After my trip in May to Maryland, I had convinced myself I needed one more visit to see my family and friends before Thanksgiving. May to late November was simply too long to go without a Family Fix.

I hemmed and hawed for a bit, deciding dates, asking work if I could have a quick trip back to my hometown. I got the go from them, and then I pulled up flights.

Holy. Mother. Of. Pricey.

I couldn’t believe my eyes. Gone were the flights of yesterday, when I could go one-way from Las Vegas to Baltimore for $99 on Southwest. A one-way ticket had nearly tripled since the last time I lived in Las Vegas, two years ago. $240 one-way.

No way.

I tried to figure out a way to get a cheaper fare. I looked at SkyScanner. I searched Kayak. I applied for a Southwest credit card to get my free 20,000 miles (which only gets you one-way). Finally, I decided it just wasn’t worth the hard-earned $500+ to go home for a few days.

That money could pay for an entire vacation.

Yes, I wanted to see my family. But, I also knew there was a good chance they would be out here again before I took my Thanksgiving trip. (As evidenced in July when Mom was in California.) So, I let the idea go.

But, I still wanted to go somewhere before my Big Trip in September. I was in the throws of the denouement of my Las Vegas Honeymoon, and wanted to get out for a little before I became engrossed in the panic that had begun to set in. The panic of being stationary.

It all happened so quickly.

One night, Abby, Kristin and I were having a conversation about blogger ethics. We’re talking 50+ threads on my Gmail before we said “goodnight.”

“We should have this conversation over wine,” one of us had suggested. I don’t remember which one of us had the brilliant idea. Knowing us, it is a 33% chance of any.

And then, the idea was born.

Napa. July.

Within 24 hours, Abby and I had gone back and forth, picked dates and booked flights. I messaged my friend who owns a cute little place, Chardonnay Lodge, in Napa that we were coming to visit. I had done some PR work for her years back in trade, and had yet to cash in on the trade.

We had a hotel for the Saturday we were going.

A few days later, Kristin messaged we were set for Friday’s accommodations.

And then, my boss was working to set us up for tastings at wineries.

Kristin began planning our Friday evening activities — a meet-up with another awesome travel blogger, Spencer — and some low-cost noshing at San Francisco’s weekly food truck festival, Off the Grid.

Justlikethat my July Wanderlust and need to get on an airplane was quenched.

Everyday for three weeks, I thought about the trip. About getting out of town. About a girlie weekend. About the fact that the same time last year I had met Abby in Istanbul.

This was the first trip I had been on in years that actually had some semblance of a plan. Was being taken simply because it was three friends (even if I had yet to meet Kristin in person) who wanted to hang out, drink wine and talk travel.

Another first? I was flying Virgin America.

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