Carla and I have been traveling throughout Portugal and Spain for a little over a month now and sharing our journey along the way. We love our travels - the places we see, the people we meet, and the adventures we encounter. It’s been magical . . . and that feels like an understatement.
We also enjoy sharing our journey. It's been a truly delightful part of this trip. It really does feel like we’re bringing our family and friends (and hopefully others out there who share the same passion and excitement for travel and adventure) along with us. And that feels good! Thanks to all of you for joining us - reading our blog, following us on Facebook and Instagram, and checking out all the photos on our website gallery page. We are grateful you are with us.
At this point in our journey, we thought it might be helpful to others who are thinking about either taking a big trip or even expatriating to another country, to share our experiences, feelings, and thought processes that led us to this point. That, in and of itself, is quite the journey.
Carla and I would have taken this trip before now had it not been for covid. I know we are not the only ones to have altered our plans in the past 3 years. The adjustment gave us more time to understand how deeply our urge to travel had penetrated our beings and how important it felt to us at this point in our lives. What we are doing is not for everyone - we certainly understand that . . . but somehow it suits us beautifully, even as it is a bit crazy and unconventional.
We have written on our website a general take of what we’re doing in our travels, but in case you haven’t yet made it there, I will recap . . .
A month ago, we began our three-month journey through Europe. As we like to describe it - we are both homeless and citizens of the world. That probably sounds complicated and confusing, but to us it feels fantastic – we feel a sense of freedom that fills us with joy. We have left our home in Asheville, NC – after having given away and sold pretty much everything - and what we have with us is mostly all that we own now. Wherever we go, for as long as we are there, that will be our home.
Our first month was spent in Portugal, we are now in Spain, and later in November we will journey into France.
When Carla and I travel abroad, we tend towards slow travel. We like to take our time and truly “live into” the places we are visiting. Yes, we love seeing amazing sites - architectural structures, ruins, and museums, but to us, the equally amazing visual and cultural experience is the town and its people . . . just being amidst the people and their culture as we walk and explore the streets.
We have also been asked by quite a few of you . . . “if you sold everything and have left your home, what’s the endgame?” And that is both a fair and excellent question. Our honest answer is that we are very open (in fact very hopeful) that in time we will relocate to somewhere in Europe. We love Spain and that is our likely landing spot. We feel very connected to the European culture and way of life and really enjoy and appreciate the opportunity to experience a different approach to living . . . even learning a new language feels exciting to us.
Of course, we miss our friends and families - especially our kids and grandkids - and we will no doubt miss them if we expatriate. They will forever keep our hearts wide open. However, we also believe that we are creating opportunities for those who are close to us . . . after all, if you have a place to stay with people who are excited about travel and adventure, what’s then keeping you from making the journey?
In our culture, we have come to associate missing people as a negative feeling. Instead, I think we humans have a wonderful capacity to tolerate a paradox. We can simultaneously live our lives fully, enjoy the day-to-day aspects of our lives, be very happy, and still miss people. One does not preclude the other from happening. To me, missing people simply means they are very much alive in our hearts. It’s different than a breakup, or someone passing . . . they are still very present in our lives, just not always by physical proximity.
Even if we live abroad, we plan to come back to the states for yearly visits spanning one to two months at a time. We are hoping that those visits will be more focused and meaningful (trying to maximize our time together) than if we lived in the same town and took our proximity to each other for granted.
We really are falling in love every day . . . both with the new and beautiful places we encounter, and with each other. And that is what we love best about our travels . . . it keeps our hearts wide open. And for us, that is rocket fuel not just for this journey, but for our life’s journey.
I will leave you with a quote from Anthony Bourdain that more succinctly and articulately expresses what I’m trying to say . . .
“Travel isn’t always pretty. It isn’t always comfortable. Sometimes it hurts, it even breaks your heart. But that’s okay. The journey changes you; it should change you. It leaves marks on your memory, on your consciousness, on your heart, and on your body. You take something with you. Hopefully, you leave something good behind.”
– Anthony Bourdain