Just over a week ago, my three-year anniversary of leaving the U.S. for a life of travel passed quietly by.
That’s right: Luna and I have been on the road for three years.
Even after a tough winter, I still think leaving to travel is one of the best decisions I ever made. Choosing to pack my bags in the first place. Choosing to travel slowly and with my dog. Choosing to settle in Switzerland for a while. Choosing to ditch marketing for a full-time travel writing career. These wouldn’t be the right choices for everybody, but for me they were just right.
And now the next set of choices is upon me.
This winter, after a year of truly living in Switzerland, putting down tiny roots, digging into my little community, I started to slowly pull those roots back up. I moved out of my apartment and took a trip to France. I started to downsize my possessions again. I went to Malta, then Spain. I challenged myself to downsize my backpack.
Soon it became clear to me that I’m on my way out of Switzerland.
Not that I won’t ever come back. But for now, I’m slowly and surely on my way back to being a true, baseless nomad.
And so I’ve got some exciting travel plans to announce:
Early July: Salzburg, Austria
Photo Credit: Salzburg.
Salzburg has been on my list for approximately forever, along with pretty nearby Halstatt. And finally it makes sense to pass through. Expect lots of hiking and maybe a little Sound of Music ballad singing at the top of my lungs.
Mid – Late July: Ljubljana & Bled, Slovenia
Photo Credit: Lake Bled.
I fell in love with the idea of Ljubljana because of a photo essay over at Bridges & Balloons (note to tourism organizations: travelers do make decisions based on blogs) and, of course, a trip to Slovenia must include a trip to iconic Bled. And so I’m off to Slovenia. And excitingly, my friends Ali and Andy will be joining me for part of the trip.
August: Slovenia’s Soca Valley
Photo Credit: Soca Valley.
A paradise of waterfalls, hiking trails, paragliding, river rafting, canyoning, and pretty much any other outdoorsy thing you can think of, when I started to research Slovenia, the Soca Valley jumped out at me, begging for a visit. This is where I’m spending the vast amount of my Slovenia time and I absolutely cannot wait.
September: Cycling from Switzerland to the Coast of France
Photo Credit: Loire Valley.
Yep, you heard me right. This September I’m taking my first vacation in two years and I’ll be cycling from Stein am Rhein in Switzerland to Nantes, France following the Eurovelo 6 cycling path. I just bought my bike. Luna is learning how to run alongside and ride on the front (she’ll mostly ride, but on uncrowded stretches she can do a little jogging). I’m nervous and thrilled to be doing a distance human-powered journey, as that was my main goal this year.
Early October: Amsterdam
Photo Credit: Amsterdam.
After September, the plans get more tentative (before September, things are actually booked), but my hope is that after cycling across France I’ll grab a train up to Amsterdam, another city that’s been on my list for forever. I’ll spend a week or two in Amsterdam catching up on whatever has come up while I’ve been vacationing on my cycle on September.
Late October: Pennyslvania
One of my closest friends lives in lovely, farm-rich central Pennsylvania. I’m hoping October will leave some room for a visit.
November – December: South America
Photo Credit: Argentina.
I had a realization this spring and it actually shouldn’t have been such a surprise. You see, I struggle with depression and anxiety. I have for ages. And my realization was this: it is much worse in the winter.
I’d heard of Seasonal Affective Disorder, but didn’t really pay attention. And no one ever suggested that I’m worse off in the winter. But in trying to cope with this winter’s unique set of challenges (read: ongoing health battles), I finally saw the pattern. While my depression isn’t limited to winter, it is worse then.
I also realized that the best winter months of the last four or five winter seasons were either where I was near friends and working on creative projects or when I was somewhere warm and sunny. And so for the first time in a couple years, I’ll be leaving Europe for a bit and heading into the southern hemisphere for at least part of the winter. My tentative plan is Argentina (though that could change), where the mountains tower and the food calls to me. And we’ll see if my depression is helped by a sunnier clime.
And so the year takes shape, with toes dipped into Eastern Europe, human-powered journeys through France, and a sunnier winter.
What are your summer, fall, and winter plans?