I spent the first three months of 2019 in France, living, exploring, and discovering both an amazing country and myself. I can’t even begin to describe how life-changing of an experience it was, to realize that I am able to thrive in a foreign country with a language and customs different from my own. I made friends, tried new foods, and had a wonderful time. So, naturally, I wanted to do it again. In 2020, I will again be spending the first three months in Europe.

Thanks to Scott’s Cheap Flights – sign up if you haven’t yet – I found a wonderful $300 round trip flight to Madrid, so I will be spending three months exploring Spain and Portugal, along with a side trip to Morocco. I couldn’t be more excited!

While I will do specific itineraries, including side trips, for each of my major components of the trip, the basic major stops are as follows:

My first month will be spent in Lisbon, a city that has been near the top of my wish list for years. It supposedly reminds a lot of people of San Francisco, and that sounds good to me. I’m excited for the mild weather, inexpensive cost of living, and good food! I’m also reading Night Train to Lisbon right now with my book club and it will be a treat to live the book in a manner.

Seville is my next stop, home to flamenco, oranges, and – sadly – bull fighting. I won’t be partaking in the last, but the first two sound amazing!

After a couple brief stops in other cities, I’ll spend nearly a month in Barcelona. I was there once several years ago, but only for a day, and I’m excited to go back. A fraternity brother of mine lives there running an improv theatre, and has offered to show me around. My cousins from Toulouse will also be joining me for a few days! My time will be filled with paella, sangria, and Gaudi. Life could be worse!

A quick interlude to Marrakech – my first time on the African continent – separates Barcelona from Madrid, and I’m thrilled to go back there. I will visit places I didn’t visit on my last trip, like El Escorial, which I made the mistake of visiting on a day it was closed. Even professional travelers screw up sometimes.

On a personal note, I’m a bit more hesitant for this trip than I was for the last one. I recently met someone, and have been dating her for the past month and a half, and leaving for three months is rough on a nascent relationship, or whatever it is we have. I’m hopeful that we will be able to pick up when I return, but scared that she will meet someone else while I’m gone. Anyway, here’s hoping!

I’ll post a specific itinerary for my Lisbon month with side trips soon, but for now, happy new year and pleasant travels to everyone. I’ll catch you from Portugal!

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