It’s hard to believe that we arrived in Budapest last April and now in a heart beat, we are reaching the end of our European adventure. It has certainly gone by too fast for us. We have learned so much about the culture, history, and day-to-day lives of the people in places we have stayed – Hungary, Scotland, England, Ireland, Germany, and Sweden. Along the way we also learned more about ourselves, our marriage, and what retirement means to us. Throw in a few pleasant, but unexpected events, and I would conclude that this has been a perfect trip.
We hardly knew what to expect when we sold the Austin condo last year and began planning this adventure. There have been some pleasant surprises on this adventure and one or two that we would like to forget – like my cell phone dying! I have asked Clay to add to my list of surprises on this trip; here is a short list of our biggest surprises.
- First on both our lists was the fact that we have not been homesick. Sure, we missed our friends and family , but after almost 5 month on the road, we certainly could continue onward if we had not made other commitments back in the U.S.
- Costs – we have consistently spent less each month than we had budgeted .I think that this is partly due to us staying a month at a time in several locations, so we got a break on rent. When possible, we rented an apartment with a kitchen, so we ate one or two meals a day at home, which held down food costs. Budapest (especially) was incredibly low cost.
- Another surprise (that should not have been) is the fact that we have spent a lot more time together on the road than we do at home. When at home we both have more interactions with our friends through our various clubs and organizations that we belong to. My advice is – if you are not married to your best friend, then you might want to take this into consideration before setting out on an extended trip.
- Other people might be surprised by this, but we got along great the whole time. We occasionally had a few cross words, but we both value love and honesty, so we don’t let pride build small misunderstandings into something bigger.
As we prepare to head back to the U.S., we are looking forward to spending some time with family before settling back in Austin for a few months. We have rented a place in downtown Austin beginning September 25th for a few months. This will give us time to plan our next adventure. We don’t know for sure where that journey will take us, but if anything it’s like this one, it will not be boring.