Today is my four-year anniversary of leaving my little rental house in Denver, with its white picket fence and nearby park, behind for a life of full-time travel.
Since then, I’ve hopped around Europe and Latin America, I’ve become an expat in Switzerland (and then stopped being an expat in Switzerland), I’ve written seven (and a half) travel guides, and, most recently, I’ve picked up a man-friend who is now traveling with me.
It’s been a wild ride, these four years, with plenty of ups and downs. And am I still glad I made that leap, started traveling, minimized my things, changed my life? Yes. A thousand times yes.
That doesn’t mean there aren’t downsides to this lifestyle (there are downsides to any lifestyle choice and anyone who tells you differently is selling something) or that it is for everyone, but it does mean I’m content with my own choices, happy to still be on the road, happy to have met so many incredible people and seen so many interesting things and been forced into a constant state of learning and contemplating and recognizing my own humanity in the face of a massive, wild world full of people who are simultaneously nothing like each other and everything like each other.
And so I’m grateful for these years. And grateful that this road still stretches ahead of me. And particularly grateful that I’m no longer traveling it alone.
I’m also grateful for so many specific experiences along the way. So I thought I’d pause in the travelogue today to share some of those.
The most interesting, beautiful, and incredible experiences of the last four years (including some that were difficult, but endlessly worth it):
:: Living in Switzerland’s Bernese Oberland (and particularly hiking Schilthorn and Mannlichen and staying overnight in the high Alps)
:: Visiting the hilltop castle on Lake Thun in Thun, Switzerland
:: Drinking a brand new wine created in a tiny Swiss winery
:: Riding down Croatia’s Dalmatian Coast on the back of a motorcycle
:: Walking Edinburgh’s Water of Leith Walkway through the city
:: Falling in love with Ghent, Belgium’s artistic community
:: Starting my first fiction novel
:: Publishing that first travel guide
:: Spending a winter in Paris’ artsy Montmartre neighborhood (and eating my first real Parisian pastries with my lovely friend Dani)
:: Trying real balsamic vinegar in Italy
:: Eating artisanal gelato in Rome
:: Drinking hand-whipped hot chocolate in Bayonne, France
:: Living in a farmhouse in Switzerland with goats
:: Cycling across France from border to coast
:: Being chased to Arizona and swept off my feet by my now-boyfriend (after seven years of singleness)
:: Having tea (several times) at Mariage Freres in Paris
:: Hiking one of Northern Arizona’s slot canyons
I’m also grateful for all the people I’ve met along the way. They aren’t always mentioned here, but I adore them all the same. Including you, readers. Knowing you’re there and reading makes the journey all the better.