This is always one of my favorite posts to write each year. As the year comes to a close, it is a great excuse to think back on all of the amazing places I went, all of the incredible experiences I had, and reflect before moving ahead with the following year.
In 2019, I became a full-time nomad. I started renting out my house, and used that money to travel more than half of the year, while staying with family and friends when I was at home. It was both scary and rewarding to spend huge chunks of time in new places where I didn’t know anyone, but learning that I could both handle and thrive in those circumstances has made for some deep personal growth – along with some truly wonderful friendships!
With my new friend Mandy in Bordeaux!
In all, I spent five and a half months of 2019 outside the country, headlined by my three months in France to start the year. I visited eight new countries (nine if you count Wales) and returned to a couple more to see them more in depth. My French progressed to “usable,” while my Spanish drastically improved to “lousy,” but I found communicating not to be as big of an issue as I had worried.
At least they spoke English in England!
My domestic journeys were highlighted by a couple of long drives: one to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and one from Cincinnati to California, during which I visited Iowa for the first time, the last state I hadn’t seen. Knocking that off my bucket list still makes me smile!
On the personal front, I became a German citizen this fall, claiming my birthright the Nazis had stolen. I also attended my best friend’s bachelor party in Austin and wedding in Costa Rica. Traveling for large events is so different from traveling solo!
So, the stats. Overall, I visited eleven countries (twelve with Wales), as well as thirteen states. I took 36 flights for 52,648 miles, in addition to driving, busing, and train-ing thousands more. I visited three new full national parks and my first national lakeshore, plus several other NPS sites. I spent more than 80 nights in hotels, and well over 100 in Airbnbs.
My flight diary for the year
More than stats, though, are the memories that will stay with me forever. I had such experiences as: winning at the Casino Monte Carlo in Monaco (but losing in Reno and Las Vegas), taking a cooking class in Lyon, meeting new cousins in Toulouse and seeing old cousins in London and Norwich, zip-lining in Costa Rica, climbing a Mayan pyramid in Guatemala, and so many more! I braved Norway in February and Nicaragua in May, freezing and steaming, respectively, walked the battlements of Luxembourg and Carcassonne, and ate more amazing meals than I can easily recall.
This has been such a life-changing year. While I still don’t know what the future holds after May of next year as far as my travel goes, my nomadic 2019 will always be a highlight of my life!
Please scroll back on the blog to read some of these adventures!