Janu-weary and my travel bucket list! 

January. Everyone is in that post-holiday haze. It’s cold and we are expecting snow tonight into tomorrow. I’m tired. 

I couldn’t sleep last night which really isn’t unusual for me. I am up until at least 1:30 or 2 every single night but every 8-12 weeks I enter a completely restless state where I will not be able to fall asleep no matter what I try. I was still awake when B’s alarm clock for work was going off at 4:15 this morning. I can stay asleep just fine but getting there is a whole different story. Yawn.

Long, sleepless story short…it gave me a lot of time to plan out and think about the stuff we have coming up and get even more excited for it. I spent a long time thinking of all of things we and I have seen and done and wanted to post about a couple of them today.

In 2 weeks we will be in Nevada and Arizona and it can’t come sooner! I’m not letting the next week and a half get me down. It’s busy but I have tunnel vision. The Grand Canyon. I cannot wait to take in the magic that everyone says it holds. It is something that has been on my travel bucket list for as long as I can remember. Here is my “off the top of my head” version, as I have the full list penned somewhere (of course):

* = see below for photo!

– See the Grand Canyon (So. Soon.)

– Visit Alaska and whale watch 

– See the Northern Lights (check!)*

– Swim with sharks (kinda check…I puked the whole time…) *

– Visit The Wizarding World of Harry Potter (check…three times and counting!) *

– Mount Rushmore (check!)*

– Drink a pint (or many, rather!)  in a pub in London 

– Visit Yosemite (doing in May!)

– See Crater Lake (doing in May also!)

– Visit the Stanley Hotel in Colorado 

– Visit Grand Teton National Park

– Visit Montana

– Visit Maine

Here’s some pics of the ones I’ve checked off my ever growing list:

We saw the Aurora Borealis in Northern  Michigan (Sturgeon Bay/Cross Village) in September of 2014. Our entire stay in Michigan was incredible, but I will always remember this day! The whole week the water was choppy, it was windy, chilly and cloudy. But on this day the water was smooth as glass, the wind was non-existent and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. B woke me up around 12:30am and said I had to come outside, he had to show me something. We watched the pale green lights dance above the lake for a good hour and a half. I cried. It was amazing. We didn’t have the right equipment to photograph it so there are no actual pictures, but that day we spent on the water kayaking because it was so smooth – so this will always be my photo/symbol of that incredible memory! 

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Look, I am not really a fan of Florida. B LOVES Florida.  Growing up, we drove to Florida nearly every summer. I am very grateful my parents could afford to take us kids on vacation, and I will always cherish the memories. But Florida…it’s too hot, it’s flat, I am not really a sun/sand/beach person, and after you’ve been to Destin and PCB 15 times it gets old. Orlando is my Florida exception. (Also the Everglades!) Universal Studios and Disney’s Magic Kingdom are awesome! We will actually be going back to Orlando in July for a family trip and my birthday!

The first time I went to the WWoHP was in September of 2010. I went with my mom, dad and middle sister. When I first walked into the park, I paused, took a very deep breath, looked around in awe and I cried. Like, legitimately wept. Goosebumps and all. It was so overwhelming! I have always been a huge fan of the Harry Potter series. I read the books as they came out and they are a huge part of my life. When my dad offered to take me and my sister we were so ecstatic! The second time B and I went together for our honeymoon. The third time we got to see the brand new Diagon Alley section! That was in February 2016, which brings me to this next picture:

As you know from above, February of 2016 B and I planned an impromptu trip to Florida. Mainly to go to Universal Studios in Orlando and we booked a day trip in Jupiter to free dive with sharks. I won’t get into all the gory details but let’s just say I woke up in severe pain the first night there, had to visit an emergency dental clinic and was hopped up on antibiotics and hydrocodone the rest of the trip. M’s brother and sister in law lived in Miami at the time, and she just so happened to be visiting them while on a work trip while we were in Florida – so we all arranged to meet up for a day, shark dive together and get some food after. I was feeling great. The pain and swelling had gone down immensely and as we were about a mile and a half into the boat ride when I started feeling queasy. Uh oh. Definitely got super sea sick. I never even made it into the water, nor did I want to. M, her brother and B had a great time though, and they even took an awesome selfie, unknowingly catching me in the background chumming the sharks. I laughed so hard I cried for hours when I saw this photo. CLASSIC.

I visited South Dakota in February of 2007 with an old friend! We met and hung out with people from our WoW guild. The trip was excellent and memorable. Besides the 15 hour car ride back home. With food poisoning. Coming out of both ends. In a blizzard. We got into an accident and had to take a Greyhound bus home. I cried. Maybe I should quit traveling in February!!! 

I love having photos of those experiences, no matter how silly the story behind them! If you didn’t notice, I cry a lot. Laugh cry, sad cry, happy cry. I can’t wait to cry more and add to the stories and collection of photos. Isn’t that what it’s all about? Nothing is perfect, we just gotta own it and make it ours. 

I hope everyone is thus far having a great new year. Besides being super sleepy, mine’s been pretty alright. =)

If you haven’t yet, check out my article on MyTrendingStories.com! 

J

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