luggage, vacations, travel
George Pieper

George Pieper

Where To Travel Next?

I do not know if you are anything like me, but since you are reading this blog, I can assume that you love to travel as much as I do.  If my husband and I do not have a vacation on the books for future travel, we get antsy.  At least if it is planned or in the works, we can be rest assured that we have an upcoming adventure to explore somewhere new.  It is fun to build up excitement for our next globetrotting jaunt.  In fact, we have created a dream destination list of places we want to see someday.  We even put calendar years as placeholders on a spreadsheet to build a timeline for our dream travel.   It is a wonderful thing to be able to turn a dream into a plan to make it happen.  


I am naturally the planner of these things in our relationship, so I say it starts with a list.  When my husband and I got married 5 years ago, I made us sit down and write out a 10 year plan of our lives, (career, family, money, health, social endeavors, personal achievements, retirement, and travel).  I wanted us to envision where we wanted to go and what we wanted to achieve, so that we could begin to piece together how we were going to get there.  I know, romantic right?  While I like some spontaneity, I do not like leaving things to chance.  If you cannot dream together then there is no roadmap for where you or your relationship is going.  5 years in, it is a fantastic tool we have developed to look at and see how much we have accomplished and where our dreams may have diverted along the way.  It keeps us on track, but with flexibility to reassess. 


I know that we are fortunate to have dual incomes without the expense or dedication required of children and a lifestyle that is conducive to traveling about.  It is freedom by choice and a lot of effort as well that allows us the opportunities to explore our world the way we are able.  Looking back in 5 years we have been to 13 states, plus Washington DC, and 17 counties spanning 4 continents.  Many of the destinations we have traveled to multiple times, like Spain where we purchased a vacation home in 2016.  We have been over there 10 times.  Every time we go, we make a point to see something new and take the opportunity to deepen the friendships we have made. 


Our last venture to Spain was a 3-week trip for the Christmas and New Year’s holidays.  Little did we know it would be our last trip to a foreign country for the foreseeable future.  Since the pandemic began and planned trips came and went without the opportunity to take off as usual, there has been a growing pang, (like hunger) in the pit of my stomach to get out and travel again.  We have been very safety conscientious and have stayed at home only to venture out of the house for essential trips to the grocery store, doctor’s office, or a work meeting that could not be handled by Zoom.  This has been challenging to say the least for those of us with an adventurer’s heart to travel and explore.  We desperately miss our home and village in Spain.  But we do not see the European Union allowing Americans in for non-essential travel anytime soon with the Coronavirus still in full swing. 

We have followed friends and relatives via Facebook willing to venture out, take to the road, and go camping.  Even my parents in their 70’s hooked their 5th wheel to the back of their truck compete with fishing poles, tackle, bicycles attached to the back, and began a social-distancing tour of 11 western states.  I absolutely love their fortitude for getting out and about safely, rather than staying trapped at home. 

 While I do love a good road trip, the desire to camp and be outdoorsy exited my willing psyche after my first resort and spa styled vacation many years ago.  I am unabashedly preferential to staying in a luxury hotel, ideally with a pool and spa when the opportunity to travel presents itself.  I know that how one travels is a subjective experience.  We work hard when focused on working.  Therefore, for me, vacation should not be an exhaustive effort.  I love to see things.  Architecture, cultural sites, history, and beautiful vistas excite me to explore.  The rest of my vacation time is spent relaxing, eating great food, drinking local adult beverages, and getting pampered in some way.  Don’t get me wrong, I am willing to hike to a hot spring, follow a trail into the forest, or participate in a physical activity like skiing as long as I know a hot shower, nice meal, and comfortable bed are waiting for me at the end of such a day. 


Now that we are 8 months into this pandemic and folks are figuring out for the most part how to go about their lives safely, we have decided that a trip away from the house must be made.  Since America is not handling Covid-19 well and most countries are not allowing us in, I began looking at all the options.  I starting thinking about destination resorts where we could social distance safely, perhaps have a kitchenette to cook some of our meals to reduce exposure, and a place with outdoor activities to get a breath of fresh air without a mask on for a bit.  I also did not want to be in a plane for too long or need to make connecting flights to again limit exposure to the virus.  We have Marriott Vacation Club timeshare, which I will write a whole blog post about on its own.  I know timeshare is expensive and not for everyone, but it can be well worth it too if it fits your idea of a getaway.  We planned a trip to Hawaii only to cancel because of quarantine rules and pools and beaches being closed.  I mean, what is the point of going to Hawaii if you cannot go to the beach!  So, I looked at other resorts and places we could get to via a direct flight.  I researched area levels of COVID-19 cases, read resort cleaning policies, and so on.  Mexico quickly came to the top of the list, especially since it is currently safer than Florida.  So, we made a quick decision and booked a holiday in the Puerto Vallarta area for the end of the month.  Stay tuned for our travel vlog on the Grand Luxxe Resort in Nuevo Vallarta next month on our YouTube channel.  


All I know is that amidst this pandemic, so many things have changed, and travel is certainly one of them. We will venture out safely and create posts that offer support to those of you like us driven to explore our world.  How do you like to travel and where do you want to go?  Do you feel safe traveling or what would make you feel safer? Please let us know in the comments and we will build more content around the ideas shared.

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