Sippin' All 50 States

For the past 4 years, I have taken long, extensive trips to places like West Palm Beach, London, a road trip from Texas to California and our honeymoon road trip from Vancouver Island to LA.

But this summer is my first time not going on a vacation...

 ...and at first, I was kinda bummed. With Brandon losing his job, we weren't sure if we would have the money to travel, or if he'd have vacation time if/when he got a new job. Now that he has a new job, he does have vacation time, but can't touch it until the fall. And we're working on replenishing our savings. Which is the responsible thing to do and all, but I love exploring so I was bummedwhen I realized that we probably wouldn't be able to do a road trip this summer or see as many ball parks as we wanted (y'all know that road tripping is my love language.)

Once I realized I was being a brat, and realized that I have SO much to be grateful for and so much to be content with, I realized how entitled I was. I do not DESERVE to travel. I am not ENTITLED to amazing vacations every summer. Traveling may be my generation's new thrill, but we are by no means deserving of these incredible vacations. They are all blessings, just vanilla icing on the top of the decadent (gluten-free, vegan and preferably chocolate) cake that is life.

Once my temper tantrum was over and I had gained some perspective, I realized that I live on the east coast-- one of the most historical, naturally beautiful and diverse places in our country. I am lucky to live right in the middle of the east coast, with access to many major cities within a few hours. Why not explore my own home? Who says you need to fly far away from home to have an amazing summer?

More than that, I live in an incredible, vibrant and up-and-coming city. Charm City is full of secrets, excitment and well...charm! Having lived here my entire life, there are still so many things I haven't seen, tasted or experienced in MY OWN CITY. Why spend money in other cities when I can support the businesses in Baltimore, exploring my own city?

Realizing how incredibly blessed I am has opened my eyes that every place, from the biggest cities to the smallest rural towns, have incredible stuff that is worthy of visiting and soaking in.

Soaking in. That's exactly what I want to do. This new perspective has changed the way I am seeing traveling. I used to crave road trips, hitting up 8 or 9 cities in a week, having one night stands with city after city, stepping over state lines just to take a photo or color in a state on a map, just to say that I'm one state closed to reaching all 50 states. I used to travel.

But now, I'm craving less traveling and more exploring, more soaking in, more immersing myself into the culture of wherever I am, more marinating myself in the personalities of the people. Less time in the car and more time in one place, no matter where it is.

My dream used to be seeing all 50 states. I didn't care how. Give me a shot of a city, something I can throw back and experience intensely but briefly, and I'd be able to check a state off my list.

Now, I want to sip every state, every country, and heck, every moment in my life, slowly.

Serve it up in a coffee mug, steam billowing off of it, forcing me to slow down and simply breathe it in deeply. Let me sip each journey slowly, not wanting to rush and empty the cup of the moment too quickly.

Let me focus intently on the content of what's in my cup, not dreaming up of what I'll drink next.

Tell me below what's great about your own city/region!