The Travel Bug

I grew up taking road trips with my dad during school breaks and on the weekends. He was an over the road truck driver and I loved going along for the ride. I saw new cities and sites on each trip, and loved getting to eat in new places each day. My favorite trip of all was when he had to deliver a load to just outside of Nashville. He knew I had always wanted to go, so he made the special trip just so I could have dinner in Nashville. As an adult, that love of travel hasn’t subsided. From weekend getaways, to traveling the world, I long for the adventure. It’s my escape from reality, even if only temporarily.

Over the years, I have often just taken weekend trips to theme parks with my kids or friends…typically because that was most affordable. But, there have also been trips to places like the north Georgia mountains and their wineries, as well as to places like Pigeon Forge, Savannah, New York City, and South Florida, which were all beyond memorable too. This year I even stepped out of my comfort zone and traveled alone to Ireland for a week. A life changing experience for someone that refuses to even eat in a restaurant alone. If you haven’t already read my blog post titled The Island of Sin and Scars, check it out. That one is all about my Ireland trip and my journey to find myself. A second big trip this year was with my kids to Saint Thomas, USVI. My post, A Good Dose of Vitamin Sea journals that trip and all our adventures.

As I reminisce about all these past trips and amazing memories that were made, I find myself getting bit by the travel bug again and yearning for the next one. I am not happy being sedentary. I swear I must have been a nomad in a past life. I need constant change. I often questioned if it is/was my way of running from things. Especially since I often find myself taking short getaways when I’m down and just want to forget for a few. But, that’s totally okay too. Sometimes the best medicine for healing and coping is to get away, decompress, and digest what you are going through. Be alone or with a close friend and just be happy for a minute. Sure, your troubles may be there when you get back…but, you will likely have more clarity on how to cope through them once you’ve stepped back from them and relaxed for a moment. At least that’s what has typically helped me.

This week I am gearing up for my next adventure. Next weekend I am heading to a cabin in the mountains to celebrate my birthday with my special someone. We’ve been seeing each other now for almost eleven months and this is going to be the first time we’ve spent any significant amount of time with each other. A true test on our friendship and/or any hopes at a future “relationship”. I guess our ultimate goal is to not leave the other in the mountains at the end of the trip LOL. Despite the pressure of all that, I am beyond excited for this trip. I cannot wait to sit in the hot tub on the cabin deck and take in the mountain view’s and sunsets. Or take the dog for hikes along the trails. Plus, the drive up and through the winding roads along the way, brings such peace and serenity. Especially with the right background music playing.

After this trip, I have a few more in the works. I am taking my older daughters on a trip in January. In the event that they actually read their mom’s blog, I will not go into too much detail on that, since it’s a surprise for them. They’ll get all the details on Christmas morning. I can say though, that it’s going to be a cold one and it’ll consist of domestic flying. Super excited to experience all of that with them! Following that, I’m looking into a trip to northern Alaska to catch the Aurora Borealis, or the Northern Lights as it is most commonly known. Because the window of seeing the lights is slim (about eight days notice from what I am told) and has to be planned around specific scientific tracking, that will definitely be a last minute trip, should it happen for me this winter season.

I would love to see the Holy Land, and all around Israel for that matter. Maybe if this mountain trip next weekend goes well, I can talk him into taking me to Israel next year since that is where he is from. No matter what though, I think my 2023 travels will be topped off with another trip abroad. I will definitely be heading back to Ireland, but I think I will make it a double header and see Italy too this time. My mom’s family is from Italy and I dream of visiting there and seeing where my great-grandparents are from, as well as visiting relatives that still live there today. Not to mention, I want to taste authentic Italian food and eat gelato in the square. As a fan of vineyards and wine, I would love to see Tuscany and sample wines all through the different regions. Going back to Ireland though would be amazing. I truly loved it there. Especially Galway. The people, the music, the food, just everything. I would definitely make this trip about seeing the smaller counties to the south and not just the big cities. I want more authentic food and experiences next time and not so much of the tourist stuff. I would even love to see those individuals that I had the pleasure of meeting and hanging out with before.

To give you a glimpse at my travel bucket list, these are just some of the things I would like to do and places I’d like to visit over the next ten years or so. Domestically, I want to go to Napa and take a hot air balloon ride over the vineyards. I’d like to go to Mt. Vernon in the spring and see the tulip fields and festival. I’d also like to dine my way around the U.S., tasting cuisine in places like Boston, Chicago, New Orleans, etc. Internationally though, I aim to see Paris, London, the tulip fields in the Netherlands, Norway and Japan. I’d also love to take a safari in Africa.

So, the moral of my story is that I need a vacation and lots of them. I need to travel and I need to explore this world and all it has to offer. So do you. It truly is amazing therapy and it helps you to learn more about yourself. It’s cleansing for the soul. There’s a quote I saw online by Rachel Wolchin, and it says “If we were meant to stay in one place, we’d have roots instead of feet.” Another one I love is by David Mitchell, and it says “Travel far enough, you meet yourself.” These are both so profoundly true. So, go explore and wander until you find what you are looking for. And if you never do…so what. You will have made memories that are priceless and experienced things you may have never imagined.

I may never have millions, but I am rich in experience and memories, and I intend to keep getting richer. No matter where the next year takes me…even if it ultimately ends up being just down the street, I am sure it will be an adventure and I am ready to go! Where will you go next?

Click any of the links below to purchase Niccole’s Book: 1313 Magnolia Way

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