At the end of 2019, G and I had one of those chats about our family’s finances, goals, and budgets for 2020. (You know – the sexy stuff.) Thanks primarily to my husband who’s pretty focused on these sorts of things (and never goes to Target), we were achieving one of our big financial goals and milestone in early 2020, so it was time for a little budget reshuffle. G’s vote was to funnel more finances into – you guessed it – savings. My plea was for at least some of it to go into a different category.
No, not to Target.
I’ve always loved going new places and experiencing new things, but ever since my great big concussion at the beginning of 2019, that desire’s been amplified. By like, one billion. Blame it on the bed rest, or the fact that I feel really lucky and grateful to be alive,* but 2019 grew in me this massive need to take even bigger bites out of life. To live life to the fullest. To do and see all the things. To dance like I hope someone is watching, and they get their ass out on the dance floor, too.
There’s a line in the movie The Family Stone that keeps bubbling up for me. In the movie, Claire Danes’s character is telling her sister’s boyfriend about this amazing totem pole in Alaska carved by a man who felt like he had a hole in heart and couldn’t sleep at night unless he carved it. The boyfriend responds that he’d love to see this amazing totem pole, to which Claire Danes’s character replies, “It’s there for you,” and states quite simply that if he wants to see it, he should go and see it.
“It’s there for you.”
I need to see all these things I’ve been reading about and seeing on TV and in movies my whole life.
It’s there for me; I need to see it.
One of my most memorable moments in life happened in the backseat of a Honda Civic when I was nineteen years old.** I was driving with a then-boyfriend and his family from California back to Wisconsin, knowing we were through, wishing I had headphones, and vowing to never get stuck in the backseat of a Honda Civic on a cross-country road trip ever again…when I looked out the window and saw something so miraculous it took my breathe away:
I grew up in southwestern Wisconsin, and while we have some rolling hills and beautiful bluffs in our area, I’d never seen anything like this before in my life.*** It was absolutely surreal. This trip was my first time ever leaving the Midwest and I couldn’t believe something like that existed right here in our country – just a few states over! Knowing from textbooks that there are mountain ranges in the United States, and actually seeing them are two very different things! I stared out the window in wonder as we drove by, and vowed to one day come back. (Not in a Honda Civic, and not with a guy I was about to break up with.)
Fast forward twenty years later. It’s the end of 2019, G and I are talking about family budgets, and – after
some a whole lot of urging by me – he promises me we’ll prioritize travel in 2020.
Cue the worldwide pandemic.
The whole world shut down in attempts to stop the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus, borders were closed, travel bans were put in place, and we were quarantined in our homes. Traveling to the grocery store felt like a life-threatening risk, so forget traveling the world. Although it was incredibly disruptive and often nerve-wracking, in many ways 2020 was one of the best years of my life. (But that’s a post for another time.) One of the many things to come out of 2020 for me, was that after being quarantined at home with the option to travel being taken away and out of my control, I became even more passionate about going places and seeing things once it was safe to do so.
Being quarantined in your home surrounded by objects for a year makes you realize how unimportant objects are. I was ready to spend less money on objects, and more on experiences.
About a year into quarantine – with an end and a vaccine in sight – my friend Laura was telling me about a vacation she and her family were planning for the summer of 2021. They were going out west to see the mountains and national parks. It was something G and I had talked about doing for years, but we’d never carved out the time to plan or commit to it. I asked her to share her itinerary with me, and that’s when she told me the best part – they booked it through a tour company that does all the planning for you! Where to go, what to see, when to see it – even food and drinks! This tour company – Tauck Tours – specializes in unforgettable and experiential vacations, and it sounded like exactly what I needed in my life. I was eyes-deep in the middle of construction for my second business I was opening soon (Revive Salt Room & Sauna), and the thought of a vacation in six months where someone plans literally everything for me and all I have to do is show up sounded like perfection.
I am overjoyed to say that soon my family will be heading out west where I’ll be able to once again see those breath-taking mountains. We’re doing Tauck’s “Cowboy Country” tour, which is a family-focused vacation experience beginning in Wyoming and ending in South Dakota. Along the way we’ll get to experience the Grand Teton Mountains, Yellowstone National Park, rafting on the Snake River, ranch visits, Mount Rushmore, the Crazy Horse monument, and more.
It’s there for me; I need to see it.
We are beyond excited, and I’ll be sharing all about our trip when we get back for anyone who may be considering this tour in the future!
*I’ve often wondered if that accident should’ve been my end date, and ever since my recovery I feel like this is “bonus time” I maybe wasn’t supposed to get. I’m not going to waste it bingeing Netflix.
**Not the direction you thought that one was going to go, was it? Haha.
***This also reminds me of the first time I saw Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I was eighteen years old and was joining some friends from college visiting our friend DJ’s house in Milwaukee. At this point in my life, I’d barely been off the farm, and as we pulled into the city I couldn’t contain my awe at seeing what I (at the time) considered “skyscrapers” and all the overpasses, and multiple lanes, and how these on ramps and exit ramps wound around things like stunning historic stone churches that survived the arrival of all that concrete. (Or did they?) I was literally both palms on the glass, mouth agape the first time I saw my first city from the back of what also might’ve been a Honda Civic.