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How to Keep That Feeling of Vacation Anticipation All Year Long

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by guest blogger Katina Simonetta Jenkins, merchandising coordinator at Rodale's

Sitting in the airport terminal as we prepared to return from our honeymoon, my husband turned to me and sighed: The trip we had planned, saved for, and savored had come to an end, and WOMP, now it was time to go home. But rather than spending our return flight lamenting the vacation's conclusion--and feeling horribly ungrateful for lamenting such a privilege--we asked ourselves, why does the honeymoon need to end? In that moment, we made a decision to keep the adventures coming.

Every month since, we have planned mini day trips for one another. And though they aren't nearly as extravagant as a honeymoon, we're delighted we've been able to keep up the tradition for nearly 6 years. Yes, we've both spent most of the last few years working long hours at our jobs and not traveling nearly as much as we said we would--but despite that, we've racked up this killer, quirky list of places we may have never experienced if we hadn't made these small outings a priority.

Now we are soon-to-be parents, and yet again we find ourselves at a departure terminal of sorts. We've heard it a hundred times: Life as you know it is going to end when you have kids. But does it really need to? As far as I'm concerned, I'm still on my honeymoon, and the practices we've put into place to keep the monotony of adulthood at bay don't need to end with a new addition to the family. The way we see it, we're going to have one more person to help us come up with harebrained ideas to try--once we master walking and words, that is.

So what have we learned from venturing into antique shops, hidden beach trails, fundraiser 5Ks, obscure book stores, orchards, drive-in movies, monasteries, murder-mystery parties, and vineyards? That it's really hard to get down in the dumps about the end of a trip when another one is right around the corner.

Whether you're a party of one, two, or ten, here are a few guidelines to make sure these adventures (and that happy anticipation you get before each one) become part of your monthly agenda:
  • Be a newbie. Each adventure should center on a place or activity that at least one of the participants has not experienced before. Even if the local art museum isn't your jam, be a trooper and give it a try. You'll be glad when your uncoordinated co-adventurer is happy and willing to accompany you to the batting cages next month.
  • Pass the torch. Take turns planning adventures for one another, so all the responsibility of planning doesn't fall on one person. Have kids? Make it a family affair. Giving kids a vote is a great way to inspire curiosity and an active lifestyle.
  • Surprise, surprise! If it's your month to plan, try to keep the adventure a secret for added excitement--but only if the activity allows. (If your co-adventurer has a fear of heights, he or she might appreciate knowing in advance that you're going rock climbing.)
  • Skip your normal downtime routine. Rather than indulging your Netflix addiction again, skip an episode and take that hour to get out of the house. OITNB will still be there when you get back.
  • Put it in writing. Hold one another accountable for adventure planning by getting next month's outing on the calendar at the conclusion of this month's outing. Before long, you'll be impressed with the list of places you've conquered.
  • Go local. Get helpful. When you live somewhere long enough, you take for granted all the local gems, because allegedly they're not going anywhere. Be a good patron and get to know your surroundings, whether it's a trip to the local farmers market or a few hours volunteering at the nearest animal shelter.
  • Splurge or save. When time and money allow, plan a long weekend in a new city, complete with a detailed itinerary. When you've got too many bills to pay, grab a good book and find a quiet park--the perfect setting to read aloud to one another. (Because whether you're 8 or 38--story time is still the cat's meow.)
  • When in doubt, collaborate. If you're short on the creative and investigative energy needed to come up with a unique idea, brainstorm together. A recent, last-minute adventure collaboration of ours looked like this: "What's name of that new creperie across town?" "Not a clue, but 'sweet' or 'savory' sounds like an adventure to me."
  • Don't say you're too busy. Some months are admittedly worse for scheduling than others, but planning a mini adventure doesn't need to feel like a burden. Keep it short and sweet--that basket of laundry can wait.
Before Katina Simonetta Jenkins became the merchandise coordinator for Rodale's, she dabbled in secondary English education, bridal and jewelry sales, and dance performance. Katina spends her free time hiking, dancing, reading, organizing everything, swimming, writing, DIYing, entertaining, and shopping for groceries in her own backyard. When she isn't cooking wholesome and frequent meals for her hungry hubby and her, ahem, involved (and amazing) family, she can be found tending to her plants and caring for Phoenix, her Aussie puppy, and Poseidon, the family hermit crab.

For more from Maria Rodale, visit www.mariasfarmcountrykitchen.com