Six years ago I took a road trip and it changed my life.
I know I’m being a bit dramatic but it did change a lot of things. I’m Lori, the southerner behind the keyboard. I’m just a girl who loves to road trip and travel. Southerner Says is my way of sharing those experiences 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 the opportunity to go to Mexico on a high school field trip. Surprisingly, my parents let me go. That trip totally changed the the way I looked at travel. I fell in love with Mexico and was in awe of flying. I was ready to see the rest of the world!
But you know what they say about the best laid plans. Adulting kept me busy. I graduated high school, got married and had a daughter. We were self employed for many years so there were too few vacation days and tight budgets.
I still traveled as much as I could. Creatively stretching vacation days and looking for ways to save money so that anything extra went to a travel fund. I put 320k miles on my Suburban so I wouldn’t have a car payment. All our change went into into a jar for travel incidentals or a fancy meal.
I kept notebooks about all the places I had been and ideas about places I wanted to go. My bookshelves were full of Moon travel guides and maps. Family and coworkers asked for advice for vacations. I was eager to help because talking about and planning trips was almost as good as going on one.
Even though I had big dreams and places I wanted to see, it just wasn’t possible at the time. I learned to be content with what I could do at the moment. 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 ways.
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, 17 state, 6,680 mile road trip visiting national parks and camping. We had never done any of that alone. Was I scared? Yes! We had a flat tire within 100 miles of home. But that road trip was the best thing to happen to me in a long time.
After that adventure, we wanted more so we made a plan.
My daughter was entering her last year of high school. She knew it was just a matter of time before she would be adulting too. So, we mapped out all the places we wanted to go in the next five years. It was an overambitious list but it was just what we needed to get the ball rolling on our travel goals.
I found a remote job that involved travel. Score! That job also allowed me to travel longer when I wasn’t working. With my daughter in college, when I couldn’t find someone with a flexible enough schedule to travel with me, I started traveling alone. I had already been traveling solo for work. Why not for fun too?
Did we get to do everything we had on our five year plan? Heck no. But 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 on that list as well.
One of those goals was to start a blog. If you are reading this now; you know I have a blog. I had wanted to blog for years so this was a definite win.
In the two years I’ve been blogging, I’ve taken some of the best trips ever and I’ve been able to travel to some bucketlist destinations like Cuba and Iceland. I’ve also met the nicest people and made so many friends. I got to judge a cheese dip championship!
After all our National Park and public lands travel on that first road trip, my daughter added a minor in Recreation Management to her Graphic Design degree and is currently working for the National Park Service. Proud mama here.
Why Blog About It?
One of the reasons I blog is because I believe there are a lot people out there just like me. People that have lives, jobs, kids that want to travel. People on a budget that want to travel. Women who want to travel solo but aren’t quite sure how to start. Southerner Says is my way of sharing my experiences and and helping you create your own.
I’m proof you can do it and it’s never too late to start.
We all have a travel story. What’s yours?