Wanderlust (Noun): a strong, innate desire to rove or travel about.
Growing up in the Midwest means you are in the middle of everything. It’s pretty much the same distance to either coast, same for the south to the north. We have influences but our own thing going at the same time. I never knew traveling or vacation until I was in middle school, as my biological parents were barely able to feed us three meals a day and keep a roof over our heads. I always dreamed of moving away; far away from all the memories that I want to forget. But, as I’ve grown up, I’ve realized Kansas City is an amazing place to live. You can’t run from memories by leaving the place they happened. Plus, I married an awesome guy who has a great family that I wouldn’t want to leave behind just for different scenery. Traveling has honestly just reitterated the fact that this is a great place to live. The people, food, big city but close to plenty of nature vibe, in addition to the affordability and ease of traveling to different states is hard to find. I would like to live somewhere else eventually, but for now I am content with traveling.
My grandparents moved to Ft Lauderdale when I was entering 8th grade, so for Christmas break we loaded all 8 of us and our dog into our purple mini van and drove 22 hours straight to visit them. It was the first time I had seen any type of scenery beyond the midwest flatlands and woods. Palm trees are so different from oak and walnut trees and the air tastes slightly salty. But the ocean, ohhh the ocean. It was mesmerizing the first time I set eyes on it; so powerful and expansive. I had never experienced anywhere so beautiful, and I felt my world open up. I couldn’t wait to see anywhere and anything.
Since Florida, I have had the opportunity to do a few other trips. Most recently was one of my favorite trips ever. My best friend and I flew into Portland, Oregon and rented an RV to drive to Seattle. Now, I really hate flying. Like, really hate it. I have flown a few times and the anxiety has decreased slowly, but I still need a Xanax to get through it. Once we made it to MCI, the fear took over and the excitement was on pause. Chicago was an easy airport to maneuver and we had a very short layover so we didn’t do much besides run from terminal to terminal. Landing in Portland was such a relief, and the excitement was back in play immediately. We had plenty of time to plan this trip so we had put tons of planning into it, but knew that we ultimately wanted no demanding, strictly scheduled type trip either.
Transportation is so much easier in the modern age, with Uber and Lyft being in most big cities, but a new one for us that isn’t offered in KC is ZipCar and ohmygawd is it worth planning ahead for. You have to submit your driver’s license, but that was seriously the hardest thing. I got my card in the mail a week later, which is what you use to unlock the cars. It was so nice to be able to have our own vehicle for as long as we wanted, and be able to drive around with no worries about gas since that’s also paid for. We had a few hours to kill in between our arrival at the airport and the hours to pick up the RV so we took an Uber to the closest ZipCar and drove around Portland. My first requirement was VooDoo Doughnuts. I had done some searching and found out that the store front VooDoo was too far for us to hit up our first day, so looking at alternatives, I found that there was a place called Cartlandia that had a VooDoo cart. Cartlandia was awesome, and there were so many options I wish I would have had the opportunity to try, but I only had eyes for one cart. And I was not dissapointed. I ordered the Maple Bacon, what they are infamous for, and was in donut heaven immediately. I’m not a huge maple fan normally, but this being their specialty, I had to get it, and just wow. I will forever be a Maple Bacon dragon chaser, always on the lookout for that next maple-y bacon-y hit. After our orgasmic donut experience, we went looking for the closest dispensary. They’re everywhere, so it wasn’t hard. It’s legal recreationally, and isn’t taxed so you can get great prices. Luckily for us, we found one that just so happened to be 2 buildings away from our RV rental facility. To kill the rest of our time we headed to Fred Meyer to get groceries and some other necessities, and OMG yall this place is like Walmart, Target, and Trader Joe’s had a baby. It was a wonderland. And so insanely clean. By the time we pulled ourselves out of the store, it was well past the time to pick up our home for the next few days so we headed to our rental place, Cruise America RV. We got the full tour, signed all the papers, then headed back to our ZipCar’s home to drop it off.
Since we had plenty of time to plan out our trip, we had researched tons of things and narrowed down what we had to do, and what we could handle not seeing if we didn’t have enough time. The first thing on my list was Multnomah Falls, which was about a thirty minute drive out of the way of our RV site for the night. It was worth it! After the (terrifying) learning curve of driving on the highway in rush hour traffic through a city much larger than KC in a GIANT RV, we were excited to get to the beautiful scenery of Bridal Veil, Oregon. It all of the sudden went from being super urban, to wooded beautiful mountains and lakes. When we pulled up to Multnomah Falls, I was immediately taken back to that feeling of seeing the ocean for the first time. I had never seen a waterfall before, and it was pretty high up on my bucketlist, so this was a big deal for me. I swear I could feel the power of the waterfall as soon as we got out of the RV. Multnomah is a very tourist-y waterfall. You park in a parking lot, walk past a restauraunt and then immediately see the waterfall, so there is no hiking or crazy maneuvering to get to it. We decided to take the walkway to the bridge to get a better view, and hiked the short distance to the top. It was magnificent. You can feel the mist from the falls, but you aren’t allowed past the fences they have set unless you venture off to hike to the top of the falls. If we would have had more time, we may have done this, but I read it is a pretty long hike, so we enjoyed the view and took pictures from the bridge then headed back to the RV. We still had to drive to Vancouver and figure out how to hook the house up. Now, here is where we found out that we are horrible at directions. We literally went an hour and a half in the wrong direction. The complete opposite direction from where we were supposed to go. Cell service was pretty bad, so our GPS wasn’t working and we thought (obviously incorrectly) that we knew the general direction. So now we were over two hours from our RV site and the sun was setting. Honestly all we could do was laugh.
Once we got to our site in Vancouver, it was pitch black. We were sorrounded by other RVs, and the RV park was surrounded by woods. Since it was past closing time, we picked up our reservation info from the after hours box and found our site surprisingly easily as it was only three spots away from the office. Luckily my best friend is a go getter and figured out how to get the RV all hooked up with me shining the flashlight on my phone. While we were busy figuring out the mechanics, which is ridiculously easy btw, we had a cat venture up to us and I was immediately in love. He was so friendly, and you could tell he was well loved by someone so while I wanted to steal him and take him RVing with us, I loved on him and sent him on his way. After hours of flying (the first flight at 6 am), and driving, we made our beds and passed out right away.