Tuesday, May 27, 2014

{travel} summer road trip dreaming + exciting news

The coolest thing about living abroad definitely has to be the moment you realize how ridiculously awesome the country you come from is. It's so easy to spend your entire life dreaming of going to new countries, and experiencing new cultures and languages, that we sometimes forget to appreciate the beautiful land we call home. I always knew that America was made up of fabulous cities and beautifully scenic lands, but it wasn't until I moved to Spain that I really appreciated her for all that she is. Hearing about the United States from a European's point of view is just so cool! My students are constantly in awe that I'm from Florida. "But Profe, you're from Florida! Why are you living in Spain?!" 

While there are undoubtedly tons of stunning scenic drives to take in Europe, there's something about the wide open space of America that continues to appeal to me this year. If you remember my posts from December, my boyfriend and I took a road trip from Tampa up to Savannah, and then up some more to Charleston, then back down to St. Augustine, and then Orlando, and back to Tampa. We had such a great time exploring Florida, Georgia, & South Carolina, but now we're dreaming of a road trip out west. We've been incessantly talking about one road trip in particular, a "little" loop that will hit Zion National Park, Arches National Park, and the Grand Canyon. You better believe there's already a Pinterest board for that trip. ;) The love of my life + hiking + stunning views + free reign to stop at all crazy roadside attractions? Sign me up! 

My Road Trip Must-Haves:

{1} Seeker of Happiness Canvas Tote: I adore canvas totes! Especially canvas totes that come with quotes as perfect as this one. This is my pick for a durable bag to store all of your road trip snacks and goodies in!

{2} iPhone: Okay, so you don't actually neeeed a brand new iPhone cover, but how cute is this "wood" one? But really, an iPhone is a must for me on a road trip. From the maps and travel apps, to the camera and iTunes playlists, well... it just makes road trips that much better.

{3} Tervis Tumbler: I constantly must have a huuuuge cup of ice water in the car with me at all times. Tervis tumblers are great at keeping your drinks cold (and hot - helllo gas station coffee breaks), and they are pretty too. Bonus.

{4} Most Scenic Drives in America Book: I have to admit, I'm not the most patient road trip partner you could ever have. I love the scenery and the random stops along the way, but I am a super antsy person. So, it's always good to have a little entertainment. On our last road trip, I read historical facts to Alex about all the places we were going - nerd alert - and we also played a silly Christmas trivia game. But this book would be the perfect inspiration for future road trips while we're on the road.

{5} Healthy Snacks: As fun as it is to buy allll the candy and chips and cookies you can fit into a bag at gas stations, I much prefer to bring some homemade snacks on the road. These trail mix bites, for example, are easy to make and perfectly portable. Or you could whip up some homemade granola, vegan peach nectarine muffins, roasted almonds, or strawberry banana muffins for the road. If you really want to impress your carmates, bring along some cookies too - these giant M&M cookies and red velvet chocolate chip cookies are my favorites.

{6} Travel Journal: This is an essential item to have in the car in order to jot down all of those fun stops you've made on the way to your destination. Alex and I were constantly pulling off on random exits to check out THE BEST PEACH FRITTER IN GEORGIA, OLD ENGLISH FORTS, and more. I love the print on this journal. Simple and classic.

And now for some exciting & bittersweet news. If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram, or checked out my sidebar section Next Up, you might already have realized that I'm moving back home in July. Alas, my time in Europe is quickly coming to an end (bitter), but I'm moving back to my old college town, Tallahassee, in order to earn my Master's in Elementary Education (sweet)! While I will miss Madrid and all of my beautiful friends here, I am so excited to start this new chapter in my life come August. This won't be the end of my traveling posts or days. No, this is merely the beginning. I hope you'll stick around as I catch up on my final European adventures and transition to life as a graduate student at the most amazing university in the land, Florida State. Go Noles!

What are your road trip must-haves?

xx, Jen

Disclaimer: I am teaming up with RelayRides' Road Trip Essentials campaign with this post, but I am not being compensated. If you'd like to check out a ride share program in the US, I encourage you to read up on their company here

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