I have been home for two weeks now. Three days after returning home I booked plane tickets for a trip to Phoenix in February. Now I’m sitting here brainstorming ideas for a 2014 European Adventure. I think it is pretty safe to say I have got a serious case of the travel bug. And the only cure is more travel.
You may be thinking “Aubrey, you just got home. Why are you already planning on leaving again?” I think I need to clear up any misconceptions that could be out there. I love being home. I have an adorable little house that makes me happy, a job that makes me feel like I’m giving back to the world, and lots of family and friends close by. I have a good life. Traveling is the icing on the multi-layered cake of my life.
My dad lives in Phoenix and can no longer travel and Michal’s family is all in Poland, so a huge reason why we travel is to visit our loved ones and spend as much time with them as possible. When we go to Poland we try our best to take advantage of discount airlines and visit countries we have never been to since we’ve already crossed the ocean and landed on another continent.
In the past couple of weeks I have been questioned about how Michal and I afford to travel so often. I am a social worker for a non-profit agency, so this is a very reasonable question. Thankfully Michal chose a career in computer programming which actually pays something. As I just mentioned, we travel often to see our families. Yes, plane tickets are expensive. But, in my opinion, you cannot put a price tag on spending precious time with the ones you love. Overall Michal and I live simply as possible. We do not go out often, we rarely buy new clothes, we paid off both our cars, we do not own much (some people call us minimalists), we do not buy expensive things, we do not hire someone to plow our driveway or cut our grass. Some people choose to buy expensive items with their money, we choose to save our money and spend it on traveling.
Another key point is that for now, it’s just the two of us. We also tend to avoid hotels and instead rent apartments. It’s cheaper, allows us the opportunity to make our own meals, and gives us a more authentic experience of what a city is really like. As much as possible we rely on public transportation and try not to rent a car. It’s not always possible, but public transportation is a lot more affordable.
Our first big European Adventure was in the summer of 2008. It was a belated honeymoon and a celebration of my MSW graduation. That summer we went to London, Paris, and Prague (and Poland).
In the summer of 2010, we traveled to Lisbon, Madrid, Barcelona, Rome, and Warsaw. I ate an awful lot of gelato that summer.
In 2012, we focused more on Eastern Europe. Our travels took us to Dubrovnik and Zadar in Croatia, Budapest in Hungry, Vienna in Austria, and Krakow and Zakopane in Poland.
Where will 2014 take us? I am working on figuring that out. Greece and Tuscany are currently at the top of list. We all have a place we have dreamed of seeing. Where is that place for you?
I’ll continue to update my blog as plans for a summer adventure progress. In the meantime, I’ll attempt to view Phoenix from the viewpoint of a tourist next month. Stay tuned. And for those of you who are out there traveling right now, share your stories with me. I’ll live vicariously through you until my bags are packed again.