I took a road trip five years ago and it changed my life.
Okay. So maybe I’m being a bit dramatic. Hey! I’m Lori The southerner behind the keyboard. I’m just a girl who loves to travel and Southerner Says is my way of sharing those travels with you. Let me catch you up.
My story is similar to a lot of people. I grew up road tripping and traveling with my parents in the eastern United States. Summer vacations in Florida and fall trips to the Smoky Mountains. It was fun travel but we never went west of the Mississippi.
When I was fifteen, I had a chance to go to Mexico on a high school field trip. That trip totally changed the the way I looked at travel. I fell in love with Mexico and I was ready to see the rest of the world!
But if you didn’t know already, life has a habit of getting in the way. I graduated school, got married and had a child. Adulting, can at many times, keep us busy doing what we have to do instead of what we want to do. Self employment, too few vacation days and tight budgets change even the best of plans.
I traveled as much as I could. Creatively stretching my vacation days and looking for ways to save money so that anything extra went to travel. I drove an older vehicle so I wouldn’t have a car payment. We saved all our change and put it into a travel fund.
I talked travel, researched travel and kept notebooks about all the places I had been and the places I wanted to go. My bookshelves were full of Moon travel guides. I helped family and coworkers plan trips because just talking about and planning one was almost as good as going on one. I was blogging and giving tips before it was even a thing.
Even though I had dreams and and places I wanted to see, I learned to be content with what I could do at the moment. I learned it didn’t have to be the biggest or most expensive trip to satisfy my wanderlust.There was a whole lot to see in my own backyard and I tried to look at familiar places in a new way.
But as time passed, a lot quicker than I wanted it to, I realized if I was going to do the things I had dreamed about, something would have to change. I definitely wasn’t getting any younger.
So with the help of all things, an outsourced job and a severance package, I did what I love best. I took that road trip I mentioned at the beginning.
My daughter and I set out on a cross country, 15 state, 6,680 mile road trip visiting national parks and camping. We had never done any of that alone and it was the best thing to happen to me in a long time.
For two people who already liked to travel, that one road trip changed everything. After that adventure we only wanted to see more. So we made a plan.
My daughter was entering her last year of high school. We mapped out all the travel we wanted to do in the next five years through college. I’ll admit, it was a bit overambitious but it was what we needed to kick start us and our travel goals.
I was able to get a remote job that involved some travel (score) and allowed me to travel when I wasn’t working. With my daughter now in college, I planned a lot of things last minute so that meant it got harder to find someone with a flexible enough schedule to travel with me. So what did I do? Well, I had already been traveling solo for work so I started traveling solo for fun too.
After all our National Park and adventure travel, my daughter added a minor in Recreation Management to her Graphic Design degree and is currently working for the National Park Service. I’m so proud of her!
Did we get to do everything we had on our five year plan? Heck no. The good news is that plan gave us a starting place. We put our idea on paper and we worked towards a goal. That’s not a fail in my opinion because besides the travel part of the plan, there were some personal goals as well.
One of those goals was to finally start a blog. And here we are. If you are reading this; you know I started a blog. Go me!
Another bonus of making goals is that I’ve had the best couple of years traveling that I’ve ever had. I went to Cuba and Iceland in 2018. Both of those countries were bucketlist destinations for me.
One of the reasons I blog is because I love to travel. I believe there are a lot people out there just like me. People that have lives, and jobs and want to travel. People on a budget that want to travel. Women who want to travel solo but are not quite sure how to start.
I’m proof that you can do it. You can travel. Whatever your situation is. It’s not too late to start.
We all have our travel story. Just remember, it’s not just about the destination as much as it is about the journey to get there.