Breath of Fresh Air

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The last 2 months didn’t really fit into a traditional retrospective. Technically, we didn’t just visit Montenegro and Croatia. We also visited the States (Alabama, Ohio, and Pittsburgh), Iceland, Norway, Prague, and Budapest. After a hurried — and packed — end to South America, we were looking to slow down. We decided to get to the slower pace by purchasing an awesome nomad ticket from Kiwi and country hopping our way across Europe. While this was awesome, it did not give us the breath of fresh air, and slower paced lifestyle, that I was hoping for. At one point we took 7 planes in 7 days. Ben had to frequently remind me that the end was around the corner, and that soon we could breathe.

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Which brings us to Montenegro and Croatia—where we did breathe. And then we struggled with being restless. But, that restless feeling led us to push ourselves to explore places we would have otherwise missed. For example, we climbed some obscure paths in Kotor, based on a recommendation of a random backpacker, to find an abandoned (and creepy) fort. We also had a chance to return to places we enjoyed. In Kotor, there was a coffee shop down the street that remembered our order after just 2 visits. In Dubrovnik, we knew where to go when we wanted beer for less than 5 dollars (a shockingly difficult thing to find) or where we could get WiFi for a couple hours of work. 

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As we task ourselves to do after each country, this retro is about looking back. While it wasn’t the most exhilarating month, it was necessary. It reminded me of some of the lessons we have learned along the way. We turned small talk into friends in Prague. Friends whom I am sure we will see many times. We threw caution to the wind and spent 100 dollars to go into Reykjavik just for a public bathhouse and a super cool looking church. We did the most touristy thing and found all of the Game of Throne filming spots in Dubrovnik (promptly followed by watching 3 seasons over the next week—it rained a lot). And, we cooked ourselves a pretty damn good Thanksgiving dinner. We left on this trip for experiences. And, regardless of the pace of the trip, it was important to be reminded that everything is an experience and it’s worth pushing ourselves a bit to explore places that we feel we’ve “covered already.

Now, we are going to India. We expect culture shock. We expect to change our behaviors. We expect to be uncomfortable. The last 6 months have been the building blocks that prepared us to exist together anywhere, to make friends in foreign countries, to exist without speaking the language, and to take some time to ourselves when the world outside is constantly changing. 

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I wish future us luck. But, I know we will do amazing. 

Love, 

Matt