It’s been a couple months since I wrote about the last leg of our long-term travel, so after having some more time to process and celebrating another trip around the sun, here’s a more holistic reflection.
For context, halfway through last year, my wife and I started the “Travis Traverse,” our long-term travel sabbatical that lasted about 7 months, taking us to lots of new places. As ardent travel planners, we decided to put ourselves outside of our comfort zone and travel without planning far ahead. We started with work exchanges and dogsitting gigs. Despite a global pandemic, we knew it was the right time to do this trip.
We’ve both experienced growing up as expats and have traveled a fair amount, so we felt prepared for the journey. We ended up being glad we had that experience, since there were definitely some challenging times. However, most of our travel was surprisingly smooth. Our previous trips had left important impressions on us, and after holing up in Colorado for more than a year, we were ready to hit the road again.
Fortunately, we’d been saving for a long time and were in a position to both take time off of work, something which we were extra grateful to be able to do. We planned to get to know each place for a few weeks at a time, with shorter “fast-travel” stints in between. Visiting friends and family along the way was grounding and allowed us both to reconnect with folks we hadn’t seen in a while.
We ended up learning a ton about ourselves and each other. Even after years of marriage and quarantine, we continued to learn about one other, especially our communication styles and understanding priorities. I absolutely couldn’t have done this trip without my wife – she rocks <3
We also learned so much experiencing different cultures, learning new languages, appreciating nature, and eating lots of tasty food! I shared this in an earlier post, but it’s one of my favorite quotes, so here it is again:
“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.” - Mark Twain
We had more than a few adventures in our travels, covering more than a dozen US states and almost as many countries in Europe and Latin America. It’s hard to pin down any “favorite” moments, but I’m particularly grateful for the people who helped us along the way, for lessons on slowing down and adapting, and for my wife’s support throughout the trip.
If you’d like to read about the stories in more detail, here are some more detailed blog posts that include my experiences like white knuckle driving in Ireland, finding long-lost relatives in Italy, and taking tango lessons in Argentina. My Instagram also has the Cliffs Notes versions.
When we wrapped up our travels earlier this year, we both let out a sigh of relief after getting back. We’d experienced so much and grown together. We were immensely grateful for the past few months that expanded our perspective, acknowledging that very few people have the opportunity to take this kind of travel in their early 30s.
Still, the trip was exhausting, and it took a couple months to find our footing again. We still had plenty to do when we got back to the US – find a home, get jobs, move across the country, and process the trip.
That said, it was nice to start a new, more settled chapter after our sabbatical. We were thankful for being stateside, thankful for having more than 5 outfits to wear for months on end, and thankful for a place to sleep that didn’t change every couple of weeks.
We’re excited to start our new adventure in Richmond, Virginia! After settling into our home, we recently adopted a dog and both found jobs that we’re excited about. We’re also closer to family, even though we’ll miss our friends in Colorado. How apt that we’re doing this all in the season of Spring.
Here’s to new beginnings!