Tuesday, January 12, 2016
The thing I love most about January is setting goals and planning out the year. Ok, it's really the only thing I love about January. If I didn't have lists to make and a planner to write in, I'd spend the whole month hibernating.
This year, the thing I'm most excited about planning is travel. After a difficult 2015, Larry and I feel a strong need to travel in 2016. Travel is our love language - it is when our marriage is the strongest, it is when we are happiest and get along the best. The circumstances of 2015 didn't allow us to travel much last year, so there's an extra desire to make up for that this year by exploring the world together. Having a trip to look forward to gets us through the challenging times.
The problem is, where? I think this is the first time we've faced a year without travel restrictions. Most of the travel we've done over the past few years (including our wedding in Hawaii and our trip to Wyoming) have been last minute business trips of Larry's that I tagged along on, or trips to visit friends or family.
We've never had the luxury of planning out the year's travel ahead of time without restrictions. We can go anywhere. I'm almost debilitated by that decision. The whole world is wide open to us. (Within reason - we still have a tight budget. Unless we win the $1.4 billion lotto...)
We've been poring over travel books and websites this month, but there are just too many possibilities.
WHAT WE LIKE:
Beautiful scenery and being in nature are the most important things when we travel. We're outdoorsy, but not extreme. We like biking, as long as it's not too hilly. We also like good food. (Which can be more difficult to find when we travel now that we no longer eat meat or most animal products.) And wine. We like music and sometimes we travel for concerts. We like experiencing different cultures and exploring towns, art and architecture, though we sometimes find big cities to be too overwhelming if we're in search of relaxation. We prefer to get off the beaten path and away from everyone else if we want to truly relax on vacation.
WHERE WE'VE BEEN:
Check out my travel map here. I'm not necessarily opposed to going back to a country I've already been to (after all, it's been 16 years since I was last in Europe!), but I do prefer to explore new places.
TRIPS WE'D LIKE TO TAKE IN 2016:
AN INTERNATIONAL TRIP
We've both been to Europe and Larry's been to central Asia, but other than to a handful of Caribbean islands, we've never traveled internationally together. Time to fix that!
+ We're considering: Iceland, Greece, Norway/Sweden/Finland, the Czech Republic, Croatia, Malta, Argentina.
A U.S. NATIONAL PARK
We're huge fans of the National Parks and have been to 15 of them together. We're hoping to explore another one this year.
+ We're considering: Glacier National Park or Crater Lake National Park (plus a road trip along the Oregon coast and a visit to Portland). These two trips have been on our list forever!
Another huge omission in our exploration of the National Parks is the California parks, especially Yosemite. We've also talked about an RV trip through Texas that would include a stop in Big Bend.
A WINTER BEACH ESCAPE
When we got married in Hawaii in March 2013, we vowed to go somewhere warm each year to celebrate our anniversary.
+ We're considering: The Caribbean! But which island? My initial first choice was St. Lucia, but now I'm considering a lesser-visited and more affordable island like Curacao or Guadeloupe. Or maybe we'll keep it simple and go to Palm Springs instead (I know there's no beach there, but sitting around a pool would be nice!) Or Belize...
EAST COAST WEEKEND GETAWAYS
In addition to the two big trips, we'd love to squeeze in some weekend trips to local-ish places on the east coast and maybe take some trips with our families if we can convince them to travel. (Hear that, MOM? Where do you want to go?)
+ We're considering: Dog-friendly cabin getaways and exploring state parks in Virginia and West Virginia, a trip to Savannah (have always wanted to go there and even dream of moving there if it meets my expectations), maybe a trip to New England (Larry wants to cross Vermont, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island off our list).
DECISIONS, DECISIONS! If this seems like a lot - it is. Hopefully, we'll be able to take a couple of memorable trips this year, but the rest of this is just a pipe dream. It's fun to make lists and dream of all the possibilities, right? And I'll be keeping my fingers crossed that they call our Powerball number! ;)
Also, we'd love some input! Have you been to any of these places? What's the best trip you've ever taken? What's your favorite foreign country? Favorite Caribbean island? Favorite national park? A best-kept secret/under-rated location? Where in the world should we go (or avoid)? I'd love to know!