I am a full-time public health professional with a husband, two kids, a dog and two guinea pigs who lives in Minnesota, USA. I am obsessed with our planning our next vacation, and I am often planning several vacations in advance. People are often asking my advice not just about vacations, but about the organizational tools I use in my life. (My massive summer camp spreadsheet is a hit among the working mom set! 🙂 ) So far I have hit four of the seven continents.
My love of travel started young. My parents, who were not able to travel as children, took us every summer on a two-week road trip vacation somewhere in the US. Riding in the back of their Vista Cruiser (yes, it was the 70’s, and yes, it was a blue version of the station wagon in That 70’s Show) I saw 42 states. While their trip strategy was one I hated — driving 6 hours a day, stopping at a state capital or war memorial along the way, staying at a different hotel every night, never venturing near a city — it nonetheless made me hungry for more.
As you’ve guessed by now, I’m not very young. Study abroad programs were virtually non-existent at my state university. But in college I had the opportunity of a lifetime to tag along home for two weeks with my roommate, who was from Hong Kong. For a small-town girl from Minnesota, this was my first time flying (and I flew home alone!); my first time using public transportation; my first time eating things like chicken feet, cow’s tongue, and goose intestines; and most significantly, the first time I’d ever been the only person of my race as far as the eye could see. I was officially obsessed with travel. (Oh, and I went to Cancun on spring break during my college years as well, but that trip will not be discussed here. 🙂 )
Young Adult Years
As a young adult, I was able to take more trips. I spent a week in Vancouver with a friend. Then I took a couple domestic trips with another friend where we only wore gaudy clothes from Goodwill. And I took a month-long Contiki bus tour around western Europe with yet another friend.
Married, With Children
It was after these trips that I realized how much more I could get out of travel by not relying on people to tote me around, so I started to do my own research and planning about the destinations prior to leaving. And I discovered a couple things about myself: 1) that I get almost as much enjoyment out of vacation planning as I do out of vacationing, and 2) my vacations are much more successful when I plan.
Since then I’ve made several more trips with my husband and, later, with our children: two more to Europe (one where we got married in Florence, one with kids for our anniversary), one to Australia and New Zealand (no kids), and bunch around the lower 48 states, both long road trips and a few involving air travel. I plan the itinerary and lodging. My husband, who loves mapping, plans any hiking and driving adventures and is the official trip photographer.
We love road trips in my husband’s Jeep Wrangler. Our kids, now a teenager and a tween, are road trip champions.