July 1, 2015

2014-2015 Review: Get Out of Town!

It's like...we moved to the middle of nowhere, and, all of a sudden, I had so much free time that I was going everywhere!

Our "years" begin and end in the summer. Every time I've tried to do a "real" year-in-review at the end of December, I always feel halfway through whatever we're doing. I've just always been on a school year schedule; my parents were both teachers, and our life refreshed and restarted every summer.

I don't think I can really count all the days I went to Paris this year, but I blogged about most of them, and you can read about my museum and wander days here.

Marc may have been bored and unemployed in La Fère, but we took advantage of his free time and he went to two destinations he'd been wanting to see his entire life: Berlin and Athens. Berlin exceeded his expectations and Athens was a disappointment. But he's glad he got to decide for himself and now all he talks about is going back to Berlin!

The only travel plans I really had for this year were Spain for Christmas and I was hoping against all odds that I'd finally get to do my Iberian Insanity (#ibin2014) trip that I started planning way back in 2012. There was also a hint of "perhaps Morocco" when my college friend, John, moved there in the fall, but nothing was for sure, or even a priority.

These quaint little ideas ended up exploding into glorious travel dreams all over my calendar!

A Week in the Netherlands

Every August, I get to do a volleyball camp in the little, but well-connected, town of Wassenaar. Between coaching volleyball and eating strop waffles, I made it to the Mauritshuis museum in Den Haag, Corrie ten Boom's home in Haarlem, and a local castle in Voorschoten.

A Night in London

When the Eurostar train goes on sale, it must be bought! For 69 euros each round trip, we sped under the English Channel for a night out at the theatre. Conveniently, my uncle and aunt also happened to be in town (this has happened to us twice now, in London and in NYC!), and we enjoyed drinks at the Savoy after the show.

Two Weeks in Spain

It was only supposed to be about 9.5 days, but an EasyJet airline strike grounded our December 31st flight until...January 3rd! What began as our already grand trip of Madrid, Toledo, Granada, and Málaga, became all of those places plus Córdoba, Ronda, and Gibraltar! My Iberian Insanity trip was now only missing Seville and Portugal!

An Evening in Belgium

We chugged up to Belgium in the team minibus for my first European friends to finally meet Marc! It was the first time I'd been back since 2011, and it was wonderful to communicate in French with so many of the people who opened up Europe to us.

Four Days in Morocco

John's move to Morocco did end up working out for me after all! It's really nice having friends who live in cool places. It was my first time in Africa, my first time in a predominantly Arab country, and the most interesting trip of my life.

Four Days in Sweden & Norway

I'm now old enough that the teenagers I coached are studying their master's degrees abroad. Maggie was based in Sweden for 6 weeks, and we had sadly given up hope that we'd get to see each other. But a canceled practice and a plane ticket later, and #Swagandinavia was up and running!

Two Weeks in Portugal

My ultimate year in travel finished with my ultimate vacation destination. My time in the south of Portugal was pure and organic and perfect.

Our 4th Year in France

But how can I forget my adopted home?! Aside from my Paris jaunts, we cracked open an entire new section of France to us in the Picardy. I have to say that the best 3 things were castles: Château Mennechet, Pierrefonds, and Coucy-le-Château. We also were able to spend some time in Bayeux for our friends' wedding.

We don't know everything about where we'll be going next year, but we do have our return to Europe planned for a visit to Scotland! I feel like I definitely maximized my time in Europe this past year, and right now I think I'm ready for a more laid back travel schedule for next year.

I mean, I feel that way today, but I may change my mind come September!

Thankful for all the learning and mind-opening experiences that travel has brought me because of volleyball. These years have been golden and grand, and I know we will continue to shine wherever we end up!