Today I am thankful for the places I have been as well as the travel plans I have made. There are so many places to see and explore in this world. I have been lucky enough to go to some amazing places-yet have never been out of this country.
Growing up I would listen to my father talk about his life as an Air Force brat traveling the world and living in different countries. His family moved around a lot which allowed them to see many different parts of the world. (Africa and Australia just to name two of the coolest places he has been.) I envied him. Like any human, I longed to travel.
When I was 13 I had the opportunity to go to California for two weeks for a dance program/competition. I had never been outside of the east coast of the States. I was excited! Two weeks in California consisted of one week in Los Angeles and the other in Palm Springs. Two very different locations but unique experiences to say the least. Cali was a completely different world then what I was used to. We traveled there almost a year after September 11th which made flying nerve-wrecking. However it was one of the greatest trips of my life. (At the time. )That trip opened my eyes to the world I could explore. When we went to the top of a mountain in Palm Springs I felt this sense of wanderlust. Being from Florida mountain tops were a big deal and that was sad!
We headed to New York City in the Winter of 2006 for Thanksgiving. We would be crossing off a bucket list item of mine: attend the Thanksgiving Day Parade. The minute we stepped off the plane I was sick. A trip I had looked forward to for years and I was suffering serious allergy issues. I managed to step outside of my hotel room for 30 minutes of the parade until I felt myself get dizzy. I was heartbroken but the trip was not a bust. We walked through the streets of NYC getting lost often but enjoying every minute of it. It was glorious! We went into CBGB the NYC bar that was famous for punk and new wave movements. It’s doors had been closed a month prior to our visit but you could still walk in a buy a shirt-which I did. We paid a visit to Ground Zero which at the time was still very much a construction site. It was 5 years after 9/11 and it still felt like yesterday being there. It was a moving experience.
In the past 8 years I have kept my traveling to a minimum. Being a poor college kid didn’t help but the places I made it to in the last 8 years still held some amazing experiences. Where have I been?
As you can see, my travels have been focused on the east coast of the United States. Yes it would have been amazing to do a study aboard trip in college but with student loans it wasn’t an option. That’s why the next few years are about traveling outside of my comfort zone. I’ve been looking forward to these future trips for awhile and finally being able to book then has been amazing!
Where would you like to travel? Any place special? Share with us!
Last week I took a little blog hiatus to vacation from everything: work, blogging, social media, etc. It was more of a staycation but it was perfect for us to unwind. We started our vacation at Magic Kingdom celebrating our 1st wedding anniversary. It still blows my mind that we got married a year ago! It flew by so quickly. We enjoyed gallivanting around Magic Kingdom and had enough time to hop over to Epcot Food & Wine Festival. You can see my recap of that visit here.
Monday we rested from all the park hoping at got a couples massage. It was my first massage and I thoroughly enjoyed it! We took the rest of the day to relax at the house with Gus and my parent’s golden, Connor. We had reservations for a nice restaurant on the river that evening to celebrate our anniversary. I love being back home because it is much calmer than city life. The area is slower and more relaxing-even the drivers are slower! Dinner was fabulous. Judd had prime rib and I had shrimp and scallops in a crab meat cream sauce with lobster mashed potatoes and asparagus. Of course we ordered dessert which was this chocolate fudge with strawberries and whip cream. It was so good! When we got home, we took out our leftover wedding cupcakes to eat in celebration for our anniversary. They were actually really good!
Tuesday was a Disney-filled day. We headed out to Orlando to meet my brother for lunch in between his classes. I love every opportunity to see my brother as both of our schedules conflict all the time. The small chances I get to see him I take! We enjoyed a nice lunch and sent him on his way back to class while we headed to Animal Kingdom. I had never been there before and was so excited to see this park. We were on a time crunch so we hit a few points: we rode Everest which was a blast and watch the Festival of The Lion King show which made me sing and dance to all the songs from the movie. Around 5pm we changed into our Halloween shirts for Magic Kingdom for Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. I was pretty exhausted but had a great time! My brother performed during the Halloween parade as one of the dead waltzers from the haunted mansion. He was awesome!
Wednesday we met Judd’s mom for lunch with my parents out at the beaches. It was a beautiful day on the water with just enough warmth to stay comfortable without feeling sweaty. We then packed up the car and Gus and drove down to stay with Judd’s mom for the rest of the vacation.
Thursday we drove down to Vero Beach to tour some of the resorts down there. We saw the Driftwood Inn which was made entirely of driftwood. It was so cool! Then we headed to Disney’s Vero Beach resort to check it out. Like anything Disney, it was stunning! I cannot wait to one day stay at it! That evening, Judd’s family took us out to our favorite Irish pub for an anniversary dinner. We ate WAY too much food and I had WAY too much dairy. We had a lot of good laughs while enjoying stuffing our faces and our tummy’s to max capacity.
Friday Judd’s parents had to work so we had the day to ourselves. We went out for breakfast at a new place called Backwater. They have tables with griddles installed so you can make your own pancakes. It was an experience I wanted to try for a while! We grabbed a Pancake ingredient sheet to fill out for our waitress. I opted for buttermilk batter with chocolates and strawberries. (Again, vacation meant blowing my lactose free diet with the help of a Lactaid pill!) We got pancake molds and attempted to make shaped pancakes. It was a bit of a fail but they tasted delicious! After, we met Judd’s mom at her work briefly then headed to the local mall to shop. The rest of the day was spent napping and taking it easy. That night we headed to a German pub for dinner where I induldged in some fruity German beer that was made with raspberries. It was so good! Then we walked around the downtown area where they helped a Friday Fest-which wasn’t much to write home about coming from a large city!
Saturday Was the final day of our trip and I was sad to see the trip done. We drove up to my grandparents house and let Gus run around with their schnauzers. He had a blast but I think he was already exhausted. The trip back was quick and quiet as we were exhausted.
Vacation or staycation was so essential to reset my mind and come back with an open mind. Besides taking a break from blogging, I also took a social media break. I was so nice to log out and get away from something so addicting. I am quickly counting down the days to our next trip which will be here before we know it!
Being that it is summer, it’s nice to take a 3-day weekend and getaway from the norm. This past weekend I drove up to Charleston/Summerville, SC with my mom. We made this same trip last May and it is slowly becoming a yearly thing for us. This time we were heading up so that I could co-host my best friend’s bridal shower. (She was my MOH for my wedding and helped throw my shower last June!)
I have always loved visiting Charleston. This visit really solidified it in my heart as a community that is strong and peaceful. As many of you know, Charleston suffered a tragedy two weeks ago when a young man entered the Emanuel AME Church in downtown shot and killed 9 innocent people. Right around the time we got into town on Friday, the church was holding a funeral for the Senator and Reverend Clementa Pinckney. We watched the funeral unfold as more of a celebration of life and the strength of the community. It was a heartwarming sight to see.
That evening, we walked downtown after our dinner and noticed a lot of signs supporting EAME church. The streets were busy and bustling with people including those who attended the funeral, dressed in their Sunday’s Best. It made me happy to see a community pull together through tragedy and not resort to useless protests but instead come together and stand as one united city. It had an effect on me personally. In a time when news outlets are filled with unsettling protests after tragedy and over many different topics it was encouraging to see such peace and community in Charleston.
It’s Friday but I still have a Memorial Day Weekend hangover and it’s not alcohol induced! It’s not every week that you are given a 3-day weekend so I took advantage of it. My Memorial Day Weekend was a memorable one. Usually when I get time off of work I make the trip down to see my family.
Saturday I dropped Gus off at boarding early Saturday morning and packed up my Civic with all of our stuff for our weekend home. Once Judd got home from work, we hit the road hometown bound! It’s about a two-hour drive to get to my parents place and once we got there we were greeted with my brother who was home and golden retriever, Connor. We had a quick dinner then went to visit my grandparents. It is always an adventure going to visit family but my grandparents have the best stories! My grandfather was in the air force so they traveled and lived in a lot of interesting places. We sat around drinking our coffee and tea and listened to my grandmother talk about the time she had to fly with 4 kids from Australia to the states.
Sunday- Brunch is necessary whenever my brother visits or whenever I visit him. We persuaded my parents to go out to brunch before we hit the road to Tampa. We went to Bonefish and had an amazing brunch filled with Eggs Benedict and Peach Bellinis. We had great conversation and many laughs like always. By the time we got back home it was time for us to get on the road to Ybor City/Tampa. We had a big evening planned and wanted to get in town with time to spare just in case there was traffic. Everyone must have been at the beach because our drive out was a quick one! We arrived at our hotel in Ybor City and noticed that most of the guests were Rush fans. Everyone had their concert shirts on and we all waved, hollered and cheered with each other. The show was going to be epic! We met up with one of my mom’s co-workers and grabbed dinner before getting our Rush gear on for the concert. I dusted off my Rush vest I made for the last tour and put on my new bright red Chuck Taylor’s. It was going to be a special occasion so I also put on my bright red Taylor Swift inspired lipstick and was ready to rock out. We shuttled over to the arena where the sold out attendance to the show was awaiting the doors to open. Once we got in we found our seats and settled in until show time. If you know my father or my husband you know how important this concert was to us. Rush is one of the longest touring bands in history and this was their 40th anniversary tour and possibly last major tour. Knowing that this could be the last time we saw them, we prepared ourselves for what would be the best concert we have ever been to. I grew up listening to Rush. I had songs I would listen to on repeat and still do to this day. They played the song I walked down the aisle to live. (I got emotional just hearing it.) They played a song that I have always wanted to hear live. They finished the show on stage with minimal equipment and the crowd went wild. I didn’t want it to end and I was sad when it did.
Monday- Still suffering from a ‘Rush” hangover, I woke up and had breakfast with my family before we headed back to their place. We got home and instantly went through our video and pictures of the show. My dad put on an old Rush concert DVD from the 30th anniversary tour and we sat back and enjoyed it. We had to drive back to Jacksonville that afternoon so I could go to work in the morning. As we drove home, I couldn’t help but smile at the amazing weekend and amazing memories we had made!
What did you do on Memorial Day Weekend? Share with us!