What a difference a year makes

Amsterdam around this time last year.

On this day last year I started a long adventure around the world. It seemed sort of irresponsible at the time. I had just taken a buyout at work, my life was falling apart, and I had so many things to take care of. Instead I decide to go on this world-wide trip which ended up being about 7 months (My recent blog posts are documenting those travels).

Me with my whole life for seven months on my body

I returned back to the USA at the end of February of this year. I had wanted to travel some more but I had business to take care of. As luck would have it within weeks of me returning to the USA the world shut down.

One of my last days out traveling is watching futbol in Medellin

Since I’ve been back I’ve taken care of most of my tasks and I really am itching to get back out traveling before I try going back to work, but I see no end in sight to the travel ban, at least for travelers from the USA.

What if I was responsible and decided to delay my trip until I had my life in order?

The trip of my lifetime might have never happened!

Elephant Nature Park in Chiang Mai

I am so grateful for my timing and courage to do this thing even though common sense and society says contrary. Sometimes you gotta just trust your heart and everything will work out.

Meanwhile I am getting my health and life in order as much as I can so as soon as things open back up again I’ll be on the road or up in the sky…..see you out there soon!

My bag is stuffed

I am in the home stretch in planning for my trip. I am leaving soon. I am leaving so soon that I am embarrassingly not really ready to leave yet. I guess all backpackers say that but it is true.

I mostly finalized my packing list this week and attempted my first packing. It was as expected. I have some major reductions to do. I still have so many things to fit in my already overstuffed bag and this is even after I eliminated a pair of pants, pair of shorts, and an undershirt.

All this stuff still needs to fit in here.

I could have gone easier on myself and bought a newer, better, and bigger backpack as I originally planned. However my Kelty that I bought in 2004 is of extremely good quality and I could not justify the upgrade.

So here I am, trying to decide if I can live off of 3 pairs of shorts and 2 pairs of pants for months on end. Thank goodness I have a number of shirts I can still toss.

The big pile of drugs I am bringing? They are staying for now.

Wish me luck.

Arriving on the Rhine

After the delays at JFK we arrive in Frankfurt the next day but closer to the afternoon. While the first day is usually jet lag day, I did have hopes on getting in some adventure that day. A train is the way to go from the Frankfurt airport to the town we booked for the next couple days, Bacharach. I had done some train schedule research but due to our delay we missed the train I wanted to catch. Europe is pretty easy to get around but it is never simple the first couple times you try to figure out the trains. After maybe missing one more train, we finally figure out the ticket purchase booth (Hint: It needs a chip card with a PIN number – that excludes my regular credit card since I never get pins for my traditional credit cards).

The pension was going to pick us up at the train station but due to our late arrival I decided it was too much trouble to try to coordinate the pickup. Pension “Im Malerwinkel” wasn’t too far uphill from the train. After a tiny bit of map confusion we found our cute German home for the next couple days.

We took some time to decompress and then decided to go out and get trail information for the next day and get some bottle waters (since we are always of need of water). We soon find out that this cute town has closing hours and they are at 5-6 pm. Pretty much every store, tourist office, and miscellaneous place is closed by that time. No waters for us! We force ourselves into the tourist office just as it was closing and we didn’t find very helpful service. We decide to let the lady leave and try again the next morning. Fortunately our hotel had a honor bar where we could purchase waters, sodas, wines and beers. We took advantage of that amenity during our stay!

Fortunately the restaurants are open past 6, but don’t remain open too late. We decide to do the fancy dinner the first night since you never know how busy and tired the following evenings will be. I picked the fish menu. It started with a trout consommé  soup, followed by a almond crusted trout and finished with a dessert. I was pretty pleased with the first night’s dinner at the Rhein hotel’s Stueber’s Restaurant.

We wandered around the town a bit more because even though it was close to 10 pm and the town was almost a ghost town, it was still so damn light out. Ultimately sleep won against the light and I chose to wind down the night with a view outside our window with a bottle of wine from our hotel honor bar. Time to get a good night’s sleep for some hiking and sightseeing the next day.