I did not have the money or time to travel until the recent a couples years. A few things have changes for me – first, I started earn a bit more and live on less. Postdocs in general do not earn more than a graduate student by large, but a few hundred dollars helps when you only earn a couple thousands each month. And the rent in North Carolina is definitely more reasonable than in California. Second, hubby and I do not spend on ANYTHING. We have no mortgage or car payment and no child. we do not go out at all, and eat pretty simple. So we can afford and do not feel bad about travelling. Third, the whole Airbnb and car rental websites made travel cheaper and cheaper for us, and friends helping us dogsit so we do not have to pay extra for the furry friends staying behind. All these things helped, but really the game changeer is that we started making travel a priority. It has been very rewarding to us!

In 2014, we went to DC for the cherry blooming in April, Beijing in May, Ottawa in August, Portland in October, and California for Christmas. In 2015, we have been to Poland (Krakow area) and Austria Alps in May, Denver/Boulder in August, and Seattle/Mt. Baker in November. We had so much fun! In 2016, we are keeping the momentum going, because, you know “what you allow is what will continue“, right?

So here is the list we would like to go to this year. It is not a long list, and certainly not ALL the places on our bucket list. But it is a realistic list which we can actually make to happen.

1. Telluride, Colorado

I heard Telluride since I started skiing in 2009. It has been on my bucket list since. If you are into ski sport, I do not need to explain why. So without further ado, this is the view I will be looking at late March:

2. Highway No. 1 Road Trip

Also no explanation needed. Except that I lived in California for 6 years, in both the Bay Area and Southern California. California stole me heart forever. I do not think I will be loving another place this much. The mountains, the sea, the beach, and the people. Once you have roller-skated on Venice beach, there is not a chance that you do not fall in love with California.

We have wanted to take this drive for years. When we were still living in California, this road trip did not seem to be necessary – we were so busy enjoy California life. But as soon as we moved to North Carolina, we were like “how on earth have we not done that!”.

We are taking this trip with our families. This summer, instead of us visiting China or Poland, our parents are all coming to visit us in the States. Since my mother-in-law lived in the East Coast for decades, we want to treat her a California road trip – and what you know, she happens to enjoy driving! Both hubby and my MIL are much better drivers than I am so it will be such a treat for all of us. And car trip is pretty realistic for my parents who are much older. Since my sister lives in California, this trip will reunion all of our immediate families and it will be so gorgeous and so relaxing. Just look at this:

3. Savannah, Georgia and Charleston, South Carolina

We have not visited anywhere Southern-er than North Carolina yet. So before we leave the South, we want to go a bit deeper into it and visit South Carolina and Georgia. We are not planning for an extended stay, just a drive-through kind of thing. So I think somewhere around April will be a good time for it. We plan to drive through Charleston, stay a night, then stay in Savannah for a day. We do not know what to do there yet – but it seems to be silly NOT to visit these two cities when we are still so close.

4. Everglade, Florida

It is unique, it is fascinating and it will disappear in our life time.

It is also a pretty easy travel for us. It only takes us 2 hours to fly to Orlando and 4 hours from there. Hubby and I both have first-degree cousins in Florida whom we have never met after growing up. We also never met their families including our nieces and nephew! We are friends online though. But we would really like to say hello to them and make it personal. 🙂

Oh well, this concludes the five places/four trips we are planning to get to this year! They are all pretty doable for us. You can tell I am really aiming to enjoy my life instead of feeling bad by the end of the 2016 and say “we should have”. I will also make sure that I well document our highway No.1 trip in June.