2012: the year I spent six months in Europe

Map of Europe
Photo by Cea.

Happy New Year!

I have decided to begin with the end in mind and lay out my plans for the year in reverse. So…

Let me tell you a bit about 2012, our year of adventure! (Please note: this was written before the fact as a visualization and is in no way how everything went!)

We spent the first few weeks of the year getting our “ships” together, as Fountains of Wayne say. First, we got our space in order – cleaning out closets, drawers and shelves; purging the excess and keeping only what we need; and making plans for what was going on the trip and how we were going to transport it. All of this was done calmly, of course, and in a nice, systematic way.

Next, we continued to make plans for the trip. We contacted all our overseas friends and made plans to get together. We also put the word out that we were up for meeting new people (and playing board games with them). We set up some volunteer opportunities that would enable us to dive right in to the culture and get to know some local people, too. Meanwhile, of course, we continued to learn about the different areas we’d be visiting and started memorizing each country’s words for “please,” “thank you,” and “Where is the bathroom?” All of this was done calmly, of course, and in a nice, systematic way.

Then, on March 12th, we took off! We visited family during our layover at LAX, then continued on to Lisbon. A few weeks in Portugal, up through Spain, a few weeks in France, up into the UK and over to Ireland, on to Belgium, a few weeks in the Netherlands, into Germany – a quick jaunt to Slovakia – through Denmark, a few weeks in Norway, and finally to Sweden. Through it all, Quinland was homeschooled – posting some of her work onto one teacher’s blog, emailing another – while I wrote the first of many young adult novels and David designed board games.  All of this was done calmly, of course, and in a nice, systematic way. We never got tired of each other’s company, were astounded by how we could wear the same clothes every day and never get tired of them, and if we forgot to pack anything, we worked it out.

I brought six months’ worth of medication along, and my monthly steroid days went off without a hitch. None of us broke any bones – not even Quinland! – or had to be hospitalized – not even me! We took things slow enough to suit my leg but walked enough to get all of us into fantastic shape. We are healthier than ever and fabulously well-rested.

Meanwhile, because we missed all of our friends, we kept in touch through our travel blog, which we updated regularly, and by Skype, at which we are now proficient. Greg held down the fort at home, where nothing broke down and everything ran smoothly. Everyone at home stayed healthy and happy, although they missed us beyond all imagining and many of them flew over to see us in Europe while we were there.

When we got home at the end of August, we chuckled to ourselves at how cluttered our house now looked to us after living out of tiny backpacks for half the year, so – calmly, of course, and in a nice, systematic way – we have continued to pare down.  Our home is now streamlined, has just what we need, and suits us perfectly. We have all returned to work and school but still take time to eat right, exercise, keep up with projects and paperwork, and spend time with our friends. I even got our Christmas cards out in a timely manner!

How do you envision your 2012?

Daily Check-In:

  • I’m grateful! that my dad is feeling so well!
  • I’m lighter! I had a lovely evening over at the Engstrom Haus, with a heavy dusting of powdered sugar and much snuggling.

9 thoughts on “2012: the year I spent six months in Europe

    1. Party! Party! You should talk to Nancy – she is thinking the same thing.

      Q says she doesn’t want a going-away party because it will be too sad, so we told her it could be an early “Welcome Home” party. 🙂

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  1. I LOVE this! Visualization — see the goal, make the goal, live the goal, and it shall be! I am so excited reading this that I can hardly wait for you to come home! 2012: Best Year Ever!

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    1. Absolutely! Conceive, believe, achieve.

      It’s too weird that this whole thing is actually going to happen in just a few short weeks. Yikes! There is too much to do! But I shall proceed to do it calmy, and in a nice, systematic manner.

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  2. Hooray, you’re back! I’m glad you had such a wonderful experience these past months in Europe. I was so happy to be able to take a few weeks and join up with you three. It was amazing to go through Ireland with you, you know so much about its history, couldn’t have asked for a better tour guide. Can’t wait to see you!

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    1. It was so fun to travel with you! Your Guinness-fueled karaoke solos down the pub, your ability to attract the fellas after kissing the Blarney Stone, that time we hitchhiked and got picked up by Bono – it was amazing.

      or, perhaps…

      We were so pleased that you did us the honor of joining us as our companion for our journey to the Continent. It was delightful to set off with you in pursuit of novelty and amusement, as you possess the health and temper to bear inconveniences and the cheerfulness to enhance every pleasure. Indeed, your easy, pleasant manners, your accomplishments, and your handsome person won you admiration wherever we sojourned. From this day, we shall have the pleasure of recollecting the beautiful prospects we observed together.

      (with apologies to JA)

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      1. Oh, PLEASE don’t remind me about those surreal Guinness-soaked karaoke nights – I’m so embarrassed. The only time that any singing on my part was memorable was when Bono picked us up in the middle of nowhere (I was surprised by how short he is for such a larger than life individual), and we karaoke’d that night with him in that small pub in Dalkey. What an amazing night – he’s such a great guy! Has he called you yet, as promised?

        Or, perhaps…

        You do me such honours that should make a fair lady’s cheeks colour. Indeed, you and your kin are of such good humour, one cannot but be of cheerful mind and countenance at the recollections of our time together. How quick come the reasons for approving of our journeys about the countryside! I cannot speak well enough of our time on the Continent. As well you know, it is always incomprehensible to a traveler that a friend should ever refuse an offer of joining said traveler upon the road.

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  3. I invision 2012 to be a great. year. I will not have to see my doctor for any medical reasons. I see myself flying to Arizona to watch my cousin be commissioned as an officer. I see Tim and I flying to Palm springs to visit my mom (Disneyland and Knottsberry farm) In August I see us flying to Coos Bay for a Wedding.
    You could right a childrens travel book.

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    1. Ooh, I like the idea of a children’s travel book! I might have to do that!

      You are going to be a jetsetter, flying all around this year. One of you is going to have to get a pilot’s license like John Travolta. 😉 Who do you think should do it, you or Tim?

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