Lately, my adventures have been a little closer to home. Right now, I guess that’s true for just about everyone.
When I started this blog, I was still new to life overseas – everything was an adventure and I wanted to share it. Ten years and three countries later, what I’ve discovered is that the biggest adventures aren’t necessarily the trips you take, but the life you choose to live along the way.
I’ve noticed that the longer I live in Europe, the less I write. I have transitioned from a wide-eyed wanderer to a more worldly version of myself. I am no longer living the life of a constant traveler; I am just living my life. What I’ve discovered is that I don’t need – or crave the same big adventures I did ten years ago. What I’ve learned is that small things hold big adventures. What I’ve found is that must-see places, and must-do events aren’t for everyone. Adventure is as unique as the individual, and the travel itinerary you love isn’t the same as the travel itinerary I love.
I’ve seen the rise of Instagram travelers and have friends with goals to check every site off their bucket list. Plenty of people love quick, see it all travel. They love to go there, see every must-see site, get the perfect picture and go, but I’ve discovered that doesn’t work for me. Although we’ve done the multi-country trips, and quick day trips, I’ve found that I prefer a slower travel. I may not see everything, but what I do see, I will see and enjoy in my own way.
Before we made the move from Key West, Florida to Pfullendorf in the state of Baden Württemberg Germany I wanted to see everything I could, cross everything off of my travel bucket list, visit every site I’d seen through the eyes of the travel channel. Our initial two-year assignment extended to three, then we received three additional assignments, taking us to Bavaria, Rome, and finally Belgium. Living somewhere longer doesn’t mean your bucket list gets shorter, it means you have an opportunity to keep adding things to it. Over the years, I’ve let go of my bucket list. I found that some of the things I’d dreamed of seeing were a disappointment, and some of the things I’ve discovered along the way far exceeded my expectations.
I’ve seen a lot, and I’ve written about some of our adventures. But life continues, and even in living in Europe we have everyday concerns. When the children started primary school, it became a little more difficult to take off on unscheduled adventures, and as they’ve grown, they prefer to do average kid stuff. They want to participate in after-school activities, and play with friends on the weekends, and just laze around after a long week in school.
Weekends aren’t always filled with travel these days. They’re filled with grocery shopping and homework and getting ready for the week ahead. But that’s ok. I’ve found that for us, when we travel every week – no matter how much we enjoy it – we get sick of traveling. These days we may travel less frequently, but I’ve found the strategy that works for us, and we enjoy every trip we take.
Prior to the outbreak of the pandemic, we had plans to travel over spring break, and a couple of trips over the summer. Right now, our travels are on hold, as Belgium is locked down until 20 April, and we really don’t know what international travel or even travel within Belgium will look like after that. We’ll figure that out along the way, but this does give us an opportunity to get ready for the next chapter in our adventure.
We’ve reached the mid-point of our final three-year tour, not just in Europe, but in the Army. After more than 20 years as part of a military family, we are rapidly approaching the completion of another major segment of our lives.
My focus has changed, and although I still enjoy discussing travel, cultures, languages, and intercultural interactions, today I am more focused on how things are similar rather than how things are different. We’ve now had two postings affiliated with NATO, which has provided me with an opportunity to really get to know people from different countries, exploring different cultures not just through travel, but through friendships and meaningful interactions. This more than anything has changed how I see the world. Travel doesn’t change you. It’s the people you meet along the way.
I still have plenty of tales to tell, and quarantine provides a lot of downtime to tell them. Thanks for stopping by to take a look at my blog, send me a message – I’d love to hear from you.