When I decided to leave my full-time job as a middle school principal this spring, one of the things Ann and I wanted to do in this interim stage was spend more time with our families. For years, our jobs have dictated when we could travel and how much time we could spend each year with the people we love most.

So, as my colleagues are returning to their offices at school and attending a three-day conference for administrators, we thought it would be nice to take a short road trip vacation with my parents, John and Gayle Teget.

My folks live in Iowa part of the year, but spend the cold winter months in warm and sunny Florida. We don’t get to see them as often as I’d like, so we’re really looking forward to this week’s travels.

As Ann and I have traveled our home state of Nebraska, several towns and attractions have sounded appealing to my mom and dad and we’re excited to have the opportunity to take them to some of those places this summer.

We’re planning stops at Bailey Yard in North Platte, the Nebraska National Forest near Halsey, and Smith Falls near Valentine. We’ll be giving my parents their first view of the incredible Nebraska Sandhills and seeing a few things that are new to us, as well.

We’ll plan to post some updates on our social media pages and will write more complete blog posts about our adventures when we return. We hope you’ll come along for the ride and when you have the opportunities, you’ll go places, too.

  • We walked in to the @elevatepeople store in Kearney, Nebraska, by mistake. We'd been looking for a coffee shop. Elevate wasn’t a coffee shop, but what we found was a store full of beautiful, handmade leather goods. These ethically sourced products were actually produced around the world by artisans who are working to escape poverty. Elevate, a non-profit, provides them with small, low interest loans to start their businesses. When the money is repaid, it is then re-invested into the same community to help another person start a business. It's a purchase you can feel good about.
  • Florida is a wonderful place to go in the winter. There you'll find sunshine and warmth while much of the rest of the country is experiencing the chill of winter. We love seeing the plants and flowers in bloom when we visit.
  • When our daughter, Meghan, was younger, she wanted an affordable, easy to store souvenir from her travels with her mom. She settled on pencils. Over the years, she's collected a couple hundred pencils from various destinations including the ones that others have given to her. She keeps them in a jar in her apartment, creating a great conversation piece.
  • We won't lie, our cruise aboard the @CelebrityCruise Edge was more about the ship than the destination. We loved sitting in The Retreat while watching others head ashore for excursions. But let's be honest, we really loved just sitting in the Retreat, soaking in the beautiful sun.
  • There is nothing quite like preparing a perfect dish in your own kitchen. Courtesy of @thechefandthedish, Ann prepared a traditional Spanish paella with Cyndi Kane, a.k.a. Ree Drummond's BFF Hyacinth. Sure, learning to make the dish was fun. Savoring the meal, and the friendship that went with it, was the best part of that great afternoon.
  • In the chilly, pre-dawn light of an early spring day on the Platte River in central Nebraska you can be sure of one thing: soon you'll witness one of nature's greatest spectacles, tens of thousands of Sandhill Cranes taking to the air for a day of foraging for food. If you have never witnessed this incredible sight, you must make sure you @visitnebraska so you can experience this for yourself. @visitKearney
  • A good cocktail is an experience. Instead of just having a drink to throw back, we love savoring a well-crafted beverage. Something we love about @celebritycruise is that good cocktails are easy to find. We aren't huge drinkers. Instead, we are strong believers in quality over quantity.
  • Something that always impresses us is the sheer size of a cruise ship. The fact that something that large can move and float and provide great service never ceases to amaze. But one of our favorite views is when we're docked next to another ship, and walking down a pier suddenly feels like walking through a canyon.

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