I have been “home” for a combined total of 14 weeks this past year. I can confidently say that I have friends all over the United States. I have been to places that I never knew existed and I have met people that have changed my life for the betterMost importantly, I have learned so much about myself and about the inspiring world around me.

I have been to 34 states this past year— via plane, car, train, a 15-passenger van and a tour bus. I have seen the sun rise on the West Coast and I have seen the gorgeous fall colors of the East Coast. I have laughed my way around this country and I have cried myself to sleep in unfamiliar beds. I have physical and emotional scars painted all over my body. I have memories that I can’t put into words and I have nightmares that I hope I’ll soon forget. I have come across people that I wish to never see again and I have come across people that unfortunately, I will never see again. And you know what?

I don’t regret a minute of it.

Do you think you'd regret any of your travel experiences? We didn't think so...

I don’t regret making that wrong turn in Colorado, visiting San Francisco for the umpteenth time or calling the cops on that homeless guy in Portland because he tried to stab the pigeons. I don’t regret stopping at that crooked road side attraction in Northern California, not knowing anyone at that fancy hotel party in Seattle or my preconceived notions about Boise. I don’t regret spending time in Utah with very minimal alcohol, wandering around Park City in the off season or spending hours trying to get to the top of the Colorado Monument. I don’t regret all the time spent with that rude host in New Mexico, taking a day off and binge watching horrendous Lifetime movies or spending way too much money on that helicopter ride over the Grand Canyon.  

Do you think you'd regret any of your travel experiences? We didn't think so...

I don’t regret that humid nine week secluded summer in the Poconos, dancing in the small town streets of Pennsylvania at midnight or my ignorant summer affair. I don’t regret that sweet little Russian girl shoving a pie in my face, all the crappy food I ate last year or walking up and down Route 66 eight times because it reminded me of the film “Cars.” I don’t regret that underwhelming trip to Salem, all the coffee I consumed over the months, or conforming to the “all American ways” of an Air Force base for 5 weeks. I don’t regret New York City giving me anxiety attacks, becoming best friends with my ex-boyfriend’s ex-girlfriend, or the “great idea” I had to drive to NYC in someone else’s car. I don’t regret the ferris wheel ride in Texas, those Nashville secrets, or partying too hard in New Orleans.  

Do you think you'd regret any of your travel experiences? We didn't think so...

Most of all, I don’t regret any of the lessons I’ve learned, the tears I’ve shed, the people I’ve met or the new person I’ve become over the past year. As you can see, my year was full of mistakes, but mistakes help you grow. Mistakes guide you in becoming the amazing person you know you can be and most importantly, mistakes teach you about yourself.

So stop worrying, put yourself out there, follow your instincts, go with the flow and all those other true, yet cheesy idioms. What’s the worst that’s gonna happen? You might have an amazing adventure with a few bumps, bruises and bitter sweet memories to look back on. Just think, this would be a pretty boring post if I wrote about how flawless my year traveling the US went. Not much went as planned at all, but that’s what made it so… perfect.

Do you think you'd regret any of your travel experiences? We didn't think so...


This is guest post by Mandi Kreisher.

Do you think you'd regret any of your travel experiences? We didn't think so... Mandi eats like a 6 year old, shops in the little boys section at Target and sleeps on Disney bed sheets.  She is a self proclaimed cat lady, speaks sarcasm far better than English and loves Josh Hartnett.  Follow her on Instagram @mandiwanders and read about her first world problems at Hardly Grown Up.