As a kid we didn't really travel much. I played softball all summer and since my parents were both teachers, traveling during the school year wasn't an option. Actually, since both my parents were school teachers, traveling period wasn't really an option, at least that's what they thought. I believed traveling was only for "rich people." I honestly had no idea that real people went to places like Disney World, New York, the Caribbean, or Las Vegas.
You see, I'm not sure if you've heard this, but teachers don't really make a lot of money (As a daughter of two teachers, wife of a current teacher, and former teacher myself, I can say that). I SWORE growing up, I would NEVER be a teacher. However, when you have a baby at 20, sophomore year of college, and are her sole provider, teaching starts looking pretty darn good. When I started thinking about a job that would allow me to see her, onward I walked through the halls of Concord College to the registrar's office and an education major I became.
Boom, 3 years later, there I stood, degree in one hand, kid in the other (quite literally) and dreams of traveling the world. A very quick 6 months later, I received my first paycheck as a teacher - $758. Two weeks of work, $758. I thought I was rich for like 5.4 seconds. It was great. I came home, paid my bills, bought some groceries, and had 25 whole dollars to get me to the next glorious Friday when I would get another $758. A solid year of that and I had zero dollars in a savings account but still believed one day, I would get on an airplane and see all the goodies this world had to offer. No idea where my certainty came from but it was there.
Tim and I met shortly thereafter and were engaged only after a year of dating. We sat in front of a small computer and he said he would pay for the honeymoon. I went through the possibilities, the beach, Tennessee, maybe Florida - dare I dream, but his list looked quite different. He told me to pick. WHAT? Just choose any place and he would take me? I couldn't even understand. Despite being engaged and in love, I still didn't understand what was happening. The thought of going to Hawaii was ridiculous to me at the time. Paying that amount and being on a plane for 13 hours, nope, couldn't do it. I looked through his list and decided on the cheapest option I could find, the Bahamas. What's weird is it was thousands less than I assumed. I was confused. That price was reasonable, attainable. He booked the trip.
We arrived at the Charleston, WV airport on the morning of July 15, 2007 and sat in the exact seat I am sitting in right now typing this. Memories.
I got on that plane and in less than 3 hours I was landing in Nassau. My life was changed. The possibilities raced through my heart. Oh, the places we would go (Dr. Seuss reference).
It was my new goal that with even a little extra money, I would save and go every single chance I could. I started saving dimes, quarters, anything. My determination lead my mind to a new dream: I WOULD be a photographer one day and one day people WOULD pay me to go to amazing places and take their pictures. That was 12 years ago.
This morning I sit in that same airport, in that same seat, with that same man, getting ready to board a flight headed to Las Vegas to photograph a wedding. This is one of three destination weddings this year.
Since 2007 we have traveled every chance we get. Our savings account isn't as big as it should be because I am a travel addict but I do not apologize.
I say that I travel light, not due to my lack of bags, because I just paid extra to bring all my options, but because my heart is light. I feel no guilt. I don't feel badly for traveling without the kids occasionally. I don't feel badly for skipping a couple practices to take my kids to Pittsburgh or the beach. I don't feel badly for cashing an entire wedding check for a down payment on a Disney trip.
I don't know who this blog is for this morning but you need to know, it's OK to live a little right now. Whatever momma out there is worried about spending the money, or taking that date trip, or whatever, it's ok. Stop with all the "mom guilt." Let yourself live a little. IT'S OK!!!
"One Day" never comes. If you are the gal hoping that "one day" you too will hop on a plane and do the thing, stop it. Make a plan. Rachel Hollis says, "Hoping is not a plan," and girl, she's right. Hoping that one day you'll do all the things you've dreamed of doing really won’t get you anywhere. I can't encourage women enough to travel a little bit. It terrifies me to think about what life would be like had Tim not told me to pick a place. What if we did go to one of my comfort zones?
Are you afraid? Afraid of flying? Afraid of leaving the kids? Afraid of saying yes? Life is so short.
Do the thing.
Take the leap. Try something NEW. You CAN save the money. You CAN see something new. You CAN do something that you've never done before. You don't need anyone's permission and if you do, you have mine. You're welcome.