Last week, I shared that my husband and I have decided to make traveling a high priority in our marriage and in our lives. The key reason being that we want to live our lives together as fully as possible, packed with as many new experience as possible.
Of course, it would be wonderful to be independently wealthy and spontaneously zip off to Paris or Hong Kong whenever we feel the slightest wanderlust. But, some of us live in the real world of having five children and a retail job, so that extreme level of freedom is not yet on our radar. However, that hasn’t stopped us from building a travel mindset into our everyday lives.
At one point last year, we were itching to get out of town and we literally had about $7. We also happened to have a full tank of gas and a free afternoon. We did a little bit of Googling and discovered that the Ohio River Scenic Byway runs through a large portion of southern Indiana. If we took the Byway in a large circle down to the southern tip of Indiana and up and around the southwest corner of the state, then cut across back to Bloomington, we would have a nice 5 hour drive ahead of us.
We set off in the car with no idea what lay ahead. Adventure! Ground Rules: if we see something and we want to stop, we’ll stop. We will take as many photos of beautiful things as we can and create an album when we get home. We will somehow manage to get by using the $7 in our pockets. And we were off!
We drove through tiny, quintessential Midwest towns. Most of the drive was dominated by the Hoosier National Forest and it was just lovely.
We stopped in tiny towns along the way that made us feel like we’d literally stepped back in time. We shared a questionably-safe corn dog at a small country market that still had working analog gas pumps out front.
We stumbled upon the most beautiful lakes and picnic areas.
Late in our drive, we stopped for a square burger (not from Wendy’s)…somewhere in southern Indiana.
And, since our path home took us through French Lick, we stopped in at the French Lick Hotel and Casino, since my husband had never seen the place, with it’s beautiful ornate decorations and walls full of photos of famous people who have stayed in the hotel.
When we finally made our way towards home near sunset, we were winding through Amish country and spotted horses and buggies and wide brimmed hats. It was such a diverse and wonderful day and we spent it together, exploring and talking and snapping photos. Five hours on the road, getting to know Indiana…and each other.
All of this to say…a passion for travel can be expressed in so many ways. You can take a cruise to the Caribbean or catch a red-eye to London or perhaps you are lucky enough to be able to take in the Olympics in Rio or see the Running of the Bulls in Spain. Sometimes, though, you have $7 in your pocket and a full tank of gas. It’s still an adventure. And it still counts.