Hey KLF readers! I’m Emily and I blog over at More Than Just Dessert. As luck would have it, Katie and I met through our blogs a couple years ago while I was in grad school over in the great state of Wisconsin. As luck would double have it, we hit it off at a blogging conference. And then fate took over when I coincidentally got a job as a nutrition professor in Minnesota to make us real-life friends! For reals, Katie and I became fast friends, despite our NFL football team differences (where my proud cheese-heads at?!), and I can’t imagine my life without her.
(editor (Katie)’s note: I was unimpressed with the fields of Iowa, but turns out Des Moines is a really cool town).
One of the reasons I think Katie and I are such good friends, is because we are at similar points in different parts of our lives. We are both fast-talkin’ single ladies in our late 20’s (holy shiz) with big aspirations and goals in our professional lives, fitness lives, and our personal lives. Last year, I went through a major life change as I graduated from graduate school and moved to small-town Suburban Minnesota for my dream job as a nutrition professor. The job was great, but I grew restless quickly, as to be expected. I think we all have one hobby or passion that is our go-to for resetting our buttons. The one that makes us feel like “us” again, after we go through big changes. The saving grace that got me out of my funk? Travel.
Being an unmarried 27 year old has some damn good perks, especially regarding travel. In the past year, here are just a few of the places where I’ve traveled.
- Europe– I backpacked Europe for 12 days with college roommates. (see above)
- Nashville- Long weekend trip with my sister
- Boston- For work, but awesome.
- Utah, California Coast, and the Pacific Northwest – 3 Week Roadtrip with my sister to National Parks.
Last week, I read this article from the Huffington Post → 6 Lessons Travel Teaches You That College Never Will. Obvi, being a college professor, I’m all about the college. But I couldn’t agree more about the lessons we learn when we travel.
Being a student for most of my life so far, I love learning. Travel is an INSANELY easy way to learn about the world, hands on. Even staying within the US, by traveling to a new park, city, or region, I guarantee you are going to run into someone very different than you or learn something you didn’t know before. We learn through the new foods we eat, the people we meet, the trails we climb, the historical monuments we visit– it’s endless! I know that I also have learned a lot about myself when traveling. What scares me? What excites me? What interests me? I can answer these questions best because of some of the travels I’ve taken. Oh and the food. THE FOOD! Being a nutrition prof and food blogger, checking out the food scene in new cities is probably the most euphoric part of it all.
Many people ask, but how do you afford it? Easy, knowing that I want to travel gives me an incentive to save…and I usually over-save to make sure I have all my bases covered. It’s all about prioritizing what is important to you. I use multiple sites for transportation…google flights, kayak.com, and the airfare watchdog email are my favorite. I usually research fares for at least 3-4 days and use multiple searches to make sure I get the best deal. Do your research and you will be able to find a mode of transportation you can afford…heck, when I was in grad school making about ⅓ of the money I make now, I still traveled just as much! When considering lodging, I always keep the budget options in mind...to me, unless you are going to an all-inclusive resort, then lodging should be the least of your worries and expenses. For me, I need a place to sleep and a shower, all I care is that it is CLEAN! I use hotels.com for most of my bookings…in fact, because I was a frequent booker with them during our road trip last month, I got a free night! So consider booking with one company if you will be booking frequently in a small amount of time. If it’s just 2-3 nights here and there, then I would say find the cheapest possible, regardless of the sight. If you like nature, CAMP! Camping every few days on a long trip can save you money in the long run.
So what if I’ve never really “traveled” long and far before? Totally fine. I think most of the joy from travel comes from going where YOU feel comfortable and where YOU will have a good time. For travel newbies, I would recommend doing a trip within your comfort zone before doing trips that push your limits. Maybe find a city or festival a few hours within driving range for a long weekend. Start small and work your way up! It’s easier on your budget that way!
Phew. So have you caught the travel bug yet? I sure hope so. Tell me the coolest place you’ve been to and where you want to go next! Thanks again Katie for having me!