I'm a homebody at heart. My idea of a good time is being home, all snuggled up on the couch with a Dunkin' Donuts medium iced tea (no lemon, no sugar), snacking on Hershey Kisses (sometimes I think I alone keep Hershey in business), and binge-watching the next season of whatever show has captivated my interest. Or reading. Or writing. Or playing with Copper.

But every so often, I get a travel bug. I have an investigative side to my personality, and I am compelled to explore. I don't want to go to Disney World. I want to go to real-life places and discover hidden treasures and solve mysteries. Okay, I'm not looking to be the next lead character in a Dan Brown novel. But I love history. Nothing intrigues me more than going to a location and learning about what happened on that very spot fifty years ago, one hundred years ago, or even one thousand years ago.

I've traveled a lot for work and for fun, both of which can be stressful. I get homesick easily. One glance at Copper's forlorn face, sensing Mom is going on a trip, is enough to send me unpacking! But I also know if I don't push myself to get out there and discover uncharted territory, life will pass me by, and I'll regret missed opportunities.

I've learned that to really live and experience life, you have to put fear aside. That can be really tough to do. My father worked in the airline industry and served in the United States Air Force. We flew all the time when my sister and I were kids. So the fear of flying was something that happened later on in my adult life. I can work myself up into a complete panicked state prior to a trip that involves air travel. But I take the trip anyway.

About ten days after 9/11, I was scheduled to travel to Kansas City for a business meeting. I had a connecting flight in Pittsburgh, so that meant two departures and landings. I was terrified. Security at the airport was at an all-time high. I remember walking down the jetway thinking, "Nobody's going to think less of me if I turn around right now and not board that plane." But I also thought, "If I don't get on this plane, I'll never fly again." Needless to say, I boarded the flight and made it safely to Pittsburgh from Philadelphia. I deplaned thinking I had conquered the world. The connecting flight on to Kansas City was then a piece of cake, and from that point forward, I have approached every trip with the same attitude. I don't let fear stop me. Not with travel. Not with anything.

I've visited quite a few destinations, and I'm proud of myself for traveling as much as I have. It isn't always easy for a homebody like me. But I take a deep breath, say a quick prayer, and head on out to my next adventure. Once I'm there and after I get home, I'm always glad I did! I've met some amazing people on my travels, some of whom became my dearest and cherished friends. The memories I've made on my journeys are some of the best—and quite often, life-changing.

Photographs from my destinations coming soon!