I hope everyone had a good Christmas (or Hanukah) and New Year’s filled with family and friends. Despite vowing to never experience another winter in a cold climate, Fara and I spent Christmas with our friends in Dublin again this year. The running joke has been that we aren’t welcome back next year. At least the weather has been a lot milder than last year with highs in the low 50’s and no real precipitation to speak of. As the calendar rolls over to 2019, we are house-sitting three adorable labradoodles in Wicklow County, less than an hour south of Dublin.
Looking back at some highlights…
In the past year we celebrated our first full year on the road, ticked six new countries off our list (Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Luxembourg), had a few friends from the States join us on parts of our adventure, and met countless new friends along the way. With little debate, both Fara and I agree that our most memorable experience of the year and maybe the entire trip so far was being lucky enough to live in Zagreb during Croatia’s run to the World Cup final. Proof that by traveling slow and living like a local the experiences will find you.
After landing our first house-sitting gig a little over a year ago, we renewed out efforts to make it an integral part of our travel strategy. By keeping our itinerary flexible enough to go where there are sits available, we ended 2018 with 10 more house-sits on our resume, totaling about 120 days (1/3 of the year), taking care of 16 dogs, 10 cats, 6 chickens, and 2 roosters. Not too bad.
An unintended consequence of chasing house-sit opportunities is that we haven’t moved on from Europe yet. We did spend a month visiting friends and exploring old hangouts in Tel Aviv, Israel. So technically we left the continent, but returned due to commitments that will keep us in Europe through June.
… a few lowlights…
The nomadic life is not always as fun and exciting as it may seem on Facebook. Fara and I have each had times in the past year where it stops being fun and thoughts of calling it quits to go back home enter our minds. Fortunately, it has yet to happen to both of us at the same time. So one is able to pick the other up until all is right with the world again. We’ve found that the hard part is realizing one of us is in a funk and doing what is necessary to get back to our happy place. For Fara that normally finding a local yarn shop and attending a knitting group. My go to activity involves a day out in nature or the city with just my camera to keep me company.
A year ago, I made a New Year’s resolution (I mean I set a goal) to blog on a regular cadence. I was successful through the first three months (the original goal) before tripping a bit in April and falling completely off the wagon by October. No excuses, writing is the first thing I’ll drop when we’re busy travelling, or when I’m stressed, or when I lack motivation, or… Trying to put a more positive spin on it, I am still learning about my own needs as a writer. The most obvious insight is that I write more when I’m excited about what I’m writing. This was most evident in July when I was posting almost weekly about our Balkan adventure and the World Cup. Learning how to recreate that excitement on a more consistent basis is the new goal.
… and a look forward
What does 2019 have in store for us? The first half of the year is full of house-sits, keeping us in Europe until early June. Some of the homeowners are repeat customers, so it will be exciting to catch up with them and their pets. After that, we have a trip short trip planned to Turkey and Georgia (the country, not the state). We don’t know yet what happens after June, but we feel it might be a good time to move on to another part of the world. Stay tuned to find out.