As many of you sit inside this week, not being able to travel and explore, we wanted to try and pull your focus away from not being able to travel and instead focus it on why we travel and the beautiful moments and memories that we have from exploring the world. Travel is really about those special moments, those moments that define your trip, those moments that are the first ones you share when you get back home, the moments that you remember for a lifetime.
Before we begin, what are some of your special moments? If you were writing down an itinerary for someone what is the first thing you would tell them to do? What made your vacation special? (We would love to hear them in the comments!)
But that is what we mean. Those moments that make you smile and grateful that you had that experience.
The thing is, most of these special moments are discovered only when you get to your destination - rarely can you actually plan for them. They may be a tip from a local, or something that you stumble on as you are wandering the streets.
Which is also why we have added Special Moments to our itineraries. Now you may be thinking, wait, I thought you said you couldn’t plan for them? That is true, and you will most certainly discover your own special moments along the way. Our Special Moments are the moments that we believe you can and should plan for as they are more insider tips, the type of things and recommendations you only get from locals or people that have traveled there. They are the “can’t miss” experiences that you have in a certain location.
Maybe it will be easier if we throw out some examples of some of our very special moments.
FIREWORKS IN CHICAGO
Our first one that we will start with comes form our newest itinerary - 3 Days in Chicago. And nope, it isn’t pizza, it isn’t hot dogs. It is the fireworks at Navy Pier.
When we first got to Chicago we heard about the fireworks from our Airbnb host as we were going to be there when they were going off (every Wednesday and Saturday, but always check the schedule first). Navy Pier is definitely worth a visit whenever you want to go, but if you are there on a day when the fireworks are happening, you shouldn’t miss it.
We arrived there after a long day, got some ice cream along the way, and found a spot on the stairs. We asked the local security where they were going to be going off from, just to make sure, and then sat and waited.
We were blown away. We had seen fireworks before, but there was something truly special about them shooting off over the water as a light breeze was blowing. We were almost transported to another world where there was no one around, no distractions, and we were free to watch the beauty of the fireworks.
Obviously this is something that you can plan, but you definitely shouldn’t miss it as this is something that we talk about every time we talk about Chicago.
NORTHERN LIGHTS ICELAND
Iceland comes to mind for our first one. We traveled there in the end of October when the sun set around 4 and it was pretty cold. But what we wanted to see were the Northern Lights.
Because hotels in Iceland are extremely expensive, and I had already seen the Northern Lights in Northern Norway, we stayed at an Airbnb in the middle of nowhere hoping for a chance to see the lights. This was how the Special Moment developed.
As we pulled up to the Airbnb after a long day we decided to stay in the car so we could see the skies. It was cold but we were afraid we would miss them if they came and went. All of a sudden we here a knock knock knock on the window. About scared the pee out of us, but thankfully it was just the Airbnb host. We told him what we were doing at which point he said he would help us keep an eye out for them and invited us into his house for tea and cookies. His family was there and we ended up spending the night talking with them. The night was already so special even before he walked outside about 10:30 and said, they are here, you can go outside now.
We sat under the Northern Lights for about a half an hour just watching them dance across the sky. It was just us, no big tourist group, nobody telling us we needed to go inside or leave to get back to the city. It was perfect.
This type of a Special Moment you can have too as we have included a full section on how to see the Northern Lights, which apps to use, where to go, etc. This is a moment you can plan for (as long as the weather holds).
Another moment that sticks out to us is in Louisiana at the Greenwood Plantation. When we arrived at the plantation it was completely empty. Our keys were waiting in the mail box and there were some instructions with the keys. On this instructions list was the recommendation to listen to the star spangled banner at 6pm. We thought ok perfect, we can do that, and then go to dinner.
Little did we know that this would be our favorite part of the trip. At 6pm the music started and we sat there for about 15 minutes listening to a couple different songs echo through the forest and plantation. We get chills thinking about it even to this day. This is a moment that we will always associate with Louisiana, one we could have planned for, but would never have known just amazing it would be. That is why we included it in our Louisiana itinerary and is another point about special moments. Sometimes you really just need someone to tell you, this was incredible, absolutely don’t miss it. That is what we hope to achieve with our Special Moments.
We could go on and on. But we won’t.
More than anything we want you to remember your special moments. We want you to reflect on past trips that you have taken, share them with us, and share them with others. Even though we can’t travel now, we can still feel that uplifting, exciting spirit that comes along with travel.
And that is our goal for the week.
Be safe, be smart, and we will all be able to travel again soon. Until next week!
Chris & Laura