One of James and my biggest priorities and pleasures with our little family is to travel. There is nothing he loves more than throwing the kids in the car and driving somewhere far away to play for a few days, and as the kids (and our vacation savings account) grow bigger, I can't wait to throw them all on the plane (and throw James some Xanax; and maybe the kids too) and expand our travel map!

In that vein, I keep a little note on my phone of cool places I want to go.  I add to it whenever I see a cool travel article or a friend posts pictures from somewhere particularly amazing.  This is how we found Palo Duro Canyon state park last year (a coworker mentioned it) and how Platvices Lake, Croatia made it on the list (friend posted pictures so beautiful they looked fake on facebook).  Let me know if I'm missing anywhere we someday need to be!

Notable Places I've been:
  • England: London
  • France: Paris 
  • The Netherlands x 2: Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Utrecht, everywhere in between
  • Belgium: Brussels 
  • Germany: Heidelberg, Rothenberg, Munich, Black Forest
  • Switzerland: Lucerne, Interlaken
  • Austria: Salzburg, Lake District
  • Italy: Venice, Florence, Pompeii, Sorrento, Rome/Vatican City
  • Greece: Athens, Poros
  • Belize: scuba diving on coast
  • Hawaii: O'ahu, Waikiki beach
  • all the heck over the US; I grew up camping in a trailer pulled behind our big brown van and it was awesome.
Places James and I have been together:
  • Jamaica
  • NYC; Washington, DC; Chicago (duh); San Francisco
  • Destin, Florida
  • all over Colorado, Arkansas, and anywhere else you can drive in a day from Texas
On the list of Places We'll Go:

  • Grand Canyon: James's greatest priority, but I think we're waiting for Cora to get a little older (or we need to go in the next 18 months when she can still fit in the hiking backpack, or both?) 
  • Walt Disney World: I could care less about this, but it's another James priority, which is weird, because normally Disney would encapsulate everything he hates on a vacation, but he went a lot as a kid and in his words, "it's magical." Since he's never used the word "magical" in a non-sarcastic way, I suppose this means we're going.  I'd like to get Cora out of her stroller, so maybe 2018?
  • Pacific Northwest: neither James nor I have ever been to this part of the US and I feel like it has all the things we love in a vacation with the kids
  • Maine: also one of the few states I haven't seen and looks so beautiful!
  • Chicago: show off Landon's birthplace 
  • Boston: only major US city I haven't been to
  • New Orleans, LA: James hasn't been and it can be a fun family vacay (I went as a kid, plus a few non-kid-friendly trips in college)
  • Adirondack Mountains, NY: my uncle's family owns Natural Stone Bridge & Caves and James and the kids would LOVE it.  I went for 2 weeks in middle school and I just wish it was closer so I could have already taken them up there by now.
  • California Coast
  • Pretty much all the national parks, everywhere
  • Utah (and Montana and Wyoming: we have a serious thing for mountain ranges)
  • Lake Tahoe: James has been, I have not, this needs to be fixed
  • Alaska: the only place I am willing to entertain a cruise
  • Hawaii: particularly Maui and a few other islands I missed the first time (this feels like it should be in the international category)
  • Beach trip: we're not big beach people, but the kids need to see the ocean and I prefer it not be from Galveston (update: we're headed to Bluefields Bay Jamaica in August 2015!)
  • Spain: missed this one on my long Europe trip after college and can't wait to take a family trip over there; this may be our first European trip, eta 2018?
  • Portugal: my parents when there a few years ago and it was stunningly beautiful
  • Sweden: of course
  • Finland: seeing the Northern lights is like my Grand Canyon
  • Iceland
  • Croatia: Platvices Lake specifically.  Google it; it will blow your mind.
  • Scotland: You can't have read as many Scottish highlander books as I have and not have it on the list. Maybe I can get James into a kilt...
  • Ireland
  • Morocco 
  • Brazil
  • Argentina
  • Vancouver and various places in Canada (James's mom was born and raised in Canada and he went there several times growing up; even he admits there are a number of places we need to see)
  • A hut over the water of an amazing beach: Fiji, Bora Bora, Maldives- I just need to hit one: this trip will be saved for when the kids are older/in college and I go can with JP alone. 
  • Lower priority, but I'd also like to revisit a bunch of the European countries I've already been to, this time with James and the kids along.  Or we'll do this after the kids leave home and embark on their own college-era European travels.
    • France: I didn't go beyond Paris and want to see Versailles and some cities in the south of France.  
    • Italy: loved it all; James needs to see it and I think it would be great when the kids are tweens and teens.
    • Germany: maybe the most child-friendly to me and I loved the black forest and Neuschwanstein Castle
    • Austria: salt mine tour! one of the coolest thing I did the whole time I was in Europe
    • Greece: also kid friendly, and there are a tone of coastal cities I still need to see


  1. Fun! I love travel planning. I'm currently living in Italy on sabbatical with my husband and two young kids. We've been trying to balance seeing as much of Europe as possible while it is cheap! and easy! and without jetlag! We've taken the kids to a number of places on your list and just returned from Valencia, Spain. I can't recommend it enough as a family destination. There are beautiful gardens running through the city that allow you avoid navigating through traffic (they are the old riverbed- so set below the street level), beaches, a fantastic old city with towers, palaces, and cathedrals, an amazing zoo, aquarium, and science center. So much to see and do in such a compact location and everything was family friendly- plus the weather was great and prices were reasonable. Spain, Greece, and Italy have definitely been the most kid-friendly countries we've visited. Kids are welcome anywhere with open arms...I'm pretty sure in Greece, you get better service with kids then without. Sorry to blather on, but had to add my two cents about Valencia and Euro travel with kids. Sarah

    1. This was such a great comment! And Valencia is TOTALLY on the list now. JP's great dream for our family life was to live overseas, but at this point, I can't quite see how either of our jobs would send us there, so we're just going to have to travel a lot instead! So excited for you and your family to do so much traveling while you're there!

  2. You should put Iceland in your list. I've never been, but it's moved to the top of my priority list since I read Lauren's (of Aspiring Kennedy) rave reviews. It has everything-- stunning natural beauty, European sensibility and style, outdoor adventures, and city break potential. Lauren makes it sound totally doable with kids:

    1. Iceland is definitely on my list- I'm not sure how it got left off above. It looks so amazing!

  3. You have got to come to Ireland. Great scenery, friendly people and loads to do.

    1. Yay! I love all of those things.

  4. Above the Law has a page that says "US lawyers rotating to overseas post are usually securities lawyers'"

    So there may be work - you could always ask for an exchange to the Securies Exchange Commission in New Zealand, or go and lecture at a University in England or Australia or Europe while James coaches swimmers.