To travel is to live.

I renewed a promise to myself this year. That I was going to travel as much as possible. It’s not a new year’s resolution but a long-term commitment with my inner being that I need to keep. Far too often I’ve put my wanderlust aside for more adult-like things – bills, savings, investments, hours at the office for that next promotion, etc. And though it has been good to my wallet and financial security, I’m also missing out on what makes life a little bit sweeter.

Please don’t take this as though I’m advocating for NOT saving or investing money. I am. Do all those things. But also remember to invest in your personal growth and experiences. I like to think of it as a balance. It can be hard, but it is doable, and you’ll be rewarded in the end.

Over the past few years D and I have taken a few trips here and there on the east coast. Boston, New York City, Blue Ridge Mountains, Orlando, Miami, Philadelphia, Williamsburg, Charlottesville, Jamestowne, Yorktown, Daytona Beach, Virginia Beach, Annapolis, Baltimore, etc. A lot of the trips have been been long road trips, mainly because we like road trips but also because living in D.C. we’re near a lot of interesting spots. Lots of history. Lots and lots of history. Being history nerds (Derek enjoys learning more about the Civil War, and I’m absolutely in awe of the American Revolution) the east coast has been great to us. But this year, we wanted to travel even further. Like internationally further.

We were always talking about international travel. (We’ve been together for 6 years now, so of course international travel was talked about somewhere in that time frame.) But we had one drawback. Derek didn’t have a passport. Womp womp. To fix this problem, I dragged him to the nearest USPS Post Office WITH my father. In less than 15 minutes, he had submitted his application and paid the fee. AND in less than 8 weeks he had a passport in his hand. That moment, we knew the possibilities were endless!!!

Shall we go to the Philippines? I have lots of family there that could host us making it semi-cost effective.

What about visiting Holland? D has distant relatives still living there and it would be great to meet them. Each Dutch pastries all day long.

How about traveling to Mexico? We could explore the Mexican Riviera and work on our much needed tans.

Or should we go to Canada? Pig out on poutine and pâté chinois. Admire the architecture of Montreal and Quebec City.

What about traveling to Spain? Or Italy? Or Spain and Italy? They’re close right?

So many possibilities.

BUT, since it was in fact our FIRST trip out of the country. We knew we had to go smaller. And we also knew we had to go cheaper. After pandering back and forth on whether we should go anywhere during D’s January break, we finally settled on the Bahamas. 1) Airfare was decent – roughly $340 a person. 2) Room rates with D’s associate discount was also reasonably priced – roughly $850 for 5 days at Atlantis. This included taxes and resort fees. Additionally, because Atlantis is a full-service resort on it’s own island, the amenities such as the water park and private beach, were also included in our stay. No extra money on that part unless we wanted to swim with dolphins, feed sting rays, or snorkel with a third-party vendor. So for about $1600 minus food, booze, and souvenirs, we asked ourselves why the hell not?! Booked that baby trip straight away.

Someone reading this is probably thinking, what the heck? You spent $1600 just on housing and transportation? That’s a lot. I agree. It is a lot, but we’ve spent far more on trips to Florida. In fact, our 2012 Disney World trip cost us more than double that of our Bahamas trip, and we survived. We paid that one off and went on several more trips after that. The ultimate goal here is to go on trips you can afford. Or make trips you want to go on, affordable! Trust me, with a little bit of research and digging, you can definitely find a place worth traveling to. When you’re standing there looking out at the view in front of you – whether it’s the solitude of the mountains or the vibrancy of a city, you’ll thank yourself that you did it.

Because, like they say, “To travel is to live.”

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‘Til the next time.
-E

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