i’ve got a crush

…and that crush is on the city of San Francisco.

I visited for about five days last week, and my goodness is that city my new favorite place!  I’d been once before, back in high school, but this trip was totally different.  Whereas previously my time had been spent taking in tourist attractions (you don’t have much say in itinerary when you’re on a high school church trip), this time was all about eating, drinking and wandering.  My kind of trip.

I arrived on Thursday morning, and immediately met my longtime friend Drew at Naked Lunch.  After a delicious lunch, he went back to work and I trekked to his place in the Marina.  (Here’s a view of the Golden Gate Bridge from his neighborhood…lovely!)

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I spent that afternoon doing a bit of work at his place, and exploring the area.  That night, we went out for dinner at a taqueria (giant burritos, goodness gracious) in the Mission and drinks at Magnolia in Dogpatch.  It was wonderful to meet lots of Drew’s friends, and this spot had great beer and atmosphere!

On Friday, while Drew worked from home in the morning, I went out shopping on Chestnut Street near his house.  I bought a few fabulous things, made a few friends around Drew’s neighborhood and even got a job offer to be a nanny!  That afternoon, we got in the car and drove to Mt. Tamalpais  to attempt to hike (emphasis on attempt).  It was too rainy and cold and windy and foggy…so we kept driving.  We had stopped off earlier at the Marin Headlands so I could see the view of the Golden Gate Bridge, which was beautiful.  We wound up heading to Muir Woods once the weather cleared, where we did a bit of walking and took in the beautiful redwoods.

That night, we went to a fun house party to celebrate Drew’s friend’s birthday.  While I was there, I found out that  the “Full House house” (aka one of the Painted Ladies) was just a few blocks away, so naturally I convinced someone to walk with me to check it out.  (Thanks, Scott!)

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The next day, Drew and I went to an event at Tank18 for wine and conversation with friends.  Conversation wound up being tough, as the venue was crazy loud, so Drew and I headed out.  We explored SoMa and eventually headed home to chill out and watch some Suits.  That night, Drew had longstanding plans for drinks, so I met up with one of his friends I’d met a couple nights earlier for a drink at La Urbana.  After that, we went with friends to dinner at Southpaw.

On Sunday, I woke up early and went to a solo breakfast at Home Plate in the Marina.  I wound up having to sit with another solo diner, named Thor…let me just tell you, he might have been the most shallow, insipid person I have ever met.  But the food was good!  I then walked down to the Philz Coffee truck on the water and enjoyed some quiet time looking at the boats.

That afternoon, Drew and I explored North Beach!  He showed me Coit Tower (awesome views of SF and crazy hills).  We then went over to Hayes Valley so I could check out the Warby Parker store.  We wound up spotting this awesome biergarten where we had a pint and pretzel, before hitting up Smitten for some ice cream.  Finally, we went to the Warby Parker store (just had to) before heading out.

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That night (my last night of the trip), Drew treated me to a meal at Trestle.  It was absolutely wonderful and a great way to end the trip before I flew out on Monday morning.

I wish I would’ve taken more photos while I was in the city, but I was caught up in enjoying every single moment.  Not a bad reason to miss out on photo ops!

All in all, I absolutely loved San Francisco.  I would move there tomorrow if I could, but alas, the cost of living is astronomical.  However, if anyone out there is reading this and thinking, “Man, I’d love to financially back a girl’s dream to live in the Bay Area for a while,” feel free to contact me!  😉

let it snow

SnowThis week, 8 inches of snow fell on Nashville and I was absolutely delighted!  I was expecting to wake up on Friday to a bleak, drizzly landscape (with snow starting around lunchtime) but instead woke up to a wintry wonderland outside my bedroom window!

I immediately bundled up and went outside to play in the snow.  (After all, living in Florida for 23 years, I’ve never seen snow in a place I called home – just on vacations from time to time!)

The snow continued to come down for hours and hours and, though I was stuck inside working, it brought me such joy to see the gorgeous sight outside my house.  I took the opportunity to build a snowman on my lunch break (note to self: get waterproof gloves) and frolic a little more.

LivingRoomViewOn Friday night, the snow had stopped falling but was covering Music City in a sparkly blanket.  Not many people were on the roads, so Alli and I took the opportunity to walk to Mafiaoza’s, a nearby restaurant, to meet some friends for a birthday dinner.  It was quite a chilly walk!  I came up with the brilliant idea to hitchhike, but we didn’t fully commit on the walk there.

LoveSnow.jpgWell, the walk home was another story!  It was positively arctic, and we did not feel like trekking a mile through the snow and ice!  We stuck our thumbs out as we walked and waited to see if any of the cars would stop to offer us a ride.  Surely enough, a Jeep full of cute, young guys stopped to see if we needed help!  We jumped in the Jeep and they kindly took us the remaining 3/4 mile home.  (If you are my mother or grandmother reading this and freaking out that I hitchhiked…don’t freak out!  It was a fun and unexpected adventure.)  They actually invited us to go play pool with them at a bar down the street, but we were chilly and ready to be in bed.

Saturday was wonderful, with no place in particular to be and the snow still making our neighborhood look like a Thomas Kinkade painting.  Alli and I walked to Frothy Monkey for coffee and FlipSide for brunch, where we ran into both a childhood friend of mine (who does not live in Nashville, mind you) and the Chrisley’s from my dad’s favorite tv show, Chrisley Knows Best.

SevierPark.jpgWe walked around Sevier Park, watching all the adorable sledders and even having a snowball fight with some strangers, before making our way back home for a lazy day of eating and watching tv.

All in all, I have absolutely loved the snowy wonder that has filled Nashville the last few days!  It’s been a breath of fresh air not to drive anywhere, and to adopt a more relaxed pace.  Perhaps it’s easy for me to say this because we got 8 inches of snow (versus 2 feet like some places a bit north of us), but what can I say?  I picked the right city.

new year, same me

1935470_10154609999312715_9146527296301029446_nThis year, I have resolved to do more of what makes me happy.  I’m sharing my “resolutions” (though I hate calling them that because of the connotation so let’s just call them goals) here for accountability to myself, and in the hopes of perhaps inspiring you to set a few goals for yourself this calendar year.  It’s never too late to start doing more of what you love!

  1. Prioritize travel.
    • Travel has been a huge priority to me in the past, and I’m off to a good start with it for this year, too.  I’m headed to San Francisco next month and New York City in March!  I’ve also got a trip to Orlando on the agenda for a very special wedding I’m in during April.
  2. Spend more time outdoors.
    • I’m trying to be intentional about getting outdoors, and got off to a good start last week with a hike at Percy Priest Lake with Alli!  My (rough) goal is to seek out one outdoor activity a weekend, whether that be a long walk around my neighborhood, a hike or something more adventurous.
  3. Continue to send snail mail and be a good pen pal.
    • Mail brings me joy, period.  I love stamps and stationery and the post office and my mailman and everything about it.
  4. Read a lot of books.
  5. Listen to a lot of podcasts.
    • I adore podcasts!  I’ll be posting soon about some of my favorites.  They’re great for passing the time on a road trip and helping keep focused (I spent a lot of time in the car in 2015 so I can really vouch for this).
  6. Write a book.
    • I haven’t shared much about my desire to write a book here, but it’s on the 101 in 1001 list that I created about a year and a half ago.  I love to write and read, and this is the ultimate challenge for myself – to see if I can combine those passions into one creative project!

I have others goals, of course, that are practical and ongoing, like developing consistency in my exercise routine again, continuing to push toward long-term financial security, establishing clear career goals, etc.  However, the six goals above are the ones that bring me true joy and are for pleasure rather than practicality (like the goals I just mentioned).

What are your goals for this year?  I encourage you to write them down formally and share them with someone.  The act of doing so makes them real and is (in my opinion) the first step toward making them happen!

the last few months

Where has the time gone?  I feel like I blinked and 2015 is nearly over.

I’ve been at my job for five months now and I can hardly believe it!  It feels like just yesterday I was a new kid at the office, trying to overcome a massive learning curve.  Now, I feel pretty confident and comfortable in my day-to-day, and am even ready to kick things up with a new challenge or project!12122915_10154401458417715_2181525618230869685_nAlli and I have been going to a LOT of concerts.  I do mean a LOT.  We’ve seen Of Monsters and Men, Ben Rector, Judah & the Lion, The Neighbourhood, George Ezra, Kodaline, ZZ Ward and about two dozen indie/up-and-coming artists and bands.  We typically go to at least one show a week, and I wouldn’t have it any other way!  (That’s what I envisioned, after all, when I saw myself living in Nashville.)10982317_10153996084897715_3639922355980186224_nThis weekend, my best friend Maddie is visiting and I know we’ll have an absolute blast.  I’m planning on taking her to a vineyard, to my favorite coffee shop and everywhere in between.  I may even drag her out hiking!  I am so looking forward to having some in-person time with my best friend to catch up.  After all, we’ve known each other ten years and lived together for three of those years…it’s been a long five months apart!

As you can see, life’s been busy!  With only 65 days until Christmas, I know that I’m going to wake up and it’s going to be 2016 before I know it.  (And I’ll be turning 24 before then!)  It’s starting to cool off in Nashville, and I’m excited for a winter of snow, hot drinks and cozy sweaters.

chasing waterfalls

IMG_2227One of my favorite things on a Sunday afternoon (or any afternoon, really) is to hit the road in search of adventure.  Specifically, since finding myself in Nashville, TN, I’ve been disobeying the words of TLC and chasing waterfalls.My roommate Alli isn’t the most outdoorsy girl, but I’m slowly changing that!  We went to Rock Island State Park a few weeks ago and it was a blast.  We hiked a few different trails, got caught in a storm (and, momentarily took shelter in a grotto before deciding to just go for it and stripping down to our bathing suits to play in the rain and river) and soaked in the beauty of Twin Falls.  Rock Island State Park is about an hour and forty-five minutes from Nashville, but the drive was a pleasant one through winding back roads and past simple country homes.

IMG_2354Two weekends ago, we ventured over to Burgess Falls (see picture above) near Cookeville, TN.  I was really excited about this one and met with disappointment when we arrived to learn that the path leading down to access the falls had been condemned just ten days earlier and deemed “unsafe” until renovated.  We were left taking in the view from a platform out away from the falls instead of down at their base, and I was pretty bummed out about it.  To make up for it, Alli and I decided to try nearby Cummins Falls.

IMG_2368I’d seen Cummins Falls on Instagram as a popular spot for swimming and heard warnings of how crowded it would be.  Man, were those warnings right!  While the hike itself was pleasant (through a river, it took me back to my days hiking the Narrows in Utah!), once we got to the awesome waterfalls, there were just people everywhere.

I’m not super big on crowds, especially when I’m doing outdoor activities like hiking and swimming.  Kind of hard to take in natural beauty when it’s covered up by pasty humans everywhere, haha.  However, Cummins Falls was still a good time – I swam all around (even up under the smaller falls) and jumped off the ledge.  I actually wished the ledge was higher!
IMG_2370All in all, there are still a ton of waterfalls I want to hike to around Tennessee, like Fall Creek Falls, Greeter Falls and O’zone Falls.  But these three were a great start, and a wonderful excuse to get out of the city and into the fresh air.  Of all three, Rock Island was definitely my favorite and the one I plan to take visitors to in the future!

you’ll always be home sweet home to me

Oh man.  I can’t believe how long it’s been since I’ve touched this blog!  I always try to take it as a good sign when I can’t find time to blog.  It means I’m busy out living my life: traveling, eating good food, exploring…or in the case of the last month, moving, starting a new job, getting a new roommate…the list goes on.

I have made some massive progress on my 101 in 1001 list.  I moved to a new city (Nashville – and I absolutely love it here).  I had a picnic.  I went to Cincinnati to visit my friend Blaire, where we went to a Reds game and sipped cocktails at a rooftop bar.  I re-did some furniture (and decorated our home here – post to come).

It’s definitely been an adjustment, starting my job at Warby Parker, living in a new state…but I feel like I am in the right place at the right time.  There is so much to do here; I never have an excuse to be bored!  I’ve seen so much live music, from country (Keith Urban, Cassadee Pope, Eric Church, Brad Paisley, Darius Rucker, Charles Esten, Thompson Square and more) to punk to singer-songwriter and everything in between.  I’ve hiked to waterfalls, taken walks around my neighborhood…I’ve even met a few celebrities!  The most notable are Ben Rector (my favorite musician, who I literally met today) and Chris “Cupcake” from The Bachelorette (which Alli and watch religiously every Monday night).

A lot of people have told me how brave I am – for uprooting from the place I lived for five years and a comfortable job and social network to move to a place where I know only a handful of people in a state I’ve barely spent any time in previously.  I don’t think I’m that brave, though.  I think I’m lucky.  Lucky that an opportunity came my way, and a cool company took a chance on me.  Lucky that my random roommate is turning out to be one of my closest friends.  Lucky that the people in this city are warm and kind.  I just feel lucky.

With that, I’m off to shower and get ready for a night out in Music City.  I promise, though, I’ll be back to blogging regularly from here on out!  I could never quit this thing.

the mountains are calling and i must go

You know those places you see all over the internet?  You see a picture on Buzzfeed or Pinterest and have to ask yourself if that place is even real or just the work of a professional photographer and Photoshop master…

Well, I’m here to tell you that those places are real, and I had the immense privilege of seeing a few of them last month on a trip I took.11026048_10153967918717715_6275458459212842099_n

I flew from Gainesville to Atlanta, Atlanta to Salt Lake City and Salt Lake City to Las Vegas.  James picked me up at the airport and we made our way to Lake Powell (Utah or Arizona, depending on where you’re standing).  To say it was a long travel day is an understatement; to say it was more than worth it is an even bigger understatement.

Immediately, this trip felt like something different than I’d ever experienced.  For one, I was traveling with someone who I love a lot and get along with very easily.  We have similar likes and dislikes and all in all, a similar travel style.  We would sleep until we felt like getting up, eat when we were hungry, stop to take pictures when we wanted to and just move at our own pace.  We also rarely had cell phones, technology or distractions so the entire trip just had a very fluid, easygoing feeling.

We started, as I mentioned, in Lake Powell.  We arrived at night so you can imagine my astonishment to wake up and see that we were right next to the lake!  Lake Powell is a hotspot for houseboats, but there were a lot of other people at the tent campground with us, too.  (And some RVs.  James must have almost accidentally driven into the “RV Dump” site five times while we were there and it never ceased to be funny.)

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There were a lot of options for activities, and we had kind of a hard time choosing.  We wound up taking a boat tour of the lake which took us around all the different canyons (including getting up close and personal with the Glen Canyon Dam).  It was so chilly and windy on the top of that boat!

We also spent half a day in Page, AZ at Upper Antelope Canyon (one of those highly-photographed and sought-after spots I mentioned at the beginning).  It was stunning!  The colors of the slot canyon are unreal and our Navajo guide, Lionel, was hilarious and a pro at giving photography advice to capture the awesome light beams.

My favorite place that we spent time at during the Lake Powell segment of our trip was Horseshoe Bend.  We went to watch the sunset two nights in a row and let’s just say, there were some mishaps!  The first night, we were running late and afraid to miss the sunset so we literally jogged hand-in-hand up and over the hills, through swarms of gnats (terrible, terrible swarms) all the way to the edge.  We were slightly concerned as we passed hordes of people coming the opposite direction, away from the overlook, but all of that went away when we got there and saw the beautiful river, skyline and panorama.  We sat down and ate chips and salsa, drank a beer and enjoyed the truly incredible scenery.  Eventually, we were the only people left and I have to say, I never really wanted to leave that spot.

We enjoyed it so much that we went back the next night!  The second night, though, we encountered some crazy winds.  Poor James was wearing his contacts and the sand was blowing so bad into them that he just covered his eyes and waited for the gusts to pass.  We wound up just cracking up about the whole situation and heading back to camp for (what we thought was) the windiest night of little sleep ever.

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When our time in Lake Powell was up, James and I headed to Zion National Park.  I have to tell you a funny story here.  On the way to Zion, I told James that I really hoped we would happen upon (in the middle of the desert) a homemade ice cream shop.  As we stopped to get gas in Kanab, I found out there was one nearby!  Called Three Bears Creamery Cottage!  I was thrilled.  We went, and it was closed.  This would be a pattern throughout the rest of our trip: Mallory wants ice cream.  James tries to make this happen.  Ice cream shop is closed.  Or ice cream machine is closed for cleaning. Finally, on the second to last night in Zion, I got my ice cream and boy was it good.

But back to the adventures…on the way into the park, I was absolutely blown away.  James stopped and we sat outside the car, just taking everything in.  It felt like something out of a movie!  The fluffy little petals from a flower that I can’t remember the name of were blowing everywhere in the wind and the sun was shining all around us.  We eventually got fully into Zion and got a campsite (this was a feat in itself, but that’s a long story). Then we set up camp, took a little nap and went out for our first hike, at the Emerald Pools!  This was a pretty easy but nice hike.  The upper Emerald pool was my favorite, and we spent a little time just reveling in the beauty.  (I know that sounds corny but that’s all you could do, really.  If Mallory Thompson is speechless on a trip you know it must be an amazing one.)

We made friends with the people at our campsite (some crazy kids named Lindsey and Fern and a few others) and spent a little time hanging out with them after dinner around the fire.  At one point, Fern climbed a tree and fell out of it, flat onto this back.  It was by far one of the funniest things I have ever seen.

The next day, James and I did what I’d been waiting for ever since I read about it online: we hiked the Narrows!  You can read all about that here if you’re curious, but basically you’re hiking in a river between canyons and it is epic.  James made the mistake of letting the girl at the outfitter talk him into renting what we dubbed the “Waders of Death” (WoD).  I, meanwhile, only rented the canyoneering shoes and walking stick, and was very happy about that.  We wound up having to stash James’ WoD along the river, hiding them under some brush so we could return them later.  I was about to cry I was laughing so hard.  He took them off and he was covered in sweat.  The whole point of him renting the WoD was because he feared he would be cold!!!  It was just ironic and hysterical and I kept making fun of him for paying an extra $20 for a sweaty hindrance.

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The hike itself was a lot of fun, having to catch each other from falling all the way into the river (ok, I was a little clumsier than he) and eating lunch with a doe on a patch of rocky shoreline.  We also sang the whole time…Disney songs, Maroon 5 songs, any songs.  I loved it.

Finally, after some truly unforgettable days in breathtaking places (with fantastic company), it was time to go back to reality.  James drove me (reluctantly) back to the Las Vegas airport, where I made my way back to Gainesville.

I have a million other things that I could say about this trip, and how everyone should spend time in that part of the country, and how I wish we had more time there, but instead I’ll just say: it was a trip for the books.

goodbye for now, florida

“Don’t shy away from your game-changing decisions.  Set your jaw, make up your mind and don’t ever look back.”

I don’t think it’s a coincidence that I heard Peyton Manning say these words at Chick-fil-A Leadercast the very day after I received a job offer.  The offer would take me to a new industry, in a new city…and with a pay cut.  But everything in me was saying to take the position, make the jump…MOVE.  As I sat listening to dynamic speaker after dynamic speaker, I grew more and more certain that I had to accept the offer.

I was scared, though.  They wanted me to start in exactly one month.  How was I supposed to get everything together in that amount of time?  What about the fact that I know, like, four people in that city?  Then, Seth Godin said on making a change, “It’s always too soon.  We can be prepared but we can never be ready.”  Boom.  Okay, Seth.

So I went home on Friday evening and I accepted the offer.  I took a bold leap of faith, and I have felt great about it ever since.  As I look for housing, try to pack up my life from five years spent in Gainesville and just wrap my mind around the fact that, for the first time in 23 years, I won’t be living in Florida, I have sense of excitement and eagerness.  I’m as ready as I’ll ever be.

There are bittersweet parts, too.  Leaving beloved friends and coworkers behind in Gainesville.  Not having my favorite university on the planet in my backyard.  Being further away from my hometown.

998360_10152193951387715_1049502063_nBut I believe in the company I’m going to work for.  I believe that good things lie ahead.  I believe in and share their values.  I believe that their team is one on which I’ll thrive.  C.S. Lewis said, “There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind.”  I believe this now more than ever.

I am so excited to start my new chapter of life with Warby Parker in Nashville, TN on June 8, 2015.  This Florida girl is headed to Tennessee!

the one where they go to the cat circus

IMG_0953Last night, I went to see a show called Acro-Cats.  If you’re friends with me on Snapchat, you may have seen video footage from the…quirky…event.

A friend of mine had an extra ticket and invited me to join her for this one-weekend-only (imagine that) show.  The cat circus is based in Chicago and travels around the country “performing.”

I walked in to the theater and took in the set: purple and glitter were the recurring style elements.  The cat ladies who put on the show all wore variations of this color scheme, including corsets and cat ears.

The show, which lasted about 90 minutes (yes, I sat for 90 minutes watching cats do tricks…) had about 12 cats in it.  It also had two mice (not a fan), a chicken named Cluck Norris and a groundhog (?!).

The cats cooperated about 50 percent of the time and the other half they just kind of wandered around the room and waited for more tuna or chicken to appear before them.  They’re not suckers.  They waited for more food in order for them to get motivated to jump through the next hoop or play the next instrument.

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Speaking of instruments…there was a band.  The Rock Cats.  They “performed” on the guitar, the cymbal, the drums, the keyboard, the chimes and the cowbell.  It was literally chaos and it was in that moment that I realized who the real pathetic ones in the room were: not the circus cats.  Not the crazy corset-wearing cat ladies whose job it is to tour with this troupe of animals.  The pathetic ones were us, the audience…the people who paid money to see this show.  While I didn’t actually pay (I’m usually up for anything spontaneous if it’s going to be free), I sat in the company of about 75 people who did.  And they didn’t just pay for tickets.  They paid for cat training kits so they can go home and teach their cats the tricks they saw.  They paid for souvenir cat ears to wear.  They paid for buttons with cats’ faces on them.  You name it, they bought it.

I left the show wondering what I’d just seen and where I’d just been.  I drove home in a stupor and knew that I had to blog about this — the quirkiest event I’ve ever been to.  One good thing that came out of going was the chance for me to use all the cat puns I have in my arsenal and have them fully appreciated…now that I did that, I think I’m good to skip the cat circus the next time it comes to town.

how i afford my wanderlust

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It’s not just my favorite bug, it’s the only one I like: the travel bug.

I’ve had a serious case of wanderlust as long as I can remember.  I’m not sure whether it’s innate or a product of how I was raised; perhaps it’s a combination of the two.

As a kid, I grew up in a family (particularly my dad and his parents) that valued travel.  From age 6 or so on, my grandparents took my older brother and I on a trip every summer.  We went to Texas a number of times, staying at a ranch and riding horses a few times a day through the gorgeous trails of hill country.  We went to Colonial Williamsburg and Jamestown.  We went on cruises galore, including one to Alaska.  My parents and other grandparents also made travel a priority, renting beach houses, taking even more cruises (I believe I’ve been on 9 total now), etc.

Just as often as they told us about the importance of travel for expanding your horizons and growing culturally, my grandparents told me how important it was to manage your money wisely to be able to take such trips.

Why am I saying all this?

Recently, I’ve been doing a lot of traveling.  I went to West Virginia and Virginia in February, Colorado in March and am going to Utah this month.  All of these trips involved air travel, which as we all know is not cheap.  I’ve gotten a lot of questions from friends asking, “How do you afford all that?”  I’m here to tell you!

I decided at the beginning of 2015 to really take control of my life: doing the things I want to do and not just dreaming about someday.  Someday can be today if you want it to be!  You just have to be strategic.

With this decision came a realization that I needed to plan my finances accordingly.  Every month, I have $300 automatically transferred to my general savings account.  I don’t really have a plan for this money; I just know that I’m not going to touch it if at all possible and am, in some vague way, planning for the future and the unknown.  I also have $150 transferred automatically each month into a travel savings account.

I chose these numbers rather arbitrarily and will soon up them.  The beauty of automatic transfers (mine are scheduled for the day after paydays) is that you don’t miss the money in your checking account once you get into the groove.  In the instances that I’ve had unforeseen expenses, I have elected to charge something to my credit card (nothing crazy, think $100) and then pay it off immediately after my next check.

Let’s look at the big picture: even if I did no other saving, I would have $1800 in my travel savings account after one year and $3600 in my general savings at that same time.  Pretty solid!  However, I try to beat that every month.  $20 here, $60 here…every last bit adds up!

Once I’ve reached about $500 in my travel savings account, I’ll start thinking about where I want to go.  This amount works for me because by the time the trip rolls around a month or two later, I’ve accumulated more spending money after using that initial amount on airfare.  This is obviously going to be different for everyone, but here’s why it works for me: I’m young.  I’m traveling mainly to places where I have friends (read: free accommodations).  I eat (mostly) cheaply.  I find cheap airfare, often flying discount airlines like Frontier or Spirit instead of the big names.

Another reason that this works for me is because right now, my focus is on short-term, mini-vacations.  I spend about four days on most of my trips.  I’ve found that for this stage of life (where I’m in a full-time job with limited paid time off), it makes more sense (and makes me happier) to take more frequent shorter trips than one longer trip.  But again – that’s just me!

Really, I want to emphasize that travel can be accessible to you.  Make it a priority in your budget (you’ll rarely find me buying drinks at Starbucks or purchasing the latest gadget).  I know that seeing as much of the world as possible is important to me, so I’m doing what I can while I’m still young and independent (I don’t even want to think about how much it costs to travel with children…).

If you have any questions or tips for me, I’m all ears.  Happy travels!