Hey, Explorers. 2017 has got to be better than 2016 right? Well, I have to be one of those people. 2016 was a pretty dang good year for me. I became an aunt to a gorgeous little girl. I visited two amazing new countries. I settled in a new job and celebrated one year with my husband. And guess what?! I also began the creative process to bring you this blog. Wouldn’t you say that’s a pretty awesome year? Yea, I think so too. Well, it’s time to dust off our jeans, put on some lipstick, and get down to business making 2017 even better. This is our first annual blog and here’s what’s coming up this year.
Travel More: This seems like the obvious choice since this is, in fact, a travel blog, but as with anything else, travel takes work and sacrifice. I plan to add at least two new countries to my passport this year. There are countless places I want to visit this year, and while more places can be added, I must add Scotland and France to my passport. I have a deep love for the United Kingdom, but Scotland has eluded me so far, and I can’t wait to see her. There is such a wildness to it that I adore. Who wouldn’t want to see the landscapes, the history, the kilts? Jamie Fraser anyone? It’s an incredible country. France is another location I have longed dreamed about. I mean, what girl doesn’t want to sit at a tiny café having the best food in the world while savoring views of Paris. Give me a macaron and I would be in heaven. I also think these two locations will be great as a solo female traveler. I have never traveled this way, and I am so looking forward to it. I know having only two international locations planned doesn’t seem like much, but to me it is extraordinary and something I would have thought impossible not long ago. Most travel bloggers are full-time nomads and expats, but while that is absolutely amazing, it is not my life. I have a blessed life, and quite frankly I like being available. I don’t want to miss a birthday, wedding, or any type of big event for the world. You CAN travel and still be home based. I fully intend to prove that. I also plan to explore my home country much more. I did a great disservice to myself as a child by only showing interest in foreign countries growing up, and I fully plan to rectify that from now on. I plan on learning more about the history of my home state of Mississippi and seeing the surrounding states with all they have to offer for accessible travel. You simply cannot truly appreciate other places and cultures, until you learn to love your own in all its glory even if sometimes your home is shown in a not so glorious light.
Blog More: This year will be about growing and nurturing this blog. Accessible Exploration is my passionate desire to advocate for accessible travel for everyone. If by the end of this, one person or one family says they made their travel dreams a reality because of some small tip or bit of inspiration they found here then; I will consider this initiative a success. Can’t and impossible are not words in my vocabulary. No matter race, gender, rich, poor, ability or need, I want everyone to have the opportunity to see the world with the same wonder and joy in their hearts that travel has given me. I also want to grow my email list and bring amazing content to you guys. There are many amazing places and people who I am excited to partner with to make Accessible Exploration the website I hope for and you deserve it to be. This site will be for you, and while it is still in its infancy, I hope you will continue to read about, learn, and maybe even grow to love a little deeper all the incredible differences that do not separate us but unite us. Lastly, I want to build a relationship with my readers. I love hearing from all of you. If you have something you would like to see on the site, if you have questions, or even just want to say hi; please feel free to leave a comment or click the contact me link at the top of the screen.
Live More: My favorite quote in the world is from my absolute favorite movie, Hook. At the end of it Robin Williams’ character says, “To live, to live would be an awfully big adventure.” It is a quote that has always stuck with me. One of the biggest things I have learned throughout the years is how much of a rat race America can be compared to the rest of the world. We boast about being the best, yet employers are not even required to give a worker paid vacation although most employers do provide the average time of 10 days per year. Compare that to the United Kingdom which gives 28 paid working days or even Afghanistan where employees are entitled to 20 recreational days and at least 15 paid holidays. We work ourselves to the bone and for what? A quick trip to the beach. Don’t get me wrong I love the sand and the surf, but our society has trained us to believe we should be the best, and work the hardest, but you should also feel guilty if you leave your coworkers a worker short for a week or longer. It’s time we loved ourselves a little more. We put our families, our passions, and ourselves last. This year I want to put those things first. I wasted so much of my life waiting for the right time to write and to travel. There’s never a right time. I want to enjoy every moment with my family; I want to know myself better. I want to grow this passion, and I challenge you to do the same. Take a day off and lay in bed all day with your spouse. Go to the park with your child. Give yourself an hour in the tub with some chocolate and a book. Get online right now and book that trip to Thailand that you have always dreamed of. Everyone should do something that brings their life meaning and joy. My first solo trip will be my gift to myself. My husband finishing graduate school will be his gift to himself. Whatever it may be, let’s strive to live in the moment and not behind our desks and computer screens. If we miss these opportunities, we may never get them back. So here’s to us. 2017, Let’s do this!