We took off for Iceland on September 1 and we’ve now been traveling for a month. The longest I’ve been away from a “job” was for a 3 week duration when we took time away 5 years ago to travel to Ecuador and Peru. While there, I truly wasn’t “not working” as I ended up putting in 60-90 minutes a day keeping up with emails when I had access to the internet. Coming from a restaurant family and working for the family business beginning at age 8, I’m guessing it’s been a good 30 to 35 years since I took this amount of time away from a job. As we hit this month mark, I’m incredibly appreciative of this opportunity on several fronts.
I know Sarah has posted on some of this, but here’s a broad overview of what we’ve done for the last month:
Iceland (7 days) – circling the island in a car
Stockholm, Sweden (3 days)
Dusselldorf, Germany (1 day) – picking up camper van
Amsterdam, Netherlands (3 days)
Makkum, Netherlands (1 day)
Bremen, Germany (1 day)
Wolfsburg, Germany (1 day)
Brandenberg, Germany (1 day)
Berlin, Germany (1 day)
Wroclaw, Poland (1 day)
Aushwitz, Poland (1 day)
Krakow, Poland (1 day)
Hrabusice, Slovakia (2 days)
Budapest, Hungary (1 day)
Vienna, Austria (2 days)
Prague, Czech Republic (3 days)
Nine countries, many larger cities, and hundreds of small towns. We’ve already put close to 3,000 km (about 1,800 miles for Imperial unit lovers). Traveling like this via a camper provides some pros and cons. While we might not be getting to know any one of the countries or cities at a “deeper” level as we move from place to place, I do feel like the ability to sometimes take smaller roads vs. the highways, stop when we want, and move on when we’ve gotten our fill has been great.
Traveling by camper has presented several challenges that I’ll touch on in a later post, but it’s been positive overall. I’ve been able to run 4-6 miles most days, which has allowed for some fun, different perspectives on communities we’ve visited while looking for trails. We continue to learn about ourselves individually as well as a family unit. We tend to shy away from touristy areas, despite trying to take in the “must see” locations. We struggle with feeling a sense of obligation to do some of the touristy things while most often coming away from them glad we’ve seen them, but a bit underwhelmed. A few things that have made a positive impression on me thus far include: Iceland (country as a whole), the “feel/vibe” of Amsterdam and Prague, Auschwitz Concentration Camp, the Wroclaw and Krakow central squares, and the raw natural beauty of Slovakia.
From Prague, we’ll be heading south to Greece via Austria, Slovenia, Croatia, Montenegro, and Albania. My hope is that we’ll find one or more low-key areas along the coast to spend a few days and slow down a bit in some beautiful settings. From Greece, we’re leaning toward taking a ferry to Italy, then to France, Spain, and Portugal before working our way to Paris by mid-November.