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.