I love to travel. I love to adventure. Some of my adventures are spur of the moment, throw the dog in the car and go sort of affairs. Some are more planned out.
For me, the planning is intoxicating. I get so giddy thinking about new places to visit and wholeheartedly throw myself into trip planning.
This is also, incidentally, how I’m able to afford trips. More planning means saving more.
I’m one of those people who gets prepared for a trip very far in advance.
My husband surprised me with tickets to Iceland for later this year; we are finally going to be taking our honeymoon trip.
Like a lot of military couples, we had a small wedding at the courthouse followed by a larger celebration a while later. Now, seven years on, we are finally going to take the honeymoon trip that we’ve been wanting to take.
I started packing last weekend.
Mostly, I pack so far in advance because I’m bringing an entire camera kit with me. I’m a fine art landscape photographer, so my kit is always the first thing I put together. I have a hiking pack that is specially designed for photographers, and I always make sure that it isn’t too heavy or lopsided before an adventure.
Another reason why I pack so far in advance is because sometimes I have to try out new hiking or camera gear before I go on an extended trip. A shorter trip with a hike will help me configure my pack and camera equipment for the longer trips and hikes.
So this weekend, I packed up the car, leashed up my dog and drove the couple of hours to Boone, North Carolina. I have never really spent a lot of time in the mountains in North Carolina. I’m originally from Montana and grew up in the middle of three mountain ranges, so I’m a bit of a mountain snob. When given the chance to adventure around North Carolina, I have always chosen the coast.
This weekend, however, was all about feeling out my pack. I recently acquired a new tripod and hiking shoes and wanted to test those out.
On top of all of that, I really just needed to get out of my house. So on Thursday night, I pulled out a North Carolina guidebook I bought when we found out my husband had a permanent change of station here and read up on Boone.
An hour later, I had a hotel booked and a couple of hikes picked out. Friday afternoon saw Elke, my dog, and I listening to podcasts as we journeyed westward.
I drove on the Blue Ridge Parkway for the first time, pulled over on a few scenic overviews, visited Blowing Rock, North Carolina, and generally just bummed around.
On Saturday, Elke and I hiked four miles around the Pisgah National Forest just looking at things and enjoying being out in nature. Elke had a great time meeting new people — she can make friends anywhere — and being away from the couch.
Saturday evening saw me sitting at a restaurant terrace with a glass of red wine and a book, enjoying the sunset in Boone. The hiking test had been a success; my dog was tuckered out and I was ready to reward myself with braised pork tacos.
Now I’m even more excited about Iceland. The next few weeks are going to be a test of my patience.