Gretchen

Gretchen

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Travelers at Heart

Jill and I share a passion for travel.  Both of us spent time living abroad (Jill in Thailand and me in Chile) for some time after college.  We continue to love traveling together.  We just got back from a two-week trip with my parents and brother to England, and then a few days on our own in Ireland.  So, fresh off this trip, we thought it’d be fun to put together a little interview to explain what we love so much about travel.

What first got you excited about travel?

Gretchen: I grew up going on road trips with my parents and brother.  We’d drive from our home in rural Minnesota out to National parks like Yellowstone or the Black Hills, we’d stop at every State Capitol building we passed.  We’d sing songs together and play games like 20 questions.  It was a great way to get to know the country and spend time together.

Jill: My love of travel has grown out of my international experiences.  My very first trip outside the U.S. was to El Salvador during my freshman year of college.  It was life altering.  I have found that the world both shrinks and expands when you travel.  On the one hand, I have become acutely aware that people are people wherever you go – we share similar hopes and dreams for belonging, purpose, and happiness for our lives and for the lives of our loved ones.  On the other hand, travel has also granted me access to beautiful expressions of hospitality, humor, love, and friendship in contexts that are completely unfamiliar and foreign to me.  Through it all, travel has increased my empathy and filled me with more compassion and curiosity than I could imagine. 

Enjoying an assortment of Thai food with our Thai friends
Friends welcome us with a feast in Thailand

What is one of your favorite places that you’ve traveled to and why?

Gretchen: In the U.S., I love Seattle.  The seafood is amazing and I love riding ferry boats around the tiny islands.  Outside of the US, I loved visiting Brazil when I was in college.  The beaches are beautiful- I couldn’t believe the stunning blue of the ocean.  I loved visiting the rain forest and going out dancing with the people in Rio!

Jill:  Well since Gretchen took one of my top picks, I’ll go with somewhere really local – the North Shore in Minnesota.  We are so blessed to have such awesome opportunities to be outdoors in really beautiful settings just a couple of hours away.  The hiking is fun, the waterfalls are pretty, and the pie is not to be missed.  Even our pup, Petunia, who excels in being a couch potato, loves the North Shore.  Outside of the U.S., Egypt is quite memorable for the looooong history that exists there.  Plus, crawling through one of the pyramids was pretty darn cool!

Riding bikes on Stanley Island in Vancouver, British Columbia
Riding bikes on Stanley Island in Vancouver, British Columbia

What is one thing you always make sure to do when you travel?

Gretchen: Eat local foods!  I love trying new foods and traveling is an awesome way to do this.  Local spices and vegetables can teach you a lot about a culture.  Also, its usually delicious.

Jill: Again, I second Gretchen on the food.  But also, I love to take photos!  Photos of the foods, the sights, and the people – I love to capture it all.  My memory isn’t the best, so having photos that tell a story will be something I thank my younger self for twenty, thirty, and forty years from now!

Jill, Gretchen, and Petunia on the North Shore of Minnesota
Even Petunia likes to travel when we go to the North Shore of Minnesota

What will travel look like after you adopt?

Gretchen: I hope we can travel a lot as a family!  Not only exploring Minnesota together, but I hope we can travel around like my family did growing up and I hope that we can learn together about new places.  Jill and I already do this: taking a weekend up on the North Shore near Duluth or a day out to Stillwater.  We like to explore together and can’t wait to teach our kid(s) all about this.  What a joy it will be to notice what new things we see through their eyes!

Jill: Because travel embodies so many of the values that Gretchen and I hold dear, I also hope our travel adventures will continue as our family grows.  And if that means getting to shop for cute little person luggage, then all the better!  J

But enough about us!  What about you?  What fun travels have you had lately?  Where do you dream of traveling?  Leave a comment below!

<3 Gretchen (and Jill)

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