So I had intended this post to be put up much sooner than this, but the life of “being home” took over! It took at least four days to fully recover from the jet lag. I think having a bad cold didn’t help any. It wasn’t until almost a week that I was sleeping through the night and not getting up with massive coughing fits. Today was my first day back at court and I am exhausted! But it was great to be there and I am happy to be home!
So here are the answers to the most popular questions I have gotten since returning home:
Favorite place: probably Spain…not only was it the first country that I felt like I could actually communicate in, it was also just really my style. Sleeping late, siestas, and sangria. The S’s!
Least favorite place: either Vienna or Mykonos. Mykonos may only have ranked so low due to the season, but I definitely preferred Santorini to Mykonos. And Vienna, well, read the blog post. It was just really frustrating, difficult to navigate, and not filled with overly friendly/helpful people.
Must go back: Italy. I have said I will most likely also return to Spain, but that’s because I just really enjoyed it. Italy is a MUST. I could’ve spent a month there and did not get to see everything in that large country that I wanted! Although I think I will have to go in summer, or at least not November. Rainy season, indeed.
Most challenging: Morocco, without a doubt. I think that was probably one of the most challenging days of my life. And I was, and still am, so proud of myself for making it through it. And not just “making it through”, but having a great time in the souk, meeting some colorful characters, and meeting people who live in such a different world than I do, but with whom I was able to make a connection!
As many people know, the vast majority of my accommodations were booked in advance. I hadn’t booked Switzerland because Catherine and I wanted to play that by ear, Mykonos because I wanted to use a free hotels (dot) com night, and Ireland because that’s how I did it before. I knew that locked me in to an itinerary, which wasn’t my original plan. But it worked great. The only time I regretted that was when I got to Koblenz, Germany and found out the river cruise I wanted to take the next day only ran on the weekends. Which meant I was going to Cologne the next day for no real reason. I wished I could’ve just went straight to Berlin, but because it was the day before, I couldn’t cancel my reservation (almost all of my accommodations were flexible, but required more than one day’s notice to cancel or change). Not too bad for a 90 day trip!
Homesickness. I really only felt homesick on my birthday. Truly. It took me some time to figure out what that feeling was (there were many factors that day, so it took a bit to realize what it was), because I really hadn’t felt homesick before. I had a strong urge to want to fly home the next day instead of leaving Dublin and going out into the Irish countryside. It was a bizarre feeling, especially because I was in Ireland, but it quickly passed!
It’s a little weird that I don’t feel like this trip has still fully hit me yet. I have thousands more photos to edit (sorry, no Christmas cards this year…I’m shooting for New Years!), and I think that will make it more real. And I plan to reread these blog posts in the new year. I think there is so much I have forgotten (I’m realizing that with the photos) and I couldn’t spend a lot of time reflecting on each cool, iconic thing I did or saw because I had to move on to the next cool, iconic thing the next day. So I plan to spend more time reflecting on this amazing opportunity in 2015.
But I will say that it’s pretty freaking incredible that just over 2 years ago I had never been out of the USA (aside from a Caribbean cruise, but that doesn’t really count!) and now I have been to 15 countries and 3 continents. Pretty amazing. I am truly blessed.
Next up? Japan 2015!!