Happy 2016, friends! How is the New Year treating you so far? Things have been pretty quiet around here. Ryan started battling an upper respiratory infection last week and hasn’t been able to kick it, so we spent a quiet New Year’s Eve on the couch.
We’ve been in Louisiana for six weeks now, and we’re both getting pretty antsy to hit the road again. We’d been planning a mini-adventure to Arkansas, but between the sickness and the holiday celebrations just weren’t able to get away. To assuage our wanderlust, we’ve been doing plenty of scheming and planning for the upcoming year.
If you know Ryan and I at all, you know we love planning. We usually have our life planned out at least a year in advance — for us, planning and anticipating are a fun part of the adventure. That said, we’re trying to use our new lifestyle to be a little more free-spirited, which translates into “not stressing about knowing with 100% certainty where we’re going to be in October 2016.” Here’s what we do know about the upcoming year:
We will most likely be in Louisiana through the end of January. The original plan was to leave around the 18th, when Ryan’s brother leaves for the Marines. Buuuuuuut then we got an awesome Christmas gift of tickets to see Breaking Benjamin at the House of Blues in New Orleans on January 22 so we’ll be here at least until then.
We’re thinking combining the concert with another fun overnight into New Orleans … hopefully this time we’ll get beignets! And Ryan’s parents just purchased a new house so we may stay a little longer than planned to help them move, work on the house, and all that jazz. Anyway, odds are good we’ll be in Louisiana through the end of the month.
February – March
I know in February we’ll be eager to hit the road! Our planned trip looks something like this:
From Louisiana our first stop will be San Antonio, Texas, to see my brother and sister-in-law (and, almost as importantly, take Ryan to see the San Antonio Riverwalk). I’m hoping for day trips to Austin and Corpus Christi from there, too. From there, we’ll head across Texas, through southern New Mexico and Arizona. Ryan is hoping we’ll have time to make it all the way to San Diego. Either way, when we turn back east we’re going to spend some quality time in the Prescott/Sedona/Flagstaff area, and explore the Grand Canyon. From there we’ll be visiting friends and exploring Albuquerque. Continuing east, high points include northern Arkansas, Memphis, Nashville, and Asheville. And this trip has both a destination and a deadline: Quantico, Virginia, the last weekend of March, to see Ryan’s brother’s commissioning ceremony for the USMC.
In April we’ll be back on the East Coast. The first weekend in April we have two events: friends’ wedding in South Carolina, and I’ll be running the Savannah Women’s Half Marathon. Tentative plans for the rest of the month include spending some quality time on the Outer Banks …
… and I’m trying to convince Ryan to run the Philadelphia Love Run Half Marathon with me, too. Stay tuned. He’s interested in taking up running, and Philadelphia is my favorite running city, so I’m pretty excited.
May – July
We had been discussing heading west again for the summer — and that’s still not totally off the table. But the most likely scenario is heading back to Virginia for the summer, for Ryan to be a whitewater raft guide on the Shenandoah River again, and to give me time to hunker down and work on some projects I just haven’t had time for on the road. If we go with that, I already have lots of shorter trips planned: a weekend in Chicago, backpacking in Shenandoah National Park, a trip to Cuyahoga Valley National Park, some time in New England to see my family (and cross more states off my goal of running a race in 50 states).
In August we would love to head to Maine and spend the month at our favorite campground.
If you ever want to hear us wax nostalgic, ask us about the week we spent up there a couple of years ago. The hiking is gorgeous, the campground is clean and beautiful, and the blueberry pancakes in Bar Harbor are unparalleled. Ryan had been there several times before, but it was my first-ever camping trip — and I loved it. (The bathrooms. Are. SO. Clean.)
September & Beyond
After summer, plans get a little fuzzy. One version has us enjoying a gorgeous New England fall … but we’re also throwing around the idea of more far-flung travel: Iceland, Scotland & Ireland, and Germany top the list. It kind of depends on how the summer goes.
A few people have asked how long we plan to continue the wandering life. The short answer is: As long as we want to (and are able to). Some days I imagine wanting to settle down in a nice little house with some (hopefully) nice little kids. Other days, I can’t imagine ever wanting to give up the freedom. When we first moved into the camper, our agreement was to keep doing it until we didn’t want to anymore … and at least for now, neither of us are in a hurry to settle down or go back to “normal.”
What are your 2016 travel plans? How far in advance do you like to plan your travels?