2015 was the first full year back in America since my time in Ireland. It was difficult.I thought seriously about moving abroad again three times (Vietnam, Thailand, and New Zealand), got very depressed, started dating someone, took my old job at the museum back, and I STILL managed to travel all over America. In total, I completed approximately 9,270 miles in the air and 4,734 miles on the road. I visited eight states in four different regions of the US. Friends from Idaho, Ireland, and Sweden visited me. In that time, I learned some valuable things about travel. These are the 8 things I learned about travel in 2015.
Travel doesn’t have to be all the time.
When I was in Ireland, I was more or less on a constant, never-ending vacation. Yes I did work, but living in another country is more or less a lengthy holiday. In fact, the visa was called a Working HOLIDAY Authorization. Key word: Holiday. Traveling all the time is a blast, but it can be tiring. When I balanced a life of work and travel in 2015, I learned that travel didn’t have to happen all the time. I could sit back, relax, and let life happen.
Friends from around the globe make it easier.
Having friends spread out in various places makes it much easier to travel. 1) They can visit me and 2) I know I’ll have a place to crash. When I was in DC in March and April, I didn’t have to pay for a hostel or hotel. I crashed on my friend’s couch! It’s also nice to have an extra excuse to go somewhere. I’m dying to get to Idaho to visit a friend in Boise. Hopefully I will be able to sooner than later.
Saving money is hard.
Lord, let me tell ya. Between McDonald’s, travel, and Target, I have a difficult time saving money. But I know when I want to go somewhere, I can’t charge the entire trip to my Visa. So, I do what every adult does. I plan, budget, and save. It’s difficult, but I make it.
Short trips are worth it.
I went on countless weekend/day trips this year – to Savannah, GA, the Walking Dead Tour, Panama City Beach, Washington DC, the Great Smoky Mountains, etc. All of these trips took place within 48 hours or less. They were short, sweet, and simple. I knew what I wanted to do and see and I saw it. There wasn’t any room to dillydally.
Also, it was worth it to just get away from home for a little while. Sometimes the constant grind of work, family, and friends can really drag you down. Stress sits on our shoulders causing more stress. It’s nice to get away and forget the worries of the world for a bit.
Writing about my adventures takes a lot of time and effort.
By far, 2015 was my worst year for writing. I was in and out of it for several months. It’s hard to find inspiration when you’re stuck in the same town all the time. True, I did go one some grand adventures (that I really should sit down and write about) but who’s to say that I will? Not me! It takes a LOT of effort to set aside time to write. Even then, I’ll be the first to admit that I get distracted by Pinterest or BubbleSpinner or Facebook…
Family travel is really fun.
I started traveling with my family at a very young age, and I will tell you all that I actually prefer to travel with them. Yes, I want to kill them, BUT! In the end, it’s worth it to not kill them because of the great memories we make. I have a “throw back” slide show that’s constantly on loop in the footer of my blog because my family and I have been on so many trips together. This year alone, we all traveled to Orlando, my dad and I went to Arizona, my sister and I went to Savannah, AND my aunt and I went to Colorado. I think I have a thing for family travel. 😉
Road trips are still my favorite.
Nothing, and I mean NOTHING, beats a good old fashioned road trip! Aoibhin and I drove to Jekyll Island and into Florida. Matilda and I drove to Orlando. Daddy and I rented a car to drive all over Arizona, and my Aunt Joan and I did the same in Colorado! I love to get in the car and go. Yes, I fall asleep, and yes, I sing in the car, and yes, I take my shoes off. But I love the feeling of driving through new territory. Watching the hills rise and fall. Driving closer and closer to that distant mountain chain. Racing the sunset. I love road trips. They are, have been, and probably always will be my favorite way to travel.
America is beautiful.
Of all my travel in 2015, I never left the country. I think it’s a good thing that I didn’t. I can’t say that I would have returned. The Travel Gods (jk the Real God) knew that I needed to spend some time in my homeland to learn how to re-appreciate it. And I have. America is beautiful. I live in a very green part of the country, where this Christmas, we suffered (enjoyed) 80 degree weather. That of course is a rarity for it to be THAT warm in December, but, none the less, it was!
I’ve seen the Rockies, the Great Smoky Mountains, and the Grand Canyon this year. I swam in the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico. I hiked mountains and ate snow. In all of my adventures in 2015, I learned how to love the skies I’m under. My home is beautiful, and I’m thankful to live in America.
All in all, I’m glad I didn’t leave America in 2015. I’m still itching to go away again, but I think I’m state-side for a while. I’ll leave it to short trips outside of America for a bit. Travel always teaches us, whether we want it to or not. Sometimes, we just don’t realize it’s happening until later.