One special GAP YEAR | June 2019 – July 2020

Katja ONE YEAR OF TRAVELS 2019/2020 Leave a Comment

I´ve been wanting to post this for a couple of weeks already. It has been one year since we drove off towards Denmark without a care in this world. With a loaded Defender, a loose itinerary and a good 5 weeks of time. With mixed feeling of great freedom but also a pinch of guilt. Still quite proud of myself to finally leave my job and take some time off. Time for me, time for us. For a longer visit to my homeland. For sports. For a healthier life. And of course for a longer holiday as well. And also for this blog. Time for everything I didn´t have so much time the last years. Time which seemed utterly necessary considering all that happened the last years. Because sometimes one just can´t take it anymore. Maybe it´s difficult to understand for many people. Especially for someone who has never lived abroad, never shared custody over the kids, never slept 3-4hrs a night for months and so on. At the end of 2019 I thought 2020 can only be better but boy I was wrong. I learned once again it can always be worse. That´s why I keep telling myself it´s OK right now. Because despite the weird situation it can most probably always be worse. In March everything escalated. Being stuck in a country that doesn´t feel like home and not being able to return is just weird. In a way, it does feel like jail. It made me think this is really not the place I want to live in, more than ever. And all of this happened exactly in the year that was supposed to be “my year”. The year where I will do all of these awesome stuff, spend more time with family and friends and so on. Ironically, I spend half of this year stuck in a place where I was running from in the first place. Somewhere in the middle of nowhere in northern Germany. In a 55m² apartment that never felt like home. Because home is not just a room with 4 walls, home is so much more.

There´s at least one positive thing out of this weird situation. These weeks turned out to be an important test for our relationship. We were stuck between these walls for about 12 weeks! Basically in one room, a room which is our bedroom but also our living room. We had a few fights. But that´s normal. We also have fights while we travel. You simply spend like every minute with each other and sometimes you just need to get the steam out. But the most important thing is to know how to make it all good again. And for this, we deserve a great B+. Anyhow, during these weeks and with a decision which happened just this week we´ve come to a conclusion that we absolutely do not want to live here in Germany anymore and we´re moving to Slovenia. Soon. Exciting times ahead. Almost 10 years of Germany has left a mark on me. And it´s just time to go. Also this year was not exactly how I´ve imagined it and it has not made my situation better in any way. But everything is not that easy once you ave a child. There are no winners. There are just losers and bigger losers. In my case I´m definitely the bigger loser, but hey, life goes on and this kind of things can only make you stronger in the end. I´m turning a new page. Again. From now on things will be different. And a few years down the road they might be different again. It´s life. But this blog has never been a place to pour out my very personal feelings in this kind of way so let´s get back to the travelling point of view regarding this last year.

Lets start with the first half of the year, because it was definitely the better one. After the initial 5 weeks of Scandinavia and Baltic countries we spent around 3 weeks with Lu in Slovenia and Croatia. Due to a worse medical condition we had to cancel our planned Balkan trip in September and spent the whole month in Slovenia instead. It was still OK considering the fact I´ve not spend much time there in the last 10 years. We did buy the tickets for 3 weeks of Brasil though, as I felt we need a compensation for this cancelled and long wanted road trip. Just before that we´ve spent 3 weeks in Ile de Re in France and Slovenia with Lu in October and splurged on a few days in Istanbul as a stopover on the way home form Germany to Slovenia. After that we drove back to Germany via Italian Dolomites and German Romantic road, picked up Lukas and returned to Slovenia for the holidays. In January we celebrated my Bday in Dublin and spend a couple of days in Slovenia in the beginning of February, with stops in Czech republic and Austria. Having a very bad flu (might also have already been the famous virus, who th heck knows) I wasn´t able to do much back home. Back in Germany we were basically waiting for nicer Spring weather when we could drive somewhere again. But with the arrival of Coronavirus we had to cancel one thing after the other. First, family skiing trip to Switzerland in March. Then, a visit to Slovenia and a road trip through the Balkans. Then a longer weekend in Tropical islands near Berlin with Lu. Then a road trip through Italy and Andora to Charlie´s home in France. A few flights in between as well. The most bitter of it all has to be the email saying our tickets to Nairobi were cancelled. So, no safari in August. Kenya & Tanzania will have to wait. Instead, we are now doing a road trip in northern Germany and spending 3 weeks with Lu in Slovenia in August. It´s not gonna be the same as planned but hey, this year everything is different and we have to make the best out of it. At least we´re all in this similar shitty situation, at least the ones who love to travel.

So what happens now? I know you all want to know. Because one year has passed. And usually one year is like a period that most people take in order to take some time off. But despite the calendar date today, I don´t really feel I´ve had enough time off. Because I´ve spend more that half of this year stressing about things I shouldn´t have. As a result, I´m not planning anything. I love to plan otherwise. It´s my escape. My daydream. But now, it´s just too scary, I don´t want another plan to go bad, so I prefer to be surprised and wait it out. Today, we leave with our Defender towards the north. We didn´t have time to rearrange the car properly so it´s very basic. Like everything this year, this is a thing I would have want to have it differently but I´m happy we get the chance to go at all! After this I need to get my wisdom teeth out and a few days later we drive to Slovenia. And then? No clue.

I might have thought I will write a very different post at the first anniversary a year ago, but this is how it is now – there has been a chain of unpredictable events where we just couldn’t do anything. Do I have any regrets? No, not at all. There was no way of knowing what is coming our way back then and I´m happy I listen to my heart. So, this was a little update from my side. As said, we´re off the northern Germany (a post about our travel itinerary is coming up in the morning), so everybody interested in this trip is welcome to follow on INSTAGRAM and FACEBOOK, where I´ll try to regularly post stories and pictures. You can read more about this year´s adventures on the blog in the menu under “activities” → “one year of travels 2019/2020” where you´ll also find all the links to specific destination posts.

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