Everyday Life in Split, Croatia

The view of beautiful Split, Croatia from a Marjan Park viewpoint.

The view of beautiful Split, Croatia from a Marjan Park viewpoint.

Croatia has been the surprise of the year for us. We picked this country because of its status as a Non-Schengen country within the EU. When you’re in Europe as long as we’re planning to be here, you have to really pay attention to visa rules in various countries. (I have a spreadsheet for this. I have a spreadsheet for everything… that hasn’t changed on our year of travel!) As Americans, you can be inside the Schengen-Visa group of countries for 90 days of any 180 day period without jumping through hoops to get an official Visa. (The Schengen-Visa group consists of most major European countries.) We picked Croatia as a place to spend about 40 days before heading back into the Schengen area, and MAN we are glad we did!

Croatia’s people are incredibly warm and friendly, the scenery is absolutely breathtaking, almost everyone speaks English, and most importantly for long-term travelers, it’s an inexpensive place to be! If Croatia wasn’t already on your travel list, it needs to be. Go ahead, update your spreadsheet. Put Croatia at the top!

By the time this post gets published, we’ll be in Zagreb, Croatia’s capitol city. After that, it’s onward to Budapest for four weeks. So for the next few weeks, I’ll be playing catchup and will be putting out posts about our adventures here in Croatia. We’ve been on several day trips: One to Dubrovnik (a City fit for Kings!), another to explore still war-torn Bosnia, and a wonderful trip to Krka National Park with its impressive waterfalls.

Stay tuned for those posts! In the meantime, here’s a peek at what everyday life in Split, Croatia has been like since we arrived here a few weeks ago. Happy Travels, friends!

When to Visit Croatia

I was serious when I said Croatia needs to be in your travel list. But when should you visit? We’ve been told by MANY locals that you should avoid July and August at all costs. Cruise ships descend on Croatia’s best cities during this time, making all of Croatia’s best attractions absolutely packed to the point of being unbearable. In addition to the crowds, accommodations are at their highest prices and the heat can be unbearable!

If you can, visit in June or September. Locals recommend September if you plan to hit the beaches so the water has warmed up a bit. June is perfect for folks who aren’t interested in water or don’t mind the cold.

One of Split's Beaches. We sure wish it was warm enough for swimming!

One of Split’s Beaches. We sure wish it was warm enough for swimming!

We’ve enjoyed being here in February and March, the lowest of the low season, when it’s rare to see other tourists. When we were recently at Krka national park, we saw just SEVEN other tourists in our entire day there! SEVEN! Low season is great, but it does come at a cost. Some restaurants and shops close up for all of Winter. Buildings everywhere are under construction. Sometimes it’s cold and rainy. We didn’t get to swim at the beaches. If you’re coming for a whole month like we have, low season is fine because you can hunker down on cold, rainy days. If you’re short on time, it’s best to avoid Winter.

During the Winter low season, there are crazy wind storms! These ships broke free of their lines and blew across the bay!

During the Winter low season, there are crazy wind storms! These ships broke free of their lines and blew across the bay!

Wind damage from a winter wind storm! This tree was blown over and uprooted, tearing up the sidewalk!

Wind damage from a winter wind storm! This tree was blown over and uprooted, tearing up the sidewalk!

Probably the worst thing about low season, though, is that the ferries operate on a very, very reduced schedule. We wanted to make a day trip to the nearby island of Hvar. But doing that involves a 2-hour car ferry early in the morning, then a 40-minute bus ride on a bus that may or may not actually be running. (Still no word on what you do if the bus isn’t running!) Reaching old town Hvar, where many shops and restaurants are probably closed up for Winter anyway, proved to be too much of a challenge for us to endure. In the summertime, a passenger catamaran runs several times a day, shortening the trip to just a 1-hour ferry ride each way! You heard it hear first, folks, we’ll be coming back someday in September!

Running in Split

Panoramic View from the top of Marjan Park

Panoramic View from the top of Marjan Park

If Kevin and I had to pick just ONE reason that Split has grown so near and dear to our hearts, hands down it would be Marjan Park. Marjan is an enormous park (the size of New York’s Central Park!) located right next to the Split’s city center. On any given day, the park is full of people enjoying the great outdoors.

Can you think of a more beautiful place to run?!

Can you think of a more beautiful place to run than this?!

It’s hilly, green, beautiful, surrounded by beautiful blue water, and it’s largely free of car traffic! A full lap around Marjan Peninsula is about 6 miles, perfect for a sunny Springtime run.

Here's Kevin, running in the pedestrian-only area of Marjan.

Here’s Kevin, running in the pedestrian-only area of Marjan.

If running’s not your jig, it’s also a wonderful place to hike up and take in some beautiful views. We had a great picnic there on the second day of Spring.

Check out this awesome picnic spot!!

Check out this awesome picnic spot!!

Our Apartment Here in Split

We lucked out and got a fantastic 2-bedroom 1.5-bathroom apartment here in Split. We really took a gamble on this one – it was brand new listing on Airbnb and didn’t have any reviews yet, which is normally a HUGE red flag for us. But the owner gave us a great deal so we decided to go for it.

Our apartment is located on the first floor of a building with about 6 apartments. All the other building residents are part of the same family, related in some way to our fantastic landlord Stjepko.

Everyone in the building has been SO friendly, and we learned that they have a relative living in Seattle! Small world. Here’s a video peek at our apartment here in Split:

For 34 nights in this fabulous apartment, we paid $765 (price includes utilities and all Airbnb fees). That works out to just $22.50/night! Not bad for a ritzy 2-bedroom apartment where Kevin and I each get our own bathroom. (Keep in mind we’re here renting at super low season. Prices in Summer would probably be quite a bit higher.)

This apartment is perfectly located, has super fast Wifi, a well-equipped kitchen, the most comfy bed ever, and is in a quiet, safe neighborhood. If you ever find yourself traveling to Split, we recommend checking out the listing on Airbnb.

Grocery Shopping in Split

Split's Outdoor Market

Split’s Outdoor Market

Split has supermarkets all over the town center just like any other European city. Shopping at these markets is pretty easy. (Except for the time we accidentally bought 2 pounds of sandwich cheese. Conversion error…) But we usually prefer to go a bit more local with our shopping, and have spent a lot of mornings roaming around Split’s outdoor Green Market.

Split's Outdoor Market, open every day!

Split’s Outdoor Market, open every day!

Located just east of Split’s historic old city, the Green Market is impossible to miss. It’s really hopping in the morning, especially on sunny days. Food stalls start wrapping things up around 1pm, so be sure you arrive early!

Flower Vendors at the Outdoor Market

Flower Vendors at the Outdoor Market

You can find everything at the green market, from salted dried cod to prosciutto to nuts and dried fruits to wild asparagus. There are butchers and bakers and candlestick makers, there is a flea market area, and you can stock up on socks and underwear. You can buy flowers and fresh fruit, home-churned butter, homemade cheeses, and all sorts of produce. There is no shortage of bakers here, either – snag a whole bag of cookies for under $1!

A meat and cheese vendor at the market. Check out the dried hanging cod in the booth!

A meat and cheese vendor at the market. Check out the dried hanging cod in the booth!

Daffodils from the Green Market for less than a buck!

Daffodils from the Green Market for less than a buck!

We became especially fond of one fruit vendor we returned to every few days. By the time we’d been here a few weeks, he’d wave at us and say “Dobar Dan!” when we walked up. (Dobar Dan means good day!) Every time we’d buy fruit from him, he’d try to convince us to get some strawberries. We kept saying no because apples and pears are so cheap here, but finally we gave in and bought some in our last week in Split. He was so excited he hollered “Yah!” and gave us two thumbs up! We will never forget that guy.

This is our favorite fruit vendor!

This is our favorite fruit vendor’s booth! He’s the guy in the far left of the photo, with the red stripe on his jacket.

Another vendor we visited regularly was the egg lady. She is a lady probably in her 70s and sells eggs by the 10-pack (there’s no such thing as a dozen eggs in Croatia. I don’t know why, they always come in 10s!), and we can tell she doesn’t know quite what to make of us. She doesn’t speak a bit of English, and we don’t speak a bit of Croatian. I’m pretty sure might think we’re complete weirdos for being here as tourists in March, but that’s okay.

Split's Outdoor Market

Split’s Outdoor Market

More stalls at Split's market, right next to the old city wall that's hundreds of years old!

More stalls at Split’s market, right next to the old city wall that’s hundreds of years old!

A Photo Tour of Split

The town of Split is surprisingly sprawling for being the home of just 190,000 people. Luckily, everything a tourist needs is located right in the city center. Split is over 1700 years old, and is situated right on the coast of the beautiful Adriatic Sea. The historic city center is built inside and around the Diocletian Palace (a UNESCO World Heritage site), which was built by the Roman Emperor Diocletian in AD305. Nowadays, homes, shops, restaurants, and guesthouses are built right into the walls of the palace. Here are some photos to give you a taste of lovely Split, Croatia:

Another photo in Marjan Park. This is the highest viewpoint you can get to, and has a huge Croatian flag flying!

A photo in Marjan Park. This is the highest viewpoint you can get to. The red, white and blue Croatian flag is always flying high above the town of Split.

The view from the top of Marjan Park.

The view from the top of Marjan Park.

Another Marjan Park shot. This cute little chapel sits on one of its many viewpoints.

Another Marjan Park shot. This cute little chapel sits on one of its many viewpoints.

The Diocletian Palace walls are such a fun backdrop for the outdoor market.

The Diocletian Palace walls are such a fun backdrop for the outdoor market. In the back there is the tower that belong’s to Split’s Cathedral.

Everyone here is a fan of the Split Hadjuk football team! Their logo is everywhere.

Everyone here is a fan of the Split Hadjuk football team! Their logo is everywhere.

Split's famous Gregory of Nin statue. Rubbing his toe is said to be good luck!

Split’s famous Gregory of Nin statue. Rubbing his toe is said to be good luck!

Another shot of Gregory of Nin. He lives just outside the North Wall of the Diocletian Palace.

Another shot of Gregory of Nin. He lives just outside the North Wall of the Diocletian Palace.

A beautiful sunset over one of Split's beaches.

A beautiful sunset over one of Split’s beaches.

It's easy to kick back, relax, and have a coffee in one of Split's sunny plazas.

It’s fun to kick back, relax, and have a coffee in one of Split’s sunny plazas.

The charming historical center of Split.

The charming historical center of Split.

There are about 2 dozen peacocks living in our neighborhood in Split!

There are about 2 dozen peacocks living in our neighborhood in Split!

Peacocks in Split!

Peacocks in Split!

We love Split. :-)

We love Split. :-)

We Want to Hear From You!

Have I convinced you to visit yet? Go ahead. Book your flight. You won’t regret it!

There’s No Place Like Home (We’re Coming Home in May!)

When Kevin and I left Seattle in April 2014, we had no idea how long we would be living and traveling abroad. We had so many questions about what would happen. Would we love it and never want to move back to Seattle? Would we hate it and have to move in with our parents after just a few months? Would one of us end up strangling the other because we spend 24 hours of every day together in a tiny apartment?

We’ve been abroad for 9 full months now, and while we wouldn’t trade this year abroad for anything, we are both ready to head back home to Seattle. We are booked on a flight to Seattle on May 6th – the end is near!

To see where we’ve been so far, check out the map in the top of this post. Just in case you want to squeeze in a quick visit while we’re still in Europe, here are our whereabouts until we get back to the U.S. of A.:

  • Until March 27: Split, Croatia
  • March 27 – 29: Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia
  • March 29 – 31: Zagreb, Croatia
  • March 31 – April 28: Budapest, Hungary
  • April 28 – May 1: Vienna, Austria
  • May 1 – May 5: Prague, Czech Republic
  • May 5 – May 6: Frankfurt, Germany
  • May 6: Seattle!
  • (We’re also planning a trip to Kansas June 2 – 9 for my Dad’s milestone birthday!)

So, why did we decide to end our travels after just one year?

Warning: This post is about our personal experience traveling abroad, and results for others may vary!

“Seeing the World” Is Best Done in Bite-Sized Pieces

Traveling for a very lengthy period of time sort of turns you into an asshole. Churches start to blend together, castles all start to look the same, and you start to get a little jaded. There was a time when walking into St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome would’ve brought tears to my eyes because of its sheer awesomeness. Now, I see St. Peter’s and think, “huh, reminds me a little of Sevilla’s Cathedral”. We have this new you’re-going-to-have-to-try-pretty-hard-to-impress-us attitude. In Kevin’s words, we’ve seen a lot of “old-ass Roman shit”.

Here Kevin is, looking at some of the oldest Roman shit around, the Colosseum in Rome.

Here Kevin is, looking at some of the oldest Roman shit around, the Colosseum in Rome. This look on his face happened when I said, “STOP SQUINTING!” and I can’t stop laughing out loud any time I look at it.

It takes continuous effort to keep appreciating your travels if you’re abroad for a year. Living out of a duffel bag starts to wear you down, little cultural differences that used to be cute/interesting start to get under your skin, and travel fatigue sets in and causes you to skip some sights you’d otherwise be super excited about. We essentially skipped the entire country of Myanmar because we knew we just wouldn’t appreciate it as much as we should. (We hope to visit someday, when we’re jonesing for some more time in SE Asia.)

You see beautiful gardens in Thailand, I see a risk of Dengue Fever.

You see beautiful gardens in Thailand, I see a risk of Dengue Fever.

Thailand beer disappointment is in full force in this photo - the lack of beer selection is no longer cute. We resorted to buying Budweiser for 4th of July... and it tasted GOOD to us. Our tastebuds are lying to us!!

Thailand beer disappointment is in full force in this photo – the lack of beer selection is no longer cute. We resorted to buying Budweiser for 4th of July… and it tasted GOOD to us. Our tastebuds are lying to us!!

Ok, I still find this one cute. Translation errors will never get old.

Ok, I still find this one cute. Translation errors will never get old. (This is actually crepe cake.)

Remember that time we were so frustrated with Italian transportation that we opened a bottle of wine and started drinking it out of plastic cups?!

Remember that time we were so frustrated with Italian transportation that we opened a bottle of wine and started drinking it out of plastic cups?!

The thing that makes travels to foreign places so special is the contrast you experience from the way things are back home. In my ideal world, I’d work 11 months out of the year and spend 1 month living in a city somewhere else in the world. In a month, you can sift through many of a city’s restaurants, really get a handle on a local culture, and maybe even make some new local friends. A month lets you really take things slowly and at a relaxed pace, you get tons of time to sleep and unwind, and finding a month-long place to stay is often the same price or less than just 2 weeks in a hotel! Plus if you choose wisely and stay at a rail hub, you can take a bunch of day trips.

Ok, I’ve figured out my ideal world. Now, I need to figure out how to change America’s culture so we all get a month of vacation. I’ll get right on that, folks.

Seattle Is the Best Place in the World (at Least to Us!)

There’s no denying it, Seattle is our Paradise. I know that a lot of Seattleites like to perpetuate the rumor that it’s always rainy and gray in our City (Heaven forbid too many people crowd into our wonderful town!), but I’m going to let you in on a little secret: that’s not really true. The truth is, our Summers are long gorgeous stretches of blue-sky days with perfect high-70’s temperatures. The Pacific Northwest is filled with gazillions of perfect campgrounds, tons of backpacking options, and an infinite number of stunning day hikes. Even our winters are awesome – you can leave our house and be on the ski slopes in less than an hour. Heck, it rarely gets below 40 in the Winter in our fine city, which means I get to run outside year-round without having to wear a Snow Parka. I am convinced Seattle’s climate was tailored specifically for me – there is rarely any swamp ass to be had here (most homes don’t even have aircon!), my hair hardly ever gets wind blown, and I rarely need more than a light jacket. I love it!

Reason Seattle is awesome #1: On this backpacking trip, we stumbled upon a whale skeleton on the beach!

Proof Seattle is awesome #1: On this backpacking trip, we stumbled upon a whale skeleton on the beach!

Reason Seattle is awesome #2: This day hike is a half hour from our house.

Proof Seattle is awesome #2: This day hike is a half hour from our house.

I don’t think I’ve made a single blog post without a food reference, so why stop now?! We’ve traveled through Thailand, Cambodia, Singapore, France, Spain, Portugal, Italy, and Croatia, so I feel confident declaring that many of our wonderfully diverse cities in the United States have food cultures that are unmatched anywhere else in the world. We’ve traveled around and tried the local cuisines of so many countries, but what’s really missing is the huge variety of international options we have in the US. Sure, there’s tons of Thai food in Thailand (obviously), but the Indian food options are not good, and you’d be hard pressed to find any legit Mexican food, much less any sushi I’d bet my life on. In Seattle, we have fabulous foods from all different cultures: Vietnamese, Chinese, South Pacific, Italian, French, Thai, Indian, Caribbean, Japanese, Mexican, even Ethiopian. And don’t even get me started on Seattle’s coffee scene. In Europe, it is damn near impossible to buy grocery store coffee beans that aren’t pre-ground, and I STILL haven’t had a decent cup of coffee at a cafe here.

There are other little things about Seattle we miss, too. In Seattle, green spaces and parks are everywhere; in Europe most public spaces are brick or cement plazas. I miss being able to use a public bathroom without having to shell out a Euro. I miss having the right-of-way as a pedestrian. I miss the bulk bin section of our neighborhood grocery store, and my Dutch Oven and Crock Pot. And I think I especially miss having an American-style laundry setup! (I’m SO excited to have a dryer again.) Kevin misses our grill, and his beer brewing equipment. He has been reading Homebrewing articles every day, and has his first dozen or so brews all planned out. We need to be home!

Living Abroad Can Be Lonely

I didn’t realize how isolating and lonely it can be to live abroad. Don’t get me wrong, it’s so nice to have a partner to travel with, but when you spend your whole day together, the usual “How was your day?” question is sort of a dead end. Luckily, we both read a lot so we can talk about our books, but that is WAY less interesting than the stories I used to come home and tell about my quirky/wonderful coworkers at Boeing.

We're so lonely we're making friends with barn animals.

We’re so lonely we’re making friends with barn animals.

How could we not miss our friends? There is never a dull moment back home.

How could we not miss our friends? There is never a dull moment back home.

Things weren’t quite as lonely in Chiang Mai, where the coffee shop culture was perfectly suited for digital nomads. (The coffee was good and cheap, the internet was fast, and it was definitely considered acceptable to sit for a couple hours and work! It is NOT like that in Europe.) Since we were there for 8 months, we were able to form some relationships with both expats and locals. It was fun to be regulars at our favorite coffee shops where we’d chat with the baristas and they’d put in our order without us having to even say anything.

The only thing warm about the service in this cafe in Granada, Spain was the fire. Sigh.

The only thing warm about the service in this cafe in Granada, Spain was the fire. Sigh.

Traveling more quickly is more isolating, though. Since arriving in Europe, we haven’t been in one place for more than 30 days. When you don’t speak the local language, it’s hard to build any sort of relationships, especially when you’re just passing through. To be honest, we haven’t felt a whole lot of warmth radiating from people we’ve met so far in Europe. That is, until our recent arrival here in Split, Croatia.

This is how we feel about Croatia so far. Here's Kevin with the Croatian flag. We love it here!

This is how we feel about Croatia so far. Here’s Kevin with the Croatian flag. We love it here!

I think our entry to Croatia came at just the right time. In spite of all the hardships they’ve gone through in the last 20 years, people here are just so darn NICE, and everyone seems to speak perfect English. It helps that we’re renting an Airbnb apartment in a big 6-unit building that is filled by several generations of the same family. They have a cousin in Seattle, so everyone knows who we are and they’re all excited to chat with us about home. We’ve met a lot of friendly locals, too. Just the other day, a farmer at the fresh market struck up a conversation with us, busted out a photo album of his farm and his family, and ended our chat with a very enthusiastic “I love America! America, Yes!”

I love America, too, sir.

5 Reasons to Quit Your Job and Move Abroad

When you're unemployed, it's easy to drop everything when a friend is in town and just say, "Sure, we'll visit the highest point in Thailand tomorrow."

When you’re unemployed, it’s easy to drop everything when a friend is in town and just say, “Sure, we’ll visit the highest point in Thailand tomorrow.”

Kevin and I have come to realize that many of the things we enjoy the most about living abroad probably have more to do with being unemployed than they do with actually being abroad. We love having flexible schedules and being able to work on whatever interests us the most at the moment. We love being able to work whenever we want, wherever we want, and have completely lost track of the concept of a “weekend”. Our days are categorized as gym-days and non-gym-days now, which means I don’t hate Mondays anymore. Hooray!

There have been many moments where we wish we could’ve had this mini-retirement period from the comfort of our home in Seattle, where we’d be near to all of our family and friends. Here’s the thing though – moving to a city with such a low cost of living is a lot less scary than being out of work in a pricier place like Seattle. We had a mortgage back home in Seattle to worry about, and food costs a lot more than the $1/meal we’ve gotten used to here, and don’t even get me started on how much it costs to foot the bill for your own health insurance in the States. (Don’t worry, we have traveler’s insurance, it’s just a lot cheaper than health insurance in the States.)

While we’re definitely not planning to pick up and move abroad ever again after we get back home to Seattle, we’re thankful we got the chance to do this. We’ve spent a lot of time this Thanksgiving week thinking about things we’re thankful for, and we came up with a list of the 5 Reasons to Quit Your Job and Move Abroad.

It Could Save You Money in the Long Run

Nearly all of our worldly possessions are stored in a single portable storage unit.

Nearly all of our worldly possessions are now stored in a single portable storage unit.

The number one lesson you’ll learn when you spend a year abroad is that you need a heck of a lot less than you thought you did. Less space. Fewer clothes. Less jewelry. Less money. Fewer pairs of shoes. In fact, you realize that having fewer possessions can actually make life more simple. Let me tell ya, I sure get dressed a lot faster with only a handful of outfits to choose from! There’s something really refreshing about simplifying your life. I think that’s an important lesson to learn, and living out of a duffel bag for a year forces you to learn it.

There’s also something magical about an extended period of unemployment that makes you really scrutinize every Baht (or every penny?) that you spend. Do I really need the higher quality hand soap? Can I wait to buy sunscreen because it might go on sale next week? Should I walk the 25 minutes to the cheaper store to save a few bucks? Do I really need to order bottled water with dinner? I hope this habit sticks with me after we go home, because maybe I’ll finally, finally be able to make a trip to Target without spending more than $60.

All these small things definitely do add up, but we think this trip has saved us a boatload of money because we’ve shifted our mindset on how big our home needs to be. Our apartment here in Chiang Mai is only 41 sq. meters (441 sq. feet). Before we signed our lease, I was pretty nervous about renting a place that small. I thought we’d kill each other! Since moving in, however,we’ve realized that 41 sq. meters is plenty of space for the two of us. When we were in Vietnam, we met one family of four who lived in an apartment this size and considered it to be plenty of space. I’m not saying I could peacefully share 441 sq. feet with three other people, but it did get me to thinking a little bit and makes me look at our 1000 sq. ft. house in Seattle a little bit differently.

That change of perspective is what can save you money. Before we left Seattle, we had been saving up to put a big addition on our home. For an old home, and with Seattle’s construction prices, a big addition is going to be in the 6-figures range. If we can avoid spending that money by doing with a smaller space, this trip will have paid for itself. Hurray!

You Will Finally, FINALLY, Catch up on Sleep

One of the most amazing things about moving abroad is that you suddenly find yourself with a lot more free time on your hands. While this is probably mostly due to the fact that neither of us has a “job” in the traditional sense right now, it’s also due in part to the fact that we don’t ever cook or clean anymore and also due to the fact that our social life is, um, pretty subdued now.

This is what happens when your social life is too subdued. Look at these weirdos. Sheesh.

This is what happens when your social life is too subdued. Look at these weirdos. Sheesh.

The only chores we have to do now are laundry and dishes (a maid service is included in our rent). We definitely don’t have any yardwork since we live in a condo. It’s so cheap and quick to go out for food that the only meal we ever cook is breakfast. We also both ditched our previous 1-hour each-way commutes. (Don’t get me started on commute times… what a waste of precious hours in our lives!)

Naturally, since I have some extra time on my hands, eight-hour nights of sleep have made a big come-back in my life. According to my Fitbit, I averaged 8 hours and 47 minutes of sleep per night this week. We have used an alarm clock exactly four times since moving to Thailand in late April. I probably haven’t regularly gotten this much sleep since I was an infant. When I worked at Boeing, I had to be out the door every day by 6:10am on the dot so I wouldn’t miss my vanpool. I’m finally working off the Boeing sleep deficit! YAY!

You Will Have Time to Make a Dent in Your Books Backlog

So like I said above, we have a lot more time on our hands. What do we do with all that time? Well, we do work for about 6 hours a day, 7 days a week. We’re not just being bums over here! But when we’re not working, we read… a lot. Before leaving Seattle, I was lucky to get through more than one book per month. Since we moved here almost 7 months ago, I’ve read 39 books, five of which were fairly dense programming books. I still have a pretty hefty backlog of books I want to read (140 titles and growing…), but there is finally time for it! Hurrah!

You Will Appreciate Things You Once Took for Granted

I know I’ve talked a lot about how I miss things like being near family and friends, wide sidewalks, reliable electricity and reliable internet. But there are a few things I really miss that surprised me.

I miss the smell of the Pacific Northwest. Pine, moss, freshly mowed grass, rain. Ah the smell of rain. I miss it.

I can ALMOST smell the pine through this photo. If you're reading this from the Pacific Northwest, go outside and take a big whiff of the wonderful air for me!

I can ALMOST smell the pine through this photo. If you’re reading this from the Pacific Northwest, go outside and take a big whiff of the wonderful air for me!

I miss seasons. Before you move to a tropical paradise, you get this idea in your head that the hot weather is idyllic, wonderful, perfect in every way. Once you get here and “swamp ass” becomes your biggest daily problem, you realize how much you love the seasons. (Sidenote: In Chiang Mai, where the daily high in the hot season is regularly over 100 degrees, why does everyone seem to favor leather chairs and cushions? I’ve have more than a few close calls where I’m pretty sure I almost lost half the back of my leg because my skin was SO stuck to the leather.) It really is true that a cold Winter makes those hot Summer days a whole lot more special.

Aside from just missing seasons, I miss the typical seasonal foods in the States. Spring Asparagus. Fall Butternut and Acorn Squash. Summer sweet corn. Oh lordy, the Fall peaches and Summer cherries… I am literally drooling at my laptop typing this. Since I’m missing out this year, will you please do me a favor and try out some of my favorite cold weather recipes? Butternut Squash and Caramelized Onion Galette. Acorn Squash Quesadillas. Winter Squash Soup. You will not regret it.

When we get back, I’m going to make a point to truly appreciate these things. I will be that lady. The lady on the hiking trail who keeps yelling “Doesn’t it smell amazing out here?! NATURE!” The lady who is grinning like an idiot at the Farmer’s market, smelling all the produce, buying ALL THE SQUASHES. I’m going to make myself sick off of cherries. Twice.

Personal Growth

There is no denying the fact that living abroad will change you.

Wandering around a loud, dusty bus station in Bangkok at 6am after getting off of an overnight bus in a complete daze (before coffee!) forces you to learn to just go with the flow. Figuring out how to explain to a bus driver that you need to be let off two miles before you reach town is an exercise in communication skills when you only speak English and he only speaks Thai. Simply living in a country where you don’t speak the native language forces you to learn to rely on the kindness of others, and is a daily exercise in patience. It also makes you realize the power of a simple smile.

Communication 101: If the signs are all in Thai but the food looks good, just walk up and say "One please!" and see what they give you.

Communication 101: If the signs are all in Thai but the food looks good, just walk up and say “One please!” and see what they give you.

I’m also fairly certain that walking past a Durian truck every day has hardened me against bad smells, which I hear comes in handy once you have kids. (Don’t know what durian is? It’s a fruit that smells like death. It’s banned in the subway systems in Singapore as well as in many hotels across Southeast Asia due to the odor.)

Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone!

Alright, I’ve laid out my list of the top 5 things we’re thankful for from our last 7-months abroad. What are you thankful for this Thanksgiving holiday?

Let’s Get Ready to Rumble! (Rails Rumble)

Here’s something I never thought I’d ever say: This weekend, Kevin and I participated in a 48-hour Programming Competition called the Rails Rumble. It’s true, I’ve crossed over to the dark side, and I Love It. I’m not sure how I feel about admitting all of this, but hey, #YOLO, right?

Note: This post is 1 day early because we need you to vote for us!  (See “Help Us Win!” below.)

What is the Rails Rumble?

The Rails Rumble is a 48-hour programming competition in which hundreds of teams (a team is one to four people) from all over the world compete to build a web application with Ruby on Rails. After the competition ends, everyone who participated gets to rank their favorite applications.

The winners are treated to some pretty awesome prizes! They receive a bunch of goodies, but my favorite from the list is the “Rails Rumble Championship Belt” for the first-place team, which I picture to be something like this:

Here's Hoping the Rails Rumble Championship Belt is this blingy.

Here’s Hoping the Rails Rumble Championship Belt is this blingy.

And let me tell you, if we win, we’ll make sure to take a similarly awesome photo, complete with confetti, and share it on the blog. Kevin could even grow a beard. It will be awesome. In all seriousness, though, the other awesome prizes include generous gift certificates to Amazon and memberships to various online software tools. So winning is a really big deal.

What Did We Build?

Here's a peek at Pomatillo

Here’s a peek at our Pomatillo landing page

You might have read my post about how much the Pomodoro Technique has increased our productivity. We’re still hooked on Pomodoros, but we’ve been hankering for a tool to help us track our work a little more easily. Enter Pomatillo, the simple online tool we built this weekend to let users easily track their work segments.

Hop on over and visit Pomatillo to take a peek at what we came up with – it’s easy to create a guest account just so you can log in and poke around. We kept things simple since we only had a weekend to throw things together, but we’re pretty happy with what we ended up with, and we’ve been using it to track our work for the past few days! In fact, I’m using it right now to track my time working on this Blog Post!

Help Us Win!

One of the prizes goes to the “Public Favorite” web app! We’d love to get your votes! Unfortunately, voting for our entry is much more complicated than it needs to be. I feel like I’m typing out brain surgery instructions. Bear with me. Here’s how you can vote:

  1. Visit the Rails Rumble page for Pomatillo
  2. Sign in with a Twitter or Heroku Account. I know I know, you have to have a Twitter Account or sign up for one, which is sort of a bummer. (Mom and Dad, I KNOW you’ve been waiting your whole lives to sign up for Twitter – this is your chance!)
  3. After signing into Twitter, you should be redirected back to the Rails Rumble page for Pomatillo, where you can click the “Favorite” button to favorite our app!
  4. The last thing is to finalize your picks – visit your Rails Rumble Favorites page to rank all the apps you favorited and finalize your votes.

Voting ends on October 26 at 7PM Central Time (click here to convert to your local time zone)!  If you have the patience to get through Step 4, please leave us a comment or send me a note! If I had the power, I’d make sure everyone who voted for us got their very own Championship Belt as a thank you. We could all use something like that in our closet to spice up our winter wardrobes, AMIRITE?! However, I’m not sure I will ever figure out how to mail packages from Thailand, so hopefully a thank you email will suffice.

What Did We Think of the Rails Rumble?

We had a lot of fun competing, and we didn’t kill each other. Success! It was kind of like a marriage team-building activity. Admittedly, we were probably a bit more relaxed about things than other teams may have been. I’m certain that a lot of people kept a much more rigorous schedule than we did, probably pulling at least one all-nighter. If you know me at all, though, you know that sleep is waaaaaaaaay up there on my list of priorities. Instead of stocking up on caffeinated beverages and junk food, we bought a bunch of fruit:

Papaya, Persimmon, Mango, Bananas, and Dragon Fruit.  YUM.

Papaya, Persimmon, Mango, Bananas, and Dragon Fruit. YUM.

We also took what I’d describe as pretty relaxed approach to our work hours for the Rumble… We kicked the competition off by waking up without an alarm, having a delicious breakfast, walking to the local fresh market to buy fresh fruits and vegetables to get us through the next few days, and got down to work at about 11am. We also took a couple Pad See Iew breaks:

Kevin and our beloved Pad See Iew.  Best in Chiang Mai, for just $1.

Kevin and our beloved Pad See Iew. Best in Chiang Mai, for just south of $1.

The best thing about competing from Chiang Mai is that you can celebrate and unwind from the competition without breaking your budget! We took all of Monday off, treated ourselves to 90-minute Thai Massages at Miracle Spa, did a little day drinking while we watched the Seahawks lose to the Rams (so so sad, thank goodness for beer), and then capped the day off with dinner and some Kanom Krok.

A Special Video

Here’s a fun tip for anyone out there who uses Git for software source control.  You can set up a Git post commit hook to take a snapshot of you every time you commit.  Here’s how.  For those of you out there who are pretty sure I just wrote that last sentence in Thai (this Time last year I would’ve been in that camp FOR SURE), that just means that my computer takes a picture of me every time I check-in a software change.  I threw the photos into iMovie with some music, and this is what came out:

I hope you are laughing at our embarrassment…

We Want to Hear From You!

If you vote for us, please let us know so we can thank you! Also, if you visit Pomatillo, please leave us a comment here to let us know what you think.

A Creative Twist on the Staycation

This is the last post of my 3-part series on Travel. In my first post, I revealed we’re no longer in the honeymoon phase in our love affair with Thailand. Last week, I shared some thoughts on Slow Travel. This week, I want to pitch a new idea – the Unconventional Staycation.

Do Vacations Make Us Happier?

Cartoon from liebers.com

Cartoon from liebers.com

Do vacations make us happier?  Shockingly, the answer for most people is no! According to a study performed by researchers in the Netherlands, vacationers were the happiest before their vacations. The researchers found that people derive the most pleasure from the planning, anticipating, and looking forward to their travels. The study found that vacation anticipation boosted happiness levels for eight weeks, but that happiness dropped back to the baseline level for most people as soon as they returned home! The only people who reportedly had higher levels of happiness after returning from vacation described their trips as “very relaxing”.

I don’t know about you, but in a world full of flight delays, lost luggage, car trouble, hurricanes, and broken air conditioners, you just about have to win the lottery to be able to describe your getaway as “very relaxing”. Enter a new hair-brained idea…

The Unconventional Staycation

Cartoon by Chuck Ingwersen of wordsandtoons.com

Cartoon by Chuck Ingwersen of wordsandtoons.com

I’d like to pitch a fun idea to you that Kevin’s genius friend Michael came up with. We’ve all probably heard of the concept of the staycation, where you take paid time off of work but opt to stay home rather than travel. It actually sounds like a pretty relaxing idea. You get to sleep in your own bed, don’t have to pay for hotel rooms, no one is going to try to nickel and dime you, and you get to avoid spending 18+ hours on an airplane.

Here’s the new twist – add a cultural bend to your next Staycation. Instead of just spending your week bumming around the house relaxing, use your week off to immerse yourself in a new culture without even leaving your hometown. The US is full of people who have moved here from all over the world, so it’s easier than ever to experience foreign traditions and foods in most cities and towns across America. Rent foreign films, read books about foreign cultures, go out for foreign food, listen to foreign music, throw a themed party (Cinco de Mayo, Oktoberfest, Carnivale, etc…), you get the idea!

She Faked a Trip to SE Asia

Beautiful, right?  This is the Sakya Temple in Seattle!

Beautiful, right? This is the Sakya Temple in Seattle!

One girl in the Netherlands took this idea to the next level. For 42 days, she faked a trip to Southeast Asia, fooling all of her friends and family with her Facebook posts showing her awesome trip. She ate exotic Asian foods at restaurants in her hometown of Amsterdam, visited a temple to talk to Buddhist monks, and even posted pictures of her snorkeling! (Turns out the photo was taken in a pool, and fish were photoshopped in later, but I don’t judge.)

The whole fake trip was a college project to show that posts on Facebook don’t necessarily paint an accurate picture of peoples lives. I have to give her credit for her commitment – she even decorated her room to look like a Southeast Asia hotel, and skyped with her family at odd hours of the night. I don’t think it’s necessary to take things that far, but you get the point.

Some Staycation Ideas

I came up with a few staycation ideas, but I think this would be easier to brainstorm if I was in Seattle. The wine aisle at Trader Joes would be fabulous for inspiration – their wines are divided up BY COUNTRY. I don’t know about you, but I really like to let booze help me make creative decisions. Here are some of my ideas:

Bust out your Beret!

Bust out your Beret!

France: Make crepes for breakfast, or have French Toast (I realize that’s probably not actually French, but cut me some slack). Rent the movie Amelie. Pack some baguette sandwiches and go on a lunch picnic. Take up smoking. Buy a beret and wear it around town. Attempt to make croissants (good luck on that one). And, of course, be sure you have a bottle of wine every day. Sounds like a good vacation to me.

Mexico: This one is easy, because almost every town in America has lots of Mexican Food Restaurants where you can eat ALL WEEK LONG. Also, this one means a siesta every afternoon – win! This staycation should end with a bang – grab a piñata from your local party store, put on some mariachi music, throw a fiesta for your friends, and go to town on the margaritas.

Thai Staycation Bonus: You won't get pooped on in the water by an elephant.

Thai Staycation Bonus: You won’t get pooped on in the water by an elephant.

Thailand: This week, you should have noodle or rice soup for breakfast! But no cereal. Splurge a little bit and get a bunch of mangos from Costco this week. Learn to make the heavenly dish that is som tam. If you really want to go all out, hide your hand soap and downgrade to scratchy toilet paper (I still haven’t found anything like Charmin over here). Go to the zoo and look at elephants. Find and visit a Buddhist temple in your area, and try to meet some monks. Go out for as much Thai food as you can handle (spoiler alert: Thai food never, ever gets old).

Bust out your Leiderhosen!

Put on your Leiderhosen!

Germany: Guten tag! The wine of the week is Riesling! Meals this week should be heavy on the meat, potatoes and cheese, and raw vegetables should be scarce. Eat softboiled eggs, prosciutto, brie, and bread rolls for breakfast. BE SURE TO BUY SOME NUTELLA. Bake some homemade pretzels and gingerbread, play lots of Oompah music like you’d hear at Oktoberfest. I will not judge you if you buy a leiderhosen or dirndl and wear it all week long. You should also get your own liter beer mug. Order an imported keg of German beer, and throw your own Oktoberfest party!

England: I don’t care what you do for this one, as long as you talk in a British accent all week.

We Want to Hear from You!

These are just a few of my thoughts – what are your ideas? I get more and more excited about this type of a staycation the more I think about it – how fun would something like this be for kids?!

The Art of Slow Travel

This post is Part 2 of a 3-part series on Travel.  I made a shameful admission last week that Kevin and I have recently discovered we might not like to travel.  (GASP!)  But there’s hope!  A new travel movement called “Slow Travel” is sweeping through the backpacker and digital nomad communities.

What is Slow Travel?

This is how to pack for an extended period of Slow Travel.

This is how to pack for an extended period of Slow Travel.

The Slow Travel movement is something that is quietly becoming a “thang” in our generation.  (I may have made that word up, but I use it all the time, so therefore it is real.  I define a “thang” as a popular trend.  Used in a sentence: “Skinny jeans are a thang now.”)  Slow Travel sprung out of the Slow Food movement, which began in the 1980’s in Italy as a protest against the opening of a McDonalds in Rome.  Instead of a manic 2-week vacation schedule, packed to the brim with tourist stop after tourist stop, slow travelers try to base their travels in one location and spend their vacation at a much slower pace.  Think about how relaxing it could be to rent a small home in Tuscany and spend your morning at the local farmer’s market, your afternoon reading at your favorite coffee shop, and evenings cooking dinner and enjoying a bottle of wine on your terrace.  In the US, slow travel is manifesting itself as a renewed interest in historic two-lane roads, like Route 66.

Traveling Slowly means you get to make fun trips to immigration.  YAY.

Traveling Slowly means you get to make fun trips to immigration. YAY.

Slow Travel is all about getting to know local people and learning about the culture in a new place instead of checking as many destinations as possible off of a list.  The biggest perk of all?  Slow Travel can be a lot easier on your wallet.  When you rent a place by the week or month, the nightly rates tend to drop dramatically.  Also, traveling slowly tends to mean you get off the tourist trail a little bit.  This can save money in restaurants and shops.  We’ve noticed that in Chiang Mai, a food and groceries tend to cost almost twice as much in the tourist areas compared to the neighborhood where we live.

How Do We Slow Down?

Cartoon from http://www.nicholsoncartoons.com.au/

Cartoon from http://www.nicholsoncartoons.com.au/

Did you know that the United States is the only developed country in the whole world that doesn’t require a single legally required paid vacation day or holiday?  According to a USA Today article published in 2013, workers in the US have an average of 16 paid days off per year, while the average in Austria is a whopping 35 days!  I was shocked to read that one in four Americans doesn’t receive a single paid day off.  Here’s a peek at some paid time off statistics from around the world.  Warning, the data in this table may make you feel angry/sad/jaded:

Country Average Paid Days Off Per Year
United States 16
Austria 35
Portugal 35
Germany 34
Spain 34
France 31
Belgium 30
Italy 30
New Zealand 30

I don’t want to hate on our American culture too much here.  I mean, America is the home of so many things I truly love:  Chicago style deep dish pizza, wheel of fortune, Bluegrass music, the Super Bowl, incredibly beautiful National Parks, apple pie, walkable cities, lemonade stands, Thanksgiving, fantastic comedy (Louis C.K., Jon Stewart, Parks & Rec, Saturday Night Live, I could go on and on…), Hamburgers and Hot Dogs, craft beer, and good BBQ.   I just think it’s sort of ironic that having an American passport enables you to travel nearly anywhere in the world, but being American means you probably don’t have the time to do it.

Is There a Solution?

Kevin and I at Seatac Airport in April, leaving for our big adventure.

Here we are at Seatac Airport in April, leaving for our big adventure.

Vacation limitations are a huge part of why Kevin and I quit our jobs and moved abroad.  As my infamous vacation usage spreadsheet grew and grew, we realized that we’d have to wait until our mid-forties to have kids if we wanted to get through our travel list first. We feel so lucky we were able to save up to do this, and even luckier that there are places like Chiang Mai where we can stretch our dollars many times further than we did back home.

Slow Travel Pro Trip: Learn to work from a hammock!

Slow Travel Pro Trip: Learn to work from a hammock!

So is there a solution to the never-having-enough-vacation problem?  Unfortunately, it feels like a cultural shift needs to occur in America for anything to change.  I think there’s hope, though!  More and more companies are shifting towards an “unlimited” vacation model, allowing employees to take as many vacation days as they want as long as they get their work done.  It’s becoming increasingly common at newer companies.  Evernote, a tech company, took things a step further, according to a Forbes article from 2012.  Recognizing that taking time off actually makes employees more productive, Evernote began offering employees $1,000 per year to spend on their vacations!  FullContact, another tech company, calls this new trend “paid paid vacation”, and offers its employees a generous $7,500 per year!  They also stipulate that you must truly unplug, and don’t allow their employees to work remotely while they’re away.  I like it.

We Want to Hear from You!

What do you think about the current vacation policies in America?  Do you think we’re moving in the right direction?  Where do you think things will be in a few decades?

Turns Out We Don’t Like To Travel

Turns Out We Don’t Like To Travel. Oops.

This may surprise you, but Kevin and I have recently realized that we don’t like to travel.

I know I know, what the heck are we doing living over here in Southeast Asia if we don’t like travel? We’ve been asking ourselves the same question, and we are more than a little surprised by this realization.

When we were living and working in Seattle, we would plan these fantastic, action-packed vacations, designed to squeeze every hour out of our accrued vacation we possibly could. I had a ridiculously elaborate spreadsheet that laid out our vacation hours well into the year 2017. Shame on you if you surprised us with a destination wedding, causing me to re-jigger my schedule (now how will we see Machu Picchu in 2016?!)

We looked forward to these vacations all year long, cherished every day of our trip, but were usually exhausted when we got home. We felt trapped by our limited vacation hours, but we were also disappointed at the way vacations wore us out. This is one of the biggest reasons we cooked up this move-to-Southeast-Asia scheme. Don’t get us wrong, we definitely feel lucky to be here. We just want to be honest about the disappointments and share some of our thoughts.

Three Types of Travel

Kevin and I have been having a lot of philosophical conversations lately about travel, and have decided that there three types of travel:

  • First, and most common among working Americans, is the frenetic fast-paced see-it-all-do-it-all trip where you hop from destination to destination in an effort to maximize every last minute of your 2-weeks of vacation. It’s common at the end of these trips to feel like you need a vacation from your vacation, but usually it’s just time to go back to work.
  • Second is the “Slow Travel” movement. More on this next week, but this type of travel tends to be the type where you stay in one place for a month or so, and get acquainted with the local culture. Spoiler alert: I think this style of travel is the most appealing.
  • Third is the “Living Abroad” or “Extreme Slow” style of travel. This is what we’re doing right now, living for 6+ months here in Thailand. The problem with this type of travel is that you’re in one place long enough to get through the “This is awesome” and “I could stay here forever” phases, and run into the jaded “Why can’t they do things like in Amurrrrica” phase.

The Pitfalls of Fast Travel

Fast Travel in Germany.  WE MUST SEE ALL THE CASTLES!

Fast Travel in Germany. WE MUST SEE ALL THE CASTLES!

When is the last time you’ve returned from two weeks of vacation feeling rested? Many of us have experienced a vacation where you try to pack too much sightseeing into a limited amount of time. My parents might remember our family vacation in Southern California when I was 12 years old and wrote out an itinerary designed to maximize our trip by scheduling everything down to the half-hour. I wanted to ensure we got to hit both Planet Hollywood and the Hard Rock Cafe for meals. This has apparently been a lifelong problem for me.

Let’s face it, fast travel is not super fun. With a tightly packed schedule, a problem like lost luggage blows up into an all-consuming catastrophe. You might end up missing out on an entire beach day because you had to go shopping for a new bikini and sunblock. There’s just hardly any margin for anything to go wrong. Fast travel also usually leaves me with a sense of homelessness from packing up and moving so often, and you can end up spending more time getting to new destinations than actually getting to see them.

This is Kevin's I've-seen-enough-castles-and-churches-to-last-a-lifetime Face.

This is Kevin’s I’ve-seen-enough-castles-and-churches-to-last-a-lifetime Face.

Even though we’re now unemployed, Kevin and I somehow STILL fall into the fast travel trap when we go on little mini-trips here in Southeast Asia. When we were recently in Koh Tao and Koh Phangan, we couldn’t wait to get back “home” to Chiang Mai. When we finally did get back, Kevin had an ear infection, I was having headaches because my sinuses got so dry, we were cut, scratched, bumped and bruised, and we both pulled muscles getting back into our gym routine! Fast travel literally takes a physical toll on us, but we still can’t seem to help ourselves.

Fast Traveling means never recovering from a hangover.  Oktoberfest 2012.

Fast Traveling means never recovering from a hangover. Oktoberfest 2012.

The Fast Travel habit is such a hard one to break, and I think a lot of it stems from America’s fast-paced style of living and the fact that most of us only get two weeks of vacation per year. Naturally, we want to make the most of those precious two weeks. But how do you satisfy the I-want-to-see-the-whole-world mentality without traveling so fast that you miss out on some of the best things a culture has to offer? If you’re planning a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Europe, how do you see all the major cities without feeling like you only scratched the surface of each one? How do you “see enough” without “seeing too little”? I don’t know the right answers to those questions. I have a feeling that winning the lottery might help, though.

The Pitfalls of Living Abroad

Kevin and I fall into the Extreme Slow Travel category right now, and some of the cultural differences we used to find “cute” are now just exasperating. For example, I am beyond annoyed at the fact that pedestrians in Chiang Mai never, ever, ever, ever, ever, EVER have the right of way. Ever! Even if you’re at a cross walk stoplight, and the light is red for the cars, they’re very likely to run through the light. I’m currently working towards perfecting my New Yorker accent on the phrase “heeeeey, I’m walkin’ heeeere!”  Also, we just spent a ridiculous amount of time lost in the Thai medical system and only have 10 sleeping pills to show for it (see last week’s post).

Budweiser. So sad.

Living abroad means you might pay over $4 for a single can of Budweiser. You’ll be sad about the price, and even sadder when you realize it tastes good compared to what you’ve gotten used to drinking.

I also had an absurd realization today. Kevin and I regularly shout “POOP!” at each other when we’re out and about in Chiang Mai. This is sort of to be expected in a city with so many stray dogs – there is dog poop everywhere, and (understandably) no one cleans it up. I get that – if it’s not my dog, I’m not scooping it. I just think it’s funny that we probably say “POOP!” to each other probably more often than we say “Hello”.

I do want to defend our cultural insensitivity a little bit here by saying that this is not something that only Kevin and I are experiencing. It’s also something that’s not isolated to just Americans or people from Western cultures. We had quite the discussion with a nice Thai woman who has spent a lot of time in England because that’s where her husband is from. As it turns out, she’s super irritated with a lot of things about the British culture (speed limits, the cold weather, the food) and she doesn’t like to visit!

It seems like no matter what country you’re from, it’s tough to adjust to a new culture that differs from the one you’re used to. So that’s a relief – I’m not just an asshole traveler. Phew!

Traveling is like Eating Cake

We saw this "crepe" cake in a coffee shop in Chiang Mai

We saw this “crepe” cake in a coffee shop in Chiang Mai

I love a good cake metaphor. So here’s my thought. Traveling is like eating chocolate cake. If you travel too fast, and only get a taste of a location, it’s like having a tiny slice of cake. You’re left with regret and a desire for more. However, if you move to a new country and stay long enough to get a little bit jaded, it’s kind of like sitting down and eating the whole damn cake. You might never want to have a piece of that cake ever again.  (Unless it’s my Grandma’s Angel Food cake with the heavenly frosting.  I could sit and eat five of those cakes without a drop of remorse.)

We Want to Hear from You!

This is part 1 in a 3-part series I’m planning on the topic of traveling. I’d love to hear your thoughts on travel. Do you like to travel? Which category appeals most to you? Have you regretted any too-short or too-long vacations?