Welcome to Maps & Merlot!

Hi there! I’m excited to share a bit about myself and my passion for travel. My name is Melissa, and I’m a travel lover that just so happens to hold a full-time corporate job. Yes, I have a job, but having a job doesn’t signify an end of my love for adventure. With 15 vacation days, 10 market holidays, and approximately 104 weekend days in a year, that gives me 129 days a year to tackle my ever-growing “wanderlist.”

Despite holding down a traditional 9-5, I’ve made it a priority to see as much of the world as possible. Whether it’s a quick weekend getaway or a multi-week adventure, I love immersing myself in new cultures, catching epic sunrises, and making unforgettable memories. As someone who has traveled extensively, I’ve learned a lot about planning the perfect trip, from finding the best deals on flights and hotels to creating detailed itineraries that allow for both relaxation and adventure (with a strong dose of early morning wake-ups). In this blog, I’ll share more about my travel experiences and my mission to inspire others to see the world. So, grab a cup of coffee (or a glass of wine, depending on the time of day!), and let’s get to know each other better.

What’s Different About This Blog?

I’ve read all of the travel blogs about people quitting their jobs, selling their possessions, and doing the “slow travel” thing for years at a time. But I’m not sure that’s me…I love the comforts of living near my family, having a career I enjoy, and being able to go home after work to a nice pot of home cooked spaghetti and garlic bread with my husband and adorable puppy.

But still–I need travel in my life, and I need it in a major way. My life isn’t complete without embarking on new adventures, trying local cuisine, and taking in all of the crazy sights our world has to offer.  My question has always been – Is it possible to bring this vision alive while juggling a “normal life”? According to some of the other travel blogs out there…no. However, I’m not the kind of person to take no for an answer, so I set out to develop a travel style that suits my life and lets me experience the best of both worlds.

I know there are other people out there in the same boat as me. I’m here to tell you that it is 100% possible to live your wildest travel dreams, but only if you make it your priority. Despite the most normal life in the world, I am determined to live a life of adventure and culture–whether that means hopping over to New Orleans for a long weekend of chowing down on gumbo, hiking through the beautiful mountains of Norway, or taking a once in a lifetime safari through Tanzania.

What’s the Goal of Maps & Merlot?

So here it is: this blog is my attempt to balance normal life with the craziest travel dreams. My goal is that my adventures will inspire others to explore the world without feeling pressure to go the extreme “buy a one-way ticket and live in a van” route. I want this blog to serve as a practical resource you can actually use to make your travel dreams come true, even if you’re a corporate girly with a whole bunch of boring real-world responsibilities like me.

As I wrap up this intro, I hope you’ve enjoyed getting to know me and my travel philosophy a little better. Travel is my passion, and I truly believe that it’s one of the most enriching experiences we can have in life. Through my blog, I hope to share my love of travel and inspire others to explore the world, even if they have a full-time job like me. Whether you’re dreaming of a luxurious getaway or a budget-friendly adventure, I’m here to encourage you to plan the trip of a lifetime. So, let’s make some travel plans and create unforgettable memories!