Happy Friday! Today’s post is a little more personal because it touches on many of the travels I experienced before blogging was even a consideration in my life. I feel like every trip, whether it’s near or far, leaves a little imprint on my heart. This list of life-changing trips goes in chronological order and lets you take a peek into why they were so significant to me.
Before blogging, my travels were a little different but still incredible. That’s because life before social media, filters, and insta-worthy captions existed. Life before iPhones and digital cameras existed. (Note the extra poor quality photos in this post. I decided to spare you from most. 😆) So many of the life-changing trips in my life took place before all of these things existed, and traveling has become a part of my soul. When I travel I feel strong, inspired, and humble. I’ve been so fortunate to have had the opportunity to travel to over 20 countries, but I never want to stop seeing more.
When I say these following trips were life-changing, most were great and a couple were…different. Some trips made my life better and other trips turned the course of my entire life. I’m so appreciative for every chance I’ve had to travel. The places I’ve seen and the things I’ve experienced, already, is just the tip of the iceberg of what I hope to do in my life. Of course, there are places not on this list that I’m so thankful for experiencing, but these 13 trips stick out the most and have all contributed to shaping me into who I am today. So keep reading for a little peek into my travels before blogging! You’ll even learn a thing or two about yours truly.
13 Life-Changing Trips I Took Before Blogging
My parents started taking us on annual summer vacations when I was probably 6. I remember that even back then, I loved all 5 of us cramming into the SUV with taped recordings of Rugrats or Rocket Power (I was a 90’s kid) that we watched on a tv my parents literally strapped to the center console. I loved falling asleep in the car and waking up in another state, going on hikes, and experiencing new things with my siblings. Being together, as a family, was all I really knew and Gatlinburg helped form a really strong relationship for the Fox family.
Our family of 9 headed back to Gatlinburg in September 2017 for the first time in over 10 years, and it was still just as special as it was when I was a kid.
Amelia Island, Florida
Like Gatlinburg, Amelia Island became an annual vacation for my family. Renting a house on Amelia Island Plantation was our “end of summer” trip and it became a second home to us. My Mom loves traveling to places that are familiar and she knows the area. Amelia Island features all the best things about Florida. Picture huge oak trees lining the marshes and beautiful beaches with stunning sunrises. The memories we’ve shared there make it such a special place. So special, that my husband and I ended up getting married at Walker’s Landing on Amelia Island Plantation in 2016.
3 Family Road Trips in an RV
What really triggered my passion for traveling were the three separate trips “out west”. Our very first trip was seven weeks long and all 5 of us crammed into an RV. My Dad drove us from Florida to Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, out to Las Vegas, and back through New Mexico, Arizona, Texas, and then back home. It was so eye-opening, as a 10-year-old, to see all those different parts of our country. We all learned how to be flexible when the plans didn’t go smoothly. It strengthened our bond as a family because you can’t argue for too long when you’re stuck in a 40-foot motorhome all day together. And most importantly, it taught us to appreciate and respect the melting pot of a country that we live in.
The very next year my parents were crazy enough to take us again. Focusing mostly on the Midwest, we knew the routine and saw incredible places like Zion National Park, Aspen, and the Grand Canyon.
The third, and last, RV vacation was the summer before I headed to high school. A little shorter at just 5 weeks, this is the trip I remember most. My parents love Colorado so we spent the majority of our time traveling around the Midwest again. Getting older, but still sharing less than 400 square feet together for that long, had its ups and downs. I remember screaming matches between us siblings, tears over the silliest things, and complete misunderstandings. But I also remember the laughter, game-nights, meaningful conversations, and raw happiness we shared together as a family.
Australia & New Zealand
THIS. This trip triggered my intense passion for traveling abroad. At 15 years old, I was invited to travel to the other side of the world with an educational program called People to People. There must’ve been close to 30 of us in high school that spent 20 days traveling through New Zealand and Australia. The program was amazing and had absolutely everything planned out for us. From hotels to meals, to repelling down the side of a mountain in New Zealand to climbing the Sydney Harbor Bridge, our days were jam-packed with excitement. Fifteen is an awkward age, but this trip broke me out of my shell, made me go with the flow, and try everything that scared me.
This was also before Wi-fi and I remember going about a week not speaking to my parents because the phone card wouldn’t work at payphones. 😂 I cried when I finally got ahold of them, but I also felt more independent than ever. I literally went home a new person. I had fallen in love with the world.
I learned a lot about myself on this trip. My best friend at the time lived with my family and she went on the trip, too. I remember not being as engaged with the culture, surroundings, and people as I was in Australia. Maybe it was just because I was 17, but I wasn’t present on this trip. To this day, I think about all the things I missed in Japan because I was too caught up in my own little world. The three best days were when I went to a private homestay and became immersed in the Japanese lifestyle. It made me realize that there is so much more to life than being liked by my peers. When I allowed myself to be myself in Japan, I was finally able to enjoy the trip.
To this day, Japan is high on my list because I want to be in the moment when I’m there. It’s a beautiful country with some of the kindest people I’ve ever met in my life.
Amsterdam, Brussels, Paris, & London
At 20, I was in a crappy on-again-off-again relationship with a guy that was verbally abusive and very manipulative. During a little off-again period, I convinced my parents that I needed to go to Europe over the holiday break. Probably in an attempt to get me as far away from the guy as possible, they agreed, and I booked an 11 day trip to Amsterdam, Brussels, Paris, and London with EF College Break.
This trip shifted my entire mindset toward happiness and passion. I met incredible people, felt independent again, and experienced the beauty of Europe for the first time. Four months after my trip to Europe, I was able to cut the crappy boyfriend out of my life for good. I swear that the trip with EF College Break gave me the courage and strength to accept that my life needed to move forward without him. There’s just something about travel that makes me see the bigger picture in life.
Los Angeles was probably one of the biggest life-changing trips of my life. As a senior in college, I took an internship with a celebrity PR company for the summer. I moved into a UCLA dorm with three other girls and thought I was working toward my dream life in LA. My plans were to secure a job before leaving and then move out there after graduation, but life throws some curveballs. Los Angeles wasn’t everything I wanted it to be. I couldn’t wait to get back to the east coast. And while I still think LA is a thriving, exciting, crazy town, I know that I could never live there.
Not only did Los Angeles crush my daydreams of living Emma Stone’s life in La La Land, I also lost some big friendships that summer. Just like coming back from Australia, I came back from Los Angeles a different person. It wasn’t easy accepting such big changes in life, but looking back, I’m thankful that it all happened.
New York City
At the end of my summer in LA, I took a direct flight to New York City for a family vacation. It was my first time ever visiting the Big Apple and the last vacation we ever took as a family of 5 (because we all started dating or getting married). We got to spend a full week playing tourist while embracing the hustle and bustle of the city. I was coping with the roller coaster of a summer I had just had in LA, but I was also learning to be myself again.
New York City is also special because I spoke to my now-husband, Marc-André, on the phone for the very first time in the elevator of The Marriott Hotel in Times Square. Isn’t it funny how we can remember the smallest things like that, but I can’t remember what I had for dinner two nights ago?!
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We had visited Mexico on cruises in the past, but this particular trip to Mexico was my first vacation with Marc-André. We had only been dating for about 6 months and I was crazy in love with him, but this trip solidified so many things for me. The ease of us traveling together, the excitement we shared for seeing new places, and the fun we had made me realize I would marry him one day. One of the best parts of the trip was going to Tulum. Not only were the bright beaches beautiful, but the history and culture were incredible.
Marc-André is from Québec, Canada, and when he invited me to go with him for 2 weeks to spend time with his family, I knew we were getting serious. Québec was a life-changing trip because I fell in love with my husband’s family. They all speak mostly French and we had to learn how to communicate the best we could. But let me tell ya, all it took was a few glasses of wine and I was convinced I was fluent in French! The laughter, smiles, and love we shared was so fulfilling. Embracing Québec and his family was a really magical and happy time for me.
Girls’ trips are one of my favorite things. I’ve been to Jamaica, Vegas, NYC, and more with just girlfriends and it’s always the best time, but Hong Kong takes the cake! My best friend’s sister moved to Hong Kong with her husband and we decided we had to go visit along with our other friend, Sarah. We got to stay in their one-bedroom apartment in the heart of Hong Kong and immerse ourselves in the Asian culture. Having friends that live there made the experience that much more amazing because we had our very own tour guide. Instead of questioning where to eat or what transportation to take, we could just be in the moment. The food, people, sights, and culture were unlike anything I’d ever experienced. Hong Kong solidified my love affair with Asia and I can’t wait to see more.
Ireland & London
My husband (fiancé at the time) and I traveled to Ireland and London together with our best friends that just happen to live across the street. The Weekend Fox had become an idea in my mind, but I didn’t have the courage to pursue it for another year. Either way, Ireland and London with another couple was absolutely incredible. I’ve noticed that the older I get, the more I appreciate every trip and the people I’m sharing it with. It becomes more about experiencing places with people I love rather than just checking it off my bucket list. We created memories that we’ll cherish forever and we’ve continued to travel together because it’s so easy. If you ever find another couple or family that you can spend that much time with, don’t ever let them go.
Now, we’re waiting for the arrival of their baby girl and we can’t wait to share more vacations with a bigger crew!
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What’s On Our List Now?'I haven't been everywhere, but it's on my list.' - Susan SontagClick To Tweet
I’m a huge fan of the quote, “I haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on my list” because I can honestly say I have desires to go just about everywhere. I don’t know if everyone is like this, but I almost always have strong desires to go back to places I’ve already been. I believe I get so much more out of a second trip because I already know the basics of the destination. I can hit the must do’s and keep diving deeper into the local culture. When we go to Europe next month we’ll be heading to Amsterdam again, and I’m thrilled to share that with my husband this time around.
After Europe, we don’t have any solid travel plans, but New Zealand, the Phillippines, Dubai, Argentina, and Africa are all high on my list, too. I know we’ll always go back to Gatlinburg and Amelia Island. Those are two places that I can’t wait to take my own family one day. If I could predict the future, I’d plan out all of the trips now, but sometimes ya just gotta go with the flow. ✈️
Tell me about one of your life-changing trips!