Tuesday, January 18, 2011
Larry and I love to travel.
Of course, there are thousands of dream destinations in the world on our list...if only we had unlimited money and vacation time! I was lucky enough to study abroad twice in college - a summer in Spain/Portugal, and a semester in Italy - but I haven't been back to Europe since the year 2000. Larry occasionally gets to travel internationally for work - last year he went to Serbia, and this year he'll be in Asia. However, besides visiting a handful of Caribbean islands, Larry and I have done no international travel together.
Luckily, we both agree that there are enough destinations in the good ol' U.S.A. to satisfy a lifetime of travel. There are lots of interesting American cities, and we have mountains, beaches, forests, oceans, and deserts, all within our own backyard. This isn't to say that we don't hope to go to Australia or South America or Europe together some day, however, we feel lucky to live in a country that has such a variety of things to see, and traveling domestically is so much more affordable. In fact, our dream vacation would be to take a year to live in an RV and travel throughout the United States (we both have the goal of visiting all 50 states and are slightly competitive about it!).
We are big supporters of the U.S. National Parks and many of our vacations over the past seven years have revolved around this. We didn't start out with an intentional theme to our vacations, but have found that the National Parks vacations have been the ones we've enjoyed the most. In fact, our first vacation as a couple - in 2004 - was to the U.S. Virgin Islands to enjoy some sun and relaxation. Interestingly enough, on the island of St. John is...Virgin Islands National Park! The following year we went to the Rocky Mountains, and we haven't stopped vacationing in the National Parks since...
Virgin Islands National Park, St. John (2004)
Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado (2005)
Death Valley National Park, California (2006)
Zion National Park, Utah (2006)
Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah (2006)
Olympic National Park, Washington (2007)
Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee/North Carolina (2008)
Arches National Park, Utah (2010)
Canyonlands National Park, Utah (2010)
Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado (2010)
(We are also lucky enough to have Shenandoah National Park under two hours away from where we live, and we visit a few times a year for some day hikes.)
All of these parks have been amazing. We've been to Grand Teton National Park separately, and I've been to Yellowstone and the Everglades. And every time we get back from one of our trips, I look forward to planning the next one. I think Crater Lake, Acadia, and Glacier are next on my list...but there's a few biggies we've missed, too...Grand Canyon, Yosemite...so many choices.
I have a great travel partner and can't wait for the next adventure...