I love to travel. (I love the planning and anticipation part almost more than the traveling part!) I have been very, very lucky to get to do quite a bit of traveling, and I feel thankful and blessed. Eric and I went on a date several months ago and one of the biggest things we talked about were the adventures we wanted to do with our family. We can't wait to travel with our kids (we both LOVE road trips). This post may be super boring to anyone but me, but I've always wanted to write about my travels in one spot, and this blog just makes the most sense right now. To be honest, the years run together and I couldn't exactly remember all the details, so I had to text my mom, and I also forgot about our trip to Panama City Beach until I went back through my Facebook albums. No one cares, I know, but it's my blog so, ...before I forget anything else, here are all the big trips I've ever taken:

1993 (age 8): My first big trip was to Washington, D.C. with my family. I was in third grade and I remember the excitement as we drove to the airport and I got on a plane for the first time. My uncle was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives for 12 years and we went to visit him and his family. I remember touring the White House (super cool) and going to my cousins' band concert - very different parts of the trip but just as fun for me at the time :) My school teacher made me keep a journal because I missed school and when I got home I had to read it in front of the class. Would love to find this journal someday!


1995: Two years later, we drove to Maine with my mom's extended family, with stops along the way at Niagara Falls (Canada side) and the Baseball Hall of Fame. This was my first big road trip, and I fell in love with it. There were 21 people and 5 vehicles (mostly minivans) and 0 cell phones. We used walkie-talkies and real paper maps! We stayed at a private boy's camp in Mt. Vernon that my nana's cousin owned. We shopped at Freeport (home of L.L.Bean) and visited Bar Harbor, and I fell down while walking along the shore of a lighthouse (you can see I'm holding a paper towel on my hand in the photo above). My sister got sick and threw up on me on the drive home (after we stopped near Dresden, Ohio, to tour the Longaberger basket factory).

December 1996: The next year, we flew to Disney World. Oh man. I love Disney. It is the best place on Earth! We were there for New Year's Eve, and the line for Tower of Terror was two hours long, but that didn't stop us. I remember staying at Dixie Landings (now called Port Orleans Resort), swimming in the pools, and getting autographs from the barrel of monkeys from Toy Story.

Summer 1997: Six-ish months later, I went back to Maine (by plane this time) with my nana and my cousin Jessica. Jessica's family had to leave our 1995 trip early due to a death in their family, so this was sort of a make-up trip for her, and I was lucky to get to tag along since we are the same age. We bathed in the lake, ate lamb, tubed behind the boat, jumped off cliffs into really cold water, and learned to water ski! We had just finished seventh grade (14 years old) and I remember that we were allowed to take a small motor boat out by ourselves (the motor stopped working at one point and we had to row ourselves back). I almost can't believe we were allowed to do this unsupervised!

Spring 1998: My school offered a class trip to Washington, D.C. in eighth grade. I remember it rained a lot when we were there. Funny story: Eric was there at the same time with his eighth-grade class, which we figured out several years after we met, because we both had the same souvenir cup from seeing the musical Oliver at a dinner theater out there.

1999: This was another school trip that I was able to go on, to Disney World for marching band. We performed at one of the parks. We stayed in Kissimmee and I remember that not being as fun as staying on Disney property. I didn't particularly have a great trip, even though it was DISNEY WORLD, my favorite. I think I've blocked a lot of my memories from this trip for that reason. I'll just say, it was ninth grade and there was a lot of drama.

1999-2002: This is where things get kind of fuzzy for me...during high school, I was involved in band (jazz, pep, marching and concert), chorus, and all four sports, so there wasn't much opportunity to get away. However, during this time, my dad did take me on separate trips to Chicago, Milwaukee, Minneapolis and Kansas City to watch the U.S. Women's National Soccer Team play (that probably deserves its own post, but I was obsessed with them after the 1999 World Cup). Then, when I was a senior, I had an offer to go to Arizona with my uncle, cousin and grandparents, but decided not to - and I still regret it.

Winter 2002: My parents kind of surprised us with a trip to Cancun over Christmas break when I was a freshman in college. I remember the amazing blue water, delicious pineapple for breakfast, and getting my hair braided on the beach. So fun!

Spring Break 2003: This wasn't anything special...I went to Tulsa with my college softball team to play in a tournament. Whomp whomp.

Spring Break 2004: I took a road trip to Florida with my uncle, cousin and grandparents to see my cousin play college softball (I didn't go out that year). We listened to a mystery novel on the drive, and visited the Kennedy Space Center. I just love road trips!

July-August 2004: This was another extended family trip on my mom's side (however, I was the only one from my immediate family who went along). We went to New York City. We visited my cousin; went to the Today Show, Good Morning America, and The View; saw a couple Broadway shows (Chicago and Aida); ate Coldstone for the first time ever; shopped at H&M; and visited the house my nana lived in from the time she was born until age 2. I WANT TO GO BACK!

Spring Break 2005: My college roommate/sorority sister planned a spring break trip for a few of our friends to visit her uncle in San Diego. We visited Sea World and the San Diego Zoo, ate fish tacos, and met Reggie Bush:

Spring 2005: My only trip overseas was a two-week trip to Scandinavia: Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Iceland. It was incredible! Eric was on this trip, too, and I love that we have these memories together. Here's a random shot that was taken on a disposable camera:

Spring Break 2006: Eric's best friend (our Best Man), Garrett, moved to Charleston, S.C. after meeting a girl on MySpace  (insert wide eyed emoji here). We went out to visit them during spring break, and also her hometown of Savannah, Ga. It was a pretty fun trip, but CULTURE SHOCK. It's like a different world down there.

October 2006: Our honeymoon in Santa Monica! We rented a tandem bike and spent way too much money shopping and eating out.


Winter 2007: I went on a work trip to Chicago, and my coworker and I also saw the musical Wicked. I went another time for work, too, by myself...a couple years later, I think. Eric is planning to go there this spring to visit a friend, but we have never explored the city together!

June 2007: We flew to Savannah, Ga., for a quick weekend trip for Garrett and Lauren's wedding (all thanks to MySpace). It was beautiful but SO HOT.


Summer 2008: This was an epic trip with my mom's extended family called Grotewolds Go West. We rented a charter bus (!!!) that took us from Iowa to the Corn Palace (South Dakota), Wall Drug, the Badlands, Mount Rushmore, Bear Country, Yellowstone, Grand Tetons, and Jackson Hole. There were 23 of us; we wore matching shirts, toured a cave and went white-water rafting. Like I said, it was epic.


October 2009: Eric's cousin got married in Laguna Beach, Calif. We spent a day at Disneyland, too!


November 2009: Eric's mom took us (and Eric's sister and her son) to Disney World for possibly the best week of our lives. We were there during the least-busy week of the year, so there were rarely wait times for rides. Eric's mom turned 50 while we were there!

Summer 2010: After leading youth group for four years, we were able to chaperone a trip to Panama City Beach, Fla., for a week of worship and beach time at a camp called BigStuf. I'd love to go back!


March 2011: Eric and I attended the Texas Style Council conference in Austin, Texas, and met a lot of new friends that we had previously only known via the Internet!

Summer 2011: We rented a minivan and took a fun trip with our friends Brenna and Justin to Charleston, S.C., to visit Garrett and Lauren. We went to their church, had fun at the beach, met a blog friend, shopped on King Street, visited scenes from The Notebook, and stopped in Nashville on the way home. I was pregnant, but had no idea!

Fall 2011: My brother lived in Washington, D.C. for a few months during his internship at the U.S. Capitol, so my immediate family went out to visit him. I was 24 weeks pregnant at the time and wasn't quite prepared for all the walking! Eric and I also met up with a couple blog friends while we were there. Such a great city! This was also my first time in a Madewell store!

August 2013: Another trip to the Texas Style Council conference in Austin, this time as speakers! I can't even tell you how many amazing people we met.

That's it so far! Looking back, I took 17 big trips in 11 years and 22 total trips in 21 years. And that doesn't count several smaller weekend road trips in between that I'm not counting because they didn't include an airplane or 20+ hours in a car. My family also took many trips to Okoboji while growing up, which is still one of our favorite summer spots.

Most Visited: Florida (five times)

Trips I Want to Repeat: Maine. Niagara Falls. NYC. South Carolina. Disney World. (Apparently the east coast is the best coast...)

New Places We Want to Go: Grand Canyon. Colorado. Chicago (as a couple). Jackson Hole. St. Louis. Meet my online friend Emily in Florida. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

After laying out this timeline, it makes sense to me why I feel such a strong desire to take Roo on a trip, and perhaps why I feel like having a kid has hindered us from traveling. Financially it just doesn't make sense for us right now! Plus, I know Rooney won't remember trips we take now, so it seems to make more sense to wait til she's a bit older. But I still miss it!

Luckily, I recently found out that I am going to Las Vegas in two weeks with my dad and siblings, so that should be fun! I've never been there, so please let me know what I need to eat/do/see!