You just HEAR the word and your ears get excited.
Every year my husband and I try to plan 1 big, relaxing, site seeing adventure we look forward to. Through out the year we may take small weekend trips or extended weekend trips due to holidays somewhere near us or venture up to the U.P. but we always try to give ourselves a bigger goal for the year!
The first year we got married we ventured to The Smoky Mountains in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. It was a city where you felt at home at. It was a place you could connect with nature, yourself, and your thoughts. It was a place we couldn't wait to return to! The next year we thought we would try something new, but when it came down to it, we couldn't bare the thought of not going back to the mountains, so we went back, except this time in a camper. We did this agin, and again, and again. FINALLY, after 4 years of it we decided THIS year we would try something new! But.... what? What's better than the mountains, the uncrowded hiking trails!? Perhaps..... warm weather? Florida? Really..... Florida?
As a child my parents and I had went to Florida EVERY Spring Break. I've been to Florida 13 times in my life. When I was younger the sun, the malls, the pools and beaches really had my interest, now that I'm older I couldn't be less enthused over that scenery. So.. what were we thinking!?
As we began to plan our trip we realized, if we were going to drive the long 21 hours, why not make the gruesome trip more bearable by stopping at some cool places along the way? Not once in my 13 year to Florida had we ever done anything except drive straight through. Surely there had to be SOMETHING ELSE hidden in between us and all those other miles.
And so it began.
We made our first stop near Red River Gorge in Kentucky.
Pretty much what did make up the town was closed for the season and what was open for the season was a good 10 miles away and consisted of one Mexican restaurant and a Dairy Queen- perfect. We don't go on vacations to be surrounded by people. We go on vacation to be, basically, smothered by each other. haha. Back at home our lives are hectic, we're busy working, we're always trying to finish up projects we've started that are way over our heads, and it's nice to step away from that and just enjoy living at a more simple level. We spent our few short days in the mountains driving around to site see off into the middle of nowhere, hiking on top of natural arches, in between rock crevasses, and looking over the edges of mile long drop offs. We knew we were "down south" when upon our hour long drive into the middle of nowhere we came across someone's "home" that welcomely had spray painted on the side of it "Stay the F**K out or get shot."
Once it was time to travel on we packed up, drove for the
day, and landed in-
All we knew about Savannah is that it's a beautiful historic city full of mossy trees. Me, who loves anything aging, intricate, and old and my husband, who loves all things history and trees, it seemed fitting enough. I can not explain to you what an understatement that was. As SOON as we entered the city I asked Jake when we would be able to come back! The cobblestone roads, the attention to detail on the preserved buildings, the huge engulfing trees, the city squares..... I can't reminisce about this city without feeling sad that I can not visit it everyday.
Our few days in this historic wonder were spent merely roaming the streets, enjoying the shops, learning it's history, and talking about what aspects of the town we would love to be able to enjoy in our own town, maybe one day!
So, finally, it was time to travel on, and what beckoned us in the first place, was now about to be in our reach.
Now, I'll be completely honest. I'm a geek. Me and my husband both are. We like to daydream, imagine, create, think of the impossible and plan the ridiculous, so when we heard Harry Potter was now at Universal Studios, we had to go. We had to experience what it was like to walk the streets of magic and play where anything was possible. So- that's why Florida was on the list, and yes, the sun! Well, once we got to Florida we got about 2 days of sun and when we left it was a whopping 35 degrees. But, we enjoyed it while we could!
We experienced the magic of Harry Potter, the silliness of Suess' Landing and more. The attention to details in these theme parks could honestly consume your life. We took in so much but at the same time, still missed so much! These streets are transformed into different worlds and that's what I love about them!
After that we took it easy. Enjoyed the beach, searched for shells, and watched the waves crash over the surfers.
When the weather reached MI standards we left.
And where did we stop on our travels back home?
The Smoky Mountains!
Never experiencing it in the winter before really made the trip special and unique. You enter into a green wonderland, covered in ice and a skiff of snow. It's the one place I feel completely at ease all the time, whether I'm in the city, on a trail miles in the woods, on top of a mountain cliff, or biking next to a bear...
A few days later we got in the car and drove back to the box we built for ourselves that holds our everyday schedule and our dreams mapped out in books. We were home.
If you've made it to this point, I applaud you. As much as I feel as though my vacations and travels are like a fairy tale come true, they are merely just stories and pictures for you, but if I can stress one thing after all these stories and tales is... go. Just GO. Explore. Take an adventure. And it doesn't have to be miles away. It could be 10 mins down the road, it could even be in your back yard. But take time out of life to actually think about it... We live so quickly. Isn't it time you slow down and figure out why?