Wanderlust: (A Guest Post By Work In Sweats Mama)

If you don’t yet know Nicole from Work In Sweats Mama, you’re in for a treat!

I haven’t the foggiest idea how we met, but it was even before we collaborated in The Mother of All Meltdowns book. We have many mutual blogging friends and we must have just found each other, magically, one day. And then it was like she was there all along on my blogging journey. She gets me so often. I get her. We have kids nearly the same age. We both love to travel. In fact, I’m completely proud to have her here today, to tend to the blog while I’m on my first trip in…three years.

Nicole, thank you for being here today. I’ll let you take over now with your amazing words and photos..

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I was 18 the first time I stepped onto a plane. Not a child anymore but not quite an adult.

As we raced down the runway, panic and exhilaration spread from the pit of my stomach to the base of my throat. My heart galloped in my chest and echoed in my ears.

I kept my eyes open, childlike delight outweighing adult fear.

A seasoned pro now, I’ve logged hundreds of thousands of miles. Lost count of connections, delays, and inconveniences.

I cram a week’s worth of business attire and workout gear into a tiny carry-on. I breeze through security, laptop and liquids out in the blink of an eye.

Pat downs and mild turbulence don’t faze me. Pumping breastmilk at 30,000 feet, merely a means to an end.

Herding two jetlagged kids through an endless terminal, a walk in the park.

(OK, I may have exaggerated a wee bit on that one!)

But no matter how nonchalant I’ve become about getting from point A to B, my heart still races every time I pack my bags for a new destination.

My inaugural flight almost 15 years ago gave me a taste of freedom. And a raging case of wanderlust.

I want to board a plane, ascend into the clouds, and travel the world.

I’ve been fortunate enough to travel to amazing places for work, and I take advantage of my free time.

When officials stamped my passport with German efficiency, I ran winding paths to castle ruins, bathed like Roman Gods, and gorged on spaetzle and flammkuchen.

In Quebec City, I stepped back in time. I wandered on cobblestone streets, inhaled crepes drowning in chocolate, and met friends with hearts warm enough to vanquish the brutal cold.

I rack up experiences and miles, but I’m never satisfied.

What I really crave are solo adventures with my husband. Family escapades with our daughters.

Not to cities. Not to see buildings or museums or manmade marvels.

I long for trips to national parks, islands, and backcountry. Places with no cell reception. Views and vistas uninterrupted by power lines and skyscrapers.

Hidden oases.

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Unexpected waterfalls in the desert.

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Hoodoos standing sentry.

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Moments of quiet reflection.

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Sugar soft sand and crystal clear water.

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Glacier-carved icons.

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Peaks set on fire.

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Boardwalks in the clouds.

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Crashing waves.

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Black sand and bare bottoms

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Bare feet and big dreams

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Like every parent, I want my children to have more than I had as a child. Instead of material things that break and are quickly forgotten, I want to give the gift of experience.

To share places special to me. To embark on new adventures with them.

My daughters flew before their first birthdays. Nestled to me, they nursed, transitioning easily from the ground to the clouds.

Later, I watched as they pressed tiny hands against airport windows, shouting excitedly each time an airplane took off.

Air-pane! Air-pane!

I smiled proudly as my oldest strapped on her Pottery Barn backpack, determined to shoulder the responsibility of her books and stuffed animals.

They won’t recall our earliest trips together. It doesn’t matter. I’ve got photos as proof and memories etched into my soul.

When they’re old enough to remember, my heart will soar.

Straight to the clouds.

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Nicole Goodman is a full-time working mother of two and the caffeine-driven mind behind Work in Sweats Mama. After business hours, you’ll find her chasing her fearless 21-month-old, verbally sparring with her precocious four-year-old, avoiding housework, seeking an endorphin high on long runs, and slurping down a gigantic fountain Cokes.

Her idea of the perfect vacation involves lots of GORP (good ol’ raisins & peanuts) while backpacking in the National Park system, although trail running and stand-up paddle boarding in Hawaii are close seconds. All pictures in this post are from trips she’s taken with her husband and daughters.

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  1. Oh Nicole!!!! Those pictures are BREATHTAKING!!!!! I can’t believe you have been to all those incredibly brilliant places!!! Wow. Just wow.

    I absolutely love the way you write. You have a gift. But I didn’t know you also have a gift in photography??!! Oh my…

    Tamara- you picked the PERFECT one to care for your ‘babe’ here. LOVE this!!

    1. Oh, I know it my friend! I have spent my day gallivanting around Universal Studios (in the cold rain) and I was comforted in knowing that Nicole was here! She’s a great.

  2. Oh how I miss my Tamara! Nicole, thank you for making this easier to bare that I can’t read a post by the lovely Tamara. This post fits right in and I love it. I traveled abroad in my early 20s for the first time and that was a similar feeling to what you mentioned at first. I can’t believe how much these photos make me feel like I’m sitting right there with you while you took these awesome photos. Amazing! Thanks so much for sharing your wonderful experience!

    1. Aww! I miss my Brittnei! I’m still “here” though, just not as much during the day. I’ll catch up one day! Can’t wait to get back to normal, although this warm trip has been badly needed!

  3. You’ve done it again my friend – you’ve made me cry before 7am. What an amazing post with the most gorgeous pictures! YES I want to go there and do that!! I’m beyond excited to take my entire family to Spain and Portugal in just a few months. My heart is so full with the anticipation that some days I cannot even think about it. Another dream my husband and I have is to go RV-ing through the US and visit the National Parks with the boys. Someday…

  4. Tamara, thank you for entrusting your blog to me while you experience the happiest place on Earth! I can’t wait for you to come back and share the trip with us through your beautiful words and pictures. I’ll be back throughout the day to respond to comments. We miss you!

  5. Wow, I am seriously jealous of all the wonderful places you have been and all you have seen. Your photos truly are breathtaking and paint an even richer picture. Thank you for being here today and sharing with us, too!! 🙂

  6. Thank you so much, Chris! It’s hard to take a bad picture when you’re surrounded by so much natural beauty. To be fair, my husband snapped some of these pictures. We’ve also perfected the timed shot on our little point-and-click.

  7. Brittnei, if I could go back in time, one of the very few things I’d change is bypassing the opportunity to study abroad. I was paying my way through college and couldn’t swing the extra expense. I bet you have some incredible memories from your travels. Thankfully, my husband and I have been able to travel to some amazing places in the 10 years we’ve been married. I will definitely encourage my daughters to travel as much as possible!

  8. Allie, you are going to have an amazing time in Spain. I can’t wait to read all about your adventures and see the pics. My husband and I took trips to National Parks every year until the girls arrived. We would spend 10-12 days hiking and backpacking. Many of these pictures are from those trips. I can’t wait to take the girls backpacking when they’re older. We’re actually considering an RV trip later this year. As DINKS, we avoided RVs like the plague, but the girls are too young to strap on the packs. It would be great to drive from park to park without the hassle of gear!

  9. Stunning photos and beautiful memories! I remember nearly all the trips our parents took us on when we were little. The trips I don’t remember- the photos and stories cover!
    Here’s to our never-quenched wanderlust!

  10. I’m so glad! It’s like the blog is on autopilot – entrusted to a dear friend. Time for Universal Studios Islands of Adventures! I’ll be back later.

  11. Where oh where was the “Moments of Quiet Reflection” picture taken??

    I definitely have Wanderlust as well. I think I always have, even when the world was this huge thing and I’d never really left the south. Now that I’ve gotten to see some of the world, I find that I just want to see the rest of it more. Other things get in the way, but somehow I always come back to feeling that way! I wrote about it today, so it’s funny that this is the topic of your guest post, Nicole!

  12. Amy, the Quiet Reflection picture was taken at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. Capturing my husband’s silhouette that way was completely accidental, but it’s one of my favorite pictures from that trip. Can’t wait to check out your blog and thoughts on travel too!

  13. Sarah, I really hope you can take that trip this summer! It’s easy to let life get in the way, to put it off til next year. But traveling is so good for the soul. Totally worth the planning and packing and prioritizing, especially when you reach your destination and can finally relax!

  14. Oh, Nicole. Your photos are absolutely breathtaking. I’d love to visit – and have my kids experience – Zion National Park. I’ve never been, but for some reason it’s always really appealed to me. This summer we may be traveling back to an area we’ve already visited twice but really love -Mackinac Island, Michigan. My mom and sister are plotting a family vacation. Last time we were there my youngest was a baby so I’d love the kids to experience it as kids vs. baby and toddler.

  15. WOW, those are some amazing pictures! I was born in Germany, but want to head back there one day now that I am an adult. I love to travel, and my husband and I try and do so on a regular basis. In fact, we just decided to jump on a plane for a long few days and go to Montana, a place neither of us have ever been, and we leave this Sunday for Whitefish. Of course, he is going to make me ski again..which I found out I am TOTALLY horrible at. Our kids are avid travelers, and like you…when I returned from Germany, I did not step on a plane again until I was 23.

  16. Shana, Zion was the first national park trip my husband and I took together. It’s an incredible place and wonderful for kids. We also went to Brcye Canyon, Escalante, and the North Rim of the Grand Canyon on that trip. I can’t wait to take my girls some day!

  17. Jennifer, have a great time in Montana! I can’t imagine what Glacier is like in wintertime! We will definitely take our girls when they’re older. The hiking is out of this world, and if you want to see wildlife, Glacier is the place to be! I think our final bear count was around 20.

  18. Nicole, your photos are just breathtaking. And I too want to give all the of the experiences I can to my children and believe that travel is one of the greatest things we can give them. Maybe one day we will meet up with our gangs in a national park or hidden cavern.

  19. Nicole, these photos are certainly worthy of a place here at Tamara’s. And the words too. Traveling with our kids is such a gift – to them and to us. Tell Mickey we’ll see him soon Tamara!

  20. I love your pictures Nicole! You have traveled to some amazing places. My kids are lucky too…they have had so many opportunities to see the world. I had never been out of the country until I was an adult; all three of my children have had that experience!!

  21. Well, I get to travel from North Carolina to South Carolina every single day, so that satisfies my wanderlust. I’m grateful my company takes me somewhere tropical every winter, or that would be the extent of my travel, between the states.

    You really brought it with this post Nicole … peaks set on fire, sugar soft sand … and the stunning photos to back them. Well done.

  22. Nicole, your pictures are beautiful. I’m not a great traveler but your post makes me want to make more of an effort if only for my kids to see more and do more. Nice job “filling in.”

  23. Nicole – your photos and writing is beautiful. I could actually sit and read this in one sitting without glancing to another tab or window. What a marvelous feat to be able to travel all over with your globe with your girls 🙂 They will certainly love to reminisce when they’re older. 🙂 Wonderful post! Happy Hump Day! -Iva

  24. Dana, travel really is a gift. While my kids are little, I feel like I’m reaping the rewards, but I know they’ll get just as much from it some day. Hopefully they won’t turn into spoiled little monsters – Bean has already been to Hawaii twice. Lucky girl (and thank you frequent flier miles!)!

  25. Eli, there are so many places around the world that I want to see someday. Backpacking in Europe, hiking in New Zealand, lounging on a secluded beach, well, just about anywhere. But most of the trips we take are within the continental U.S. There are so many amazing parks and places to see here, and we’re slowly working our way through the list. Yellowstone, the Grand Tetons, Death Valley, and more. You don’t need a passport to see some of the most beautiful places on the planet. They’re right in our backyard!

  26. Nicole, you and your beautiful attitude and gorgeous pictures fit right in over here at Tamara’s place! I personally don’t care too much for travel, but I love looking at travel pictures!! You are truly fortunate to have been able to take all these trips (by yourself and with your family!)

      1. HAHA! To be honest, the travel for the trip was awful!! I think I would have enjoyed it more if we were going on our own terms, but it was a family trip with my in-laws and I didn’t have much say in any of the details…

  27. So nice to see you here, Nicole! I adore traveling. My husband (then-boyfriend) and I studied in London while we were in college and backpacked all around Europe. It was amazing. When we want a European fix on a budget, we go to Quebec City. It’s less than 5 hours away from us by car (quicker than a drive to NYC!). Our kids love to travel too. Your pictures are gorgeous!

  28. Jennifer, I am so jealous of your study abroad experience! If I could have a re-do on one thing, I would definitely study abroad. Backpacking across Europe is on my travel bucket list. Maybe when the girls are older! And isn’t Quebec City amazing? It’s very European. I love walking in the old city, below the Chateau Frontenac. And the food? Amazing!

  29. I love this!!! 2 of my favorites collided into one awesome post!!!
    Nicole, I loved reading about your travels but more than that I LOVED the pictures. Beyond amazing!!!
    You are definitely giving your girls memories that they will treasure forever!!!

  30. I have to admit, mild turbulence makes me tense. But then I don’t have your experience. (See, I’m convinced that the plane is going DOWN.) Loved your pics (did I see some Hawaii in there?). This could have been a Word Nerd post the way you started out! Hmmm. I’ll have to get you on my blog! Thanks for the awesome inspiration and photographs!

    1. They do! I saw one at Epcot yesterday that went upside down. It was weird. Nicole’s waterfall – yes, that’s what we’re calling it – looks like a dream.

  31. Love to meet a new blogging friend! Gorgeous pictures, gorgeous kids, and a beautifully written story. It definitely makes me want to get back on a plane…and to even consider bringing the kids with me!

    1. Leslie, having done it last week, and about to do it next week – it’s worth it! Even though Des cried for a full hour of the flight. It was past his bedtime, after all.

  32. Great photos. I recognize a few of those. Here’s a secret…I do all my traveling on the ground. Yep, I’ve flown in a helicopter and a hot air balloon. I’ve been to 41 states. Here’s another secret…I’m 54 and flying for the first time in 5 weeks. Yay!

  33. each photo – a moment of perfection!! Absolutely stunning.
    I haven’t traveled much since getting married and having kids — the single income has kept us fairly close to home and belonging to the basics of tent camping: but what we DO – we enjoy it to the max. And I guess that’s the point. It may have been 10 years plus since I had my toes in soft sand and crystal blue surf, but the super clean – if not a tad chilly – waters of a Ottawa Valley river isn’t any less shabby. LIFE is a grand adventure! 🙂

  34. This is so inspiring. Admittedly I haven’t traveled much with my three young kids. I keep putting the excuse that it’s too difficult to fly with two 10-month-olds but I definitely want to take them to different places, see different worlds.

  35. What a beautiful post that has me ready to pack my bags. I love the anticipation building as you walk through the airport terminal. The thrill of knowing very soon you will be somewhere else, somewhere different. Nicole your photos are spectacular, thanks Tamara for having such a wonderful guest here I love to meet new amazing bloggers.

  36. Nina, traveling with little ones is tough, especially on the return trip. We went to Hawaii when my youngest was 9 months. On the way home we took a redeye from Honolulu to Atlanta, and she screamed her head off for the first two hours of the flight. I’m sure our fellow passengers were thrilled! But all of the memories from the trip were worth the hassle and headache. And it definitely gets easier as they get older…and can carry their own luggage!

  37. BEAUTIFUL photos. I love, love, love that waterfall one.

    We got to go to Hawaii and it was magical. We left the kids with my mother-in-law though. But when we go again, we’ll probably take them.

  38. Love seeing Nicole here!! Oh man, I love traveling and I’m so glad that my parents instilled that love (along with exploring new places) in me when I was young. I want to do the same for my kids. For a while, I think that I burnt out on traveling (crazy, right?) but now? I have a raging case of wanderlust!

  39. Wow, Nicole, your words. Your photos. Seriously beautiful and breathtaking. I have chills and love that you and Tamara paired up for this. Two of my favorite people in one place. Love it.

  40. Christine, I really hope my children grow up with a deep love and appreciation for travel. They’ve been pretty lucky so far. It took me 30 years to get to Hawaii. Bean wasn’t even 2! The infant-in-arms may have had something to do with that!

  41. Holy smokes! What break-taking views. I loved what you said about gifting your kids experience (memories) not material things. Thanks for taking us to those wonderful places Nicole.

    Enjoy your vacay Tamera. I hope the weather is not too cool with the recent cold front 😉

  42. Nicole – I loved this post so much. The pictures you picked were perfect for your words and so inspiring. I love how you just drag those littles everywhere. It’s so much work but always worth it in the end. And while they may not have the exact memories they will grow up with a sense of adventure and a love for your time together. What a great way to commemorate Tamara’s trip!

  43. My husband and I love traveling with our daughters, too! We’re trying to see as many National Parks as we can. Last summer was the Grand Canyon area, and the summer before that was Alaska. We’re still decided where to go next!

  44. Wow that was BEAUTIFUL!!!! Love that you want to go somewhere without reception – more and more that the three of us are going anywhere – running errands or out to eat I leave my cellphone at home. The first two times I did it, it was by accident and then I realized – wow this is nice. The one with the “monument” something caption was AWESOME. Love the baby’s butt too 😉

  45. That was so gorgeous I can’t stand it. Nicole and Tamara two of my favorites all in one place!! Thank you so much for sharing these beautiful pictures (and story) with us!! Nicole managed to draw out the same emotion out of me that you do Tamara! 🙂 and that is no easy feat.

  46. Oh, this just reminds me how much I want to travel! My husband and I knew before we had children that we wanted them to experience the world with us. Our 2-month-old already has a passport, and we’re just itching to go someone interesting with her.

  47. Oh wow, what a treat to see these photos! You guys really know how to capture great memories. I love to travel. BUT time is just a luxury I can’t afford right now. Plus my husband is terrified of flying! It’s so inspiring to learn about “the gift of experience..” through travel. I’m hoping to have travel goals soon. 🙂

  48. *Raises cup of coffee to you* Here’s to you my boob milking mom at 30,000 feet. Hell, I couldn’t do that with my feet on the ground.
    I agree with you in that the places that are off the beaten path…far from chaos of tourism…is the best places to spend a vacation.

  49. Amazing photos! I’ve got some serious wanderlust right now as well. We haven’t done a plane with Jack yet, and now since we’ve waited so long I’m a bit terrified to try it. We do local trips, but I am yearning to go west and it’s mostly for those beautiful red rocks!

  50. What an inspiring guest post on following your travel dreams! I love how you weave in quotes about the power of wanderlust. Your words about making time for new experiences really resonate. Such a beautiful reminder to seek adventure – thank you!

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