Hi there! As you may have noticed this blog isn’t just posts about home projects and items I love to decorate with! This post is to let you know a little of what you can expect for the travel portion of this blog ☺️. I am so excited to finally have a place to share my travel itineraries and travel dreams! I have been passionate about travel ever since my job in college as the bookkeeper for a student travel agency called Council Travel. I didn’t have much money in college so as I would be sitting there working, I would just listen to all the cool places the kids that came into our office were planning on going. This is the age before internet, so all travel research was via paper pamphlets and posters on the walls! My job was to do reports to the various airlines that we sold tickets for as well as the Rail Europe rail passes sold report… I would just sit there and dream about where I would go someday. I was still working for Council Travel when I got married and we finally used those awesome travel discounts for $150 airfare to London, free Eurail passes, and free hotels!! It truly was worth the wait.
Growing up my family travel was mainly tent camping in Grand Teton National Park with a few trips to visit family in Wisconsin thrown in there as well as Boston, DC, and Kansas City to visit family friends. So my overseas wanderlust really did start in college- however my love for US National Parks was always in my blood thanks to my parents. My family lived in Idaho Falls, Idaho from 1979-1987. While we lived there, we spent every summer weekend in the Tetons camping. This is where my best childhood memories are- just the sight of a national park sign gives me nostalgia.
Flash forward to getting married, honeymooning in Europe, and then off to grad school in New York for four years. We weren’t able to do much traveling those four years besides simple trips to visit our best friends in Rhode Island, Maine, and of course back to San Diego or Wisconsin to visit family. In case you are wondering- my entire family moved back to WI shortly after my wedding (where we are originally from) but luckily my in-laws were still in San Diego so we had a reason to go back to SoCal often! We had our first baby during grad school in NY so our budget got even tighter but we were young and had always been quite good at being content with simplicity in the every day. We spent our summers picnicking in Central Park and that was perfect for us. The internet still wasn’t around back then so keeping up with the Jones’ and where they were traveling really wasn’t a thing and most of our friends were on just as tight of a budget as we were so we were all just happy to hang out when we were together… Once we moved to Sacramento to finish my husband’s education, we again did little trips here and there to Tahoe, San Francisco, and still to visit family! This is when we had our son so our budget got even MORE tight – plus we had two little ones now so honestly survival was all we were thinking about (that and finishing grad school with our debt as low as it could reasonably be 🤪.
Once my husband was finally done with grad school in 2000, we decided to move back to San Diego and have our third and last baby :). My husband started doing the YMCA Indian Princess program with our oldest daughter. This was his first time ever camping in a tent and he was hooked from the start! So much so that every time he would come home- he would say- I really want to go camping as a family. Being that I was raised with most of my vacations being in a tent at Grand Teton National Park, I loved the idea. I just wasn’t sure what camping with a one year old would look like so we waited until our youngest was four years old before we finally ventured out on our own. My husband was continuing his Indian Princess and then Indian Guides camping adventures during this time which I was happy about as I knew he would be a pro at it when our family finally went out on our own 😊.
Our very first camping trip was to Zion National Park for spring break 2004 and let’s just say we didn’t do so well with our packing… we forgot the tent fly and poles. For any of you that have pitched a tent- you know those two pieces are rather crucial 😂. Nonetheless, we used trees, baby poles and tarps we found at the local general store and ended up having a great time still. The kids in the campsite next door even told our kids how cool our tent was because it was so colorful 😳. We also visited Grand Canyon and Bryce that trip but didn’t realized there would still be TONS of snow on the ground so tent camping wasn’t happening but luckily there was room at the inn for us as the saying goes 😎.
We proceeded that year to go camping in Yosemite, Grand Tetons (we met my family there!), Yellowstone, and Sequoia. I remember my mom even saying to me- geez Pasha slow down- you are going to run out of parks to go to and there is no hurry! Luckily, I had so many parks on my list- it really didn’t happen until the kids were much much older!
I plan on writing blog posts as well as static pages with all of my trip itineraries that my family has gone on. I hope to inspire some of you to go on adventures as well if you aren’t already or if you are planning a trip to someplace I have been- hopefully my itinerary will help with your planning! Honestly- my husband and I always say our very best memories as a family were spent out on the road or by the campfire at night. For my husband’s 40th birthday in 2009, we took our kids for the first time to Europe (Ireland to be exact – which was my husband and mine’s first time to this country as well). Since that year, we have gone across the pond many times with our kids and without and I will share those itineraries as well but I will always be a staunch supporter of exploring your own country first.
The insane amount of beauty that our US National Parks has is just breathtaking. I’ve always found it to be such a shame when people ignore them to be able to tell their neighbors about the latest and greatest vacation abroad they took with their kids. I hope it doesn’t seem like I am on a high horse or that I am anti taking your kids to far away destinations (because we got plenty of that in with our kids as well once they were older) but truly all our kids wanted when they were younger was to run free, not to have to take baths, swim in rivers and lakes, and use their imaginations with play in nature. You wouldn’t believe how easy it is for kids to make friends with the kids in the campsite next door and then find the craziest things to do. One of my absolute best memories with my three kids was in Rocky Mountain National Park in the summer of 2008. My husband and I were packing up the campsite getting ready to head to our next destination of Mount Rushmore National Monument when the kids stopped me and begged me to come with them so they could show me something amazing that they had found. They took me on a fifteen minute walk up the rocky hillside to a ledge where they were soooo excited for me to see the view from there. THE VIEW WAS WHAT THEY WERE EXCITED TO SHOW ME! Something so simple and so pure… I tear up still when I think about that moment with my three kids…
As time goes by and I continue to write blog posts- you will obviously see multiple national park road trip itineraries on this blog as well as a bucket list road trip of my husband’s from San Diego to Key West, Florida, multiple trips to various destinations in America, a few trips to various places in Canada, many trips to Europe (both with our kids and without once we became empty nesters), and one incredible trip to New Zealand in 2017 which also happened to be the very last big summer vacation we took with our family of five. It is funny how that sneaks up on you. We were lucky in that we were able to convince our oldest to travel with us until her college graduation though!
We have always been a snow sports family (basically they all snowboard and I am the lone skier in the fam). We have taken multiple family ski trips and I plan to write a blog post on those various destinations as well – including our home mountains of Big Bear and Mammoth Mountain – which is where we started off with our ski vacations as a family.
About five years ago, my husband and I starting taking fall foliage trips too! Because we live in San Diego and our leaves change color minimally around late November, I decided now that we don’t have to worry about the kids as much- let’s start taking some fun trips to see things we can’t see in San Diego- you know – like leaves changing colors 🍁.
Then two years ago- we started taking trips to Christmas markets in Europe together. Obviously the Covid pandemic has halted that for 2020 but hopefully 2021 we can continue this tradition as it truly is amazing to take a trip together at that time of year and get in the Christmas spirit!
I cannot wait to start sharing all these adventures with you- you may already have noticed that under the header “Travel”, I have written about my trip to Scandinavia last summer as well as my California Road trip last fall (which happily included one of the last western national parks that my husband and I had not seen yet!!). If you haven’t seen those posts yet- please go check them out!!
Once again- I cannot thank you enough for being here with me on my blogging journey- I have been enjoying having a place to share all the things in my head with you! I put ALOT of effort into planning our trips – usually at minimum six months worth of research and asking around in order to make sure we make the most of our time wherever we are going and it is so nice to finally have a place to share them in hopes that they will be useful to some of you someday!!