It’s been a wonderful two weeks in the States, spending time with my folks in Oceanside, hanging out with Anthony’s family in KC and being in the wedding of one of my best friends in DC. Now we’ve just arrived in Spain, after a day of traveling from DC to NY by bus, then flying from Newark (not even the city, omg so close yet so far away) to Madrid. As we’ve been making plans for the next leg of our trip, Anthony and I have been talking about what we’ve learned from the last couple of months – which places we liked the most, the biggest surprise, what we now know about ourselves or each other that we didn’t before. And a lot of people have asked those same questions since we’ve started the trip. So here’s what we know:
We both like everywhere we went. There’s nowhere we wish we had skipped – nowhere felt like a waste of time or a letdown. The biggest surprises for me were Jose Ignacio, Uruguay, and Panama City. I had no idea how cool these places would be – the gorgeous beaches of Jose Ignacio and the laid-back vibe and the cool people all set in what is sure to be a huge scene in the years to come. I’m so glad I got to see it now before it blows up. Panama City has so much flavor, and is definitely a Central American city, meaning while it has an impressive skyline full of big shiny buildings, it also has Casco Viejo, or Old Town, with all of its ancient colorful buildings, some crumbling and some restored, and bars and restaurants, both old and new, and brick streets and a fish market. Biggest surprise for A: Jose Ignacio as well as Belize. He loved Caye Caulker’s motto: GO SLOW. That was also his favorite place. My favorite place, and where I’d go back to right now: Jose Ignacio. Where Anthony would go back to right now: the pool at the W in Santiago. What was the most beautiful sight? For me, the salt flats in Bolivia, covered with water. The mountains and glaciers in Patagonia and the Atacama desert in Chile are tied for a very close second. For Anthony: the beaches in Rio. They were spectacular. What did I learn most about myself? That, contrary to what I thought, I can only run for so long, and then I need to Just. Stop. For a while. Also, I’ve never loved to fly. But now I hate it more than ever. I leave nail marks in Anthony’s arm on every take off, landing and the whole time in between, and as we’re now on our 20-somethingth flight, he is running out of arm. I think the deck collapse that my family dealt with back in August left me scared of lots of things, mostly irrational and completely unrelated to anything that happened that day. Hopefully with time that will ease, brilliant I know as we are flying around the world for the next seven months. Anthony’s going to need to find extra limbs. Finally, and this sounds like a no-brainer, I learned that I miss my parents so much more than I realized I would. I always miss them despite having lived away from them for nearly 20 years. I just figured this would be pretty much the same, only with a few more miles between us. But I miss being able to pick up the phone to call at anytime, and as a result I text my mom constantly and Facetime or Skype with them once a week (my dad doesn’t text but the man works the Skype machine better than I do). As for Anthony, he says he learned that even with as much traveling as we’ve done so far, he still enjoys and looks forward to waking up and going to the next place. It hasn’t gotten old (thank God).
About each other, I learned that we travel very differently, and that it’s actually a good thing. He likes to get to the airport 17 hours early; I’m usually running late and stressed. He wants to board as soon as the flight is announced; I don’t understand why we would stand in line when our seats are a sure thing. But then I try it his way and who knew? I’m less stressed out because I’m not rushing and late and fighting long lines under the gun. His way really is better for me (I’ll probably never say that out loud again). I asked Anthony what he learned about me and he said: “that you can stay up later and wake up earlier than me and never be tired and just keep going. You are a machine.” I told him to please see the above paragraph. What I dislike about our adventure: the constant packing. And that the planning is never done — unlike a normal vaca where you make plans first and then go on the trip to enjoy the fruits of your labor, there’s always another hotel to book or train to find or city to research. Which, for me, has actually become part of the fun. I like the flexibility we have to change plans and try somewhere new that we may not have even thought about a few days ago. In my eyes that’s the whole beauty of this adventure. What I love: getting to do all of this with him. And there’s so much more to come. He found us a great place to WWOOF (look it up; I didn’t really know what it was either) next month in Spain, on the vacation paradise island of Mallorca. Let’s hope the place is as good as it seems. Before that, we’ll spend some time here in Madrid, where I studied for a semester in college, and the south of Spain, along with Morocco. The month of May will be spent on the aforementioned Mallorca, where our WWOOF farm will be, and then for much of June we’ll be in an apartment in Paris (thanks AirBNB). We’ll travel around between and during these long stays I am sure. After Paris, our plan is Scotland (helllllloooooo I am going to the home of SCOTCH), Ireland and RUSSIA RUSSIA RUSSIA, for White Nights. We JUST picked up our Russian visas, along with our passports, Friday afternoon in DC. Our flight out to Madrid was last night, Sunday, so we got the visas back at the absolute last minute possible. The process was a pain in the ass but it’s do-able and I’m looking forward to that trip maybe most of all. Italy and Greece after that, where my parents will meet us, I CANNOT WAIT TO SEE THEM AGAIN, then Turkey and a few places around there before going on to Asia and Australia. I NEED A VACATION ALREADY. But really, the whole thing is amazing. It’s a dream to get to do this, and unbelievable to do it with this hot kind patient man that I love more than my shoes. Much more to come as we explore and discover new places. If I could just bring along a professional packer in my carry-on bag this would be perfection…
**Back to the title of this post: in South America, Marc Anthony is everything. I’m not of the same mindset – he looks like a rat to me – but his song Vivir Mi Vida, which is old and still plays everywhere in the lower hemisphere, is my favorite right now, in part because of the words and in part because it’s just effing fun. Spotify it and let me know what you think. Adios.