In the months before heading off on our travel journey, Nicole and I thought and talked, and thought and talked some more, about what life on the road would be like.
After a little over three months of travelling, in some ways it's what we expected, and in the various ways listed below, it is not.
- I'm tired of light blue shirts. Back in New York, for both work and casual collared shirts, I had a rule that I would only buy white or light blue. Similar to how former President Obama only wore blue or grey suits to cut down his decisions over the course of a day, I thought my rule put me far ahead of the game. When it came time to pack for our trip, I thought white shirts would get dirty too easily, so I opted to take only light blue -- one short sleeve, one long sleeve, and one linen. I'm so tired of them.
For a fun challenge, see if you can spot any light blue collared shirts in the pictures below.
- Nicole figured that, by this time, we would be able to speak at least basic, conversational French. We can't. So for now it's a lot of bonjours, ouis, and nons. We're working on it, as we have been for the past three months, but it's been slow going.
- Nicole was right when it came to our luggage selections. When we were thinking about packing for our trip, I obsessed over what luggage we would bring. I had visions of Nicole and I each with backpacks -- nimble, light on our feet, and ready for whatever adventure awaited us. Nicole, on the other hand, insisted that she didn't want to look like a backpacker. She opted for a carry-on sized Away suitcase instead. I secretly seethed and looked forward to the inevitable day when, after Nicole struggled to get her suitcase through yet another train station, she would turn to me and say, "Gee, I should have listened and went with a backpack!" I figured I would play it cool, offer to help Nicole look for a backpack and dispose of her clunky suitcase, and then write a fun blog post about why backpacks are superior for long term travel.
Thus far, my plan has not worked. Instead, while Nicole cooly rolls her small suitcase along, I look like an overstuffed turtle struggling to get through doorways. If I had it to do over again, I would have packed so that my stuff could fit in just one large backpack, rather than me having to wear a smaller backpack on front when we travel.
- Nicole and I happily spend a lot of time together. This fact wasn't unexpected. But I figured we would both spend plenty of time separately doing our own activities. With few exceptions, we really haven't. Nonetheless, a few things that were problems before the trip continue to be problems. For example, today, as we strolled the streets of Beaune and I asked Nicole to slow down because we weren't entered in a race, Nicole turned and told me that my walking pace was like that of a zombie -- a slow, slow zombie. Some things never change! :)
- I enjoy writing these blog posts far more than I imagined I would.
- In France, we haven't eaten out as much as expected -- and Nicole is okay with that. Trying new restaurants and cafes is one of Nicole's favorite things to do while travelling. Since coming to France, outside of Paris we barely have eaten out or spent time sipping wine in cafes. Instead, we cook most nights at our Airbnb. It's been surprisingly fun. Nicole says a large part of this is because the selection at the supermarkets and specialty shops we visit has been so good that it is exciting to cook our own meals.
- I miss my hair clippers. Ever since my third year of law school eight years ago, I have cut my own hair. My streak ended when we left for our trip. I miss it! In New York, it was so nice being able to give myself a trim whenever I felt the need. Now that I have to pay, I wait a lot longer between haircuts.
- It's way harder than we imagined to do a morning routine. Most mornings in New York, Nicole and I would spend ten minutes meditating together in the morning. Then I would do a routine I had worked out that involved spending a few minutes (1) reading the Bible and other major books like the Tao Te Ching, Quran, or Seneca's Letters, (2) praying, and (3) journaling. I assumed that, if I could do this routine on busy mornings in New York before heading off to work, imagine what I could do when all we had to do was travel!
Instead, the opposite has been true. Nicole and I have rarely been meditating and I can't remember the last time I did the rest of my morning routine. Similarly, before heading off on our trip, Nicole imagined that, after our daily morning meditation, she would spend time doing a yoga practice. Especially since we've come to France, this rarely has happened.
We both think our lack of discipline in this form comes from having unlimited options during the day. When we wake up, it seems a lot better to hang out, read, and make breakfast and coffee, rather than spend time journaling and doing yoga.
But in the coming months, Nicole and I both hope to get better at this.
- Nicole's three month in wish list -- laptop computer, milk frother, blender. Crazily, our friend Kara packed a milk frother we ordered all the way from New York to Vietnam to deliver to us. However, we didn't realize it was 110 voltage. Immediately upon plugging it into a 220 volt Vietnamese outlet, it blew. Beyond that, it's been completely annoying for us to share one laptop, and Nicole craves blended green smoothies.
- I figured I would lose lots of weight and get really fit. My plan was not to mention anything, but as friends saw my Facebook and Instagram pictures and sent complimentary messages noting my weight loss, I would humbly reply that it was no big deal. Three months in, my plan hasn't worked out. I've probably lost a few pounds since my peak, but nothing dramatic. France is not helping.
In summary, three months in, our trip is overall going great. We assumed we would have to learn what worked and what didn't work as we went. And that's what we have been doing. We couldn't be happier -- unless Nicole gets a 220 volt milk frother! :)
Like this post? Want to read more about Travis and Nicole's travel adventures? Check out Our Overview And Observations From Travelling For Two Months Through Vietnam.
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