Take a year off and go around the world. It used to be something that only a very few got to do and even if it is today certainly still a privilege, it is not all that uncommon anymore. Send your car overr to Argentina, make a road trip from Europe to Indonesia or go continent hopping with just a backpack. I want some of that too! But we can´t do that right now. Not because we wouldn´t have the time and we´re also not out of money (yet), but there is something else. For those of you who don´t know yet, we have a 8yo at home, who isn´t able to come with us outside his strict German school holidays. So such a long trip without seeing him would not be fun for anyone. Therefore we are hopping around Europe, living between 3 countries, making some longer trips in between and trying to combine our wishes with our obligations and family life. It needs much coordination, but we are making the best out of it. We are currently in the middle of our free year, which btw might end sooner or we might extend it, who knows. More about what we´ve done with our free time so far and what are our plans until Autumn in this new post.
If I squeeze the last 7 months into one paragraph, it goes somehow like this.
In the middle of June 2019 I walked out of my office for one last time and sat with mixed feelings of relief, joy, but also fear at the co-driver´s seat of our Defender the next day while driving towards Denmark. We had about 5 weeks time for our epic road trip through SCANDINAVIA and BALTIC COUNTRIES before we picked up Lu for his summer school holidays. This was such an awesome trip and it totally got us planning new overland trips as soon as we returned from our yearly family holidays in CROATIA. But as things often don´t go as planned, we had to cancel our Autumn trip through THE BALKANS. Instead, we ended up exploring SLOVENIA, mostly from its culinary side. While our Defender was still sadly resting, we flew to FRANCE with Lu in October, followed up with a week in Slovenia, before heading back to GERMANY. I can´t even count how many times we´ve driven up and down the highway anymore. Anyhow, due to change of plans we ended up spending 3 weeks in BRAZIL in November and added quite a few trips before the end of the year. 4 days in ISTANBUL, short visit to SLOVENIA, winter skiing/camping road trip through the DOLOMITES and the German Romantic Road. We celebrated New Years with Lu in Slovenia, jumper to DUBLIN in January and took another road trip through CZECH REPUBLIC and AUSTRIA back to Slovenia last week. So, in the first 7 months we ended up visiting 17 countries, to all except Brazil, Istanbul and Dublin we travelled with our Defender. Not bad, and it´s not quite over yet.
Those who follow my blog probably already know all this and you want to know what next? What´s the plan?
Last couple of weeks, we´ve been thinking more intensively about where else we could go, do we even have enough resources left, should we go back to work, where can we even live. It´s lots of ups and downs actually. In a way, I think it would have been much easier to leave it all behind,buy a one way ticket to New Zealand or something and say we´ll be back in a year. Anyhow, here´s the plan, which can change, but I hope it won´t haha. Soon, we´re driving back to GERMANY until we head off for a week of skiing in SWITZERLAND end of March. I´m soooo looking forward to this, first because there has not been a real winter this year and second because it has been like 11 years since I went skiing for a whole week. After that we return to SLOVENIA, where we will rebuild our Defender – everyone still waiting for the post about renovation there is your chance finally, we will be posting lots of stories on Instagram as we go, followed by a long blog post once it is finished. Until August when Lu has his school holidays we then have around 3 months time and we plan to split them between a road trip in THE BALKANS and a road trip through ITALY over to FRENCH ATLANTIC COAST. We are still unsure which of those two trips will be first up, but that doesn´t matter. We also don´t have the exact route, but that doesn´t matter as well. Surely we will jump to Germany here and there and we also want to explore Slovenia´s less visited eastern parts.
By the time we turn the calendar´s page to August it will already be our 13th month on the road and we´re saving the best for last – we´re off to KENYA & TANZANIA for a real African safari with Lu. I´m super excited as it has been 10 years since my last visit to this part of Africa and it will be the first time for Lu. I guess at 8 years he is now old enough for such trip.