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Inside D.C. – An In Depth Tour of the White House, Capital and VP’s Office

By Travel No Comments

One of the most amazing experiences of my life happened during our
Washington, D.C. trip. We got an inside look into the White House and our
nations Capital! During these two days we were able to see and experience more than I could have ever dreamed.

Day One:

First thing was a tour of the White House! After passing the background check (I was oddly nervous I would get rejected – ha!) and getting through the endless rounds of secret service agent checks, we made it to the most coveted house in America. More than anything, this tour was a reminder that the people who lead our nation are all human. They live and breathe just like we do, they worry and stress just like we do, and their lives are imperfect just like ours.

The tour shows in depth photos of those who have lived there, portraits of our first ladies and presidents, historic china and you are able to see many of the rooms that were used by our past presidents. The White House tour is honestly pretty rushed. While it is incredible and a once in a lifetime experience, it is also very structured. You can go in the few hallways allocated to you and it is heavily guarded (as you would expect). And while I didn’t expect to have free reign within the White House, I was hoping they would include a little bit more into the tour. Overall, I would highly recommend making this a part of your trip to D.C. it is worth your time and a unique experience. You can access White House Tour information here: White House Tours.

After the White House tour we got to participate in a bible study at the
Vice Presidents office. Seriously… the Vice President of the United States.
Regardless of your political views, this was the coolest experience!!! We were able to sit with leaders from our country and openly discuss the bible and pray for those who had died 18 years ago on September 11th. My seat in the office overlooked the White House and while we were praying I couldn’t help but look over and think about George W. Bush. To think about all the decisions he had to make 18 years ago. The tough life-changing decisions that are needed in a time of crisis. Our time at the Vice Presidents Office was surreal and worth every moment, thankful we took the leap and said yes to the invitation!

Day Two:

The Capital was one of my favorite experiences! We had a personal tour from one of our Senators who led us through the Capital and gave us an inside look into the House of Representatives room. It was the most surreal feeling to sit where major decisions about our country are made. To know that this is where matters that affect our nations are argued and discussed. To stand where some of our countries founders stood and made monumental decisions. After the House of Representatives room we headed to the rotundra and the view from the Speaker of the Houses balcony. Let me just say, they have a phenomenal view! The Capital hosts daily tours and is totally worth your time. You can access tour information here: Capital Tours.

After our time in the capital, we spent the afternoon at the Library of Congress, hearing from our nations Senators and House Representatives on the issues facing our nations and what they are doing to combat them. There aren’t many opportunities where you get to sit and listen to your congressmen discuss the struggles they are facing, while also getting an honest outlook on our future as a nation. It was humbling to listen to the struggles that we as a nation face, especially the struggle to unify as one nation. I will never again take for granted the opportunity to speak to those leading our country, their insight, knowledge and position are vital. And knowing what’s going on will only help you make a more informed vote, especially in next years 2020 election!

There was so much going on those two days that I was only able to highlight the high points. But the most important takeaway from this trip is this. It’s not okay to stand on the sidelines. There is so much going on in our country, and your voice matters! Be involved, be informed, and be thankful you have a place in this country! You have the opportunity to make our counties future great! Be kind to others, have courage to stand up for whats right and continue to pray for those who lead our nation.

-Kayla

 

Washington, DC in One Weekend

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Washington, DC is the one American city you cannot skip! There is so much to explore, so much to learn and so much history to relive. America has a lot to see, but DC is without doubt one of the most unique cities to visit.

Let me just tell you, if you want to see all the major tourist attractions in DC in one weekend, you can! The beauty of Washington, DC is that the majority of the ‘tourist attractions” are in one area making it remarkably easy to get around in one weekend.

I would highly recommend starting at the National Mall and starting EARLY. The earlier the better when it comes to DC, you want to get there with plenty of time to find parking and get yourself situated for the day. Getting there early also allows you to get great pictures of the Lincoln Memorial, Reflection Pond and Washington Monument without the onslaught of tourist buses rolling in. If you are able to park near the Lincoln Memorial, it is significantly easier to plan your day cohesively.

A huge benefit to Washington, DC is that almost all of their museums have free admission! This makes the museums busier, but also saves you a ton of money! Below are my suggestions for a weekend itinerary in DC.

Day One Itinerary – The Major Attractions

  • Lincoln Memorial – Probably one of the most iconic places in DC, this memorial hosts a 19 feet tall statue of Abraham Lincoln overlooking Washington/Washington Memorial.
  • Reflection Pond – A gorgeous lake that sits between the Lincoln and Washington Memorial.
  • Korean War Memorial– A stunning, revered area in memory of all who served in the Korean War.
  • World War II Memorial – A huge memorial between the Lincoln and Washington Monuments. Dedicated to those who fought and served in WWII.
  • Washington Monument– This is by far one of the most symbolic and largest tourist attractions in DC. Tons of greenery surrounds the monument allowing for hosted activities, picnics and gorgeous photos.
  • White House -Arguable the most famous house in America, you can get a gorgeous unobstructed view minutes from the Washington Monument. Remember, this is a heavily guarded area, so there will be trained officer with guns here. If your interested in taking a tour, here are the details: WHITE HOUSE TOUR
  • Smithsonian Natural History Museum – Probably my husband’s favorite location (he’s a huge animal lover). This sprawling museum can take as long as you want. There is so much to see and do and incredibly family friendly. I would recommend at least 2-3 hours to truly experience all that there is to see and do here!

Day Two Itinerary – Your Specific Attractions

  • Arlington Cemetery – Tomb of the Unknown Soldier – Plan for anywhere from 1 hour to 2 and a half hours to go through this. This place is emotional hard to walk through as you feel the impact of those who sacrificed everything for the sake of freedom. This is one thing you cannot miss when you visit DC.
  • Smithsonian Air & Space Museum – Currently in renovations – Plan for at least an hour and a half here. This is so fun to experience, especially if you have kids! The most family friendly museum and so many interesting artifacts.
  • Capital Building – Big spacious area with tons of food trucks, greenery for a picnic and then exploring the Capital. If you’d like to take a tour of the capital, follow this link: CAPITAL TOUR.
  • National Archives – This was #1 on my list of museums to visit in DC. Because of my heritage I was dying to go and see the Declaration of Independence in person. There are so many historical documents and letters to see while you are in the archives. I highly recommend taking the time to go here and see our countries founding documents.

This will tackle a huge list of the attractions most people want to hit in one day. What’s even better is that there are lines of food trucks on the side of the road so you can easily grab lunch or a snack when you get hungry on your travels. The biggest thing to note as you go through your day, is that you can hit as many or as few attractions as you want. It’s up to you and how quickly you go. Since it was just my husband and I we were able to see and experience a lot of things at a quicker pace than those who have kids or other loved ones to take care of.

If you’ve been to Washington, DC what were your favorite attractions? Stay tuned to more updates as continue to explore the area!

Lincoln Memorial
DAR Monument

Arizona – The Final Chapter

By Lifestyle, RV Adventures No Comments

Arizona has been my husband and I’s home for the last three and a half years. It has been a place of incredible exploration and growth. Arizona holds a special place in our hearts. As we drove out of Arizona, I can’t help but tear up over the people we have met and the places we have seen.

Arizona is where my husband got his masters degree, its where he started medical school and had the true beginnings to his medical career. This is where I saw my husbands passion for helping others and fixing their aches and pains to give them a happy and long life.

Arizona is where I got my first grown up job and where I met some of the most wonderful amazing friends. It’s the place where I was challenged, where I was forced to get stronger, to develop more courage and to embrace the woman of God I was meant to be. Each day in Arizona has taught me so much, to believe in myself and to know that who I am IS GOOD ENOUGH.

As I look back on my time in Arizona, I am filled with endless thankfulness. Thankful for all the opportunities, struggles, growth and love that we have experienced here. I am thankful for the amazing places we have gotten to see (check out our Arizona Travel Guide!). This was in no way my first choice when we were talking about places to live, but it has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.

For those of who wondering how you will survive in this world, how you will make it from each day to the next, let me be your voice of encouragement. To know that you are strong enough to move away from your hometown. To know that you have the courage to explore this world and all it has to offer. You have the love and kindness to take on each situation with grace and know that there is a God out there watching you and protecting you. Trust in Him. Trust that He is guiding your steps, that when you aren’t sure why you are heading down that path, that He has a plan for you.

As J.R.R. Tolkien once said, “All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.” Decide today to accept the adventure ahead of you and embrace the change in your life!

5 Travel Must Haves

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Traveling in today’s world can mean three checks’ in, a stuffed carry on, and a huge personal backpack. We try and bring everything that we might possibly need. But there are some things that are just absolutely necessary for a fun and functional trip! If there’s one thing that I am constantly working on, its bringing the absolute essentials on a trip and leaving the rest. No reason to over pack my suitcase with things that I don’t really need. So today, I wanted to go through the couple of things that I believe are must haves in your travels this year!

1.) Empty Water Bottle – This is a MUST for anyone who enjoys not wasting money. Water at the airport is ridiculously overpriced. Don’t waste your money on water when you could bring an empty bottle and get water for free. I t think the part that people forget is that you will still need water while you are on your trip. Bringing a good water bottle will save you money and keep you hydrated during your entire trip. My husband and I love Yeti Ramblers they are great for warm or cold drinks and have excellent durability!

2.) External Battery Pack – While airports are slowly adding more charging stations, they are still completely crammed. People are constantly hovering around you, and most of the time the outlets barely work. So instead of having a dead phone on your flights– invest in an external battery pack. This one on Amazon is $32 and has 4.5 stars. When your phone is on 15% and your flights about to take off… you will be thankful for this!

3.) Trash Bag & Dryer Sheets– Lets be honest, I learned this one from my husband. No matter how much you clean your clothes on vacation, smells can linger in your suitcase. Bring dryer sheets to help eliminate some of these smells. They don’t take up much room and will give your nose and clothes a nice smell. Time to get rid of those musty travel smells once and for all! If you don’t have access to do laundry during your trip, the trash bag actually comes in handy during your trip. As you go through your trip, put your dirty clothes in the trash bag and keep the rest outside the trash bag so the smell doesn’t infect your other clothes.

4.) Shower Shoes – Yes, not the most glamorous thing to bring. But, as I live with a podiatrist, I can’t ignore this one. No matter how fancy a hotel is, shower shoes are still a must. Protect yourself from potential infections that come from using the same showers as multiple strangers, and bring a pair of flip flops for the shower. It won’t take up much room, but it will save you from future issues!

5.) SD Card- No matter how much room you think you have. Bring an extra SD card with you. I absolutely love this one from Target, its easy to post camera quality photos from your phone and has a good amount of storage. Convenient, easy to use, and extremely helpful if you are an avid picture taker.

You can always add more, but these 5 things are items that should never be left out of your suitcase! You may find that you need them!

xoxo-Kayla

Destination: St. Lucia

By Travel, Uncategorized No Comments

Hopped on a plane to St. Lucia that was overflowing with honeymooners and couples fawning all over each other. And there over in the corner is little old me… sitting by myself on the flight to one of the most romantic destinations in the Caribbean. Talk about a hilariously awkward moment! This was a true, its only awkward if you let it be awkward, kind of moment. But when you looked past the adorable couples everywhere, there is the most beautiful landscape I’ve ever seen in the Caribbean! The water is pristine, the food was delicious and there were countless activities to indulge in. Below are some of the highlights from my time in St. Lucia!

I stayed at Sugar Beach Resort, who hosts the most gorgeous views of the Piton Mountains. The beach is white sand and right beside the best snorkeling on the island. This is the best location on the island to see unique fish, stunning views and quiet, relaxing beach time. The food was exquisite and worth every penny, and there were plenty of options for couples and families alike!

The luxury villas at Sugar Beach are the best I’ve ever seen! Equipped with your own private pool overlooking the ocean, these villas are the only way to experience Sugar Beach. These rooms all have their own butler that will assist you with any of your needs, from shuttles to room service, you will not be left wanting anything.

Tet Paul was one of the best ‘easy’ hikes to do on the island. Your guide will take you through the vegetation on the island, show you the villages you overlook on the way up, and give you the history of the island. The Tet Paul hike ends with some of the most amazing views on the island, overlooking not only the island, but the two Piton mountains. This is the perfect hike for families and those wanting to experience a leisurely hike.

They warn you about the smell that volcanoes produce… but oh my… is it intense. The tour of the volcano and learning about its history was amazing and intriguing. But its the mud bath that everyone raves about the most! Extremely warm and slightly gross, these baths are supposed to rejuvenate your skin with minerals you can find no where else. Let me tell you, there was a noticeable difference in my skin after this experience!

Fun Fact: They are opening up another mud bath soon, so you should be able to enjoy even more time in the St. Lucia volcanic mud baths!

Sugar Beach and St. Lucia was one of the best trips I’ve ever been on. It was STUNNING, full of adventures but also tranquil and relaxing. I would recommend any couple, family or individual plan their next trip to St. Lucia! I promise it will be one of the best trips of your life!

xoxo-Kayla

For One Week-Live The Dream!

By Travel No Comments

There are endless ways that travel helps you, from your emotional state to your physical well-being.Travel keeps you young and enlightened. Unfortunately, most of us don’t utilize these precious days off. “According to a 2016 Bankrate study, more than 50% of U.S. workers give up at least some of their paid vacation days each year. Worse yet, in a 2014 survey, 42% of Americans claimed they don’t take vacation time at all.” –Forbes

If you work a 9-5 job, you most likely get a standard two week vacation plan. My biggest recommendation to you is not to squander your time off. At the bare minimum take one week off to get out of your area, to see somewhere you’ve never seen before. Take a week that you would just sit at home, watch TV and work on random chores. Instead, replace this time off with a memory you will never forget. You only get 52 weeks every year, that’s all the time you have. Don’t waste your year away sitting in an office cubicle. Embrace the beauty and fun around you at least one week of the year.

For one week, have the trip you’ve always envisioned; see Paris, Italy, The Space Needle, or the Great Wall. Yes you have responsibilities, yes you have bills to pay and things to do, but all those things are temporary. Your trips as a family are lifelong memories that you will always cherish. You will never regret missing a week of work to do something that gives you true joy.

Travel gives you a chance to detox from the everyday struggles in your life, to try out new cultures, and see the endless beauties of the world. Travel keeps you healthy, it keeps you young, it keeps your heart full of adventure and excitement.

Something my dad said the other day is that, “Adventures and changes are what give you the great stories, never getting out of your comfort zone gives you the most boring stories.” Adventures are simply trying something new that’s outside your comfort zone. You are only given this one life, why wouldn’t you want to get out and see what’s out there?

There is this fear that trips will be too stressful, that you won’t have the funds, or that you can’t make the time. My rebuttal to you would be, are you going to let that stop you? Arrange your life to accomplish your dreams, don’t allow your life to dictate your dreams. You can do and accomplish anything you want, the trick is having the confidence to believe in them!

Confidence is key to having the trips you’ve always dreamed about, don’t second guess yourself!

 

 

Passion For Travel

By Travel, Uncategorized No Comments

I have always had a deep passion for travel.

There are few things in life that truly make you feel alive, and for me that is getting out and experiencing other cultures, historic structures and stunning views. But what if your passion seems unattainable? What if there is no feasible way to pursue the things you love in life?

When this happens, it causes me to sit down and think about why I have this passion, and what I can do with that passion.

If your like me and have a passion for traveling, but you can’t travel to all the places you’ve dreamed of going right now, take steps to still fulfill that travel ache within you. Your passions in life are there for a reason, and even if they do not seem feasible in the short term, there is a reason for them.

One thing I try to do is offer to go on business trips as often as possible. These trips aren’t always to places on my bucket list, but they give me the chance to get out of my everyday environment, explore new cities and see what they have to offer! We have a fun trip planned to New Mexico this summer for work; it’s not a place I had on my bucket list to see, but it is an opportunity to experience an entirely new state!

Another thing I like to do is start planning for future trips! I have a blast spending time researching the perfect places to stay, the best local cuisine in the area, and the exciting excursions to take while you are there. I’ve been working on a post about Oahu and I’ve spent hours finding the cutest little beach homes to rent. Most of these houses are away from large hotel chains and secluded in an area where you could enjoy the serenity of Hawaii. I absolutely loved envisioning what it would be like to stay there; feeling the ocean tickle your toes, smell the refreshing ocean breeze, and look out at the expansive ocean all around you.

It may not be sitting in the perfect vacation spot, but taking time to plan these trips and envision what could be is a great way to help satisfy your travel bug(at least for a while)!

Lastly, I love to explore the state I am in. There are so many unique areas in every state. So get in your car and drive to a place you’ve never been before. This year my husband and I are hoping to visit Tombstone and Horseshoe Bend. Both areas have their own unique charm, host stunning views, and are within a 2-4 hour drive of our home. Being able to take time to experience the areas all around us is such a blessing and something everyone should utilize.

Don’t let lack of accessibility to your bucket list stop you from exploring new places and enjoying your passion for travel!

 

Travel on a Budget

By Uncategorized No Comments

Traveling on a budget is a unique experience. Because my husband and I are still in school (well he is), we are stretched pretty thin on how much we can spend on trips. Let me tell you what my plan is when we look for our vacations!

First and foremost, we look up the travel cost. As that is the most expensive portion of the trip, how much we have to pay to get there is half the battle. I scour for deals on all sites looking for times, dates, coupons; anything that will help us get there without spending so much. The big thing will travel costs when you are on a budget is be patient. It can get overwhelming when you want to go somewhere and you just can’t make the costs work. Stay the course, stay calm, and keep searching!

Next, we try and find a cheap place to stay. Don’t get me wrong, I love beautiful, stately hotels and it’s hard to not stay there. But if you can make it through a mediocre, slightly crappy hotel, you can save your money and use it to explore the sites! Let me paint you a picture of the most extreme example of this that I have done so far. My husband and I went to San Diego and he let me choose the hotel. I chose a hotel about 5 miles from the Mexican border at a Motel 6. Yes, I am fully aware these aren’t the best places to stay, but it was a holiday weekend and it was my cheapest option! The hotel was surprisingly very clean, with a giant flat screen and Direct TV. There weren’t any fancy accessories or anything special about the room, but it served the purpose of giving us a roof over our heads. By taking this room we were able to save our money to try new restaurants, activities and view the sites!

It may seem like you are missing out by not having the best hotels and amenities every time you travel, but its okay! Making small sacrifices gives you the ability to spend money on the things you really want to do, like taking a surfing lesson, going to a famous zoo, or exploring new parks.

Another good example of saving money when going on trips, is exploring the possibility of camping. I will be the first to say that camping has it’s downsides. But if you look in the right places, you can find a campsite with clean showers, sinks and general stores to help with your unexpected needs! We found a perfect campsite in Malibu, called Malibu RV Park. The campsite has a gorgeous view, clean shower rooms, and everything was well maintained. Camping ended up being so much better than staying in a hotel, and we were able to save a couple hundred dollars!!

Lastly, we only eat out one meal a day. Don’t get me wrong, when we do go out each day, we try a fun local place! But, when deciding between exciting activities or eating out, I will choose the activities every time! My suggestion is bring pop tarts and granola bars for breakfast and materials for sandwiches and chips for lunch. That and a 24 pack of water will get you through your trip on a skin tight budget. You may need to spend a little bit of money on a cooler, but the cooler will pay for itself after a few trips of following this regimen!

At the end of the day, you need to be patient and not worry about how you look. Don’t worry about what people think if you aren’t in the fanciest place or eating the fanciest food. As long  as you are enjoying your time and making memories you will have the best vacation!

And as always, remember travel is good for the soul!