The first half of 2019 has just flown by! I can’t believe June is basically over, summer is here, and so many trips have come and gone. (Fortunately there are still a ton coming up to keep me excited.) So let’s take a brief look at what has happened so far on The Royal Tour in 2019, and what to expect coming up as the year rolls on.

I started the year with three incredible months in France, splitting my time between Marseille, Bordeaux, and Lyon. While all had their charms, Lyon was the one I’d choose to live in if it came down to it. Between the rivers and hills, the spectacular architecture and fantastic food, it is truly an awesome destination – one you should all add to your lists!

While there, I took a few side trips to some of Europe’s pocket countries: Monaco, Andorra, and Luxembourg. Monaco was beautiful, but I hated the vibe. Andorra and Luxembourg, on the other hand, were charming. I also met up with my mom and stepfather in Oslo which, despite the cold of February, was wonderful.

After a bit of time back home, I left the US again, this time for Central America. I spent two weeks each in Guatemala and Nicaragua, loving the former and having mixed opinions on the latter.

All this is fine and good. The more interesting part of this experiment was going to be what my emotional state was with such long periods of travel, total immersion, and lack of a house to return to. In that, the results have been more mixed.

France was incredible. I met another wonderful expat my first day in Marseille, and thus had a companion not only for that month, but also for weekends during some of my other time. I adapted well to France, and felt at home there, even though my French was never more than passable-light. I saw family who live there, had a friend from home visit me in Bordeaux, and met another expat journalist and her boyfriend.

Central America, on the other hand, was much more isolating. My Spanish is next to useless, and I never really felt like I belonged anywhere, whether due to the shorter stays or the places themselves. I did make a couple good friends in Antigua Guatemala, but after that I was more isolated, though I met other expats here and there and even stayed in touch with a couple. The trip culminated with a terrible bout of depression in San Juan Del Sur, Nicaragua, during which I barely left my room.

So what was different between the trips that might have led to this crash? After all, I didn’t have more than a couple of isolated depressed days during my entire time in France. The isolation might have been a factor. The places themselves may have played a role. Staying in a private room rather than a private apartment may have also contributed. Or it might have just been a fluke of a bipolar imbalanced brain chemistry. At this juncture I am not certain, but am paying close attention to see if and when it recurs.

Later this year, I have two more international trips. I’ll be spending a month in England, also renting private rooms and moving around frequently, but in a country where I speak the language and know some people. Then I’ll be going back to Central America for a wedding.

In the meantime, I have some cool domestic trips planned, from an Arizona adventure I am currently on, to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, Austin, and Las Vegas, as well as plenty more new and old sights around California. I hope you all enjoy the rest of this year!

Me in Leon, Nicaragua, on the roof of the cathedral.

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