Mind the Gap

Wow, did 2019 suck. It kicked off with the death of my friend Renata. On the heels of that, a friend nearly committed suicide. Mere days later, my father-in-law died, and then in May, my mother lost her battle with cancer. (It wasn’t much of a battle. She never stood a chance against that monster in her lung.)

I’ve written about this before. No need to peek under the bandages. I merely bring it up again because I hadn’t really planned on continuing with this blog after all that. Every time I thought about it, it made me sad that I couldn’t share it with my mother. But you know what? The other reason was laziness. First was dealing with all the photos: narrowing them down, editing them, and then narrowing them down again so as not to overload a post with photos. And then there was going through my travel notes and writing about everything as interestingly and succinctly as possible, which isn’t easy when you do so much on vacation. It was so time-consuming. On top of all that, I was taking Norwegian classes and adjusting to my new life here. I was overwhelmed by my own expectations, and I didn’t have the energy, emotional or otherwise, to continue.

So why am I writing again after such a long gap? Well, a few reasons. For one, my mother isn’t the only person who enjoyed checking out my travel photos and hearing about our excursions. My godmother, Dyanne, chimed in after my last post to urge me to continue. A few other friends gently encouraged me to continue writing, and doing this blog is a good way to flex those muscles. Personally, I discovered that I miss having a diary of the cool places we visited, the good (or terrible!) food we ate, and the funny things we experienced. Sadly, some memories from our 2018 road trip through England and Wales have started to fade.

Will I catch up on all those adventures that have gone by unblogged? Eh. Maybe. I mean, July 2019 was insane! We took trains and buses to several cities, staying a day or two in each. We gnoshed burgers in Hamburg, took strolls through Amsterdam, downed a pint or two in Belgium, drank Riesling in Rüdesheim along the Rhine in Germany. There was a (fast!) drive on the Autobahn, pyrotechnics at a Rammstein concert in Brussels, and a naked sauna with strangers at a spa in Luxembourg (some things you can never, ever unsee …). And that’s just to name a few of the things we did. Later, in September, we traveled to Liverpool (and visited Anfield, of course). Late November found us in Munich with my stepdaughter, son-in-law, and our grandsons for Christmas markets, mulled wine, and a very cold but very exciting Bayern München match. And then it was two trips to the states in December, including one for Christmas with my dad and my cousins, when we honored my mom by cooking a few of her recipes. Believe it or not, 2020 promises to be even more travel-packed. (First up? Morocco!) But I’m not going to stress myself out about it. It’s supposed to be fun, right?

Sure, the original idea was to have a blog detailing our trips to this place and that, but really, the “road” includes traveling through real life, too. When you’ve moved to a foreign country, some days you just want to vent about share things from your still-feels-like-new life as an expat or lament the things you miss. Besides, there’s no way that I’ll ever be able to compete with all those, ahem, travel blogs out there featuring writers posing in what looks like their I’m-not-a-celebrity-but-I-play-one-in-my-“selfies” on-location photo shoots. (I swear, I think some of these folks are traveling with their own personal stylists for no other reason than to stage the same shot they’ve seen in travel guides, not to actually visit the place they’ve traveled to. But I digress.)

In the end, I am fortunate to have this life, and I’m grateful every day that I get to live it. I can’t even say that it is the life of my dreams, because I never allowed myself to dream anything as big and amazing as this. It’s a privilege to be able to share it. So for those reading, thanks for riding along with me.

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