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. Let me catch you up.
My travel 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 mountains. It was fun travel but we didn’t venture out much.
Eventually, it was a trip to Mexico City when I was fifteen that introduced me to something new and changed the way I looked at travel. My first international trip and I was hooked.
But as many of us know, life has a habit of getting in the way. Adulting, many times, keeps us busy doing what we have to do instead of what we want to do. Too few vacation days, kids in school and lack of funds, can change the best of plans.
Still, 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, read travel and kept notebooks about places I had been and wanted to go. My bookshelves were full of Moon travel guides. I also helped family and coworkers plan trips because just talking about and planning one was almost as good as going on one. I was blogging before blogging and giving tips before it was even a thing.
Even though I had big plans and and places I wanted to go, I learned to be content with what I could do at that time. 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 it in a new way.
But as time passed, a lot quicker than I wanted it to, I realized if I was going to see the places and do the things I had only 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 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 got a remote job that involved some travel and allowed me to travel more when I wasn’t working. When my daughter started college, it was harder to find someone with a flexible schedule to travel with. I had already been traveling solo for work so why not start traveling solo for fun?
After all our National Park and outdoor travel, my daughter ended up adding a minor in Recreation Management to her degree and now works for the National Park Service.
Did we get to do everything we had on our plan? Sadly, no. But it was a bit of an overambitious plan to begin with. We still didn’t feel like we failed though. That plan gave us a starting place. We put our idea on paper and we worked towards a goal.
Part of that plan for me was officially starting a blog. Eighteen months ago, I was finally able to accomplish that and here we are.
Another bonus of making goals is that I’ve had the best couple of years traveling that I’ve ever had. I was able to go to Cuba and Iceland in 2018. Both of those countries were bucketlist destinations for me.
I love travel and I believe there are a lot people out there just like me. People that have 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.
You can travel whatever your situation is. It’s never too late to start. You might just need a little push. That’s why I blog.
We all have our story. Just remember, it’s not just about the destination as much as it is about the journey to get there.