I’d rather be broke from traveling than be rich from always working. In 2015 alone, I saw three mountain ranges, dipped in the waters of two coasts, put hundreds of miles on our car, and danced on the land of many states. But most importantly, I have lived.
1. Hidden Gems are Found in Small Towns
My husband Chris and I share the love of road trips and spending countless hours driving wherever we feel when we have the time. If you can’t afford to take the days off of work, or just can’t afford the costs of vacation, do some research on your own state. I find out about a new town in Missouri all the time.
If you have the weekends off, take a mini trip to that town for the day and explore. Whether the destination is small or large, you won’t even feel like you are in your home state -any atmosphere outside of your hometown is so intriguing. I often find small towns carry the best treasures, so don’t always look to Pinterest for endless blog posts on what to do in mainstream cities. Just one little stop somewhere new can quench the thirst your wanderlust bug is craving.
2. You Learn to Have Fun on Little Cash
When Chris and I traveled to Colorado in October, we didn’t plan accordingly (mostly because it was a VERY last minute trip for a job interview), so while we were in the middle of the mountains we found out we were low on cash and had just enough for gas for the drive home. Luckily we wanted to minimize the amount of money we spent on food so we bought all of our meals ahead of time. The blessing in this disaster was the fact that we had to create our own fun in a town we were unfamiliar with.
In the past when I traveled, I wanted to visit every tourist hot spot I could find through Google. There I would waste $20-$40 for a ticket that only gave me a 30 minute – 1 hour experience. Out of the countless times I wasted money, only a few places were actually worth it. The first time I learned to have fun for free, I was on a college trip in New York City with my media friends.
One of the guys in the group, Zach, had gone to NYC countless times and knew the jewels of the city. We took subway rides here or there and just walked around and felt the city rush. The one moment I will never forget is running around Times Square at four in the morning when all the out-of-towners were fast asleep and the natives avoided the area. One of the busiest places in the world, and there I was surrounded by only people I knew and I could hear myself echo.
It’s moments like that, that you couldn’t ever possibly pay for and like that memory, all of my favorite ones from each trip don’t have anything to do with something I paid for. I took that same penny pinching mindset and applied it to my hometown. I’ve found a new beauty for the same town I’ve lived in for over 10 years.
3. You Can Find Yourself
As someone in my mid-twenties still with no clue on what I’m doing with my life, I’m relieved to say that at I least know who I am. I thought people only had an identity crisis in high school, but boy is that far from the truth. Most people I know my age are going through one now in their twenties.
I believe that you can be confident in who you are, even if you don’t have all your marbles together. Through little things you do, you can discover what you’re good at and what your ultimate goals are. While spending hours upon hours in a car blasting my favorite jams and munching on snacks, I’ve discovered that I want to become self employed so that I can always travel.
I’ve had a bit of a career crisis, changing my mind on what I want to do (and trying to pay off the loan I took out to cover the education of my past desire). While I am stuck in a career limbo, traveling has been a way for me to not feel like a failure. I don’t feel like I’m wasting my time and it’s my way to keep my free spirit while I hustle like crazy to be good at a job. It’s the medication I need to not feel sad.
I’ve collected many wisdoms through different events that have occurred on my travels. Seeing how beautiful the land is, I want to find ways to preserve one of God’s greatest creations. Seeing the homelessness in Los Angles has sparked the do-gooder in me, and has inspired me to care about those who shake a can for our spare change. The list of notions I’ve received that have sparked inner fires goes on forever. Traveling helps you find you. It helps you be the best person you were meant to be. It’s not just a journey around the world, but the journey of your life.
“The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page.”
– Saint Augustine
In 2016, I have one big goal to visit these three places: Seattle, Atlanta, and somewhere on the East Coast (open for suggestions). I make it a resolution every year to visit three new places. I’m happy to say in about two weeks, Chris and myself are traveling with two of our friends to Oklahoma City to see Bethel live in concert. So far I have one destination to cross off my list of three. Woo hoo!! Where are some of your favorite places to visit, and where would you like to go?
Author’s Note: All photos are mine that I took of different destinations I visited in 2015. They were either taken off of my iPhone 5c/6s or my Nikon D3100.