I have always had big dreams of traveling with little follow through. I make bucket lists, pin tons of ‘things to do in’ articles, and create itineraries for future trips, but the reality is: I rarely go anywhere.
But let’s back up a bit. Growing up, my nana was an avid traveler going anywhere and everywhere a cruise ship would take her. Upon her return, she would surprise me with a snow globe from every place she visited and tell me fascinating stories of the people she met, the landmarks she saw, and the food she ate. By the time I was ten years old, I already had shelves of tiny little places I longed to visit and my dream of travel was born. My parents weren’t big on travel, so the only places we ever went were to visit my papaw in Tennessee, Disney World, and a cruise to Cozumel with the extended family. This only fueled my desire to get out of our city, so when I hit high school I jumped at any opportunity to travel. During high school, I managed to go to Corpus Christi, Salt Lake City, Anaheim, Philadelphia, New York City, Baltimore, Washington D.C., and Ottawa. It was surreal getting to visit new places and meet new people, but I realized I didn’t like traveling on someone else’s itinerary. I want to choose what I visit and where I eat, you know?
While in college, I had all of these plans to travel, but I really dropped the ball. I came up with all kinds of excuses… “I don’t have enough money,” “I don’t have anyone to go with,” “It might be unsafe,” or “I should focus on school.” Then all of a sudden I was a college graduate having gone just about nowhere. I was disappointed and discouraged at first, but then I realized there is never going to be the perfect time to travel, budgets are possible, and school was no longer an issue, so while researching possible honeymoon destinations, I tossed out the idea of taking a road trip. My husband loved the idea, so I set out to find the perfect destination for our honeymoon road trip. We were working on a pretty tight budget, but I had a blast researching locations within reasonable distance, unique Airbnb homes, and fun activities to do. It turned about to be an amazing adventure that I wouldn’t trade for anything!
Since the honeymoon, I have definitely re-caught the travel bug and I just can’t stop planning future trips. My only problem: real life. Between working a full-time job and paying all the bills, there isn’t much left to work with. On New Years, my husband and I decided to pick one “big” destination to visit this year and focus on that. So we through some suggestions into a hat and picked one without looking. Our pick: Maine. All of this week I had been researching Maine and all there is to do there. I had created a whole itinerary of where to go, where to stay, where to eat, what to do, and how to get there, but when I looked at the budget my heart fell. There is no way we would be able to make it to Maine this year.
So here I am finally passionate about something with wanderlust filling every part of me, but with little funds to fuel my wants. Where do I go from here? I ended up on Pinterest and happened upon a post talking about fantastic things to do in Dallas. Having lived about half an hour away from Dallas my entire life, I never really thought of it as a “destination.” It was just the city with a lot of traffic that we rarely went to. But then I asked myself why? Why did I never go to Dallas? I had no reasons. So I furiously began researching all of the cool places to visit, delicious places to eat, and unique things to do right in the next neighborhood over. I realized that I could take as many day or weekend trips to Dallas as I wanted and I could feel my heart singing.
One of my goals for 2018 is make every day count. This might seem vague, but to me it is spot on. I waste a lot of days away dreaming of what could be, but now that I have this newfound understanding that adventure is right around the corner, I want to take advantage of it. So I have started telling myself that there is no reason to travel far when you can travel near. I’m ready to be a local in my own metroplex!