Travel. It's one of those things that people seem to really love or really loathe. I get it! From the saving up, planning out, and getting to a destination (not to mention paying the bill for it once vacay time is over), travel can be an intense pain in the you-know-what. However, as you've probably picked up on here, tout le monde, I have an incurable case of wanderlust and since I've had lots of questions and comments here and on IFB about my worldly wanderings, I thought I'd take some time to answer them/share a few things!
I was lucky enough to be born to a father who grew up all over the world (notably, Tasmania and Taiwan… yay, military brat) and a mother with a secret side that craves adventure. Oh, and an aunt who has traveled the world a few times over. From my first plane ride from Chicago to Albuquerque as a 3-year old (all I remember is being repeatedly given a piece of gum and told to do nothing but chew it, but managed to swallow every single piece I was given) to walking down the street in Kingstown, Jamaica with locals approaching to touch my hair (which was practically iridescent at the time), I've always been a traveler of sorts. I was extremely lucky that my parents ALWAYS took me on a spring break. Whether it was a Caribbean cruise (running around the Mayan ruins in Tulum and wondering if the palace guards from Olmec's Temple (remember "Legends of the Hidden Temple" on Nickelodeon?) would sneak out and kidnap me), a trip to Disney World (where the Haunted Mansion and Pirates of the Caribbean, I'm sure, shaped much of what became some of my favourite things in life), or a trip to the soft white beaches of the Gulf of Mexico, I got around.
I first visited England when I was 17. My aunt spends months every year in Cambridge, Stratford, and London, and for years, I'd been begging to see what Europe was like. It was culture shock to me, as when my mum re-married, I'd grown accustomed to flying first class and staying at the Ritz Carlton with my step-father. Lugging my suitcases up 5 flights of stairs (buildings without elevators exist?) to stay in a postage stamp-sized bed in a postage stamp-sized room was too much for me! I hated England and couldn't wait to return to the states (aka, the land of big everything and technology galore). My travel was restricted back down to places within the US, the occasional cruise, a few jaunts to Canada, and a couple of trips to Mexico (one of which consisted of me getting into and out of the country by plane without a passport or birth certificate… more on that if you want it later).
When I was 23, I realized that I felt fenced in. England needed to be conquered once more, and so, on Christmas Day, 2010, my aunt and I boarded a plane to London. I happily lugged my suitcase up 5 flights of stairs to sleep in a postage stamp-sized bed in a postage stamp-sized room. I felt free again. When Soldier Boy and I started dating, I made 3 trips to Europe in one year (side bar: I worked a full-time job, a part-time job, babysat, house sat, pet sat, tutored, sold goodies on etsy, and was the queen of consignment shops and online surveys. Also, since I worked so much, I didn't have a ton of time to go out, so I wasn't spending cash on drinks, dinners, movies, etc.).
I was stuck in the states, finishing my master's degree and lived for my overseas jaunts. I graduated early and was all set to pack my bags and move in with him in Germany (because really… the job market was awful, I was living with my parents during grad school, and without kids or pets, all I had to lose was time and money… no biggie, right?) he deployed. When we knew when he'd be returning from deployment and I was still living at home, not able to find a job that I both liked and that wanted me, I figured I may as well take the plunge!
I sold most of my stuff, packed my bags, and the rest is history.
Living in Europe, as you'll hear often, is great because of how many cultures are crammed into a small space. In the 13 months that I've been here, I've visited 13 countries. Some of these we've been able to visit multiple times (I'm looking at you: France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Italy) and sometimes we have days where we eat each meal in a different country. We're getting ready to cross about 4 more countries off of our wanderlust list during a Birthday Week cruise in October!
How are we able to swing this?
Plainly put, we are cheapskates. We pick up pennies from the sidewalk. We use coupons. We rarely go out to dinner when we're home. I complete a battery of paid surveys through apps and the web each and every day (and I'll send you that info, if you want to make some extra cash).
… wow, that was a lot of rambling! If you want more info about how we travel and are able to travel so much for so little, please leave me a comment/shoot me an e-mail, etc.! In the case that you were curious, the photos in this post are from a Medieval festival in a town near where we live! Also, twirling is still my favourite.
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