If you look close, you can see little windmills in the middle of the ocean :
- 18 days
- 5 countries
- 24 cities
- 138.9 miles on foot (Greg's fitbit tracked for us)
- 6 apartments rentals, 1 hotel
- 11 trains (not including the subway)
- 2 rental cars
- 2 bike rentals
- 2 laundry visits
- 10 supermarket visits
- 27 desserts (yes, I kept track!)
We feel so grateful that we were even able to take a trip like this. We know that most people don't get to do an adventure like this and we have so much gratitude that we're at a point in our lives that we were able to make it a reality. We had to save a lot of money and we had to have jobs that were OK with us skipping town for us that long. We had to have coworkers that were willing to pick up our slack. And we just really appreciate everyone who helped us make this happen.
In all honesty, the complete trip was so much more work than we expected. I now understand why people hire travel agents or tour companies, because we had to put tens of hours into planning and coordination and research. It was difficult doing it all ourselves, but we loved that we got too customize everything to what we wanted and hoped would be fun. Some days we just couldn't walk anymore and would do Facetime with our family and watch movies. Some days we couldn't bear to go back to our rental because we were having so much fun.
For Greg, the trip was a reconfirmation that he was happy to be where he is in life now. He said that it's easy to think back about his mission and remember all the good times and how enjoyable it was. Because when you come home, you just remember all the good things and you long to be back at that time and in that place. But going there together was great for us. It was great for me to see where he was for those two years and why he loves the Dutch so much. And for Greg, it was good to see that life carried on without him and that his life carries on here in Utah. In different ways, but still good ways.
As a couple, it made us more grateful for one another. When everyone speaks a different language and you are only meeting vendors and drivers, you don't have a lot of people to communicate with. But Greg was all I needed. I still can't believe that I never tire of him. I usually need some sort of break from all humans at a certain point in the day, but not of Greg. I love being with him all day, everyday. I believe our marriage is stronger now because of our trip. We had to learn to really depend on each other and communicate what we wanted to do each day. I had to be flexible and go with the flow. When I was nervous about talking to people who barely spoke English, Greg rose to the occasion. He handled pretty much all communication with strangers and I felt so, so grateful. He took care of me like a champ and it made me feel like a million bucks.
We talked a lot about travel and why we took this trip and whether it was worth all the time and money to make it happen. We agreed that yes, it was worth it. It was worth having a shared adventure just for us. As two people who just barely met early last year, we still have a lot to learn about each other. Traveling together and having no one to talk to, but us, definitely sped along that process. I learned so much about Greg and everything I learned made me love him even more. When you have childhood friends, you grow together, you have lots of inside jokes and shared experiences you can refer to. And for us, going to Europe was part of that growing together and being able to have new shared memories as a couple, that were just ours.
As we discussed our life and our priorities we definitely want to make travel a priority as we encounter all that we will in our upcoming life. People travel for lots of reasons, but for us, we need to get out of our homes and experience something new, mainly, as a way to remember what we have. It's easy to take for granted the blessing of having a car, and space for your hobbies. We came back with a renewed sense of gratitude for our lives here. We loved seeing how other people live and we can definitely appreciate the differences, but it's especially nice to have the confirmation that where we live and what we're engaged in at this time in our lives is great. We came home more passionate for what we love about Salt Lake City and Utah and America. We've become more focused on what we want in the long term and how we want our lives to look and feel.
Thanks so much for reading along and for the kind comments on Instagram and Facebook. It was so fun to share our trip with others and get their recommendations and support along the way.