As we’ve been settling into our new life in Colorado, our Facebook feeds have been popping up those nostalgic memories that get auto-generated for users’ timelines. “Tracey, we care about you and the memories you share here….” Oh look, there we are on one of our last days in Prague. There was a rainbow in Ireland a year ago today…shocking! (Ireland has lots of rainbows.) There I am letting pigeons eat out of my child’s hand in Paris…not sure what I was thinking on that one.
It’s kind of bittersweet to see those photos from our journey pop up. On the one hand it makes us miss our nomadic life, but at the same time we’re so content starting this chapter in our new hometown. However, rather than leave it to Facebook to give us a walk down memory lane, we’ve done it ourselves with a selection of photos and quick stories from our trip. Brian picked out a memorable moment from each of the countries we lived in during our journey, so here they are in chronological order.
There we are with our 4 suitcases that would last us this entire trip. I’m a believer in Samsonite now. Back then I had no idea the beating those bags would take as we dragged them over cobbled streets and through dusty roads.
Central Park, New York City
We spent a few days in the Big Apple before setting off for this adventure. It was the first time the girls and I had been there, so we had to do all the classic NYC attractions. I’ll be honest though, a major highlight was the M&M store in Times Square. It’s my guilty pleasure and therefore the one candy I’m willing to drop $50 on at one time…which I did.
Just a few days after leaving the U.S. we hiked to the top of Preikestolen, also known as Pulpit’s Rock. The flat-topped cliff jutting out over a massive fjord was beautiful, but put me into mommy-mode overdrive at times. “No sudden movements up here, people! NO SUDDEN MOVEMENTS!”
Vall d’Incles, Andorra
We visited our family in Andorra twice on this trip and now they’ll be coming to visit us in Colorado. I think we’ll have some beautiful mountains to show them, but this scene of our family picnic is kind of tough to beat.
We spent an amazing weekend at L’Avenc, a tranquil hotel near the village of Tavertet in the Collsacabra region of Spain. During a memorably delicious meal at a quaint restaurant Brian informed me that the bacon-wrapped pork chop he was stuffing into his face was the best decision of his life. A-hem!?
During our time in Cinque Terre, the famous cliff-hugging series of villages on Italy’s northeastern coastline, we spent a hot afternoon enjoying the rocky pools at the base of the town. Unfortunately, half of my bathing suit didn’t make it into the backpack, so I had to sit on the sidelines sweating in the sun as Brian and the girls swam and jumped in the cool, blue waters.
My favorite yoga spot of our trip was the patio off our tiny apartment in the Istra Peninsula of Croatia. Sometimes I had a partner.
Berchtesgaden National Park – Bavaria, Germany
We spent a day touring around Königssee (King’s Lake) in Germany with our good friends the Kastenbergers. The views looked like something out of a fairy tale. By the end of the day, Brian and Ali had joined some other hikers in the freezing cold water.
After hiking in the Alps by day, we got to see the super moon rise over them at night. Early August of 2014 was a great time, astrologically-speaking, to be in this beautiful area of Austria.
Prague, Czech Republic
The big city living of Prague was a change for our family, so we had to get the girls out a lot to burn off the energy that would build up in our little apartment. The Old Square in front of the Astronomical Clock Tower was a great place to find fun activities for kids.
Maybe not the most scenic photo of our time in Belgium, but it does give you a better understanding of this man in my life. I have to add that he had me take this several times to make sure his positioning was just right.
Driving into the busy streets of London with its double-decker buses and fast-moving round-abouts after having only two hours of experience driving on the left side of the road was probably one of the more stressful experiences of Brian’s life. However, once we got out of the car and walked through the streets on foot, London lived up to its reputation.
Cliffs of Moher, Ireland
During our month on the southeastern coast of Ireland we did a road trip up to Galway and the famous Cliffs of Moher. It was a gorgeous area and a fun change of pace from our little seaside cottage. The only downside was when we lost the car’s side mirror to a wide-veering vehicle on the narrow, winding rural roads.
We did a whirlwind tour of the City of Lights during our trip from Ireland back to Andorra. We hit all the major sights, but someday I want to go back when the girls are older so we can take it slow and do the museums the right way.
Lake Wenchi, Ethiopia
During our time in Ethiopia we got the opportunity to take a break from the smoggy streets of Addis Ababa and go for a weekend camping trip in the country with friends. It was an experience we’ll never forget.
Kruger National Park, South Africa
While we were on safari in Africa I kind of had to keep pinching myself because I couldn’t believe I was getting to be there. We learned a LOT on our adventure in the Kruger, including more than I really wanted to know about bull elephants. Look closely.
Siem Reap, Cambodia
Cambodia was one of our favorite parts of the trip. We connected to the local culture, learned the country’s tragic history, ate the best fruit we’ve ever had, and volunteered with some incredible organizations. As you can see, Cambodia is a place where the morning commute looks very different.
Chiang Mai, Thailand
Our time with elephants in Thailand was unforgettable. We will always recommend Elephant Nature Park to anyone interested in an authentic and humane experience with these gentle giants.
I won’t ever be able to look at this photo without crying a little. The world lost Reuben Summerlin just a few months after this picture was taken. He showed us waterfalls, shark diving, hikes and Fijian culture. Everyone who knew him will remember him forever, and our month with the Summerlin family will always be the most memorable part of this journey. We were so lucky to have him in our lives.
Mount Cook, New Zealand
It’s pretty impossible to pick a single photo from New Zealand. It is hands down one of the most beautiful places in the world. This shot gives a sense of how we spent most of our time there – walking casually along immaculately maintained trails while looking at obscenely gorgeous scenery. Yep. That pretty much sums up New Zealand.
Palm Beach, Australia
Our few days in Syndey were rich in the outdoors. We spent some time on the Barrenjoey Lighthouse Trail and touring the city’s parks. No kangaroos, though. We’ll have to go back someday for that.
Living at the base of an active volcano, one that had just erupted a couple months earlier, was quite an experience. The first night we saw the red glow at the top of Villarrica I flipped out…just a little.
Valle de Rocos, Bolivia
The area just south of the famous Uyuni salt flats offers a very different landscape from the vast expanses of white so many of Bolivia’s visitors come to see. Volcanoes, mountain plains, flamingo lakes, and rolling waves of “dancing rocks” surprised us on our second day at Uyuni.
Machu Picchu, Peru
There are many ways to see the ancient city of the Incas. During Brian’s solo day there he hiked up the many stairs leading to the top of Machu Picchu Mountain.
Our trip ended among the volcanoes of interior Nicaragua. Brian got some cool shots from rooftops around the city. The rotation of visiting friends and family we had with us during our time there made Nicaragua a great way to end this journey…despite my not-so-great bout with dysentery.
So there you have it! Our around-the-world tour in under two minutes. More travel is in our future, but for now it’s time to settle in as a normal family for a while and brace ourselves for our first winter in the mountains. The snow is already here!