Sometimes, you just need to get away – you know what I’m saying? After being horsewhipped by the pressures of daily life, driving a half hour to shop can seem like a vacation. If you have small kids at home, going to the grocery store by yourself can seem like a getaway.
One fantastic way to keep life from getting too mundane is by planning one-day road trips. We don’t recommend overnight trips together unless you are visiting family or traveling with a large group of people where temptation can be avoided. Being alone overnight, plus the excitement of vacation, can lead to regret. You’ll be married soon enough and you’ll be glad you waited. ~wink~
So… back to the topic at hand – day trips! If you can swing an “out of town” Saturday once a month, that’s great. If not, maybe once every three months. If you lived in my town, some ideas would be driving an hour to Roanoke (an hour west) to shop and eat at Red Robin, driving to Smith Mountain Lake (an hour southwest) to enjoy water sports or to just relax on the beach, or to Charlottesville (an hour north) to explore Monticello and eat at The Melting Pot!
For me, a big part of a one day trip would simply be the drive. You have your sweetie all to yourself and you can talk and dream about the future together without anyone interrupting you. Not only that, but the drive is a good test of your patience with each other. You don’t think so? Let the GPS go berserk and see how long it will take for both of you to lose it with each other. (No, there is no specific reason I thought of that particular scenario. ~wink~)
The ride gives you a chance to talk at length about your likes, dislikes, childhood memories, dreams, goals, views on different topics, and much more. You know I am an advocate for doing a lot of talking (and I mean A LOT) before getting engaged. The most connection building part of your day may just be the car ride. If conversation comes to a lull, it may be beneficial to have a list or book of questions and work through them together!
Before taking off on a day trip, unless you are both in need of some serious spontaneity, talk about places you both would like to visit within a one to two hour radius. Make a list of twenty or thirty activities. Don’t think too hard – this is just a brainstorm. When you finish, pick your top six ideas and have your sweetie pick his or her top six. If you are planning on taking a monthly day trip, then you will have an idea for every month ready to go for the year!
If you are not rolling in money, that is ok. These trips don’t have to be expensive. They can include hiking, sight-seeing, or photography. If you work it just right, you may not have to spend much more than the gas it will take you to get there.
Whatever activity you do on your day away, be determined to have a good attitude – even if you are not at all thrilled with your sweetie’s idea of fun. The main point of the day is to connect with your special lady or gentlemen. If you completely hated the events of the day, but connected closer to your honey, would it have been worth it? I’d say so. ~smile~ Most of the time you won’t hate whatever the destination or event is and you may even end up wanting to go there and experience it again!
Make memories. Don’t just go on random trips, but take notes and pictures. Save paraphernalia (e.g., ticket stubs, receipts, etc.) and create a travel scrapbook. Eric and I did not take nearly enough pictures during our courtship and early marriage, and I truly regret it. Learn from us! Take pictures! You may think you will remember details years from now, but you probably will not! Pictures help remind us of another time and place – and who does not enjoy looking through old photos?
Even if all you do is drive twenty minutes to wade in a creek, collect rocks, and go for a walk – get away! Try to live without your phone or iPad for a day. Really take a break from it all. These short times of rejuvenation will give you both something to look forward to and will hopefully help clear your minds. Once you get married, continue with the tradition. In fact, you will probably need to get away more after marriage! ~smile~
What are three places you’d like to visit for a day?