Friday, January 13, 2012

Traveling the Simple Way

Prior to the collapse of what we knew as normal, family vacations consisted mostly of all-inclusive trips to the Caribbean islands and over priced cruises.  We just liked the idea of paying entirely too much up front so we didn't have to dish out a penny while vacationing...makes sense, right...right??   Not saying an occasional splurge on these types of vacations hasn't happened in the last few years (while learning we really don't NEED them anymore), or that I don't have an occasional day dream about lounging in the islands at a perfectly manicured  resort pool with some sort of frozen, umbrella topped concoction while my kids frolic the day away in some posh, over-rated, kid's only Nanny zone.  What I am saying is that our new-found, simplified life requires us to change our way of thinking across the board. 

When the economy changed, everything changed for us.  If you've been reading my blog, you know some of the stories that went along with these changes.  I went through a pretty long funk before I came to the reality that it wasn't changing back anytime soon.  Once I caved, God took over (because it certainly wasn't me) and all of a sudden, I truly LIKED this new life.  My husband was actually home, there were less bills to pay, we spent more time as a family and the list really goes on and on.  Basically, it boils down to less stress...which is what I so needed!

My one thing that I just couldn't let go of was travel.  Our old way of doing things was way too expensive and if we were to do it that way, it would take years to save for one stinking trip.  The hubby kept telling me the solution was camping, and I kept telling him, for lack of a nicer way to put it,  where to stick his tent.

Finally, I just couldn't take it anymore.  Why was I being so stubborn?!?!  I desperately wanted a vacation, camping was a the only solution, why buck it anymore?  So, we packed up the mini-van and off to the mountains we went.  It was like an enlightenment for me...I LOVED it, the kids loved it and they hubby got to watch me eat crow (so, of course, he loved it)!!  We could go away for a long weekend for the price of less than one night of one of our old fancy, smancy  vacations....have I mentioned that my hubby is a genius?

We visited farms,

met some cool animals,

checked out the barns,

rode lots of tractors,

ate campfire food,

goofed off,

explored the wilderness

staked our claim, 
thanked God Daddy was unarmed :),
explored some more,
acted like the locals

and slept in a TENT...yes, a tent!

And, loved every minute of it!  So much, that a yearly trip to the mountains every Fall is now a family tradition.  The first year we checked out Blue Ridge, GA and stayed in the Fort Mountain State Park.  I highly recommend it for your first trip!

The park itself was perfect, but it's also surrounded by all kinds of fun apple orchards,pumpkin patches, farms and little towns to visit. 

Not to mention the color God paints those mountains in the Fall is nothing short of breath taking.  Everyone needs to see this at least once in their life. 

Last year we ventured a little further to Tennessee and stayed in the Fall Creek Falls State Park.

I'd do that one all over again too!!  It was a short drive to Chattanooga to get our tourist fix and the Tennessee "hills" are AMAZING!!!  The farmer's market in Chattanooga was the best. 

We even found this cool little bakery that made all sorts of healthy goodies...seriously, with fresh milled wheat flour, whole sweeteners...the whole shabam!  I was in hog heaven!

What about the trips to the islands I miss so much you ask?

 Well, our next adventure is the Bahia Honda State Park in the Florida Keys this summer.  I can't wait to share all the fun details of that trip!

So, what I am saying, at the risk of sounding cliche....just do it!  Take the leap, book a camp site and experience God's will love it!!

 Happy Travels!

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