The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly Cries of 5 Years of Full-Time Travel

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5 Years Ago Today…

5 years ago today Sam and I boarded a plane with a one-way ticket in hand (June 14, 2015). In the weeks preceding, I had put in my notice at work, and we spent weekend after weekend sorting, selling, and donating many of our possessions. In the final days, we sold our car and put what remained of our belongings into a storage unit. My work colleagues threw me a good-bye party and my sister hosted a bon voyage gathering of our closest friends. We turned in the keys to our rented condo in Southern California and made our way to the Los Angeles airport for our flight to Prague. It was a surreal feeling to no longer own a car or have a place to call our own.

Upon arriving at the airport, I had a mild panic attack, only because I thought we had misplaced our passports, even though we had gone through our bags time and time again in preparation. My nerves were shot and I was leaving behind almost every comfort I had ever known. I was quite a mixed bag of emotions. Excitement, fear, and anticipation all bubbled to the surface, as everything we had been planning for came to a head in that moment. After a few deep breaths and another thorough search of our bags on the airport floor, our passports appeared and we were on our way!

First Stop: Prague!

The First Year Abroad – Europe and Asia

Our journey started in the Czech Republic and over the first few weeks we traveled throughout Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Slovenia, Hungary, and Croatia, moving at a breakneck pace. We wanted to see it all and we weren’t sure how long we’d have the opportunity to travel. We had only really planned on a year of travel and then had plans to go back to a “traditional” lifestyle once again. However, when I put in for a year of leave at my job as a high school counselor, my request was denied. Turns out, due to ongoing budget cuts, the school district was going to eliminate yet another counselor position (not necessarily mine) for the following school year. Essentially, I did the district a favor. Despite the fact that my leave request was denied, I wasn’t about to give up on my desire to travel the world… even if just for a little while, so I put in my notice.

To close out our 3.5 months traveling throughout Europe, we boarded a Viking River Cruise and set sail for 2 weeks to explore along the Danube, Main, and Rhine rivers. We were so excited for this cruise, because it would be the longest we’d been in one place since we left California, meaning we’d only have to pack and unpack once in 15 days… or so we thought! Due to lack of rain, water levels were too low on the Danube for our ship to continue on its journey. Halfway through the trip, we did in fact have to pack up our stuff and get bussed to another ship further down river. It truly was a minor inconvenience and no fault of the cruiseline’s; we just didn’t want to have to pack our stuff again so soon!

Enjoying the thermal baths in Budapest

The cruise started in Hungary and ended in the Netherlands where we hopped on a plane to Southeast Asia. The next 2 months were spent exploring the countries of Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam. We ate our weight in pad thai, trekked through rice fields, and took boat rides through caves and karsts. While we enjoyed seeing the temples of Ankor Wat, we have to admit that Cambodia was our least favorite country we’ve visited throughout the years. We were scammed on more than one occasion and it just left us feeling taken advantage of until the very moment we crossed the border to leave the country.

Time to Go Home

By this point, we had been overseas for a half a year and felt that it was time for us to return home to the US for a few weeks to catch up with our friends and family. We bounced between California, where we lived prior to our departure, and Florida, where we both grew up, for close to 3 months. It was nice to be back “home” for a little while, but we were eager to get back to our life of travel. Following a few brief days in Copenhagen, we hopped a cheap flight to Ireland, one of our favorite countries for our second of now 5 visits.

In March of 2016, we spent over 2 weeks exploring the Emerald Isle, including experiencing our first Irish St Patrick’s Day in Dublin. A year later, we found ourselves back in Ireland for St Patrick’s Day, but this time we celebrated in a more quaint environment in the small village of Dungarvan. From Ireland (in 2016), we ventured on to Scotland for a month where we drove the now wildly popular North Coast 500 route in a campervan. Driving a large vehicle on narrow unfamiliar roads is harrowing enough, but to do it while driving on the opposite side of the road than you’re used to, adds a whole other element of excitement.

Driving the North Coast 500 in a campervan

It’s Been a Year… Now What?!

At this point, it had now been close to a year when we left our home. We were at somewhat of a crossroad. Do we go back to the US, get jobs, and settle back down or… do we keep going? We had saved a good amount of money ($40,000) before setting off to see the world. Even after a year, we still had quite a bit of that money in the bank (more than half of what we started with). However, over time, our savings was dwindling and we weren’t doing much in the way of generating new income. Some parts of our travels were sponsored by tourism boards and other travel-related companies, which helped our money stretch further, but we had to figure something out if we wanted to sustain our life on the go. In enters housesitting…

Our Start in Housesitting

You’ve probably heard us talk a lot about housesitting over the past few years, because truth be told, we wouldn’t have been able to keep going had it not been for the opportunities housesitting has presented. In case you’re unfamiliar with the concept, we watch after people’s homes and pets while they travel. You can read more about the benefits in our housesitting article. This provides us with free accommodations (probably the biggest expense when it comes to travel) and still allows us to explore new places.

Family stroll with our adopted pup for the summer

We first started housesitting in England in May 2016. We had two back-to-back assignments and it was a great way to get our feet wet with this style of travel. One of those first two sits was in a 500-year-old farmhouse in the English countryside, which was a unique and intriguing experience. Our next housesitting assignment wouldn’t be in England for another 6 months, but we continued to travel on our own in between. We spent a few weeks exploring Spain, Portugal, and Sweden before flying back to the US to discover some of the Pacific Northwest and once again catch up with family and friends in California and Florida.

Our trip back overseas brought us again to Portugal and Germany before we settled in for a 3-month housesit in Moulsoe, England. This was a unique situation, because there were no pets involved. The homeowners simply wanted someone to look after their home during the winter months to ensure their house appeared lived in and that everything continued to function as it should in their absence. It was the dead of winter in England, so while we did do some exploring (London, the Cotswolds, etc.), much of our time was spent indoors… so, we made a baby!

Becoming Parents

We both had the desire to become parents, but weren’t sure having a child would fit into our now free-spirited lifestyle. We certainly weren’t getting any younger, so we decided if we were going to get pregnant, we’d need to stop preventing, start trying, and see what happened! Well, there’s no secret on how it happened, but during our winter in England housesit, we got pregnant! And just like that, all of the feelings I had when we first started this crazy adventure (excitement, fear, and anticipation) came flooding to the surface again.

I was excited about becoming a mom, but slightly terrified as to what it would do to our lifestyle. Do we keep traveling? Where would we have the baby? Would we be forced to settle down? Would I have to go back to work? Following the general joy of finding out we were pregnant, I quickly became plagued with anxiety. We waited to share the news with our families until we were able to have our first ultrasound at a tiny clinic down a cobblestoned street in Stony Stratford, England. The weeks that followed were filled with tough decisions regarding where to go from here. As much as I wish we would’ve had our son in another country (for the purposes of dual citizenship), we decided to travel back to Florida for the birth so we could be surrounded by family.

Following our time in England, we went back to Ireland for a third visit and stopped in one of our favorite countries – Iceland (for a second time) on our way back to the US. May have been the hormones, but I was a mess when it was time to go back to the US. I was excited to meet our son (we found out he was a boy during an ultrasound in Ireland), but I wasn’t quite ready to give up a life of travel. We purchased a car and paid 6 month’s rent on a condo in Cape Canaveral, Florida. Our little guy joined our family in September 2017 in a Florida hospital not too far from where Sam and I were both born.

Our little traveler

Traveling with Baby

In January 2018, we were back on the road, this time with our little adventurer in tow! Some people may call us crazy, but we drove cross country from Florida to California with our then 4-month-old. (We quickly realized that the PT Cruiser we hastily purchased would not be big enough for comfortable road trips as a family of 3, so we traded it in for a minivan. Turns out babies need a lot of stuff and the little hatchback trunk of the PT cruiser just wasn’t cutting it.) Our style of travel had already changed. Instead of driving cross-country in 3 days like we’d done several times before, we took a month to go coast to coast! We’d drive for a few hours and stop for several days. It was easier on all of us, plus we saw some really neat things along the way, so it was a welcomed change of pace. We visited friends in Oklahoma City, then hopped on Route 66, a drive I’ve always wanted to do! Not that Rowan would remember much at this age, but we were starting to make memories as a family.

Exploring canyons in Texas on our cross-country road trip

We stayed in California for a few weeks before taking our time to venture back to Florida for a few routine doctor appointments. After that, we rented a cabin in Beech Mountain, North Carolina for a month because, you know… the mountains were calling! Then it was back to Florida for a 3-month summer housesit in Cape Coral. By the time fall rolled around, we were ready to escape the oppressive heat and wanted to cross of another bucket list trip – a fall foliage road trip through New England! Sam drove our vehicle up north (following a last-minute, several-thousand-dollar repair on our van), and Rowan and I embarked on his very first flight (to Buffalo, New York).

waterfalls in the Finger Lakes

Beautiful waterfalls in the Finger Lakes, New York

Making Memories

Our journey to the northeast commenced in the Finger Lakes region of New York, where we attended a blogger’s conference. We absolutely fell in love with the area and didn’t want to leave (seriously, Finger Lakes Wine Country is amazing), but we were excited to see the fall colors of New England for the first time! During our 6 weeks in New England, we visited Cape Cod twice, explored the White Mountains in New Hampshire, ate our way through Vermont, and fell in love with the coastline of Maine! Our time in New England ended with a few days stop in Rhode Island, where our son took his first steps. We ended in Rhode Island because this is where we’d hop a plane to Rowan’s first international destination – Ireland! (We gave him a Gaelic name after all.) My dad came and joined us in Rhode Island and drove our vehicle back down to Florida, as we’d be out of the country for several weeks.

 

Vermont Fall Foliage

Fall foliage in Vermont

Rowan’s First International Trip

Our son’s first flight abroad was not a fabulous experience to say the least. We thought, “We’ll take an overnight flight… he’ll sleep the whole time. We’ll arrive refreshed and ready to explore!” Rookie mistake! As you can imagine, he did NOT sleep the whole time, nor did we, and we all arrived feeling fatigued, jet lagged, and grumpy! And then we had to drive 4 hours (on the opposite side of the road) to reach our destination.

We were so excited to take our son out of the country to visit one of our favorite places and it in fact, was not quite the wonderful experience we had hoped for. November in Ireland proved to be a very gloomy, rainy time. The rain we could somewhat deal with, but we were on a peninsula for most of our 3.5 week stay and the wind made it so that we really couldn’t go outside much to explore. We spent a lot of our time indoors waiting for the weather to clear, though it rarely did. We were pretty bummed that this was our son’s first international experience. It didn’t really matter where we were because so much of our time was spent indoors and we’re a family that really thrives on being outside! From Ireland, we flew to Germany for a month. While it was sometimes a chilling 30 degrees out, we were able to bundle up and still enjoy the outdoors. Plus, we were visiting friends in Germany, so it was nice to be around others for a change, especially during the holidays.

The Gap of Dunloe – County Kerry, Ireland

Biggest Struggle with Full-Time Travel

So much of our lifestyle is spent just the 3 of us. Good thing we like each other! We’ve met many wonderful people along the way, but it’s usually just someone we meet once and then never see again. Loneliness has probably been one of the most difficult aspects of this lifestyle for me personally, as I’m a very social person. I love being around others and I cherish truly genuine friendships. When you move away, you quickly find out what previous relationships were simply a matter of convenience. To be fair, we didn’t reach out as often as we could have to our friends while traveling. Everyone kept living their lives and we were no longer a part of it. When we’d go back “home” either to Florida or California, we’d have a few genuine friends who would respond to our invitation to spend time together and we’d hear crickets from others.

It sounds arrogant to say, but no one really seemed to care much about our travels. Maybe it’s because we’d post so much online that there wasn’t really much else to discuss. We’d get an occasional general question like “How was your trip?” when we’d come back after 6 months abroad, but otherwise, no one really inquired deeper. Some people would ask “What’s been your favorite country so far?”, but beyond that no one seemed interested in hearing more. We certainly didn’t want to feel like we were bragging, so we didn’t discuss our travels unless it came up naturally in conversation or unless someone specifically asked.

Our many visits to Ireland

Summary of Our Past Two Years

Since Rowan’s first international trip was a little more stressful than we anticipated, we’ve decided to stay in the US for the time being. It’s a lot easier for us to cruise the states with everything we need in our minivan, as opposed to flying overseas with limited familiarities and comforts. For the first few months of 2019, we again visited friends and family in California and Florida, while also getting heavily into housesits. By this point, all of our savings had pretty much been spent and we hadn’t really been making much in the way of income to resupply our savings account. Fortunately, because of housesitting and not having to pay for accommodations, we were able to sustain our life on the road, but we were still becoming more and more financially stressed.

I wasn’t making much in the way of income from our blog and it became a lot harder to get sponsorships since traveling with child. Sam had been pursuing a career as a science fiction writer, but didn’t really put in much time or effort to earning a full-time income. We were always on the go and once we had our son, parenting became a full-time job for both of us! It took Sam two full years to write one book, so needless to say, money was tight. We had become fully dependent on housesits, because as I mentioned earlier, accommodations are often the most expensive part of travel and it was an expense we couldn’t afford.

During the summer of 2019 we again drove from Florida to California and started a summer of back-to-back housesits all up and down the west coast. We were actually pretty excited about the opportunities presented because we were able to rediscover places we’d been to before (California’s central coast and the Olympic Peninsula in Washington) and got to check out new-to-us places we’ve always wanted to visit, like Oregon! Following an amazing few weeks in Oregon (Bend and Hood River), we road tripped down to Colorado for another wonderful sit, stopping in Idaho and Utah along the way.

Exploring Lake Quinault on the the Olympic Peninsula, Washington State

After a month in Colorado, we road tripped back to Florida for routine doctor’s and dentist appointments, passing through many new-to-us states (Kansas, Missouri, and Kentucky). We then took off to Texas for a housesit over the holidays. It’s really difficult for it to feel like Christmas when you’re in someone else’s home. There were no traditional decorations and no family gatherings to attend. We tried to attend local festive events to make it feel more like the holidays, but we still felt pretty lonely.

Will We Ever Stop Traveling?

I guess the question we get more than any other is, “When will you settle down?” Frankly, we’re not sure. Due to current circumstances (with the COVID pandemic), we’ve actually been forced to settle down for a few months and to be honest, it’s been quite nice. We had over 4 months of housesits lined up that all got cancelled because travel plans all over the world got cancelled. Fortunately, Sam has published two more books in the past year that are doing pretty well, so we are in a better financial situation to be able to afford a modest rent for the first time in a long time.

The Impact of Constant Travel on Our Son

Our son has surprised us with how much he has adapted to this unconventional lifestyle. Truthfully, though… it’s all he’s ever known. If nothing else, he’s definitely learned to go with the flow. He’s a champ when it comes to picking up and moving to a new place. He transitions seamlessly… for now. At his current age, new things and experiences are good; it’s great stimulation for him. Sometimes we feel like we’ve already ruined him in regards to being ok with the status quo, because our life is anything but. He’s constantly being introduced to new places, new experiences, and new people.

On the flip side, another struggle we have with this lifestyle, however, is the inability to provide our son with a consistent home environment, schedule, and friend group. We stick with the same routine in regards to our work schedule(s), mealtimes, and bedtime routine, and we try to keep as much consistency where we can, bringing along familiar toys, books, etc., no matter where we are.

Bend Oregon with Kids

Discovering Bend, Oregon

But our son doesn’t have a solid friend group. Before the pandemic, out of nowhere, he started struggling with a fear of other children. It’s not that he was never around other children; we’d take him to story time at local libraries, kid’s museums, parks, playgrounds, etc. pretty much every day of the week. Though he’s never been in any kind of day care and he hasn’t spent much time around the same kids. One day out of the blue, he started to act fearful if another child would approach him. We talked with our pediatrician about it and she didn’t seem overly concerned. She suggested it was most likely a phase, falling under the umbrella of separation anxiety (though we are always with him) and suggested that the best way to help him through it is with exposure therapy, basically continuing to expose him to other children in a safe environment.

When we were scheduled to be in California for 4 months this summer, we had already looked into day care programs and play group sessions near where we would be, then COVID hit. Not only could we not travel to California, but no matter where we’d end up, day cares, libraries, museums, etc. would be closed for the foreseeable future. So, instead of finally being in a spot long enough to get him enrolled in such a program and establish a friend group, even if for a little while, we instead had to self-isolate with zero exposure to other children. He’s had a few play dates with cousins recently. And just this week, we’ve started venturing out to playgrounds, but still practicing social distancing, so time will tell if he’s still experiencing anxiety around other tiny humans!

What About School?

Rowan will turn 3 in September and another common question we get is what we will do about schooling once he is of age. At this point, we have no desire to place him in a public school setting, so this opens up our freedom to continue to move about if we chose to do so, as we plan to look into homeschooling options. We’ve already been working on at-home education and he’s doing great with already knowing his alphabet, colors, numbers, animals (and animal sounds), and so much more.

We noticed a slight language delay and unique speech pattern, so we took advantage of the fact that we’re hunkered down in one spot for a while and got him hooked up with a speech therapist, which he now sees twice a week. (It started out as teletherapy while we were on a mandated stay-at-home order.) We were already looking into speech programs for our summer in California, but obviously had to change those plans. We’re very happy with his therapist and are grateful for the opportunity to address some developmental concerns we had.

We always want to do what is best for our son, so if that means staying in one spot longer than Sam or I intended to to get him the services he needs, so be it. We don’t want our preferred lifestyle to have a negative impact on his development. In the first few years of his life, he really did go with the flow and adapt to any and every situation like a champ, but as he gets older and is better able to express what he wants, we’re happy to tune in and listen to his needs and desires.

Exploring a rainforest in Washington

Questions from Readers

So, before I wrap up this massively long post (if you’re still reading, thanks for sticking with it), I want to address some questions YOU had regarding our unconventional lifestyle. Some of your questions, I tried to answer as I wrote the above, and others I will address now…

How our Parents (Rowan’s Grandparents) Felt About Our Travels

Like most parents would probably be in this scenario, ours were slightly worried when we left behind the stability of a steady income and set off to see the world, but they were also genuinely excited for us. Of course once Rowan came along, they were probably all eager for us to stay in the US. And now that we’ve been hunkered down in Florida (within 30 minutes drive to our parents) for the past 3 months, I know they all wish that we’d settle down in the area longer term. Welllllll, I’m already looking into where we can safely travel to in the fall. While I believe these were their general feelings, I would encourage our parents to leave their thoughts in the comment section below, (if you feel so inclined).

Cultural Traditions We Enjoyed While Abroad

The majority of our travels have taken place in Europe, with a few months spent in Southeast Asia. I wouldn’t want anyone to generalize all Americans or a certain way of living in the States, though it’s safe to assume that there may be some commonalities foreign travelers notice when visiting the US. As such, there were some themes and mindsets that we noticed as we traveled abroad that stood out to us. For the most part, meals in the US seem to be rushed, whereas in Europe, it’s a more of an experience. It’s where you slow down, relax, and truly enjoy the company of those you’re with. Meals can easily last over an hour. Of course plenty of Europeans eat their meals on the go, but in general, there seemed to be a slower pace of life, whereas I feel like many people in the US seem to be in a hurry much of the time.

We got to spend Christmas with friends in Germany one year, so it was neat to see such a widely celebrated holiday in a different light. Instead of waking their parents during the wee hours of the morning to tear open presents as fast as possible, kids in Germany don’t actually open their presents until the evening, and even then it was just a handful of small, meaningful gifts. We really appreciated the calmness of Christmas and would love to see it become less about rushing and buying in the US and more about simple togetherness.

Planning/Logistics & Challenges We Faced

In the beginning, we were planned out for months… and we moved FAST! Sometimes we were only in a given place for a day or two. We wanted to see it all! Boy, did that get exhausting quickly! Almost every detail was planned out… I’m personally not a fan of the “let’s just wing it” mentality. I want to know where we’re going, how we’re getting there, what we’re doing once we’re there, and where we’re going next! Sure, there was a part of me that thought, “But, what if we like a place and want to stay longer?” I figured we’d could always come back. As I mentioned, when we started this big adventure, we weren’t quite sure how long it would last, so we wanted to see as much as possible. We had the first 6 months pretty well planned out and after that, it was up in the air. So, at the 6-month mark, we figured we hadn’t seen our family and friends in a while, so we flew back to the US for a visit.

When we went back over to Europe, we again had a few months planned out, but very quickly we started living and planning month by month; sometimes unsure as to where we’d be staying two weeks from then. I was not a fan of this style of living. It became a full-time job for me to figure out where we wanted to go, how we were going to get there, where we were going to stay, and how to do it all within a reasonable budget. The planning became more stressful because as we started planning more last minute, our decisions were driven by cost more than anything.

The medieval town of Obidos, Portugal

Once we discovered housesitting, it was exciting to find opportunities in new places, but then we’d have to anxiously wait for another opportunity to present itself that lined up with our timeline and location. Sometimes we’d have to fill a week here or a few days there in between sits, and where I used to absolutely LOVE planning, it very quickly consumed all of my free time and became somewhat of a daunting task.

As the months and years went on, I’d seek out longer housesits and rentals. The truth is, we were getting exhausted from moving around all of the time. I was sick of planning. I was sick of packing and unpacking our belongings. Sam and I would travel with just a backpack and a carry-on wherever we went, but when Rowan came along, we needed a travel crib, a high chair, diapers, tons of baby clothes, toys, books, etc., and hence why we bought a minivan! I missed having a place to call home… my own bed, my own kitchen set-up, my own décor. I missed hosting game nights at our old place. I missed having a core group of friends I could meet up with at a moment’s notice.

Once Rowan came along and we were back out on the road, and once the novelty of our exciting new life of traveling with a baby wore off, I felt very alone as a new mom raising a spirited child. We had some struggles in the beginning adjusting to the high needs of our little one. I didn’t have any moms I could meet up with and talk about the joys and struggles of motherhood. Because we were always in a new place, there was never anyone we would trust looking after our son, so Sam and I never had any time for just us; dates were a thing of the past.

Plitvice National Park in Croatia

I know at this point it probably sounds as if I hated life, and some days, I’ll be honest, I was truly unhappy… I wanted stability. I didn’t want to have to plan our next steps. I wanted a social life again. I didn’t want to have to worry about finances. What was supposed to be a year of traveling the world turned into a unique lifestyle we weren’t quite sure how to sustain. But once we realized that it in fact was our reality, at least for the time being, we had to figure out how to make it work in a way that would make us happy. So, we slowed down our travels – we looked at housesits that were close to a month in length (and preferred longer). We wanted to feel settled, even if for a little while, and even in someone else’s home. I sought out mom groups and play dates in the places where we’d get housesits and I’ve met some really great moms along the way.

Sam and I came up with a schedule that no matter where we are, we stick to. Sam writes in the morning while I spend time with Rowan and then we switch in the afternoon, and Sam will spend some one-on-one time with little man. This allows us both time to work and we each get some one-on-one time with our son. Whereas it used to be family time all the time (and neither of us ever got any work done), we now schedule aside time each week to spend together and Sam has found his work groove and is completing multiple books a year.

What Do We Do For Healthcare

Selecting a healthcare plan as a US citizen is confusing enough as it is. Trying to figure out coverage for traveling abroad is even more convoluted. Because we were planning to be outside of the US for the majority of our first year, we decided to forego US health insurance and just get traveler’s insurance (with World Nomads). Why pay for US coverage we weren’t going to use? Well, that was a big mistake. We ended up getting hit with a huge penalty (thousands of dollars) for not having insurance when it came time to do our taxes.

From that point on, we’ve always had a US plan, even though the penalty has since been done away with. The next time we purchased traveler’s insurance (through Allianz), we admittedly didn’t read the entire 27 pages of fine print and therefore missed the part that stated we had to have a return ticket in hand when purchasing the insurance. Because our travel was open ended, we had no such ticket and therefore our coverage was only good for the one day of initial travel, even though we paid for a 3-month plan. We only found that out when we got rejected for a claim we submitted when Rowan and I both had to see a physician (and obtain antibiotics) in Germany for sore throats and ear infections. Again, there went several hundred dollars down the drain.

Since we’ve been staying mostly stateside for the past 2-3 years, we simply purchased a US plan that has a national network of providers (through Florida Blue – Blue Cross/Blue Shield), though our son’s coverage (Medicaid) is only good within the state of Florida. So, once we start traveling again we’ll need to consider other options for his healthcare to make sure we’re all covered. Both US health insurance and traveler’s insurance gives me a headache. There are so many little details to be aware of, so ALWAYS be sure to read the find print!

Ziplining in Leavenworth, Washington

Favorite Memories & Where We Want to Return

We have had some incredible experiences over the past few years! I started doing a year-in-review at the end of each year to highlight our favorite experiences. I’m ashamed to admit that once Rowan came along, I simply didn’t keep up with them, but you can check out 2015 & 2016 which covers our first two years on the road and some super fun memories (like epic road trips, wildlife encounters, cruises, visiting medieval villages, island hopping, Christmas markets and so much more). 

The medieval village of Montefioralle – near Chianti in Tuscany

While it’s fun to discover new places, it’s also fun to go back to somewhere familiar and explore deeper. Our very first trip to Europe (before we started our round-the-world adventure) was a Mediterranean cruise. It was the perfect introduction to places we’d possibly want to go back for longer. On that trip, we fell in love with Tuscany. We only had a half-day in the countryside as a shore excursion, so a year later we went back for a week! We’ve now been to Iceland twice, Ireland five times, and Germany several times as well. These are a few of our favorite places. I’d love to get back to Slovenia and Croatia, and Switzerland is definitely calling my name again. Truthfully, besides Cambodia, there aren’t too many places we’ve visited that we wouldn’t go back to.

Island off the coast of mainland Croatia

And yet, there are still so many places around the world we are dying to visit! Top on our list is New Zealand and the South Pacific Islands. And when our son is a little older, we’d love to hit the trails in Patagonia (Chile and Argentina). Over the past few years we’ve been able to cross so many items off our bucket list and yet we still have quite a long way to go! Our journey is far from over. We’re still not at a place in our hearts or financially where we’re ready to settle down, but we’re in a much better place than we were say, two and a half years ago when we were beyond stressed trying to figure out how to sustain this life with our new little addition.

Our life on the go hasn’t always been easy. Some days it’s been down right depressing. But we’re so incredibly grateful for the opportunities we’ve been able to experience – first as a couple, and then as a family. I think this experience has forever changed the way we will travel. It isn’t so much about just seeing the sites and checking the boxes any more. It’s about truly immersing ourselves where we’re at. We want to live like locals; even stay with the locals (like we did in Sapa, Vietnam and so many other places). We want to continue to discover natural beauty and hidden gems. Finally, we want to expose our son to a variety of cultures, traditions, and ways of life, so that he has an open heart and mind toward others. Like I said, we’re not sure how much longer we’ll continue this life on the go, but we’re finding our groove, and are enjoying the adventure for the time being.

Meeting the locals is one of the most enriching experiences of travel

If you have any other questions about our life, the logistics, or about anywhere we’ve been, please don’t hesitate to send us an e-mail or leave us a comment below. Thanks for reading. Here’s to the next 5 years!

 

 

4 Comments:

  1. I loved reading this! I can’t wait to see where the next year takes you all as I am sure it will be full of amazing new adventures!

  2. I just want to say that I am happy for you guys! You can never complain about a boring life! Hugs! Love, Your Cousin!

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