Travel has been a large part of my life. We had family in Michigan when I was young, my dad was going to sales all over the U.S., and until I was in high school, my dad was the pilot of our small Cessna four-seater airplane. This was probably one of the coolest things I remember from my childhood. During the fourth of July, we flew above the county’s fireworks and enjoyed them from a view no one else had.
Because I love travel AND I love lists, here is a list of my favorite places outside of Missouri I’ve been and yet need to visit, and why (in random order):
1. Honolulu, HI when I was in second grade with my Mom and Dad. My dad was working a rare coin sale there, and I got to go for Thanksgiving Break. My sisters, on the other hand, had to go to Michigan. This was the beginning of them realizing that I got to do EVERYTHING fun. I even had an article written in the Higginsville Advance about my trip. Very exciting stuff.
2. Washington, D.C. when I was 10 or 11…I don’t recall exactly. It was the last real family trip with both parents I can recall. We did all the great stuff; Arlington, where my fascination with JFK and the Kennedy family probably began, the Smithsonians, all the great monuments, and we met Johnny and June Carter Cash. No greater travel story than that, my friends.
3. Ireland, Scotland, France during the summer between my Junior and Senior year of high school with several national-level FFA livestock judging teams. Yes, you read that correctly. Truth be told, I was supposed to attend a horticulture trip to France, but due to not enough participants, they stuck me on this livestock tour of the Royal Highland Show in Scotland, farm tours in Ireland, and a home stay visit for two or three nights with a host in France before we went to Paris over the 4th of July. I could write for hours about this two-week trip but I won’t. Long story short, I saw the biggest livestock show in the world, I kissed the Blarney Stone, drank illegally in every country, went to the Cointreau distillery, won a pie eating contest that was filmed, and went to the top of the Eiffle Tower while it was sparkling. Words fail me when I talk about how awesome the entire experience was. I can’t wait to go back with my husband, hopefully in 2014 or 2015.
4. London, Bath, and Stonehenge, England during the following summer after my Senior year of high school for one week. I went with my best friend Kerri, and a group of 10+ other people from my class. We saw plays, drank pints, toured castles, felt the ancient baths in Bath, Somerset, and walked around Stonehenge. This was before Harry Potter, which is entirely disappointing now because I would’ve sought out something HP related. It was the perfect send-off trip for college, minus the HP.
5. Jackson Hole, WY sometime in high school with my dad, my stepmom, and little brother Colton and some other extended family members. We went in the summertime, and even though I remember not much at all, I do remember whitewater rafting and the beautiful elk archways that surround the town square. Oh, and the high noon shootout that Colton loved because he was just at the age of loving westerns. My love of antlers was born.
6. North Rim, Grand Canyon, AZ for three months during the summer of 2005. This was the trip of my life. I hiked, saw amazing things, ate amazing foods, and fell in love with the desert. I also got infection so badly in my left foot I had to go to an emergency room, but that was all part of the experience. I met crazy people, played volleyball several times a week, and heard “The Weight” more times than I care to count. The employee pub was a trip and a half, and so were the employees. Some convicts, some escaping their pasts, and some who just lived the National Park lifestyle for their entire life. It was hard to come back. To this day, it’s one of my favorite places on earth and I can’t wait to go back. Oh, and I hiked Rim-to-Rim for 23 miles in 22 hours, which is probably the toughest physical thing I’ve ever done. Did you know there’s a cabin and artist-in-residence at the bottom of the canyon? Now you do. My mom also came to visit me, taking her first real vacation in 10 years. That meant the world to me.
7. Beaver Creek, CO in the winter of 2010 with the Schaeffer family, when I was asked to become part of the Schaeffer family. I snowboarded and mangled my poor body for three days, and then was proposed to on the fourth during a beautiful snowshoe hike. It was the best ski trip I’ve ever been on.
8. Honeymoon in Seattle, WA in the late fall of 2010, and also the San Juan Islands just north of Seattle. We stayed with our awesome brother and sister-in-law’s for a few days, then went on our own to San Juan where it was unseasonably cold and the entire island knew we were the honeymooners. We explored, ate good food, and enjoyed each other for several days. Then, spent Thanksgiving with our family back in Seattle and it may have been the best Thanksgiving we’ve had so very long. No crazy business, no agendas. It was great to do that.
9. Second honeymoon trip to Punta Cana, Dominican Republic for our dear friends’ wedding. We went early and enjoyed some time to ourselves, and then met our friends at the neighboring resort for four days of wedding celebrations, swimming, and laughing. Best moment: jumping into the lukewarm pool after dancing and cutting rugs for four hours at the reception. Worst moment: slicing the bottom of my big toe on something and not being able to join the rest of the group the last day due to the massive wound. Should’ve had stitches…but I didn’t trust DR doctors. You wouldn’t either. Overall: best trip with friends ever.
10. Vail, CO for our first anniversary trip, courtesy of our good friend who let us borrow his condo in Vail Village. We enjoyed the beautiful fall colors, no traffic, and roadtripping around to Red Rocks, small mining towns, and the Continental Divide. Quiet couple time. Beautiful and relaxing.
11. Sarasota, FL with my best friend; our annual trip to the beach in the spring. Girl time, crowdless beaches, good food and non-pretentious Florida people. So great.
12. Yosemite National Park, CA with my dad, Cheri, and Colton. Memorable because my dad, Colton and I hiked 16 miles towards Half Dome, and turned around. My calves were rocks the next day. But the park was beautiful and we had a great time…family bonding, you know.
13. Hilton Head Island, SC with my hubs and pals. We biked it, and we liked it. We paddle boarded and nothing rhymes with paddleboarded but schmaddleboarded. Played golf on a real course with real golf attire. Rescued a horseshoe crab that didn’t need rescuing, went to the beach in sweatpants and cried at how good the nighttime beach walk was. It’s those moments you thank someone upstairs for the good thing you’re experiencing right then, even though they can’t stay with you forever.
Future Trips to Take:
1. Kiawah Island, SC in just a few weeks! Schaeffer family trip, second time there with the fam and it will be better than the first! I will celebrate my 30th birthday there (nearly on the day-of), and spend a week playing golf, beaching, riding cruisers, and relaxing. I. can’t. wait.
2. Ireland and Scotland for Brian and my first European trip together. Planning on Fall 2014.
3. North Rim Grand Canyon, time TBD. Must get there soon though.
4. Mexico for a cousin’s wedding May 2014. Damn right I’ll be there.
5. Back to San Juan Island to kayak and whale watch in the summer. TBD.
6. France with Brian to see everything. Same for Italy and the U.K.
7. Washington, D.C. to see all things Kennedy, the museums as an adult, and the JFK Library in Boston. TBD.
8. Maine. I just really want to go to Maine.
9. Wine country, California. Who doesn’t? TBD.
10. Utrecht and Amsterdam in The Netherlands. Home country of my company, amazing architecture, tulips, Amsterdam. Let’s do this.