Ilona & Darek Take the World: Acadia National Park! Hannah Winsten September 15, 2015 Adventure Travel, Beach Vacations, Food & Drink, Interests, Photography, Weddings and Romance Folks, how many of you wish that you traveled more? RIGHT? I’m with you, my friends. Let’s travel all the time. There are some folks who are basically living the dream, one trip at a time, and this week, we’ve got the special pleasure of introducing you to two of them! That’s right, lovelies. We’ve got two, real-live, travel unicorns in our midst. They’re on the go almost constantly. And they both have fulltime jobs! Who knew? They give me hope, guys. Meet Darek and Ilona, your new, favorite traveling couple. We asked the two of them to give us an inside look at their latest adventure—and to give us some exclusive tips about how you can travel more, just like they do. You’re welcome! Tell us a little bit about yourselves! Ilona: We’re both from Poland, but we’ve lived in the US now for several years. I’m a marketing manager at CheapOair. I love working at a travel company, since travel is such a big part of our lives. (Full disclosure, Ilona sits a few seats down from me at the office. Her travel photos often incite cubicle envy.) Darek: I’m in the wine business, so travel is a big part of my job as well. I need to keep exploring the wine world, developing my knowledge and palate, to stay on top of the industry. Travel has always been a big part of my life—when I was a kid, my family and I traveled as much as we could. Back then, during the 70s and 80s, it wasn’t very easy for people in Poland to travel, but we made the most of it. We were always spending our holidays somewhere! How often do you two travel? Ilona: As much as we can! I still work in an office, so we have to be creative with my limited vacation days. But we take advantage of the weekends and other holidays as much as we can to max out our time. Darek: For some people too much—but for us, not enough. Even a few hours of escape from our ordinary life we can call travel. Ilona: Because travel’s not always about taking flight—sometimes it’s about discovering new places right in your own backyard. What kinds of trips do you like to take? Ilona: I love architecture, so I like site seeing in big cities, and I also love hiking. I like seeing things that are off the beaten path. Sometimes you have to hike to see the real beauty, sometimes you have to drive out to where no one else is going. Darek: I love to meet people from different cultures, so I love spending time in unique cities where I can learn about the culture, see the architecture, and experience the local way of life. I also spent many years working in a New York City restaurant, so tasting the local food is one of my favorite parts! I love hiking and backpacking too—I can spend weeks in the wilderness! Ilona: We both like a mix of urban and outdoorsy, so we’re pretty good about meeting halfway and creating trips that are amazing and unique. What was the most recent trip you took? Ilona: Most recently, we visited Acadia National Park over Labor Day weekend. Darek: I’ve spent 20 years living on the East Coast and have never been to Acadia National Park! The islands are so beautiful—waiting so long was a big mistake! What made you choose Acadia National Park for this trip? Darek: One of my dreams is to visit all 58 national parks in the US. I started on the West Coast, which has a lot more national parks, and have been working my way east. Acadia National Park seemed like the best choice for a quick, weekend getaway—it’s really unique, and it’s only a 10 hour drive from New York. Ilona: Yes—for years we were missing out on this beautiful park that’s just around the corner. We travel a lot on the West Coast, but earlier this year, a colleague at CheapOair visited Acadia, and she was so excited about it that I couldn’t help but look it up on Google. After that, we decided we had to go there. (Shout out to how often CheapOair employees encourage each other to travel! We get around, folks.) What was the highlight of your trip? Ilona: The seals! I love animals, so we took a boat to go see the seals, and we found them! They were all relaxed on a small island, it was so sweet. I took tons of pictures! Darek: I loved the seals too, but for me the highlight of the trip was the hiking. Ilona: Of course it was. (Check out that marital side-eye. These two are adorable.) Darek: We took several, but there are two that I really recommend. One is the hike to the highest point along the North Atlantic Coastline to Cadillac Peak. The view along the hike and from the top was outstanding. Of course, you can drive to the top but why would you do that? You’d miss out on the whole experience. The second one was the hike up Precipice Trail to Champlain Peak. That was something I’ll remember until the end of my days. I don’t think I’ve ever experienced such a difficult hike on the East Coast. There were so many vertical ladders and iron rungs—it was amazing, but I definitely wouldn’t recommend this hike for anybody with a fear of heights. (Count me out, guys.) What advice would you give to travelers looking to follow in your footsteps? Ilona: If you’re headed to Acadia, make sure you try their whole lobster! The best ones we ate were at Thurston’s Lobster Pound. But in general, our motto is, twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So get out there! Darek: We’ve met so many people on our travels, and the most important thing we’ve learned is that, it doesn’t matter how much money you have or how old you are—try to discover new places as often as you can. Those adventures will teach you a lot. Don’t be afraid to travel. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. Have any of you ever been to Acadia National Park? What did you think of it? Let us know in the comments!