Some people make resolutions on New Year’s Day. Not us. We make reservations. It has become a bit of a tradition for us to sit in bed on New Year’s morning, sip mimosas and finalize vacation plans for the year. The best part of the day is when I get to click the, “complete booking” button.

This year, though, was a little different. We booked and started saving for our big trip of 2018 about 18 months ago. Still, we had a lot of planning to do, so our annual mimosa time (we did NOT change that tradition) was full of making travel decisions for 2018. What did we talk about? I’m glad you asked.

More blogging

Our little Postcard Jar blog is quickly growing into more than just a hobby. One of our biggest conversation topics for this new year revolves around how we will create a home business in the travel industry. Last year we dabbled in selling postcards and postcard jars. In addition to keeping some retail options, we are doing some travel consulting, and may even lead a trip or two. Obviously, we’re still trying to figure out a lot of things and in the meantime, we’re working hard on our blog and doing a lot of volunteer work in our community.

More time in Oklahoma

Our first trip of 2018 will likely be back to Oklahoma. We would like to travel to Tulsa to look at school our daughter might be interested in. Of course we’ll have to stop in Pawhuska so we can visit our new friends there, enjoy a chicken fried steak, and sip a Handy’s pop or 12.

Kihekah Ave., Pawhuska, Oklahoma

We fell in love with Oklahoma this year and are excited for our daughter, Meghan, to explore the possibilities of attending nursing school in Tulsa this year.

The great American road trip (or two)

As I write this, the temperature is -3 where we live in Nebraska, which makes us question our life choice of living in the Midwest. As a result, we have talked about taking a road trip south this winter to escape the brunt of the cold. I spent six years living in Mississippi, and Ann lived in South Carolina. We’d each like to take the other on a stroll down memory lane. We’d also like to head to Arizona where Ann spent time living with her dad when she was younger. I’ve heard an awful lot about Arizona; it’s high time we took a trip there so I can see it for myself.

We have really started to enjoy road trips in the U.S. and having the time to stop and see things along the way.

We have really started to enjoy road trips in the U.S. and having the time to stop and see things along the way.

National Track Championships

Ann and I help lead college ministry at our church and several of our college “sons” are seniors on the men’s track and field team so this is their last year to compete. With a more flexible schedule this year, we’re excited to be able to travel to the NAIA national championship meet to see them run.  We’ve booked our hotel for Pittsburgh, Kansas, for the Indoor Championships in March. Now the guys just have to do their part and qualify. The outdoor meet is in Gulf Shores, Alabama, and we’re looking into traveling there in May, as well.

A return to Rochester, Minnesota

Over the last four years, we’ve made more than a dozen trips to Rochester, Minnesota, for Ann to be seen and treated at the Mayo Clinic there. It’s time for her to have a follow up with cardiology to monitor her cardiac sarcoidosis and she will need to have a chest CT to make sure the tumor she had removed from her lung has not returned. With me not at school this year, we’ll likely expand the trip a little and try to see more of Minnesota while we’re up there. One place in particular we’d like to go is Roseville, located between Minneapolis and St. Paul, which makes it an ideal location for exploring the Twin Cities. We also have friends and family in the area we’d love to see.

Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota

The big one

In June, we will set off on our biggest trip of the year, and maybe our lives. It is a 10-night cruise from Italy to Greece and back aboard the Celebrity Reflection. We can’t wait to see the sights of Rome, Malta, Sicily, and Greece and reconnect with some cruise friends we met a couple summers ago. We hope to add a few more days to this vacation to visit other places in Italy like Tuscany and Venice. The best part is we’ve been planning (and saving) for this vacation for almost 18 months, now, so by the time it gets here, hopefully all we’ll have left to do is enjoy it.

Rome, Italy

Conferring with experts

We just learned of a bloggers’ conference in Prague that takes place two weeks after our cruise, so that is a definite possibility. We’ve wanted to visit the Czech Republic for some time, and this might provide the push we need to make the visit. The fact we’d already be on that side of the Atlantic makes it much easier to go.

In September, we’ll head to the Finger Lakes region of New York for another TBEX conference for bloggers and those in the travel industry. That is an area of the country we’ve wanted to explore, as well, and autumn seems like a perfect time for a visit. Along the way we’ll likely take in Niagara Falls and other sights in the region.

TBEX Minneapolis/St. Paul

We attended the TBEX conference two years ago in Minneapolis/St. Paul and made a lot of good connections.

Spending time with our parents

It was such a blessing this year to have time to spend traveling with our parents and we’d like to do more of that this year, as well. We took my mom and dad on a trip through the Nebraska Sandhills last summer and would love to take them even further west (and northwest to Toadstool Geologic Park) if we’re able. We also had a great trip with Ann’s mom to Oregon and she’s already talking about wanting to travel to an away Husker game this year. Speaking of the Huskers …

Steve's parents in the Nebraska Sandhills

Steve’s mom and dad take a minute to enjoy the view across the Dismal River valley in the Sandhills.

Pioneer Woman Lodge kitchen, Pawhuska, Oklahoma

Carol has seen this stove in action on TV many times, and enjoyed checking it out for herself on our trip to the Drummond Ranch near Pawhuska, Oklahoma.

Go Big Red!

As you know by now, we are big Nebraska Cornhusker football fans and look forward to football season every year. This year promises to be extra special as we have a new coaching staff that promises to bring a new scheme and a return to the Husker culture of old. Fingers crossed! We’ll plan our travel schedule around home games and may even try to take in a road game if we can. We hear The Big House in Ann Arbor, Michigan, is an OK place to see a game.

We loved exploring the Pacific Northwest and despite a Husker loss, had a great time at the at Autzen Stadium in Eugene, Oregon.

We love going to Husker road games. Last year we traveled to Eugene, Oregon, to see the Huskers play the Ducks.

Concerts, shows, and attractions

Finally, sprinkled in thought the year, there are a number of concerts and shows we’d like to see. We love everything from the symphony to musicals to modern country music, so we are always looking to see a show. We are lucky to live close to a place like the Lied Center in Lincoln, and we already have tickets to several great shows in 2018.

When we're not traveling, we love to see shows at the Lied Center for Performing Arts in Lincoln, Nebraska.

When we’re not traveling, we love to see shows at the Lied Center for Performing Arts in Lincoln, Nebraska.

The great unknown

It is impossible to know on January 3 where, exactly, the year will take us. We know we have a lot of work ahead as we grow our blog and our business and that will be a big focus of our year. Undoubtedly, 2018 will bring new opportunities that we don’t know about today, and just as assuredly, things will happen that will prevent us from being able to do everything on this list. No matter where the year takes us, we will make the trip together, and that’s what I’m looking forward to the most.


Have you been to any of the places we listed? Is there any place else we should consider? Please let us know in the comments below.

  • What a privilege to be in @visitbentonville this weekend to celebrate the opening of @themomentary and our friend, @addie_roanhorse. Addie’s Osage ribbon work- inspired design is featured on this tower at the Momentary and it is just fabulous! 
This new space opens to the public Feb. 22 and general admission is free, thanks to the generosity of the @waltonfamilyfdn.
  • In @visitmasoncityiowa, you'll find the boyhood home of famous composer Meredith Willson. Perhaps best known for his musical, "The Music Man," Willson based the show in large part on his experiences growing up in his hometown.⁣
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Mason City has kept Willson's memory alive through an extensive museum and convention space, which we got to see on our hosted tour of the town, called The Music Man Square. A part of the experience at Music Man Square is a tour through Willson's childhood home.⁣
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Now is the perfect time to head to Mason City for a visit. Hugh Jackman is set to play Professor Harold Hill in a Broadway revival of, "The Music Man." With that show opening in 2020, all eyes will be back on Mason City.⁣
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@thehughjackman @musicmanbway
  • When the @museumofamericanspeed invited us to come for a complimentary visit, we weren't sure what to expect. ⁣
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Yes, the museum is chock-full of race cars, engines, history, and car-related memorabilia. But it also houses other collections like one of old lunch boxes.⁣
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We had so much fun standing and taking in the lunch boxes, looking and trying to find the ones we had when we were kids. Ann had "Charlie's Angels" and Steve had "Super Friends." ⁣
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If you're ever near Lincoln, Nebraska, check out the Museum of American Speed. It's a true hidden treasure in the midwest. ⁣
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What kind of lunch box did you carry to school? Any kids of the 70s and 80s who had the ones we had?
  • Sometimes you find things in your own backyard.⁣
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Just up the road from our home in Crete, Nebraska, we found the National Museum of Roller Skating. Our curiosity piqued, we stopped in and took a look around. There we found the world's largest collection of historical roller skates, costumes, and memorabilia. ⁣
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It took us back to our childhood and spending time at the roller skating rink (do kids even skate anymore?). We remembered crossing over on the turns for the first time and bending at the knees for "Downtown" by Petula Clark. So many great memories. ⁣
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Sometimes, we focus so much on getting away that we forget that we have some really interesting places close to home, as well. The next time you feel a hankering to go somewhere, maybe try going down the street. You never know what treasure you might find and what memories it evoke.
  • This was our Valentine’s Day dessert last year. Chef Kurtess Mortensen at The Pioneer Woman Mercantile created this memorable dish he called “Fat Elvis.” It was a chocolate bread pudding, served alongside banana brûlée and caramelized peanuts then topped with marshmallow cream, homemade peanut butter ice cream, and a candied bacon garnish. We are giddy with anticipation to see what he comes up with tonight! We are budgeting our calories accordingly. 😉
  • “Actually, the best gift you could have given her was a lifetime of adventures.”
– Lewis Carroll
  • It's been a long winter. I need to see flowers again! Are you with me?Let's talk about these flowers. ⁣
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We are often asked about our favorite place we've ever visited. While that question is hard to answer, we almost always mention Tallinn, Estonia, as a contender.⁣
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Estonia has an interesting history. Conquered in 1227 by Denmark, it never again enjoyed independence until  1920. That freedom was short lived, however, as the Soviet Union occupied the country in 1940. Finally, in 1991, Estonia regained its independence and has remained free ever since. The country joined NATO in 2004. ⁣
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Visiting Estonia, we could see the remnants of Soviet control. Large block buildings dominate the landscape. They are of Soviet Communist design: utilitarian in nature with no thought given to design. They look just like the buildings you've seen in movies about the Soviet Union. ⁣
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Now free, Estonians have done what they can to erase the gray days of Soviet control. The Soviet-style buildings are painted bright colors, and flowers abound in the streets. The people are warm, cheerful, friendly, and welcoming. ⁣
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Yes, Estonia is a wonderful country, and we can't wait to return.
  • Each year from late February to early April, hundreds of thousands of Sandhills Cranes migrate through Nebraska on their way north to their breeding grounds. It's considered one of the greatest spectacles in nature, so thousands of people come to experience this incredible time.⁣
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We traveled to Kearney, Nebraska, one of the best cities for crane viewing, last year. Because the best times to view the cranes is sunrise and sunset, we found ourselves with some free time during the day. It turns out that Kearney has a lot to offer in terms of things to do.⁣
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Scroll across our highlights on Instagram, and you'll find the stories highlights we made during our time there. On our blog (link in bio) you'll also find a post we wrote with ideas for 20 things to do in Kearney while you wait on the cranes. ⁣
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Put crane viewing on your bucket list. It really is one of the most amazing experiences we've ever had in nature. And don't worry about being bored between sunrise and sunset--Kearney has too much to offer.

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