Life has changed dramatically.
It feels like that is a whole topic in and of itself so I'm just going to try my best to focus on what I've learned from this trip so far.
1. The world can be beautiful!
2. You can make friends any time you are ready
I was surprised at how quickly we met another traveler that we both grooved with so well. We met Kim in Biassa, Italy and it turned out that our schedules aligned for the first leg of our trip. After Biassa we've met up with her in Pompeii, Istanbul, and Croatia! We've swapped travel tips and keep each other up-to-date on our whereabouts. It's so great to meet someone that you know is part of your new circle of friends that under otherwise normal circumstances you may have never encountered.
Claudio and Joelle. Claudio is one of the most amazing people we've met. He loved to laugh and was very proud of Nice (as he should be). He showed us around the city and gave us the code word for life. Such a joy to spend time with him. Oh yea.h and he's run more marathons than Brent so he's definitely good in my book.
Paul from Paris. He's the guy with the big smile and white shirt. Young and happy and fantastic. He lived in Thailand and we swapped stories of travel and life. I know this kid is going places.
LUIGI! He was our favorite bartender in Salerno. WE met him on arrival and visited him about every other day. Really loved this guy who was genuine and kind. I have a suspicion he's the secret mayor of Salerno...... everyone seemed to know us as Luigi's friends. Ha!
Contardo was a sweet man that we saw most every day in Biassa. Few words were spoken, none of which were in English, but we always made sure to great each other on the bus or in town. I was so proud to take this photo with him.
Davorka in Croatia is just a doll and she may be the happiest person in the entire country! She helped us in immeasurable ways and was a great tour guide and new life-long friend.
Holger in Berlin was another fine example of how our friends have great friends! We met him once in Austin but it is always nice to see someone in the comfort of their own country to get to know them all the better.
Anne, Brent, me, and Les
This crew became our fast friends and were great ambassadors for Belfast. When we first walked in the bar we were clearly out-of- towners. Before long Alfie stopped at our table found out who we were, where we were from, and gave us a great warm welcome. Then David came by to give us his phone number in case we needed anything!! Before the trip was over we were at their table, singing songs, and being invited to Anne's home. Truly great people who just love to laugh and sing and have a grand time (of course with a few pints to go with it)!
3. It is still always nice to see friends from the U.S.
Alisa was a friend of Brent's from Austin. Her and her husband welcomed us into their home in Dun Laoghaire. I was so thankful to get to know her better! She's funny and a science nerd and I just connected with her on a personal level.
4. I. Love. Food.
5. I am really traveling with a great partner
I can resoundingly say, yes. It isn't always easy or perfect. I get angry when I'm hungry. I get tired and irritable at times but a majority of the time I am still laughing with Brent and enjoying his company. It has taken us to a new level of togetherness and a new wave of communication skills. I think we understand each other when we say we need time alone, need to get out of a city, or just that we need to be still and not move for a while. We've always been a good team but this has been better than I expected. I think that may be the most important thing I've figure out so far.... I definitely married the right person for me. My girlfriends, friends, and family are still important and I need all of them to round out my healthy relationships but this guy well, I have to see his face every day and I'm glad that I get to.