Life Lessons - Breanna Rose | The Vow To Travel

If I’m being completely honest, this winter was a tough one for me. And not just because it was endlessly freezing ( literally 150+ days below zero here ), but mostly because the feeling of being cooped up was overwhelming. Over the past six months or so, I’ve continually blamed the weather, threw up my hands, and stayed put. I got comfortable and simply attributed my lack of motivation to good old mother nature. But you know what? It was my own fault. I was the one who allowed myself to feel cooped up and not live life a little more adventurously. Even in the bitter cold.

After all, one of my favorite days this winter was when Michael and I headed over to Minnehaha Falls, which was frozen and beautiful, for a little hike. The trails down were closed because of pure ice covering the stairs … but we chose to go anyway. I literally slid the whole way down, grasping a small railing. And let’s not even talk about the trek back up. That was intense and scary. But I did it, and Michael and I laughed the entire way, despite our frozen fingers and toes. It was one of the few times this season I didn’t let the cold get me down. Instead, I punched it in the face and enjoyed the day.

So what does this all mean?? Well, with much warmer temps on our horizon and the allure of summer inching it’s way closer, I’ve vowed to change my perspective next time around. Sure, it was fun cozying up by the fire and binge watching True Detective on the coldest of days, but I now realize that I need more laughter. More adventure. Instead of day-dreaming about road trips south or vacations in Europe, I’ve promised myself to actually do it. Travel is addicting. We all feel it, crave it, and live it up every chance we get. So instead of making dumb excuses, I’m hitting the road more. This is the time to do it. I’m still young and don’t have certain priorities that’ll make it more difficult in the future. So why wait? Let’s go.

PS. You can bet Michael is going to read this post and hold me 100% accountable for all that’s been said. And now he’s probably off planning our next trip. ;)

  1. Jin says:

    I also binge watched true detective all couped up – I couldn’t resist the Mcconaissance. he he.. and we didn’t even have Minnesota weather, so I feel more guilty. You’re right about priorities… def. don’t want to travel with a screaming baby! I’ve been thinking about visiting Charleston for the longest time, now I have no excuse.

    Another great show in case you haven’t heard of it – Stephen Merchant’s “Hello Ladies” – it’s like watching a car wreck every episode. :P

  2. Chelsey says:

    I’m doing Europe in September – come with!

    • breanna says:

      AHHH! Okay. Ha. Michael and I are planning to honeymoon in Europe, so we’ll be there late fall / early winter! Phew.

  3. Kat Curling says:

    That icy little adventurer sounds amazing. Its nice when you can just laugh at something with someone that could’ve been miserable. I wish I had hiked more this winter. The forest is a different kind of beautiful in the winter when its covered in ice and snow. When I was a kid I used to love hiking during the winter because you could always see the fresh rabbit and deer tracks in the snow.

    I’m right along with you on this. I spent the whole winter working and tv binging and now I’m ready to get out and get in shape and start traveling. Traveling is something I’ve wanted to do my whole life but I’ve finally put my foot down and said “I’m just going to do it”. =D

    • breanna says:

      Yes, let’s do it. And for sure winter hikes can be beautiful. :) I can totally do it on 30 degree days easily and have always loved that, but I become such a wimp when it’s much colder!

  4. Marisa says:

    I went through the same thing during winter and this Spring thaw is totally renewing my energy. Can’t wait to hear about all your adventures soon. :)

    • breanna says:

      Exactly! I feel so renewed, too. Ready to go! I hope I can keep this attitude all the way until next winter and just push through. :)

  5. Yes, yes! I am so over this winter. I too want to travel more, I just have to get over my anxieties of “not enough time” or “not enough money”. This year I think shorter weekend trips are in order – we’re hitting Austin, TX, in a couple weeks!

    • breanna says:

      That’s my excuse process, too. We may have the funds to do a nice small trip, but I still say “ehh, let’s save it for something bigger / something else!” And then before you know it, we go on no trips at all. Gotta get over that …

  6. Jenna says:

    I didn’t realize you were based in Minnesota too! We moved here from Florida last September and since November, I have pretty much done nothing but whine and whimper how brutal the winters are here. Heck, even my blog posts have been veering into the dark side the last few months. *sighs* Your post is the optimism I needed to read; in the meantime, I’m going out to take advantage of everything that is here in this beautiful state while it’s warm … er. :) And maybe I’ll try venturing out and do some snowshoeing next winter because despite of the cold and all, it IS gorgeous out there. Thanks for the push.

    • breanna says:

      Oh My! Florida? So this winter must have been EXTRA tough for you? I promise it’s not always as bad as this one here. Seriously. I remember a few years back, we had a march that was 70+ degrees for a week straight. It was BEAUTIFUL! It’s always just so different. But I love that we get to experience all the seasons here. So as much as I complain, it will always be home. ;)

      PS. What part of Florida are you from? I have family down there and have visited a TON.

  7. Kelly Brito says:

    Like everyone, I’m looking forward the warm days, so I can enjoy the outdoors a bit more. We have lots of travels planned this season, focusing on NOLA and Disney (for the little one!). :)

    • breanna says:

      Yay for NOLA! And Disney. ;) I haven’t been there since the third grade and I would kill to go back ( may do that this year ) and just soak it all up / re-live my childhood dreams. xx.

  8. Jenna says:

    I recently took my first big travel trip with my best friend, to Vegas & LA, and now I have the urge to travel EVERYWHERE. I’m so glad winter is finally over as well, it’s nice to not have to worry about losing extremities within five minutes of being outside!

    • breanna says:

      Haha, perfect! I feel like traveling is always so addicting. Once you go somewhere awesome, you want to go to ALL of the awesome places. I feel ya. And I think many of us are in that boat. ;)

  9. Jensen says:

    travel adventures are definitely the best. I try to do one big trip every year and then a handful of mini/weekend adventures. even something so simple as driving a bit out of the city and spending the day completely immersed in nature is good for my soul.

    there’s a great interview with Alastair Humphreys on the great discontent. he’s all about adventuring and encouraging people to go on little micro-adventures — definitely a good read!

    • breanna says:

      Thank you for telling me about the interview. I will have to look it up! I am with you, though. I think one major trip a year and then several mini ones are SO needed. That’s kind of the route I’m hoping to take through the next year. :)

  10. Yay for adventures ! I actually haven’t been checking in here a lot lately because of a crazy last minute adventure I decided to hop on. 3 months in New-York !! It’s been insane organizing the whole thing but I’m so excited right now. I’ve always been the settled type, but then I thought, let’s do it !
    I’m glad to hear you’ll travel more around next year ! Because, also, let’s not forget it’s maybe one of biggest perks of being a freelancer ! Come visit me in Amsterdam

    • breanna says:

      I’m SO excited for your travels! Amazing. And I totally want to visit Amsterdam. We are actually toying with that city for part of our European Honeymoon excursion … so … it could happen.

  11. Oooh yeah, I can SO relate. Everyone around me was going on extended vacations left and right and all I could say was ‘Lucky!’ (in a whiny 12 year old voice) because I hadn’t planned ahead enough to plan a trip for myself. Definitely planning on NOT making that mistake again! I think your travel posts will help me too. :)

    • breanna says:

      Ha! Yes, I like to plan, too … so it’s tough to be like “let’s go somewhere!” on a whim. I’ve already got some ideas and promise to plan. Let’s both do it!!

  12. Jess says:

    I think another good solution to the winter blues is to pick up a hobby that’s winter-specific so that it will give you something to look forward to and “make the most of winter” because it’s season dependent. Things like skiing (downhill or cross-country), skating, snowshoeing, winter hiking and photography, or even snow tubing are very difficult to do the rest of the year ;) Curling is a really fun sport to play and it’s very easy to pick up with no prior experience… or you could get into following a local sports team (hockey, basketball, etc.) and go out and watch some games. I know a lot of the things I mentioned are active or athletic in nature (and also literally snow or ice dependent) but I think the key to enjoying winter is to find activities that embrace the season. Dive in head first, you know?

    I say this because I’m someone who always has a future trip planned, and sometimes I find it difficult to stay in the moment and appreciate what I currently have because I’m all “zomg! trip is so soon! can’t wait! i hate it here!” and then once the trip is over, I feel quite lost and go through a funk until I put the plans for the next trip in motion. Wash, rinse, repeat.

    This winter I took up curling, went downhill skiing more than I had in the past 3 years and got yaktraks so I could run outside in the ice and snow. Although it was definitely a rough, rough, rough winter… I feel like I got a lot out of it and am excited for more skiing and such next year! :)

    • breanna says:

      Love this, Jess! We live close to a ski hill and I regret not trying it out this year. I haven’t done it for YEARS so I think I was a bit nervous, maybe?? I typically just like hiking or going for walks outside when it’s not below zero. We did that a ton LAST winter, but not this one. Gotta pick it up again!!

  13. I feel like you just wrote what has been going through my mind all winter. It’s definitely been a tough one and I’ve sat and worked or binge-watched tv in my pajamas too many times to count. You are right – we have no one to blame but ourselves! Here’s to making it all happen, instead of wishing it would happen. Great post, Breanna!

  14. Macy says:

    I have always loved traveling, but since I went to Europe last summer I have had the travel bug since the day I got home. I need to go everywhereee!! I hope you stick to your vow!

    • breanna says:

      Yeah, same. Last year was the first time I ever set foot in Europe and ever since, it’s been a crazy call to go BACK. Gotta do it.

  15. Quyen says:

    Sounds like you need a visit to Greece. Zipping around the islands on a moped will give you the adventure you need. :)

  16. I think it’s a “winter” state of mind, because even in Florida (where we hardly had a cold day!) I feel like I’ve been cooped up and have been itching to get out. So, I planned some trips. France, Norway, Napa Valley this summer (so far), and a move to New Zealand to look forward to in October. I get severely restless feet if I stay in one place too long. The traveler’s life is the one for me! :)

  17. Kadie says:

    I saw this on Instagram, but I’m even happier to read the full post. This is SO TRUE and especially as creatives, so vital for staying fresh and inspired. I love that the instinct to have adventures and travel to new cultures seems so close to the hearts of so many creatives! Just the act of experiencing someone else’s culture and way of life makes us much more effective visual storytellers — and isn’t that the point? Bravo for coming to this conclusion and I’ll be holding you to it as well! 2014 is the year of new ventures. Why not tack on some new places as well?

  18. As a Cali girl, I can not imagine 150+ sub zero temps! I too would seriously be going stir crazy! We hope to travel to Spain next summer! I hope I hope :)

  19. Andreina says:

    “I’m still young and don’t have certain priorities that’ll make it more difficult in the future.” That same thinking helped me pull the trigger and move to London from Venezuela on January with my newly-husband :0)

    Sometimes we dream and dream (or complain and complain jeje) and maybe all we need to make it happen is ask ourselves “why not?”.

  20. Joy says:

    I definitely agree with you and I love that you take such a proactive stance. However I wouldn’t so hard on yourself since this past winter was truly a bitch. I’m the East Coast which is different from you, but only marginally so.

  21. Katerina says:

    I can so relate to everything you said! There’s not one single day that passes without discussing with my husband or friends about traveling. The fact that i can’t go anywhere at the moment is so frustrating the least

  22. Kate says:

    I was right with you on the stir crazy front, cooped up in my frosty Ohio apartment. This winter truly made me realize just how much the weather can impact one’s physical, social, and mental health…if you let it. I became a bit of a curmudgeon come March but I couldn’t be happier to be back to my normal self. Never again. We Midwesterners are tougher than we look. ;)

  23. Aubrey says:

    I look forward to reading about your travel adventures. I truly believe that travel is the greatest education around. A few months ago we bought and moved into an RV, to live on less and travel full-time. We’re excited to make our first trip to a ‘new to us’ place, and look forward to all the adventure we go on.

  24. Sally says:

    Yes definitely! Blaming stuff on the weather really does no good. I’ve actually managed to travl a lot recently and I swear it’s so good for the soul, and super inspiring too!

  25. Jessie says:

    Such a lovely sentiment. I caught the travel bug in college and after studying abroad, there is no cure. But then I graduated and started in a great but demanding job where I didn’t have time or resources to be traveling. It wasn’t just a season of weather, but instead a season of life. It was frustrating watching the years since my last passport stamp slip by. I’m now just starting so see travel as adventures big AND small, as you describe here. Little excursions in my current city are just as impactful. Patience is finally paying off though, as I’ll be traveling to (and volunteering in) Swaziland this summer! And then husband and I are planning to venture to my study abroad alma mater – Cambridge University – sometime in 2015.

  26. DJ says:

    I actually thought I was going to die going up the stairs at frozen Minnehaha falls! I love what you said about punching winter in the face — that’s exactly what we did (including going to a concert at the Como Zoo Conservatory during the first polar vortex… my husband wanted to kill me!).

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