13 March 2012


When I began this blog a year ago, I thought it would be a fun way to provide friends and family members living in the States some insight into my life and my husband’s life as we began our great adventure. My parents travelled Europe and Central and South America both before my time and while I was growing. I never seemed to manage an invitation to any of their international parties; maybe they thought that I would get my opportunities to travel later in life.

I grew up in an upper-middle class household, first in the South and then in the Midwest from ages 13 to 25. Throughout junior high and high school, I wanted to travel on the school trips to D.C., Canada and Spain but I was never afforded the opportunities.

Several of my friends, including some with whom I am still connected, I met through a foreign exchange program. I met a great girl from Uruguay, a couple guys from Brazil, Argentina, the Czech Republic, Spain and many more. I envied their experiences, their home lives and their ability to spend a year in a foreign environment, immersed in a new culture, yet I wondered how they picked my small town of 12,000 in Northwest Ohio out of the thousands of American cities that offered so much more.

In my mom’s defense, our town was not sending all of our kids on year-long international exchange programs but that did not stop me from asking. When I missed out on the opportunity in high school, I tried again in college. I asked to study for a semester in Salamanca, Spain. No, didn’t happen.

I spent 25 years of my life wishing I could go somewhere but never really did anything when I had the opportunity to do something for myself. I guess it’s easier to look back now and come up with ways that I could have supported myself. It is also easy to understand why my parents denied my many requests, but sometimes I wish they just shoved me out the door and out into another country.

My husband and I did plan a trip to England but the trip was cancelled so we settled for New England and an amazing week in Nantucket. I am not exactly disappointed at the switch. I don’t think we will ever forget our time in Nantucket. And I did make plans with the best girl on the planet to vacation in St. Bart’s in April 2011 but then I got a better offer – a lifelong trip to a tropical island in the East.

Travelling by plane, staying in hotels and walking around town with a camera around one’s neck does not bring the same feeling as taking everything you own and landing in a new place with no idea when you will leave or where you will go next.

On April 1, Paul and I landed and I remember having a point in the day when there were so many thoughts and emotions circling in my mind, and then there was a time of nothing. No thoughts. No questions. No emotions. I was just present in the moment.

There were moments of confusion, moments when our misconceptions were brought to life and moments that will make me laugh every time I go back and read about what happened that day. I thank each and every one of you for reading.

This blog, started as a way of communicating with the masses back home in the U.S., now reaches people in 10 countries and receives more than 3,000 hits in a month. Please stay tuned for another year of adventures as Paul and I explore what it is like to become a registered driver, apply for residency and discuss our options as Paul’s work contract comes to an end.

I may be working now, but I still intend to explore on my days off and report to each of you everything I learn along the way. Keep sending your comments – my husband and I appreciate them. My favorite so far comes from a pilot, stating that the blog is “like potato chips (I can’t read just one).”

Beginning April 1, the anniversary of our move, you will be able to follow the blog via Facebook so look for the page and Like the blog. Get your friends to tune in and Like the blog as well. The more Likes the blog receives, the better chance I have of turning this blog into a book. The book will be filled with stories like the ones you are reading and it will also include a lot of previously unpublished material. I look forward to developing more content in the coming months. 

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