Travel Reflections: How Close Are We to Returning to the US?
A fellow travel blogger recently posted a link on Facebook to this page: The Travel Experience In 35 Gifs: From Quitting At Home To Shitting Abroad (take a look!). Auston and I about shit our pants laughing at them. For us, they were about 90% accurate and 200% hilarious. Nothing explains trying to get your travel visas sorted out better than Bruce Willis crawling through an air duct with a lighter as his guide in “Die Hard”. In fact, that was our exact experience when applying for our Indian visas. Then we died laughing at the GIF expressing what it’s like to introduce yourself to the people you meet abroad over and over and over and OVER again. Honestly, sometimes I’ll just enter a hostel with my head pointed to the floor in hopes that nobody notices me as to avoid that conversation entirely. Especially when I know I’ll just be staying a night or two.
The Moments We Miss While Traveling Abroad
Traveling long term entails experiencing the highest highs and the lowest lows as anyone who has done it knows or understands as a follower of travel writing. We’ve returned home twice in the past year of being abroad and undoubtedly if we could, we would have returned more often. Seeing our family and friends only twice in one year? We’re too close with our family for that to be anywhere even bordering sufficient. Still, I do believe it’s good for individuals to pull themselves away from the comforts of home to focus on themselves for an extended period of time because it builds a type of strength, character, and understanding that may be difficult to achieve otherwise.
Meeting People In A New City: Part 1 – Online Social Networks
There’s no denying it. We’re new in town and we need friends. Remember the good ol’ days when you made friends simply by turning to the guy next to you in class and making a smart ass comment. Then bam. Friends. Nowadays as an adult, not so simple. Sure you can make friends at work, but if you’re job is at all like Auston and my former careers, that can vary. Most of the people we worked with were significantly older than us, married with kids or grandkids, and paying a mortgage. Sure they’re nice people, but I just don’t see us tossing back beers together at the bar on a Friday night.
Pet Peeve: Our Travels “Must Be Nice”
On one of the first nights we spent in Madrid, Auston’s cousin Taylor asked us if we had any travel pet peeves. Off the top of my head, I couldn’t really think of any, though there were surely many. I could only come up with a general pet peeve I have about elevator buttons. When you walk up to the elevator, you push the up or down button and it usually lights up. Why then, do so many people feel the need to push the button again if it’s already lit up? The light means it’s been pushed! I don’t know why it gets to me, but I developed that one when we lived in a high-rise in Chicago. Anyway, Auston and I got to thinking and we do have a major travel pet peeve.
High-rise in Miami
Apartment Hunting Abroad
While sitting in the airport lounge at O’hare International Airport waiting for our flight to Madrid, Auston and I looked at each other and said, “What the hell our we doing with our lives?” And at least we agreed, “We have no clue.” We laughed at the idea of moving to Spain. How ridiculous! We’d be landing in Spain in about 14 hours with no job, no apartment, and yet no shame.
Long Stay Visa in France: Applying for a France Tourist Visa
Auston and I knew after completing our backpacking trip that we wanted to return to Spain to continue studying Spanish. Our goal was to spend at least six months in Madrid but we also wanted to go to France for a couple months to visit family and perhaps start dabbling in French. Unfortunately, according to the Schengen Agreement, Americans can only be in certain European countries (including Spain and France) for a maximum of 90 days within a 6 month period. Sure, we could leave after three months and go to another country in Europe, since we can spend up to 6 months in the UK. But as fluent English speakers, we’re not looking for English immersion – even though we’d need it to ever understand British English! So we interpreted this Schengen policy as “Americans must scheme their way into Europe if they want to stay more than 90 days”. As Barney Stinson from How I Met Your Mother would say, “Challenge accepted!”
Reflecting on the Past Year Abroad and the Next Year of Traveling
Can I Snooze My Birthday Wake Up Call?
It’s 9am on the Sunday after arriving back in Arizona from a year long trip abroad and my phone is ringing. I’m sure I didn’t set the alarm so I’m confused. Is Jesus calling? It is Sunday so that seemed logical. He’s not. It’s my mom. Proudly claiming to know that I must be awake because my latest blog post just appeared on Facebook. It did. Because it’s automatically scheduled. And I was not up. In fact I had just gone to bed not 3 hours earlier after stuffing my face with Jack in the Box finalizing the debaucherous birthday celebration that coincided with our return.