2015 Trip Booked!

I have exciting news, we booked flights for our 2015 trip yesterday. We have been hemming and hawing about where we were going to go in 2015 for a couple of months now. I have done some pretty extensive research into a few different trip options – even going as far as emailing creating an entire itinerary from flights to hotels for a trip to Japan! We are pretty limited in times we like to take trips, basically from February – May is the best time to travel for us. The summers here are so beautiful and fun that we don’t like to go away in the summer and the fall is too crazy for me at work to take more than a long weekend. That leaves us with spring!

Before I actually tell you where we’re going (though anyone who is friends with me on Facebook already knows) I’m going to share some more information about the trips I’ve researched over the past several months :)

Here is the “Dream Trip List” in my gmail inbox right now. I have emails with travel agents saved in their and I also regularly email myself travel deals I find online and then stash it in my folder. There used to be an Ireland/Scotland folder too but that’s been checked off the list now :)

Dream Trips Folder

China & Japan

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These two places are high on our dream list. A few tour deals to China have come through my inbox recently that Eric and I have talked about and seriously considered booking. I also spent a significant amount of time a few weeks ago pricing out a trip to Japan. We were thinking we’d likely do an organized tour if we went to either of these countries because of the language barrier and it would just help with getting around. The Japan trip we priced out included flights, 4 nights in Tokyo and 4 nights in Kyoto and two excursions. We were really really happy with the itinerary but the price of $2,800 per person was just too much for us to cough up right then. We also decided that when we finally do make it over to Asia we want to take advantage of the super long flight and spend a good 2-3 weeks there which we just won’t have the financial means for next year. So the Asia trip has been tabled again (we’ve been talking about a Japan trip since before we went to Ireland & Scotland. One day we will make it happen!)

Peru

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I so badly wanted to go to Peru and hike Machu Picchu next year. I spent a significant amount of time researching this trip, had price alerts to Lima and Cusco set up on Kayak and immediately clicked on any travel deal emails that came my way related to Peru. Again though, we decided that if we were going to travel all the way to Peru we want to do it right and hike the full Inca trail (a 4+ day commitment) plus also spend some time in the Amazon. We figured again that approximately 2-ish weeks would be ideal for this type of trip and we just don’t have the money or time for that right now. One day this will happen!

Iceland

Northern Lights Iceland

Iceland only made it onto my dream travel list within the last year or so. I know a few people who have gone and absolutely loved it and also after watching The Secret Life of Walter Mitty I was blown away by how absolutely gorgeous and stunning the landscape is there. We have seen some really amazing travel deals for Iceland come across our inbox and it was a very close second choice for where we would go in 2015. I can definitely see us making a trip to Iceland happen within the next couple of years as flights there are very reasonable and it is a trip that would be doable in a week to 10 days, which was more the time we are looking to travel for. Honestly a two week trip last year burnt us out a bit!

Appalachian Trail

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This is not a trip I’ve been personally researching myself but I thought I’d throw it in because I received a promotional email about it and it kind of peaked my interest after google imaging “Appalachian Camping” and finding the above beautiful shot! I really do believe we don’t always need to leave the country, or even the province (or state) or region to get a great holiday in! Caravan touring along the Appalachian Trails and staying at RV Campgrounds could be a great vacation! Especially with a family. Also we all know how much I love camping, there is just something amazing and serene about sleeping outside in the mountains. How gorgeous is that photo?

Maui

Sunset in maui hawaii

A Hawaiian island has also been high on our list of vacations for a couple of years now. While we loved our trip to Mexico in 2013 we knew another all inclusive trip wasn’t really our style. We definitely prefer trips where we do our own thing. Also after a really intense 2014, including a huge trip that was amazing but also very busy with lots of traveling around, we decided we wanted our 2015 trip to be more relaxing. That plus an amazing deal on flights means we booked a 6-day trip to Maui in April! Whooo, so excited. So far all we’ve booked is the flights but I’m really just planning on booking a condo + a car rental over the next couple of months and other than that we will keep our itinerary pretty open. We definitely want to do a fair bit of hiking as that is what peaked our interest in going to Maui in the first place. We will want to spend some evenings just sitting and watching the sunset from our condo and of course we’ll spend some time on the beach.

If you’ve been to Maui and have any recommendations I’d love to hear them, especially if you know of a great place to stay. We definitely want to rent a condo.

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I have to admit that one of the biggest fears I have about growing our family is the barriers it might cause for traveling. Since 2010 Eric and I have taken a vacation together every single year and it is a tradition that means a lot to both of us. It may seem like we travel a lot so please trust me when I say that we live quite frugally in our day-to-day lives to afford these trips, which we always pay for with cash. We rarely go out to eat (maybe once a month), we don’t really buy new clothes or new things at all, we set a strict budget at Christmas time and follow a fairly strict budget in general and we live in a very affordable home. All the extra money we now use for traveling would probably get ate up pretty quickly in other ways when we do expand our family so I try not to feel guilty for using it towards travel now.

I feel like trips like the one we are taking to Maui would not be a big deal with kiddo’s, but some of these bigger adventure trips (like Asia and Peru) would definitely not be possible with children in tow. Traveling is a huge part of our lives and as you can tell by this blog post we spend a lot of time when we’re not traveling tossing around ideas about where we should go next. I truly hope that when we do decide to start a family we are still able to make traveling a priority and fit into our lives. It does give me hope when I meet couples who leave the kids with the grandparents for a week or two and jet off around the world :)

Have you been researching any trips lately? Where are you traveling to next? Image sources: China & Japan | Peru | Iceland | Appalachian Trail | Maui

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12 Days of Love Letters: Miri

12 DAYS love letter

Happy Wednesday! i’m very excited to be participating in More Love Letters (MLL) 12 Days of Love Letters today. MLL is a global organization using the power behind social media to write and mail love letters to strangers in need all over the world. The mission is simple: Love big. Love fast. Love hard. Get involved today. 

The 12 Days of Love Letter Writing is MLL’s biggest + brightest campaign. In a nutshell: 12 days of letter requests. Lots of hot cocoa. A lot of good done. And bundles of hundreds of love letters dropped at strangers’ doorstep.

My love letter request is for Miri:

A few years ago, Miri lost her mother to a long, hard battle with cancer. Her parents had long been divorced, and Miri’s father lived in another country. Following her mother’s death, Miri’s father came back into her life to help her, and over the past couple of years, Miri has gotten to know and love her father. Just recently, thought, her father had a stroke, leading to her leaving of university mid-semester to travel back to Europe to be with him. Her friend tells us that “the past few years have been very rocky and stressful for Miri, and she has navigated all the unknowns exhibiting courage and love, even though she may still feel desperate, lost, and alone”. 

Let us send this sweet lady an outpouring of love and support through a bundle of letters. We know this would mean the world to Miri, and would give her the encouragement she needs to push through this new adversity.

If you’d like to join me and send a love letter to Miri then all you have to do is write her or a letter or card and pop it in the mail by this Friday, December 19. Send it to:

Miri’s Bundle
811 Woodland Avenue
Chapel Hill, NC, USA
27516

I love the More Love Letters project and also participated in it a few years ago. What an amazing way to brighten someone’s day who is going through a difficult time. I hope a few of my readers will pull out their pens and write some encouragement to Miri today!

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Weekend Recap: Christmas lights, running, puppies and yoga!

I had a pretty great weekend! The next two weekends are busy busy with Christmas stuff so it was nice to have a more laidback weekend.

It kicked off on Friday night with our annual Christmas light run! This was my third year planning this run and it has grown from 3 of us the first year, to 7 people last year to 11 people + 3 dogs this year! So fun running 6km with this awesome crew checking out the Christmas lights. Basically the idea is to wear Christmas attire (do you like my Christmas Vacation t-shirt?) and we run around and look at Christmas lights. We did 6km in about an hour. How random is the below moose decoration?

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Saturday morning started off with another run (the #mileaday challenge has been so inspiring for me!). This time it was 4-miles in the trails. We had a crazy warm spell last week and the trails had no snow in them, it was crazy. At the end of the run we caught this amazing view of the city. The mist looked like a lake.

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Once I got home from my run Eric and I went and got the groceries to make brunch. We had waffles, bacon and eggs. I was full for the whole day after that. Then I went to visit my grandparents and took Chloe over to my mom’s to hang out with Lucy (my mom’s new boston terrier/french bulldog puppy). For the most part they are too pea’s in a pod, though Chloe does need some more practice playing with Lucy since she is so so tiny and Chloe likes to play a bit rough.

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After all of that I was exhausted and parked myself on the couch for two hours. Finally around 6pm on Saturday night I dragged my butt downstairs for the shred workout I’d been putting off since Friday morning.

It was an intense leg and butt workout that included three rounds of 7 different moves for 1 minute each. After my workout I had a lovely bubble bath with a glass of wine and my book then spent some more time on the couch reading before going to bed.

Sunday morning started with a 1-mile run around the block with Chloe and Eric for the #mileaday challenge. Shortly after that my coworker Geralyn picked me up so we could go to yoga and brunch. She had been raving to me about this Sunday morning yoga class at a different studio in town than my regular studio and she was completely right. It was a non-hot flow class but I still worked up a sweat because it was a very strong flow and it just felt so good and was exactly what my body and mind needed. My legs/body have been so stiff with the Holiday Shred + the #mileaday challenge this month!

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After our yoga class we went for an amazing brunch. I got home around noon and read my book and hung out with Eric for a bit before heading to a cookie exchange. It was at a new friend’s house with a bunch of people I hadn’t met before but I had a lot of fun and came home with a whole whack of cookies, which will be perfect since we are hosting two Christmas gatherings at our house next weekend!

I went to Target after the cookie exchange to check out their sweaters since they were having a 50% off sweaters sale this weekend. I picked one up along with a few other things. Then I came home to discover Eric had pulled pork and chicken going in two different crockpots. Yum! I spent the rest of Sunday evening blogging, reading puttering around (dishes, folding laundry, meal prep etc.).

How was your weekend? 

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