As a world traveler, I am fascinated by culture and food and music and history. I am amazed by the similarities and differences that unite and divide us all. More than anything, though, I feel that we are all one tribe in this great big world, and all around the globe, we are each dealing with this pandemic that is keeping us physically apart. We can still be united, though, through technology and memories and optimism about the future.
Theo and I have said many times over the past few years that we wanted to travel like mad while we could, because you never know when circumstances will change and keep you grounded. Well, now, I am so happy that we followed through on our crazy travel agenda for so many reasons. We have a wealth of experiences together over the last seven years with memories that will last a lifetime. And during this time of isolation, we’ve also learned that we can simply be at home together 24/7 and enjoy each other’s company. Sure we bicker at times and need our own space, but we are really fortunate to have a solid friendship and comfortable life.
Comfortable or not, staying grounded isn’t emotionally easy. We all have fear or uncertainty and suffer from boredom or stress that we didn’t have before the pandemic. So to keep me from going too stir crazy, I’ve been posting some travel memories—one each day—from A to Z. I thought I’d put them all together and share them here.
Aside from respective stints in Europe during or after college, we visited more countries this year than any other year. There are many reasons that the stars aligned for us to travel so much in 2019, including the opportunity to work remotely—so sometimes our laptops and responsibilities came with us on the road!
Importantly, we found some amazing travel deals on airfare and Airbnb accommodations. We maximize the benefits from travel reward credit cards (Chase Sapphire Reserve is our favorite). AND we visited 5 counties in a 10 night European adventure. Note that sometimes this is a bad idea, but it worked out really well on this itinerary and was worth it for the cost savings on airfare!
Medellín is a beautiful city with gorgeous views and lots of interesting things to explore. We spent two full days wandering the city, and despite continuous rain being in the forecast, we had 48 nearly-rain-free hours to get to know Medellín. Here are our highlights.
We see travel tips all the time for packing light and think: That’s still too much! If you can’t fit it all under the seat in front of you, then you haven’t packed light enough. We pack so light that we frequently get stopped at customs and asked if we forgot our bags. Nope! We just don’t like to be weighed down. It doesn’t matter how long or in what season we are traveling. The only time we bring an extra bag is when we need our snorkeling gear or drone 😁 And even that goes in a small, easy to manage carryon.
If you are a solo traveler on #Southwest don’t forget to check the bulkhead! SW was amazing at accommodating is when LiAnn broke her ankle. Often times there’s a special-needs traveler (like she was when we realized this) and a companion sitting in the bulkhead seats, which leaves an aisle or a window seat open, but everyone looks ahead and fails to notice. Sometimes there are two seats open. So our tip today is: Notice! #igottotheairport5minutesafterboardingstartedandstillgotthefirstrow
Our drive to Vik was the highlight of our trip. It is an easy ride along the ring road and unless you want to hike or find hot springs, you don’t have to map and plan much to see the sights along the way – they are right by the road.
There are beautiful waterfalls, strange lava formations, glaciers atop large mountains and looming volcanoes. There are fields full of vibrant shades of green, yellow, red and brown. There are black sand beaches, Icelandic horses and lots of grazing little lambs.
It’s about a five hour round trip drive from Reykjavik to Vik. Our only regret is that we didn’t make a hotel reservation in time to drive an extra 2 ½ hours east to the glacier bay at Jokulsarlon. By the time we decided to do this, the few hotels and guesthouse in the area were already fully booked. We decided it was just a bit too much to do in one day, so we had lunch in Vik and made the scenic journey back to Reykjavik.
I would say, if you only have time to chose one: golden circle or drive to Vik – definitely drive to Vik!
People wonder how I can travel for two weeks (in the winter) with just a day pack.
1. The first thing I do is find the bag I want to carry and then fit what I can into it – if it doesn’t fit, it stays home.
2. I find a color scheme and stick to it – mixing and matching pieces.
3. I pack a travel size bottle of laundry detergent to wash things in the sink if needed – although in some parts of the world, like SE Asia, laundry service is so inexpensive, you can just send it out every few days and pack even less!
4. I bring as many light weight, quick drying items as possible and just one sweatshirt and one sweater to wear over light weight clothes (usually only either the sweater or sweatshirt can be in the pack)
5. I don’t spend a lot of time packing, but I always do spend time thinking about what I’ll need and want to wear and how it can all be coordinated.
6. If I really want to do some serious shopping, I ship it home – usually for less than the airlines’ baggage fees.
It’s so liberating to be free of luggage when I travel that it’s well worth the extra thought I put into it. Plus, with all the added baggage fees these days, it’s nice to know I can fit everything under the seat in front of me!