So, we have made it through our first month. How are we doing?
Note: This post was originally written July 2014, one month into our around the world trip.
We are all still happy, healthy, and having a good time. Tyler and Kara haven’t killed each other yet, and they actually have grown a little closer already. So far we haven’t had much interaction with other kids so Tyler and Kara are forced to get along and play with each other.
Other than a little car sickness, a 24 hour fever for Kara, and a cold for me we have been very healthy. Of course, we are in Europe, the easiest, healthiest part of the trip. Things may change once we get to Asia.
We have been very busy, which comes as no surprise. We have been filling our days with sightseeing, using any extra time for home schooling, doing laundry, or working on plans for the future months of our trip. It is very hard keeping up with everything we have planned. Slower wifi speeds than what we are used to in the US makes updating videos and the blog take awhile.
We walk a lot. Walking is free, great exercise, and a great way to explore wherever we are. We average over 5 miles per day, logging a total of 169 miles so far. Tim has been carrying a GPS logger everywhere we go. Here is a count of the miles we have traveled so far.
As we have traveled, we have learned things about ourselves and the places we have visited.
Things we have learned so far
Italy can be frustrating at times. In general, we really enjoyed our three weeks in Italy, but there were some things that really got on our nerves.
The public bus system was terrible at times. Since we are traveling on a budget, we were dependent on bus transportation for a large portion of the trip. In several places, Sorrento and Tuscany mostly, buses would run very late, or in many cases, not show up at all. On multiple occasions we were waiting an hour or more for our bus to arrive. Once it did, there were now so many people waiting, that it almost became a pushing match to get onto the bus. I was expecting things like this in Asia, not here in Italy!
We also found some of the people of Italy to be difficult to deal with, and at times, lazy. This is just an overgeneralization, as we met some very nice people whom we loved (in particular Margherita in Rome and Elena in Sorrento). So, when it came time to cross the border into Germany, we were very excited and looking forward to a place where life is efficient and friendlier. Don’t take this the wrong way. We loved our time in Italy. It is a beautiful country filled with amazing places to visit and some of the world’s best food, there were just some aspects of traveling here that did not meet our preconceptions.
I liked Germany a lot more than I was expecting. At the time I am writing this, we have only been a Germany a few days, but I instantly fell in love with it. Bavaria, where we will be spending most of our time, is beautiful country. The people here truly are very friendly. I can speak about 30 words of German, so we are a little lost here when it came to communicating and ordering off of a menu, but Germany is wonderful.
I have learned about predicates, exponential notation, and the Anasazi people. We have been doing as much homeschooling as possible. Tyler and Kara are not always thrilled to start or end their days with schoolwork, but it is one of the necessities of a trip like this. So far I think it is going very well.
We have become wifi junkies. A good wifi connection is very important!! We are so dependent on wifi in order to function. I use it to write the blog, upload photos, and email future hotels. The kids use the wifi to stay in touch with their friends, and Tim also uses the wifi for trip planning. We have had one hotel so far without wifi and we felt like we were lost at sea. Some places have a super fast connection, and at others we are hanging out in the common area of the hotel in order to get the signal.
Having a washing machine is a luxury. So far I have washed our clothes in the sink, went to a local laundromat, and at two of our hotels, had the luxury of a washing machine. We are traveling with enough clothes to make it one week without doing any laundry, about two weeks if we wear things several times and wash the essentials in the hotel sink. This is a new way of traveling for us so it is taking some adjustment, but so far I really like it. The trick is to keep our kids, particularly Kara, from getting food and dirt all over their clothes.
We have all gotten stronger and are in better shape than we started. I look back to our first day, carrying our backpacks across Manhattan, crumbling under the weight of our packs. But just a few weeks later we can carry the same weight with much less difficulty.
Every day does not need to be perfect. When we have travelled previously, and had just 10 days off of work for vacation, there is a certain amount of pressure to enjoy every day as much as possible. A day of bad weather or a mix up in plans can ruin a day. Now that we have tons of time and months of activities to look forward to, it is much easier to overlook the things that go wrong.
We will never get tired of Italian food. We travelled through Italy for 24 days and every single meal we ate was Italian. We loved every one of these meals. After just a few days in Germany we are quickly getting tired of schnitzel, meat, and potatoes. We have found an Italian restaurant near our apartment and eat there quite frequently. The Earth Trekkers love pizza and pasta!