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  • Writer's pictureLeila Gillette

Take advantage of even the “crappiest” duty stations by traveling!

While we have not been fortunate enough to be stationed overseas we have now been to several bases across the United States and one thing that I’d recommend to any new military spouses/families regardless of how “crappy” you might think your new base is, is take advantage of living somewhere different and TRAVEL!

Unfortunately a lot of military duty stations are in small towns & maybe not the nicest of areas. However in every area there is almost always something cool to see or do nearby! You can usually find a lot of cool sites to see or areas to explore for a quick day or weekend trip. I’ve found asking other spouses or looking at the bases outdoor rec site for different trips they offer is a great way to figure out cool things to do nearby.

Google is also very much your friend!

Our first base we were stationed at was Seymour Johnson in small town North Carolina. We were lucky to be close to both beach and mountains so we did quite a few beach days/mountain weekends.

Our oldest Emma at the beach in NC!

Enjoying the North Carolina mountains

My one regret though during our time in NC was not traveling further out to DC/ New York. We were only 4-ish hours from all the amazing sights in those areas and I’m so bummed we missed the opportunity to travel more during our time there.

You’d think we would have learned our lesson when we moved to Florida but I still look back on our time there and wish we would have traveled more. We weren’t huge beach people but Key West was on my list of things to do while we were there and we just never made time for it. We definitely did our fair share of theme parks/Disney so I’m glad we still took advantage of the “Florida experience”.

Because I’ve looked back at the places we’ve been and had some of these regrets, at our most recent base I’m wanting so badly to be better about traveling & exploring.

We are now on the west coast and we have so many different things to see and explore. We haven’t been here even a year and we’ve already been so much better about traveling around to different mountain towns, camping, road trips to National parks, etc. (by the way if you come this way Zion National Park is amazing!).

I’m hoping in the next couple years or however long the military has us here we can continue to explore the areas around us. I’ve seen many military spouses talk about making a bucket list for each base you’re at of nearby places you want to visit while you’re stationed there.

I think that this is such a good way to make the most of having to move around frequently.

While your bucket list might be a little more exciting if you’re stationed in Italy versus those of us stationed in small towns across the US there are still so many cool things to see no matter where you are. I’ve definitely had my moments of feeling mad and frustrated about where I live but at the end of the day you can either decide to sit in that frustration or decide to make the best of it!

I know it can be a bummer to not live in an area you love or that doesn’t have much to offer but traveling/exploring can help a lot. It can also be a great way to figure out where you may want to retire or make your forever home.

I definitely regret the places I didn’t explore in our first 10 years as a military family so if you’re a new spouse/military member my piece of advice is just this:

don’t wait to start exploring!!!

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