I got my passport when I was 15, used it to travel to the other side of the world and back, and it has since expired. I've always had some hint of pull toward adventure hiding inside of me, and that trip certainly brought it fully alive. Now, 15 years later, travel is a little harder. I have three kids to think about, limited finances, and I get more motion sick now than I have ever before in my life.
Yet, I still want to travel. I still want to follow that string of adventure tied somewhere in my heart to new places. And that's just what this post is as I'm landlocked while I turn 30: Remembering some of the places I've been and dreaming about some the places I still hope to go.
15 Places I've Visited
1. Mongolian CountrysideI spent my junior year of high school with a friend and her family in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. I especially loved the countryside--the green and brown rolling mountains against blue sky. Traditional nomads with their herds and smoke coming out of the top of their gers (yurts). So beautiful.
2. Rock City, KansasI'm a Kansas girl, born and raised. I loved the fields of sunflowers along the dirt road, the cottonwood trees that covered a nearby park in white fluff, and the small town hominess where we lived. Besides for bottling up all of that, we've also enjoyed visiting Rock City. It's giant circular rocks in the middle of nowhere. So cool to see a natural wonder like that and let the kids explore around.
3. Yosemite National ParkMy parents managed a camp in the park for a couple years. I even got to spend a few weeks one summer working there. The waterfalls and the mountains, all gorgeous. What I loved the most was a little piece of the river that flowed against hot slabs of rock. I loved feeling the warmth again my body while cool water swirled around my feet.
4. Wekiva Springs State Park, FloridaMy husband and I lived in Florida for two years, and this was one of our go-to places to visit Sabbath afternoon. The water was beautiful, and the trails were fun to hike.
5. Bahama CruiseWhile living in Florida, my husband and I helped supervise the senior class trip for the school he worked at. They took a Royal Caribbean cruise to the Bahamas. It was a fun trip. I just loved being surrounded by gorgeous ocean.
6. Palisades State Park, South DakotaThis was a place we went camping when I was in college. We rock climbed there, and did free-climbing around the river that led to gorgeous views of the sunset. It's a really pretty place to camp.
7. La Vida Mission, New MexicoI started college as an education major and for one of our classes we took a trip to this mission to volunteer. We did some hiking around the area that so beautiful. Then a friend and I woke up early in the morning when it was still black out and hiked up a nearby mountain to watch the sunrise. We were tired and exhausted, but it was so worth it to see one of the most beautiful sunrises I've ever seen.
8. Pearl Street in Boulder, ColoradoWe spent a day visiting friends walking down Pearl Street in Boulder, Colorado. It felt like a cultural experience with so many different types of shops. I loved it.
9. Road to Hana, HawaiiOn our way to Mongolia with my friend and her family, we stayed a week on Maui for her graduation gift. We surfed, and hiked around, and got up early to see a sunrise on a volcano. It was all gorgeous and fun, but wasn't what I originally imagined Hawaii to be. My favorite part was the Sabbath drive we took on the Road to Hana. We saw so much of the island, and ended up at a place with lava rocks and big waves and beautiful palm trees that we joked was "Trina's Hawaii" because it was more what I originally imagined Hawaii would be like.
10. Lookout Mountain, Georgia / TennesseeWe lived in Tennessee and I went to an academy in Georgia. During that time we visited Lookout Mountain a lot. We drove around to look at the homes, I rock climbed with my brother there, I hiked around with friends, we walked around and just looked at the views. I love that area of Tennessee/Georgia.
11. Natural Bridge in VirginiaWhen I was in the 5th grade, my grandparents took my sister and I on a few-week trip with them in their motorhome. We went to Virginia down the coast to Florida, then back up through Georgia to Kansas. We went to Virginia to visit some of my grandma's family. (One couple lived in a large, old Southern plantation-type home that they claim was haunted.) While visiting them we went to see the Natural Bridge and took a tour of the caverns. It was a little too rainy for my liking, but it was a pretty area. And definitely a fun and memorable trip overall.
12. Moab, UtahJust before my brother got married, we met in Moab, Utah to go camping and hiking and climbing. Our hike was beautiful, the climb was fun, and it was a great memory before he got married. and I ended up getting married the following summer.
13. CaliforniaNot necessarily the whole state. I've just taken too many meaningful trips there to not mention them in this list. When I was 8, my brothers and sister and I spent a summer with my grandparents in Lemoore. I have so many memories playing Indians in their yard in the country with acres of peaches growing next door. We also visited my great-grandma in Sacramento and saw the Redwoods. Of course, the few weeks I spent working in Yosemite while in college, and visiting the coast with my parents. Then, visiting Yosemite again when I was pregnant. San Diego for a work trip with my husband and our baby. The week of Christmas my whole family visited my parents when they lived and worked in Kings Canyon National Park. And the next year just my kids and I visiting them for a week in the summer. I don't know if I could be a California girl, but I do love visiting.
14. Riverwalk in San Antonio, TexasMy husband and I couldn't afford a honeymoon, so we made part of our trip to Texas for my friend's wedding our honeymoon. We stayed a night in San Antonio and went down to Corpus Christi because I wanted a honeymoon on the beach. Looking back, we both agree we should have spent the whole time in San Antonio. My favorite part was the riverwalk. We ate delicious Mexican food outside at night right by the water. I'd love to go back and stay in one of the fancy hotels that has a balcony right above the river.
15. Excelsior Springs, MissouriWe've taken very few family vacations and mostly stick to staycations (which worked out great when we lived in Florida and could "staycation" to Disney World or the beach). Last year we took our first actual family vacation--not to visit anyone, but to just be together. It was only four days and only a couple hours away. But it was still so much fun and so necessary. The kids' favorite part was staying at the Great Wolf Lodge. Mine was staying at The Elms Hotel and Spa in Excelsior Springs. The area is really pretty. It was fun to learn about the healing waters. And I loved the old hotel's lap pool in what felt like the dungeon.
15 Places I Want to Visit
16. Hot SpringsI don't care too much where. I've just never been in a hot spring, and I really want to.
17. Banff, CanadaI've never really had a desire to visit Canada. Then, I saw some friends' pictures of Banff on Instagram and decided I definitely want to go there.
18. Coast of GreeceThis was my dream honeymoon since I was 15. There's been a lot political unrest there, so that will likely effect if I visit. But I'd still love to see Greece, especially somewhere on the coast.
19. An All-Inclusive ResortThis is pretty non-descript. I've never been to an all-inclusive resort. All my friends that did that for their honeymoon say it was great no matter the location, so it's on my list.
20. Boston in the FallThe academy I went to in Georgia took juniors to visit New England. My brothers and sister all took this trip when they were juniors, but I quit high school after 10th grade, so I've never visited from Maryland north. I especially want to visit Boston in the fall. I don't care if it's a cliche.
21. Alaskan CruiseMy friend's mom talked about wanting to take an Alaskan cruise and I was in an all-summer all-beaches all-the-time mindset. Now, I think an Alaskan cruise would be awesome. Maybe it's partly because I've found peace with wearing cozy sweaters.
22. Jekyll Island, GeorgiaMy parents have visited Jekyll Island a couple times and loved it. It sounds like a pretty place to visit.
23. Peterson HomesteadMy brother and my husband's sister (who are married) live in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho and I've only visited them once, now eight years ago. Thankfully they come out to the midwest to see family, but I still want to be able to see them at their home again. They're working on building their own little homestead, so I'd love to visit them and it.
24. Kauai, HawaiiI want to go back to Hawaii, this time to a different island. The pictures I've seen of Kauai look beautiful.
25. Ocean City, MarylandMy husband used to live in Maryland and talks about Ocean City. I'd love to visit with him sometime.
26. San Antonio, TexasI want to stay in one of those riverwalk hotels I mentioned above in #14.
27. Family Vacation in FloridaI know, this isn't dreaming too big. Now that our family is complete, I want us to go back for a family vacation. Experience a little bit of everything we used to enjoy when we lived there. This time our kids might be old enough to remember it.
28. Overseas Mission TripI want to go on a family mission trip out of the states. I want my kids to have and use a passport, and experience different cultures, and do something to love on other people. Preferably before they're 18.
29. Church PlantsThere are a couple people I follow online that have planted churches. I would love to visit their churches.
30. A Lake HouseIt seems the older I get, the easier I am to please adventure-wise. I would love to spend a few days with family or close friends at a lake house. Eating meals together, relaxing, letting the kids play outside. It sounds wonderful.
That's my list of where I've been and where I hope to go. Often it's less about the destination and more about who I'm with or the adventure that works out something in my life. I can't go anywhere to get away from my own thoughts and feelings. But sometimes my thoughts and feelings start to get worked out just by going somewhere.
What about you...
What destinations are on your travel wish list?
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