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  • Jessica Drake

For the Love of Travel

It's Valentine's Day weekend and love is in the air. Over the past year as we have spent much of our time at home away from extended family and friends, away from the office for many, navigating school from home, and the cancelation of many of our travel plans, it has made me realize how much I love the crazy busy life my family led prior to the start of the pandemic. Our norm was to be running from school to dance or golf for my kids, my husband would typically be traveling for work, and I would spend my days planning amazing vacations paired with being "mom taxi". Those days are starting to return and I'm hopeful and excited for a full return to the busy norm we once knew. However with the time we had, it made me realize absence really does make the heart grow fonder. I don't know about you, but the absence of international travel has my "wanderlust" in overdrive. I have always had a list a mile long of places in the world I wanted to see and now I'm more determined than ever to make sure I see all of those places in my lifetime, and share as many of those experiences with my kids as possible.

As I think to my travel bucket list, I am also humbled by the places I have been lucky enough to visit in my almost 40 years here on Earth. My husband's professional position sends him all over the world and I have been fortunate enough to be able to tag along on some of those adventures.

My love of Europe started 10 years ago in January of 2011. I was teaching at the time and it was a long weekend that my husband had to be in Paris that week for work. So I jetted off with him for a whirlwind 3 days in Paris. It seemed crazy at the time, but it sparked my love of traveling the world. We walked miles and miles seeing the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triumph, walking through the Catacombs, along the Seine River, visiting the Louvre, marveling in Notre Dame, and eating at the cutest little cafes.

Since that weekend in Paris, I have had the privilege of visiting London, Beijing, Shanghai, Scotland, and Greece. Through my travels, it has taught me so much about the world and how others live. I have come to realize our American way of life isn't better, it is just different. Seeing the history of nations far older than ours and the preserved architecture is amazing and something everyone should experience in their life. I often am asked with everywhere I have been in Europe, Asia, the Caribbean, Mexico, and the United States where my favorite place is that I have visited. I can honestly say I don't have a favorite. Every place is so different I love something about each destination. There is something about each that would make me want to return and that fosters my desire to see and experience more.

While I haven't been everywhere yet, everywhere is on my list. So far all of my adventures in Europe and Asia have been without my kids, so I have to say a huge thank you to my parents for always being willing to watch the grandkids so Jason and I can travel the world together, since I know you are reading this thank you Mom and Dad! Fingers crossed this year will be the year we get to share these adventures with our three kids. I hope to be able to visit Europe this summer on a long awaited trip with them that we have been planning for 8 years, keeping hope alive that the pandemic subsides enough by summer that the world will once again welcome international travelers so my children can share in our love of seeing the world one country at a time.

Here are some pictures of my adventures to help inspire your wanderlust, excuse the photo quality on some of them remembering this love of traveling the world started 10 years ago when the Blackberry was the high tech phone and I'm pretty sure my pink Motorola flip phone was cool.

Where do you want to go? Send me your bucket list and we can start planning your worldly adventures.

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