A Trip of a Lifetime
IN 2014, I TOLD MY HUSBAND I WANTED TO TRAVEL THE WORLD…
…Flash forward to today and we have a hard-drive full of thousands upon thousands of photos, beat up backpacks, clothes with holes in them, shoes that have definitely seen their day, 2 journals filled with stories, recipes, marinara sauce splatters, goals, dreams and countless memories from 1 year of traveling through Europe and Asia.
We both knew that there was so much out there to explore, so instead of living through the lens of social media, movies, travel magazines, whatever…we decided to see it first hand! To experience new tastes, cultures, uncomfortable situations and all that our world had to offer to us. Various countries in Europe and Asia became our home and our backpacks became our life that went with us from place to place. It was the most beautiful (and sometimes, most stressful!) experience. We grew closer to one another while rooting our trust in God even deeper.
Hopping from continent to continent, country to country, and city to city was a part of our daily life and our only agenda was to see, taste, smell and experience the beauty of each and every place. Some places looked prettier, others tasted better, and smells varied from dirty trash to fresh baguettes but one thing that remained constant was that no matter where we went, we were humbled by an overwhelming sense of beauty and the understanding that our world is meant to be explored.
The feeling of letting it all go was so incredibly freeing, and at times, terrifying. We often found ourselves asking one another, “What are we doing?!?!” but for every moment we had that thought, there were 100 lessons learned from the simple act of just following Gods plan, where He guided our footsteps and truly letting it all go.
We spent our days of travel waking up in new beds, figuring out the very VERY important task of how we were going to get our hands on a cup of coffee each morning (tip: carry around a little espresso maker everywhere you go and boom, you have an americano calling your name in the morning), calculating our very strict budget, chatting with our AirBnb hosts, doing laundry in the sink, scanning Pinterest for things we couldn't miss in new cities, what foods we had to try or just doing what felt most natural to us….getting lost and finding our way, hoping to see some wonderful things along the path less traveled.
For our first 7 months we dove head first into Europe. We met various family members and friends along the way as we traveled through Italy, Germany, Spain, Portugal, France, England, Scotland, Ireland, The Netherlands and Belgium. Some moments were spent on beautiful sunny Italian beaches, or volunteering at a bed & breakfast in the middle of the french countryside while others were spent drinking liters of beer at Oktoberfest and mixed in were a few months where all we tried to do was stay warm in the UK. We just couldn't get enough of the European culture so instead of saying goodbye entirely, we decided to go back to Italy for 1 more month at the end of our trip.
In between the 7 months of exploring Europe, and the 1 month of taking in the last moments of our trip in Italy, we traveled through Southeast Asia for 5 months. The beaches were beautiful, the jungle was green, the food was different in a delicious way but what made our time there absolutely unforgettable was the fact that we got to travel with our best friends. For 5 months, we were a little family of 4 just making our way through Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Indonesia and The Philippines. We didn't know the language, the transportation still makes me cringe, food poisoning and stomach issues were a somewhat normal part of our day, bowls of rice became our comfort food, and in between it all, we laughed our hearts out while just taking the days as they came.
Now that we are home, we have taken our travel mentality and stuck with it in some sense. Sure, we have jobs again and can actually keep our clothes in a closet, but the idea of getting out there with an excitement for life and all it has to offer is something that we are not willing to let go of! Our journey continues, just in a less back-packer sort of way!