It's our travel anniversary! One year ago today, Nicole and I left our Manhattan apartment and headed off to Hong Kong hauling a carry on Away suitcase and North Face duffel. We're still living out of this luggage.
For any non-regular readers, during the past year Nicole and I left our jobs and spent time traveling to Hong Kong, Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand, Finland, England, France, Spain, Chile, Peru, and concluded with a 40 day road trip across the United States. This blog post explains the background of our trip.
It's been a whirlwind year. Recently some friends texted us questions regarding our travels. We thought it would be fun to answer them here:
Has your relationship changed?
Travis: Yes in some ways, no in other ways. Nicole and I have been married for fourteen years. But we spent WAY more time together during our trip than ever before. Frankly, I assumed we would spend plenty of time separately doing our own activities. That really wasn't the case. A few times, the new closeness led to arguments but, overall, having to plan the last year with very few outside constraints has made our relationship much stronger.
Nicole: Nothing has changed dramatically, but our patience with each other and how we communicate has certainly improved. As an example, Travis can get swept away telling his own stories sometimes resulting in the question, "what was the point of the story again?" As a result, when Travis gets too far off course I simply remind him in a not to serious way, by saying the word "bananas" which indicates he needs to get to the point.
Do you miss your prior life?
Travis: We miss being around our friends in NYC. And there is definitely a part of me that is ready to have to get up and do work each day. And I miss the paychecks from our prior life. :)
Nicole: Ditto. I missed all our friends, family and having roots somewhere. It was a bit unsettling at times being far away and not having a home base to go back to.
Happiest moment of the trip?
Travis: There were so many great moments. Very little went wrong or was unexpected. If I had to pick one, it would be the evening of Thursday, July 13, 2017. We were staying in an amazing Airbnb above a cozy restaurant in tiny, Combleux, France (population: 452). In the lead up to Bastille Day the following day, Nicole had spent the day making cassoulet, a traditional French comfort meal, that would be ready for us to celebrate with the next day. That night, we dined on a simple salad on our balcony overlooking the restaurant diners below eating outdoors on the bank of the local river. Around eleven p.m., multiple fireworks displays began going off in the distance to kick off the Bastille Day festivities. Wine glasses in hand we walked down to the street and stood watching with the local families spilling out of their homes. Magic. I wrote more about Combleux in this blog post.
Nicole: As Travis said, SOOOO many great moments. How do you flip back through 365 days and pick one moment? But if I have to pick one... It was one of the days we spent in Cancale. Our generous Airbnb host invited us to join him on his boat to cruise around the area, have lunch and fish. After cruising along the shore for a bit he found a calm patch of water and we anchored for our lunch. Note, the day before he mentioned packing some sandwiches and water for lunch, so we thought that would be the extent of it. Well obviously I forgot we were in France for a moment, because BAM, he presents us each with a lovely glass of white wine and proceeds to shuck several dozen oysters which we all devour. Followed by a fresh baguette and some tasty camembert... awww delicious! To top it off, we then caught three fish which we later cooked for dinner. C'est magnifique!
Most difficult moment of the trip?
Travis: This wasn't difficult in a bad way, but we had a very hard time picking out where to go after spending three months in France. Because of visa restrictions, we couldn't go anywhere in most of western Europe. We spent days with a map going through countries, weighing pros and cons. I realize this is a very high level problem to have, but it was a tension filled time because we didn't want to waste the opportunity to travel. After much deliberation, we chose to go to Chile and Peru and were glad we did.
Nicole: Thankfully nothing major went wrong. It was more like sprinklings of sad moments, such as a friends getting together, family milestones, summertime in NYC, etc. that made me nostalgic and sad to miss.
Favorite place you visited?
Travis: I look back on Bordeaux most fondly. A beautiful, vibrant smaller city surrounded by famed vineyards. At least for people in the United States, I would say a very underrated travel destination.
Nicole: It is a tie for me between the relaxing vibe of Ubud and the amazing city of Bordeaux.
Do you miss having a home?
Travis: Yeah, I'll be happy to move to a permanent home and unpack our storage unit. But, on the other hand, I've missed having a long term residence far less than I would have thought.
Nicole: YES. I cannot wait to get settled into our next home. I miss our bed, having people over and just relaxing in our own space.
Travis: Right now, we are staying in the beautiful Catskills Mountains north of NYC at our friends' home. Frankly, I love it here. But it's not permanent, and Nicole and I will both be excited to move once we have our next steps solidified. We don't have endless savings, so we are planning our returns to the workforce which truthfully I think we are both ready for. We're both excited for what's to come!
Nicole: Back to work, find a place to live, make money again, and spend more time with friends and family.
Like this post? Want to read more about Travis and Nicole's travel adventures? Check out After Three Months On The Road In Asia And Europe ... How Nicole And I Imagined It Versus The Reality.
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