We’d quit our jobs.
Sold or given away most of our belongings, and stored the rest.
Flew to New York, and sailed ….with a 25-day transatlantic and Mediterranean cruise purchased, with no solid plans for the future… just a dream to see as much as Europe as our budget would allow.
We worried if we’d drive each other crazy… living in a stateroom with less than 185 square feet.
It contained a tiny shower and had thin walls. We had a cougher next door who liked to turn their television loud.
We were afraid we’d be bored during the seven straight days at sea while crossing the Atlantic Ocean, on a ship with less than 800 passengers, most of whom were two decades older than us.
Not to worry, we both loved the days at sea. The water was smooth and glassy. Flying fish followed our ship.
We met interesting people. We read. We relaxed. We forgot about normal every day distractions. We started this blog.
Removed from the working world freed us from deadlines, late buses and office politics.
We talked more, and listened more, to each other.
It was wonderful.
We were able to make our adventure last over five months, through September.
We explored Europe like two college kids, except that most of the time we were being pampered on cruise ships, with luxurious food and fantastic staff that cleaned our cabin.
We experienced tourist adventurers … like skidding down the steep streets of Funchal in a wicker toboggan. We rode cable cars up to peaks like the Rock of Gibraltar.
We hiked… usually downhill or flat stretches.
We got away from the tourist and ship crowd, and explored places on our own … ferries up and down the Amalfi Coast.
Took the train in Barcelona to wine country.
Survived a rough overnight ferry ride from Barcelona to Civitavecchia, Italy with the Harley Davidson Club of Chianti.
While sailing through the Dardanelles, we learned first-hand history lessons from a New Zealander whose grandfather was killed there in the World War 1 battle.
We learned how bad the traffic was in Athens, and that a corridor means the aisle seat on Turkish Airlines.
In Sochi Russia the welcoming band played Strangers in the Night, and we discussed politics and Paris Hilton with our guide who wanted to practice conversing in English.
Later, we sailed to the Polar Ice Cap and looked for polar bears in Longyearbyen. Enjoyed hiking through a hole in the mountain in Norway.
Explored Slovenia and saw the world’s oldest grape vine. We made two day trips to Lake Bled, and haven’t forgotten the delicious cream cake.
We witnessed the annual whale hunt in the Faroe Islands with the water around our ship bright red with whale blood.
We were spoiled, dining on a 5-course food and wine pairing dinner while icebergs sailed by out the window.
We sailed back to New York, and then flew to Kansas City. Our cat pretended that she didn’t know us.
We interviewed for jobs across the US – and got multiple offers. We bought a beautiful condo and went to work.
And we both went back to our road warrior lives of our advertising and IT professions often demand.
We were ready to work. We were changed. Our list of places that we wanted to visit grew longer, rather than shorter.
If you ever have the chance to travel for a summer (or a winter) – whether you are 21 or 85, or in your mid-40s like we were…. All we can say is GO FOR IT.
We have great memories. No regrets. And five years later, we still look forward to exploring new corners of the world and sharing travel discoveries.
Thanks for coming along for the ride.