I originally started this blog to chronicle both travel nursing and fitness adventures. However, with us being stationary for the last 8 months, travel adventures have sort of taken a back seat in our lives. We have focused a lot on paying down debt, Keaton finishing school, and soaking up tons of time with friends and family before we hit the road this fall on our travel nurse/PT adventures.
Now we are just two (TWO!!) months out from Keaton’s official graduation we have started looking towards the fun trips/plans/ideas for the future. Well, I have. Keaton pretty much just gives a yes or no on the destination and tells me not to spend too much money 🙂
I will be doing FULL recaps of all of our trips on the blog, but for now I wanted to give a rough outline because well, I’m just really excited and would also love to hear any suggestions you lovely readers have for these destinations.
First up: Nashville! We actually just made plans in the last week to go with another couple to Nashville at the end of April. It seems to be the perfect place for a weekend getaway, and Keaton has Fridays off this rotation, so we are going to leave Thursday evening to get a full 3 days in. We have an AirBNB booked in downtown Nashville, and other than good southern cooking, we don’t have any major plans yet.
Then, after Keaton’s graduation we are taking a mini vacay for a few days to explore our own beautiful state. I grew up camping a lot with my family and have a few state parks I want to take Keaton to. We love hiking and the outdoors, and camping is SO cheap, so this will be a nice getaway that doesn’t break the bank (still working on that debt snowball after all). Missouri State Parks has a wonderful website with information about campsites, hiking trails, and other things to do throughout the state that helps so much with building a getaway in the area. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers also has lots of campgrounds around all 50 states, and I can say from experience they are very well-maintained, safe areas to camp if you like getting outdoors!
We have also been working our way around as many Missouri wineries as we can hit up, but we have fallen quite behind with staying in KC over the winter. You can actually pick up a map with every winery listed and plotted from your local Missouri winery, which has been really fun to use as a checklist for where we’ve been, and also helps guide some of our road trips. I think this trip is going to be a great getaway for us to relax and unwind a little before he has to start studying for boards hard-core, and we have to start getting our life together to travel full-time.
At the end of July, we will also be taking off on our annual float trip with friends. This is the third year this float has happened and it is always a blast. We typically do rafts, and load 6 or so people onto each raft. Last year there were also plenty of jello shots to go around, and several lost pairs of sunglasses 😉 This is just an all-around fun, memory filled trip every year.
The last (planned) vacation on our agenda is California! This trip I am super, super excited about. This will probably take more than one paragraph to cover so here goes.
First, we are going to take the train out to San Francisco. We actually looked at routes out of Kansas City and out of Omaha and we ended up choosing the Omaha option for a few reasons:
- Keaton preferred the route through the mountains in Colorado instead of through the more desert terrain of New Mexico/Arizona.
- It was $130 cheaper.
- The train leaves at 11 pm which will mean we sleep during the less-scenic parts of the trip (aka Nebraska).
For both tickets it was a whopping $244. SO CHEAP! And we can bring snacks, drinks, etc. on board. We looked at a roomette option but decided the extra $500 wasn’t worth it. We will see how sleeping goes on the train and maybe do it again another time.
Also, because this has been asked, the trip takes about 40 hours total. We will probably sleep about 16 of that, and during the day there are viewing cars you can sit in and watch the scenery. Amtrak also has dining cars so we can go for sit down meals as well. While it seems like a long trip I think the experience itself will be so much fun, plus we kinda like each other so I think we can keep each other entertained during the daytime. I have taken the train a few times but Keaton has never traveled on Amtrak, so we are doing this partially just for the experience, which I think is so much better than sitting on a cramped plane for hours.
Once in California, our plan is to sight see around San Francisco for a few days, and go to a soccer game in San Jose. I am looking at staying near Golden Gate Park, but haven’t actually picked a place in San Fran yet.
We (I) researched Sonoma vs. Napa and Sonoma just seems much more our speed. I have an adorable AirBNB booked, and it will be over our 2 year wedding anniversary which just worked out perfectly.
I am eyeing several restaurants for our anniversary dinner. Madrona Manor has a whole dinner experience that looks To. Die. For. but it is also quite pricey, so we may end up at a little more affordable place. I am also intrigued by The Girl and the Fig, Depot Hotel Restaurant, and Mama Tanino’s.
As far as wineries go, I haven’t even scratched the surface of researching those. I am also looking at the hot springs in the area, and we may try to hit up some hiking in between all the drinking of wine. SO many options, I’m sure we will have plenty to do.
In August/September we also plan to hit the road as a true traveling nurse and physical therapist duo. I am currently licensed in Missouri which allows me to practice in 26 states total, plus Kansas and New York. We honestly don’t have our hearts set anywhere specific, we just want to find a location where we can both land contracts within driving distance. Tentatively we’d like to travel for the next several years, and hit up the Pacific Northwest, Alaska, Hawaii, the East Coast, and Guam if I can convince Keaton 😉 . In between we plan on road-tripping to and from assignments, and we would like to get out of the country at least once per year.
That goal would of course entail some sort of trip this fall or winter as well, so I will keep you updated! We just knocked off a huge chunk of our debt snowball thanks to taxes, so we are trying to keep a delicate balance between driving that number down while still enjoying life. But soon we will have two incomes to play with (so far all of our progress has been made on a one income lifestyle), and I have a feeling that is when we will make some KILLER progress!
Anyway, there is our rough plan for travel for the year! Over the summer we may try to stay close to home for a bit longer, just to see friends and family before the real crazy gypsy life picks up. Either way, this year promises to be an exciting one, and I can’t wait for all the adventures we have to look forward to.