Travel Bug: The Origin Story

“Once a year, go someplace you’ve never been before.”

– Dalai Lama

It really all started when I heard this quote when I was a teenager, dreaming of leaving the town I was born and raised in and exploring the world.  Andrew and I started dating in 2008 and quickly discovered our passions for travel and exploration was shared.  We began our travels with day-trips throughout Florida visiting little towns, theme parks, zoos, snorkeling reefs, and beaches.  My first time leaving my home state was in 2009 (well besides a quick day trip from St. Augustine over the Georgia border when I was 12) when we took a road trip to visit his family in Kentucky and Ohio.  The green hills, old barns, and beautiful lakes were everywhere.  When I returned and told everyone how beautiful Kentucky was, they had no idea what I was talking about: they must not have been to the same Kentucky I had seen.  I’ll never forget eating dinner with Andrew’s grandparents and his grandpa was smoking!  Inside. In a restaurant!  I hadn’t seen this since I was a kid when there were still smoking sections in IHOPs!  Travel is so funny: not only do you get to see and eat and experience new things but you are reminded of childhood simultaneously! Ohio was just as great- dry and mild weather in June (compared to my Florida humidity) and creeks and hills and so much to see and do!  My first big adventure was eye-opening and amazing and I wanted to see more. 

Green rolling hills of Kentucky

The following year we took a road trip to Arkansas with friends to stay on Table Rock Lake near Eureka Springs, Arkansas.  After all my travel since, this remains one of my favorite trips.  Long days on the lake wakeboarding, jumping and swinging off cliffs, eating pizza, and sunrises and sunsets on the water.  What a breathtaking place.  With my family in 2011 we visited the Blue Ridge Mountains in Georgia, and in 2012 Tennessee (my first time seeing snow!).  Both trips were full of mountains, fried pies, and memories of us all (my dad in particular) sledding down a random hill on the side of the highway (we needed nice hill and it just so happened there was a great one alongside a very busy road.)  Then for my first time out of the country we ventured on a cruise to the Bahamas in 2012- the engine room caught on fire but that’s a story for another day.

These travels all happened fast, but not fast enough.  When we got married in 2014 Andrew and I decided this was the plan: a new place every year.  We didn’t stop at just one- thank goodness!  Since 2014 we have traveled to several states and countries experiencing each city both as a tourist and a local.  Our travels have been researched, extensively planned, and documented.  Future posts will focus on individual trips that will include tips, tricks, itineraries, and our favorite “must-dos” to assist in planning your travels! 

What was it for you? What sparked your travel bug?

2 thoughts on “Travel Bug: The Origin Story

  1. Hi Tracy! Thanks for your blog! I have seen your pics on FB and have really enjoyed. I love the Dalai Lama quote! I think it’s wonderful that you are travelling often and always encouraged my sons to travel during and after college. Travelling is an education that you cannot get in college. I’ve done a bit of travelling myself and you’ve got me thinking back to what sparked my interest in travel. I always loved geography and can remember learning about the National Parks in 3rd grade. I was fascinated by Yellowstone. Later, when I was a teen during the 1960s, many young people were travelling cross country, camping and getting back to nature. Many of us were also drawn to the west coast and especially San Francisco, where so much was happening – a cultural revolution. This was also happening in New York where I lived, but I was anxious to be part of my generation’s awakening and experience the SF scene. From ages 20 through 28 I drove cross country four times, including Canada, and lived in both SF and Berkeley, CA on separate occasions. I still have the travel bug and have been to Scotland, Ireland, Germany, France and Mexico. Also The Bahamas, Jamaica, the Cayman Islands and 9 of 10 Canadian Provinces. Now that we’re retired, my husband and I are looking at renting places in various countries for 6 to 12 weeks at a time, so we can have a base and explore from there. Will be checking out Pinterest at your suggestion! I look forward to reading more of your blog.
    Thank you and Happy Trails!
    Pat Mandell


    1. Hello Pat,
      Thank you for your comment and for sharing your travel story! I am very excited for this new adventure! Visiting all of the National Parks is another “must-do” list. We have visited a few throughout the country, and all of the parks in Florida, and are excited to see the rest of them! My husband and I have the same plan for retirement (sooner if we can swing it)- our goal is to be able to spend half of the year abroad and really immerse ourselves in various cultures. There are some sites where you can swap your home with someone from another part of the world (think the movie “The Holiday”) which would be such an interesting experience- especially to fully immerse yourselves. I haven’t done this yet, but it is on the list. Keep me posted on your travels, and let me know if there are any places you are planning to visit- I may have a blog post-in-the-making for the location and will be able to post it for you!
      Thanks so much,


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