Big Escapes | Little Explorers
Hi. I’m so glad you’ve stopped by our blog. I’m Heather, a full time working mom and wife who loves to travel. I live outside of Nashville, TN, with my husband, David, and our two kids. We love to take every opportunity we can to get out and see the world. David and I started traveling together after only a few months of dating, and we’ve been exploring ever since. Once we had children we decided that we didn’t want to let our toddlers slow us down.
We love to take adventurous trips to amazing places near and far. Over the years, I’ve had so many people ask for tips and advice from our travels. So, it only seemed logical to share this advice in a blog format. I hope to help you find ideas for your next trip ….with or without kids. We’ve got an ever-growing bucket list of places we want to visit, so stay tuned for lots of fun info!
A Little More About Us
I grew up in a small town in Tennessee that has no red lights. The closest Target is 25 minutes away. While I loved growing up there, I always dreamed of visiting faraway countries. Honestly, though, I didn’t really think it would ever be possible. I mean, no one from small town America actually gets to go hike the Swiss Alps or lounge on a Costa Rican beach with monkeys. Right?
In graduate school I was lucky enough to study abroad for a month in England with a friend. We spent a few weeks before our studies and our weekends off traveling around Europe. We marked off a long list of places, but it was such a great experience that it left me wanting to go back.
Soon after, I met David. He also grew up in a small town and never traveled far growing up. The farthest he’d been was to a few Caribbean islands, and I couldn’t help but keep sharing stories from my recent trip overseas. After a few months, we took our first trip together to Cape Cod, and we knew that travel was “our thing”.
So it only seemed natural that for his birthday, I would skip the gift buying (mostly because I’m terrible at picking gifts for people). Instead, I took the money I would have spent and started us a travel fund. I gave him part of a picture from Ireland and vowed we would go soon. Three years later we finally got to make that trip to Ireland, and it was perfect!
We still put money in our travel fund on a regular basis, and we still skip giving gifts to each other. I’ll take an awesome trip around the world over a cute purse any day! I’d much rather save that money and go somewhere together like this trip to Highlands, North Carolina, or our family trip to Rome. Our goal is to give experiences to our children as gifts, once they are old enough to understand the concept.
While I’m the planner with a love for history and architecture, David is the finder of all things fun. He can somehow always find the perfect activity that completes our trip. We love to find things that are off the beaten path to really get a full experience of a place.
So many people out there dream of visiting a faraway places, but they put it off until later. We all have the things that get in our way….”work is just so busy”, “I’ll travel when I’m retired”, or “when my kids are older”. Well, I am here to tell you that none of us are guaranteed health or another day here on this big, beautiful planet.
When David and I had been married for about a year, his brother passed away from a very aggressive type of cancer. His battle only lasted about six weeks from diagnosis to his final day. It was like a wake up call for us. What if you aren’t healthy enough to travel when you retire? What if work is always busy? (answer: it will be) What if your kids are never the perfect age? What if? What if we just go now?!?
Six months after his brother passed away, we took off for our Irish vacation. Granted, we’d had a honeymoon in Greece and several other trips in between, but this trip felt different. It was the vacation that put the ball in motion for us. It was the first step to making travel an intentional goal for ourselves.
We made a point to plan less, and experience more. Most days, we took off driving with only one planned activity or destination, and to this day it is one of our favorite trips.
Our Travel Style
Our travel can be summed up in one word: experience. Our goal with each vacation is to fully experience the local culture and what the destination has to offer . This doesn’t mean checking off a list of monuments or museums. We do enjoy seeing those, and always go in with a goal of seeing X, Y, and Z. However, we like to have a more fluid approach, leaving time to truly take in our surroundings, like our trip to Tuscany.
Our children haven’t changed our travel much at all. While the pace may have slightly changed, we still try to enjoy the same type of travel we did before. Our rule of thumb is: if kids live there, then it is kid friendly, like this trip to Mexico. You don’t need amusement parks and arcades to keep kids entertained.
We enjoy getting off the beaten path and finding unique accommodations, outdoor pursuits, and restaurants that locals love. Evado means “to escape” in Latin. We hope you will escape with us and be insprired to experience all this world has to offer. What are the top places on your bucket list?