2018 - A Review of The Year
Now we are well into our 5th year of traveling we are used to our dynamic life. But 2018 is probably the most varied year we have had in terms of travel style and all round change and disruption. The year started in one of the most vibrant cities in the world, Mexico City, and it’s ending in a sleepy Spanish town. This year we did a bit of everything. We frequented several AirBnBs, mooched with family and friends, lazed by a pool for a mini vacation and stayed in a fabulous country hotel. We had some time in the Airstream and finally ended up in a European motorhome. It’s been a busy year.
During 2017, when we spent most of the year in Europe, we made the decision to leave the USA for a while (You can read about why here) and we decided to buy a European motorhome (and you can read why here). 2018 was the year we made it all happen.
The first six weeks of the year were spent in one of our favorite countries; Mexico. Always fun, always joyful, this extended visit that took in several cities was no exception. Another all too brief visit to Mexico City with friends reminded us again that we need to plan an extended stay in the future. We got to know San Miguel de Allende better after the Christmas hoards had departed. One of the major highlights of this year was visiting the town of Tequila and learning more about one of our favorite drinks.
Leaving Mexico is always difficult but we had to head back to the US to get on with the business of selling the Airstream. We pulled it out of storage and headed on down to San Diego, our favorite spot to be in the US. We got to work deciding what would come with us to Europe and what would not make the cut. It was not too difficult a task and neither was selling it. In fact we could have sold it several times over but were grateful to sell it to some friends of friends who I know will enjoy it for years to come.
We loved our Airstream but we are not ones to be sentimental so we waved it goodbye, wished the owners good luck, sold the truck to Carmax and within a short time we were headed to the airport and boarding our flights to London. By mid March we were back in Europe and our next task was shopping for a new home.
We found our new motorhome fortuitously and we were in it by the end of April; it all happened much faster than we anticipated. We were mightily grateful for that as it gave us the opportunity to take advantage of one of the most amazing summers in the UK and Northern Europe in our lifetimes. The sun shone endlessly and the mercury remained high from mid May through to early October. We have spent enough years in Northern Europe to know what a rare event this is.
We enjoyed some fabulous spots in the UK. Some of our highlights were visiting the Peak District and the beautiful seaside town of Whitby as well as the serene Norfolk Broads. All the time we were getting used to the motorhome, optimizing it for our travels with a few modifications and learning a whole new language around motorhome travel.
Despite the fabulous weather we were very keen to get out of the UK and start treading some new ground. At the end of July we headed off with a rough route in our minds of traveling through Belgium, The Netherlands, Luxembourg and Germany. We settled into a travel style pretty quickly. No reservations only occasionally booking a day ahead to be sure of a spot in a campsite. We would stay put for a day or two then move an hour or two’s drive down the road to explore more.
Our highlights of this swing through Northern Europe included Zeeland and Giethoorn in The Netherlands, Rugen Island and Berlin (especially visiting the Bundestag) in Germany, learning a lot and being incredibly moved by our visit to Ypres. The number one highlight for me was the trip through the unbelievably scenic Moselle Valley in Germany.
In mid October we finally had to say farewell to the summer weather and return to the UK for our annual motorhome inspection. After a busy month celebrating birthdays, a family wedding and getting a few necessary chores done we were ready to get some southern latitude and head to Spain for the rest of the winter. That’s where we are now testing out if this is a decent place to spend winter in the motorhome and possibly whether it’s a place we might want to settle in as home base.
It’s been a busy 2018, we have learned a lot about how to travel here. Undoubtedly the learning curve was considerably less steep given our US experience. We already know how to live small; it was much more a matter of learning the way of traveling in Europe. We are getting used to it and are finding quite a few differences to how we traveled in the US. Some things we prefer, some we don’t, that’s probably a whole other blog post. Generally I would say we are really enjoying the lifestyle, especially the ever changing cultures that you get to experience traveling around a continent rather than just a country.
We don’t know what 2019 will hold. We know we will start it in Spain and we have some loosely formed plans in our mind. Unfortunately our continued unrestricted travel around Europe will probably come to an end soon due to Brexit. At this point we don’t know if that will be in a few months or whether we have a couple of years left. That means our plans remains flexible and dynamic and, as always, we are just fine with that.