• Sarah S.

Planning A Trip To Santa Rosa, CA


Planning Stage


Bam! We have scheduled a mini-vacation to visit my dad and step-mom in Northern California. We are looking forward to getting away. Our last get-together with my parents was back in 2016 for Christmas. They live in beautiful Santa Rosa, in the heart of wine country. Our trip is a four-day, five-night jaunt.

Accommodations in Santa Rosa


My parents have extra bedrooms for all of us and will be providing accommodations for our visit.


I planned this trip before my knowledge of the nomadic lifestyle, or I would have scheduled it for a long-term visit. At this point, it is for the best, as my husband, Anthony, is working from home on a job that wouldn’t allow him to leave the rendering machines in our home office. We are working to change this, but he does work from home most of the time. Unfortunately, the large sizes of his files require the fastest internet and an abundance of storage.

Santa Rosa After The Wildfires


As far as the trip goes, it will be an eye-opener to see Santa Rosa after the wildfires of October 2017. It was devastating to see the city that I remembered as a teenager, so vibrant and green, ravaged to char and ash like the apocalyptic aftermath.


The last time I was in Santa Rosa was about fifteen years ago. We always found short-term vacations to be expensive and difficult for Anthony to get the time off. Typically, we do a lot of day trips or overnights with the kids.


Lucky for us, my parents are travelers and the owners of Sunset Travel. They have access to a plethora of timeshares thanks to their Royal Holiday Club membership. They generally come out to see us. We have a blast staying with them in their timeshare. They accommodate us by upgrading to a larger two-bedroom unit or by getting two separate units altogether.

Family Time


I spoke to my dad the other night, and he was ecstatic that we were heading up their way. We are planning to meet with other family members while we are in town. My step-brother, Zack, lives near my parents, and we will be visiting him and his family as well.

Cementing Our Itinerary

The family at my dad's place.

We have plans to go hiking in the redwoods at Armstrong Woods State Natural Reserve. Our kids love to be outdoors, whether it is the beach, hiking, biking, or just finding sticks and stones. We enjoy moving, especially in the setting of a redwood forest.


In addition, we would like to take a trip up to San Francisco for the day. It is about a 45-minute drive north without traffic. Pier 39, Ghirardelli Square, and perhaps Golden Gate Park if time permits it all, would make for a nice day of sightseeing. Growing up in San Francisco, left me with a lot of wonderful memories that I can’t wait to share with the kids.


We are planning a drive along the coast to Bodega Bay after we arrive. We land in Santa Rosa at 9 am, which gives us the day to spend a relaxing day along the water.


I am in the process of researching a rental car. My parents won’t have enough room for the four of us in their car, plus the two of them. It would be great to nab a hotel for the night before we leave, so we don’t have to rush to the Los Angeles Airport at 4 am.

Packing Light

Vincent & Vallen on the bridge inside of the Japanese Tea Garden, San Francisco

All in all, it should be a lot of fun. We are learning to travel with less and plan on bringing one carry-on suitcase each for the trip.


We took a flight to New Jersey about 1 ½ years ago, and we had about seven pieces of luggage, not to mention, a stroller and a car seat. Granted we were there for a wedding, so we probably had more things than usual due to the occasion. But that experience changed the way I plan to travel forever. We stayed at four different places in the five days or so we were there. Lugging all that stuff all over the place was a nightmare. Not to mention when we stayed with family, we took over the living room or any living space with all our belongings.


The stuff seemed to multiply once the suitcases were open. Things were like lava flowing out of their suitcase volcanoes, spewing our contents throughout the house. On this trip, I am planning on wearing and re-wearing if need be. For such a short trip a couple of outfits that can be mixed and matched should be plenty.

Learning To Travel

Vallen at the entrance of the Japanese Tea Garden in San Francisco.

I will admit, I am wet behind the ears when it comes to being a sleek, effortless traveler. But I plan on learning. Our journey is where I start a new beginning in my life. It’s time to live the dream. Let’s get started.


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