iceland for my 50th birthday trip but that was before I turned the whole year into a travel adventure. I haven’t abandoned the idea: I WILL go to Iceland ideally within the next two years. I took it as a sign from God that I’m meant to go now that Wow Airlines has cheap direct flights from Pittsburgh today and from Cleveland this May.
Iceland is not as easy to plan, though. I see pictures of places I think are breathtaking, but the names are, like, 20 letters long and well, ICELANDIC, so I have no idea how to say things like Eyjafjallajökull. Do you? I mean, come on. Wikipedia says it’s pronounced [ˈeɪjaˌfjatlaˌjœːkʏtl̥]. I still say, “huh?”
So I’m tabling Iceland for the moment, and letting the travel bug wind down for a brief moment so 2018 can be focused on some other goals.
But 2017? You were AWESOME in terms of travel. I spent a lot more than I had ever planned on all these trips but it was worth it. And I no longer feel like time is getting away from us and all the places I want to take the kids as a family. We will hit the road again in 2018 for sure, but 2017 will be a year for the memory books. 2017 New Year resolution #1 achieved, with gusto.