One year ago, we arrived back in Minnesota during a pandemic at the end of our 120 – Day Traveling Sabbatical. In some ways, it seems like yesterday and in others, it seems like a long time ago. As my mind floods with memories have a seat at my table. I’ll share my Favorite Traveling Sabbatical Memories and why you may want to plan a trip for yourself. Traveling Sabbatical Questions and Memories.
Traveling Sabbatical Questions
Should I do this?
You may ask this after we have had time to reflect on a year. Is this something we should do? Yes.
Just because you asked this, tells me you should do this. This is something everyone should plan to do. Save your money, set some goals, and carve out some time in your life to go on a traveling sabbatical. If you want more info on what we did on our sabbatical, I’ll have a section at the bottom with links to these blogs.
You may want to plan 6o days, 120 days like we did, or even 365 days. It will all come down to finances, the time you can take off in life, and preferences for what you want to see and do. You also must do this when you are healthy and able to hike and bike and see everything without health issues – so plan it earlier than retirement. Especially since retirement is so late in life now.
My husband and I were discussing our travels the other day, Now trying to live a normal life, my husband said, “I think I could have traveled and traveled and like Forest Gump in the movie, one day say, Ok, I’m done.” “That’s what I wish we could have done.”
“Oh my,” I said. Not me. I think 120 to 180 days is perfect. If I would have traveled for a year I definitely would have lived in an RV for half of the year.
Traveling Sabbatical Memories
Looking back, I first think of all the wonderful people we met along the way. This is what made the memories even greater. We chose to stay in people’s Airbnb homes. We did this to learn about the areas they lived in and get to know people from the area. See blog on 10 Tips for Staying in Airbnb’s
When we lived with people, we sometimes ate together, learned about them, shared our lives with them, and even got to know their many pets. I remember a cat liked me so much he snuck into our room and didn’t want to leave. The dogs always loved to be petted.
I loved all the late-night conversations we had and the humor we shared as if we were long-time friends. I miss many of the people we met along the way. We also met people on hikes and learned about the community and places to visit along the way. For more people’s stories see the blogs called People Stories and People stories continued.
National Park Memories
If you love National Parks and State Parks then traveling for many months is a must for you. This was the best time to see the National Parks we wanted to see. Granted we didn’t see all National Parks because we may have been to some before, they were not in our path or the Parks were closed because of COVID.
My all-time favorite National Park is White Sands National Park. It was just so unique and its beauty amazed me. Here is a blog link to the things you can do in New Mexico.
While traveling, they closed Arches and Canyonlands National Parks and we missed them. We had to visit them later in November before we moved. I would still consider them a part of our trip/gap year and enjoyed them. Here is a link to a blog on What to see at Arches and Canyonland National Park trip.
I know I would have loved all the National Parks in Oregon but they were closed when we visited. They even closed many overlooks, forests, and beaches. There is something about the Pacific coast that draws you in and that is a great memory etched in my brain. Standing near the Pacific Ocean for the first time In Oregon taking it all in.
My husband loves to hike and we hiked over 400 miles on this trip. The stand-out hikes on this trip were the hike to bear mountain near Sedona, AZ. It was cliffs and rocks and just when you thought you got to the top there was another layer. Amazing overlooks into canyons of gorgeous colors. I did it – I made it to the snow on top.
My husband hiked a total of 8 hours round trip in Grand Canyon National Park. Although he wanted to hike to the bottom and up, he knew that wasn’t possible. The park closed the day after he hiked in it. This is a place you must see or hike in. There is so much to see and be amazed.
Our other hikes were 2–4-hour hikes in State Parks, or the Bureau of Land Management in TN, NC, VA, AK, NM, AZ, UT, and OR. All offered great views and beauty. We hiked in temps 35 degrees to 78 degrees as we traveled and got into great shape.
City and Town Memories
I loved that we could explore cities I had never been to. Small towns were fun and I enjoyed seeing some of the big cities for the first time. I remember driving into Nashville, TN thinking the city would look so much different. It is amazing when you see places for the first time and realize they are different than what you imagined them to be.
We drove to “Our Town” the TV show home of Laurel, Mississippi. I met a store owner and he introduced me to one of the homeowners who were on the Monday show the next week. Brandy and I have become Instagram friends and msg back and forth during the year. Here is a link to the blog- How We Spent the Day in Laurel, Mississippi. This is my most popular blog.
Albuquerque/Santa Fe, NM
I had never thought of what Albuquerque or Santa Fe, New Mexico were like so they were great surprises to me as larger cities. The mountains, desert, and river all meet together to form a city. The views were beautiful.
I remember driving into Tucson, AZ, and was surprised by seeing my first Saguaro cactus. Cactus heaven – they were everywhere with sagebrush and long grass. I loved everything the city offered with outdoor nature and weather. But this northern girl knew she wouldn’t be able to handle the heat this city brings 6 months of the year. This was my tourist or snowbird city only. Life Lessons Learned from a Saguaro Cactus.
San Francisco, CA
Finally, we made a secret 24-hour trip to San Francisco during the stay home order to visit our daughter. Sorry, but we had no home. I was in awe at what I saw in this city by car. Such temperate weather year-round, hills, greenery, and tall houses.
Wish we would have had more time to explore and see the whole city, but was glad for our short visit. I will keep it in my memory forever. It just made the TV shows I saw in the past seem more real. Like Full House, Fuller House, Monk, and anything with San Francisco in it.
For unusual I keep thinking back to how one day on our trip we visited Crater of Diamonds State Park, Arkansas looking for diamonds. I was hoping I would find one to keep our travels up forever. Unfortunately, that did not happen, but it’s a fun memory of something I will never do again.
I am not a horse person. It was unusual to be at my first horse race in Hot springs, AK. It was fun to see a live horse race in person rather than just watch it at the movies. How to see Hot Springs and Little Rock, AZ for Free
In Chattanooga, TN there were many fun things to do, but my most unusual thing was an underground waterfall called Ruby Falls. They light it up with many colors so you could see it underground. How to See Tennessee for Free
My husband’s most unusual thing was being able to visit Los Alamos Laboratory. He was in heaven as an engineer to see the neutron test facility. Something he will always remember. The whole town of Los Alamos is very interesting if you know the history of making the first atomic bomb.
Thanks for letting me share my traveling sabbatical questions and memories.
Thanks for going back in our travel memories. I so enjoyed seeing the states of SC, VA, NC, TN, AK, NM, AZ, UT, ID, OR, CA, and NV. We hope you can be inspired to start your dreaming and your planning for your future traveling sabbatical. Traveling Sabbatical Questions and Memories.
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If you have questions about our travels- ask me in the comments and I will reply.