Yes it is March, actually the middle of March, and I am finally getting around to sharing our travel/vacation excitement. For the first time since Travel Man and I got married we have actually made our 2016 travel plans along with reservations for the entire year! Yay! Our longest trip will be our travel to Arizona, which we are actually in the middle of right now. We’re taking in a full week of baseball’s Spring Training games. We are so excited for this trip. It’s going to be fun taking in all of the sights and sounds of baseball.
Last month we took a trip to one of the regional parks close to home and really enjoyed our weekend. The campground we stayed at was quite peaceful and the birds chattered away in the trees the entire weekend. Life doesn’t get any better than that. The weather was spectacular. Sunny, temps in the low 70’s, and a bit of a breeze. Perfect weather for a bowl of chili for lunch. Yes we did that. We haven’t been on a weekend jaunt since the end of November last year. The holidays have come and gone, the New Year’s resolutions are lingering around, and we’re ready to settle into a travel rhythm for the year.
Our short trip last month did remind us of a few things that are needed to have an enjoyable weekend jaunt. It is important for us to go through our Master Camping Checklist to be sure we don’t forget anything. Like charcoal for the grill, or Travel Man’s favorite camping chair that he likes to sit on outside. Even though we don’t always have to venture far from home to have a weekend away, we still need to take the time for our list. Funny thing about that is I love lists. But when we were packing up for this particular adventure, I got a little lolly-gaggy, and didn’t go through a final check of “The List”.
As I sit here writing today I’m reminded of just how blessed and lucky I am. Lucky to have a husband who will do whatever it takes to have a relaxing weekend. Lucky to be able to take time out for ourselves when we get a chance. Lucky to have so many amazing places to travel to within just a few hours of our house.
We’re looking forward to our trips out on the open road this year, and as the year progresses I plan to share our travel tales with all of you. Happy Trails everyone!
When I was growing up my parents took us on so many very, cool vacations. We got to see quite a few of our national parks and wonderful sights. Our mode of travel was normally some sort of camping. We had a station wagon and a pop-up tent trailer for a long time, and then when my parents retired they ventured into the RV world and bought a beautiful Rexhall motor home. You can read all about their adventures on my Mom’s blog, Joan on the Road.
One of the highlights of our camping experience was always having a camp fire. Building a fire, keeping it going, and eventually roasting the marshmallows for a great s’mores treat. I think one of my Dad’s favorite parts of camping was building the bonfire, I mean campfire, for the evening. He would build pretty big fires, and he was the one who kept it going. I know for myself I couldn’t wait until there were some lovely coals to roast my marshmallows next to. I prefer them lightly roasted, thank you. When we were on vacation we always had our guitars with us, and would play and sing around the fire. We loved to sing John Denver tunes. Oh those were the days.
Fast forward to my Mom and Dad’s RV-ing days, and they kept the campfire tradition going. Most times when we would visit them we’d have a fire, and maybe roast those marshmallows or a hot dog. One thing that was always with my Dad for his campfires was some sort of strong stick that he could use to stoke the fire with. It was a coveted stick, and as we all got older sometimes we would take turns stoking the fire too. What a treat.
When my Dad passed away and we were helping my Mom go through her RV and decide what she was keeping or not, she gave me my Dad’s last campfire stick he used for stoking the fires. It’s really a personal memento for me. It helps me to hold on to the good memories of our family times together around the campfire.
These days Travel Man and I have a trailer of our own that we like to take out for the weekends. We always have the coveted “Fire Stick” with us to stoke our campfires. But on our last camping trip we noticed the Fire Stick was starting to get a little short. I kept catching the end of the stick on fire, and it seemed like it was getting shorter and shorter and fading away. I suppose in the back of my mind I was worried that if the stick got shorter and went away the memories of camping with my Dad would fade a little bit too. So we made the painful (well for me anyway) decision to retire the Fire Stick. We will be keeping it in the trailer with us when we go out on our camping adventures. And eventually I think I will figure out a way to hang it on the wall.
It’s a wonder to me that a stick could hold memories that are so dear to my heart. The memories of your loved ones that are no longer with you are the ones that you hold onto the tightest. You never want to let them go.
There was a time earlier this year where Travel Man would be gone for weeks on end. Weekends really did not mean anything to us because our time together was limited, and never the same day of the week. Now don’t get me wrong I realize there are a lot of couples that go through life together with wacky, crazy schedules. We too are one of those couples. The nature of Travel Man’s work keeps it that way.
In July, Travel Man decided enough was enough and decided to make a job change. He is in the same industry, service technician for food packaging machinery, but with a different company. The company that he is working for now has given him the opportunity to have his/our weekends back. He is now normally travelling Monday through Friday, and home on the weekends. We are so elated with this transition, I am almost willing to say we are giddy, but I do not want to jinx the weekends. I do not think either one of us realized what a tremendous toll his old job was taking on us. It was affecting his health, straining our relationship, and generally making our lives crazy.
Travel Man started his new job at the beginning of August, and he has been home every single weekend since then. Yay!! We can now look forward to making plans for the weekend. This is a new concept for us. Going camping, going to a movie, the sky’s the limit. He’s home for family events, gets to spend time with the Grandkiddies, and me too of course. It has really been wonderful just being able to plan for things to do on the weekends. I did not realize how much I was truly missing our weekends together, until recently when we got them back. I would always feel bad making plans for family events happening at our house knowing that Travel Man would not be home to join us. Just that fact would tug at my heart strings.
We both know and recognize that there will be many times when he cannot be home or get home as planned. That is the nature of the work he does and the business he is in. That’s ok. As long as we both know there will likely be more times that we can make plans and fulfill those plans with a minimum amount of changes and disruptions. We’re so thankful to have our weekends back.