By my calculations, we’ve flown, driven, ridden, and cruised about 60,000 miles in 2017. That’s a lot, even by our standards (and a whole lot more than many well-known travel bloggers). Here’s a quick recap of our travels this year (including only places we woke up in, not just visited, and omitting the places we call home), to be sung in Billy Joel “We Didn’t Start The Fire” style:
Honolulu, Manila, Puerto Princesa, Singapore, Bali, Hong Kong, Chiangmai, Bangkok, Koh Samui, Kuala Lumpur, London, Portsmouth, Grantham, Selston, Wakefield, Ambleside, Kirkby Stephen, Glasgow, Manchester, Davenport, Coco Cay, Nassau, Jacksonville, Chicago, Nashville, Malaga, Granada, Seville, Carvoeiro, Evora, Lisbon, Obidos, Parada de Gonta, Aveiro, Sintra, Dumfries, St Keverne, Ross-on-Wye, Belfast, Dublin, Tullamore, Florence, Civitevecchia, Mykonos, Athens, Rhodes, Santorini, Crete, Malta, Taormina, Naples, Castel Gandolfo, Paris, London, Bury St Edmonds, Norwich, and (drumroll) Eastbourne.
We circumnavigated the globe from January to April, continually flying westward, and boy are our arms tired! (rimshot)
In truth, we are tired. After three and a half years of travel, in 2018 we feel it wise to take a bit of a break. Regroup. Rethink. Evaluate our travel experiences so far, and plan—now with the benefit of forty-two months of experience—travel ambitions in the coming years, even decades. Work needs a bit of our attention. We need to decide if we’re buying the RV we’ve been thinking about. The grandbaby is at a fun, eyes wide exploring-the-world, age. And the tick-tock of our daughter’s biological clock might reach a crescendo in 2018.
We just need a breather.
Lest you think we are seriously cutting back on our travels next year, oh, contraire. A “breather year” for us still includes, potentially, the following in 2018:
- A ski trip…somewhere
- Disney World (especially if we buy a camper)
- Alaska tour and cruise
- A transpacific cruise followed by up to 2 months in Japan, with stops in Manila and Vietnam (or Borneo) on the way home
- Or, alternatively (to the Japan trip above), a cross-country RV trek
Good thing we’re taking a rest, eh?
Admittedly, part of the appeal to the last three and a half years has been the challenge of solving the problems of long term travel. What do we do with our home and our stuff when we’re gone for months at a time? With our cars? How do we get mail? Communicate affordably with family and clients at home? Afford months of travel? Not kill each other being together 7×24 for weeks (and weeks, and weeks) on end?
It’s not fair to say we’ve figured everything out. Nobody has. But it is fair to say that we don’t want to keep traveling just because we’ve figured out that we can. Part of this slow down will be spent contemplating some new travel experiences and solving some new challenges. To whet your appetite on some of the things we’re thinking about:
- When can we—when do we want to—just stop working altogether and continue to travel like we want?
- What does “stop working altogether” really mean? And how do we want to travel as we grow gray?
- How can we afford a 5-month cruise around the world? (Actually, we may have this one figured out, and the answer is related to the first two questions.)
- Do we want to keep exploring new places? Or do we want to revisit favorite places?
- Will Jon Snow and Danerys rule together? Or will they both be defeated by the Night King?
Not to mention that in 2019 we’re considering a pretty significant trip to Africa. This might seem pretty straightforward for seasoned travelers like us, but in addition to the normal research we’d do, keep in mind we’re talking about a corner of the world with great expanses of no Internet (not conducive to working while traveling), vast areas without roads (let alone public transit), very little in the way of long term lodging (AirBnB, HomeAway.com, etc.), and many countries with actual visa requirements (moreso than we visa fortunate Americans are used to). In short, a four month excursion to Africa in 2019 seems to deserve a good year and a half of planning and research.
All of this conjecture of slowing in 2018 might just be tired musings, and we may develop unbearable itchy feet before January is up and book a flight to St Arturo or Fiji or Schenectady or someplace equally desirable. Or we may buy that camper and drive to…wherehaveyou. One thing is certain: we end 2017 (for the first time in a few years) with no definitive plans to return to Europe, to fly around the world, drive from coast to coast, or to cross an ocean. As the great travel writer TJ Snodgrass observed, “If you aren’t traveling, you’re sitting still.”
Sitting still feels a little…well…restful. And I guess that’s what we need.
Having spent a little time in Ireland this year, our wish for you as we end 2017 is the Irish farewell…
May you live as long as you want,
And never want as long as you live.
Have a happy 2018.