“Your traveling days are over.”
Do you know how many times I heard that, or something similar, from people when they learned I was pregnant with my first child almost a decade ago? Family members, friends of friends, anyone who knew of my traveling ways, felt the need to chime in to let me know I wouldn’t be able to travel anymore because I was starting a family.
Thanks to those naysayers, The Working Mom’s Travels is celebrating its fifth anniversary. On January 12, 2011, I published the first post on my then-new blog. I’d been blogging for seven years by that time but decided to create a new outlet with a new focus. My only objective back in 2011 was to show that I didn’t have to stop traveling just because I was having kids. I set out to show that not only is traveling with children possible, it’s also enjoyable and enriching. At the time, it seemed that other family travel blogs I’d come across were run by stay-at-home moms or work-from-home moms. I was, and still am, neither. I work outside the home and have been in the same career field for almost twenty years. Not only did I want to prove that I could still travel after having kids, I felt it necessary to prove that I could also balance a career on top of it all. So, The Working Mom’s Travels was born.
Back then, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I just wanted to write about my travels with my small, young family. And then I learned that bloggers could go on something called a press trip, where they’re hosted by a destination or other organization, and then they write about the experience afterward. I was intrigued but didn’t pursue anything because – well, I was the new kid on the block. So I happily kept up my blog and almost two years later, trip invitations started coming in and partnerships were being proposed. It wasn’t my intent when I started the blog, to just travel for free, but I thought, “Well, if everyone else is doing it, why can’t I?”
I’ve been on my share of press trips, been treated to complimentary tours and experiences, and they all have helped get The Working Mom’s Travels to where it is today. The same can be said of my readers. If there was no one to read what I write, this whole endeavor would be one giant flop. So, as my 5th anniversary approached, I started thinking of ways to thank my readers and supporters, while also continuing partnerships with organizations I’ve previously collaborated.
Now, about this giveaway…
Visit Springfield (Illinois) came up big for me – again. If you’ve followed along at all within the last two years, you know that my daughter, Lucia, is head-over-heels in love with Abraham Lincoln. We traveled to Springfield in October of 2014 so Lucia could get her fill of all things Lincoln. She was over the moon! For this reason, Springfield will always be a special place for my family and me. A few months later, I connected again with Visit Springfield for the legendary Drinkin’ With Lincoln tour, for which I partnered with my longtime friend, historian, and beer aficionado, Liz Garibay, of History On Tap. And now, in honor of The Working Mom’s Travels 5th anniversary, Visit Springfield has offered an incredible prize package for one of my lucky readers: 2 nights at Candlewood Suites in Springfield and 4 passes to the incomparable Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum!
Candlewood Suites is part of the Intercontinental Hotel Group and is an excellent option for traveling families. All suites are equipped with a full kitchen, which is key when traveling with young children. It also helps you to save a few bucks on dining, since you can prepare your own meals as if you were at home. The Candlewood Suites Springfield property also features a free laundry room for guests, a fitness center, a business center, and the Candlewood Cupboard for provisions. As far the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, there is nothing else like it! I’ve visited twice now and will gladly return again and again. The museum is beautifully curated and laid out in such a way that visitors get to follow Lincoln’s life from his childhood days on the Indiana frontier to his funeral procession. The exhibits are so well done and appropriate for all age groups. When I visited with my family, my daughter was 5 and my son was 1, and they both were captivated. Plus, there is a special area just for children: Mrs. Lincoln’s Attic. Children are invited to dress up in period clothing; there are Lincoln Logs and a dollhouse-sized replica of the Lincoln family’s Springfield home; a frontier kitchen area; and books and items for children of all ages.
HOW TO ENTER: Just follow the instructions on the widget below. Be sure to include a valid email address – one you actually check – because that’s what I will use to contact you if you win. One winner will be chosen at random and will receive vouchers for two complimentary nights at Candlewood Suites in Springfield, Illinois (expiration January 2017; subject to availability and black-out dates), along with 4 tickets for complimentary admission to the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum. Entry period ends at 11:59pm CT on January 31, 2016.
Lastly, I send out a heartfelt thank you to all of you for continuing to read my blog, follow my family’s adventures, and for your overall support. Huge thanks, too, to Visit Springfield for providing this awesome family prize package. Here’s to another five years of The Working Mom’s Travels!