In our recent special issue with the "Best Places You've Never Heard Of" cover story, we published a letter to the editor that I'd like to share with anyone who may have missed it:
I had a good life—a beautiful wife, two daughters, a house, and a job. But despite all that, my life had become boring. I'd forgotten that there's so much out there to explore. I picked up Budget Travel at the supermarket. That week, I told my wife, Tammy, that it was time we started seeing the world.
Our first trip was to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Tammy and I watched the sunset every night, and I fell in love with her all over again. That was in 2001, and we vowed we would travel whenever we could. We took our kids to San Diego; Myrtle Beach, S.C.; Gulf Shores, Ala.; and Florida, going even when we could barely afford it. Our trips brought my family together in ways that I will never forget.
For our 15th wedding anniversary, Tammy and I wanted to go to the Florida Keys. Money was tight, but we went anyway. We came back amazed—it was so great.
Not long after, Tammy died in a car accident. She was my best friend, and I wake up every day missing her. But I also think of how glad I am that we didn't put off traveling: Every day, the setting sun reminds me of her beauty and how fortunate I was to experience so much with her.
Last January, 42 family members and friends joined me in Puerto Vallarta for a sunset toast to Tammy. Some of them had never left our town, so taking a trip was a new beginning for them, just as it was for Tammy and me seven years ago.
I wanted to thank you for all the wonderful times I shared with my wife because you brought these places up close each month. You have changed my life and my friends' lives forever. We will always travel!
—Zac Fowler, Janesville, Wis.