I Live to Travel

A few months ago, I shared a big dream Keith and I have to one day own a summer home in Iceland. Today I thought I'd share another dream of ours. This one has a very good chance of actually happening though since I've already been saving for two years for it - backpacking across Europe. Most people who do this, do it in their late teens or right after college, before they are wrapped up in jobs, family, bills, a million responsibilities. Unfortunately I'm adventurous enough to dream up trips like this, but not adventurous enough to actually take them by myself. Thankfully I married an adventurous guy who wants to go with me.

We don't have exact dates set yet but it's sometime in the near future (next 2 years), before a kid ties us down even more and finances get even tighter. I printed out an European map several months ago and started a running list of cities we might want to visit. We want to immerse ourselves in small towns, different cultures, and stay away from most of the trendier tourist spots as much as possible. Our current plan is to start in Norway and end in Poland or Spain.

Map of Europe from World Atlas

Map of Europe from World Atlas

So far, most of the research I've done has been through Eurail, reading about different countries, and Pinterest. Once we're further along in our plans and actually have dates chosen, I'd love to reach out to some of our well traveled friends and family and ask for their feedback on favorite European cities and sites. Last summer we went to Paris, so we don't plan to go back there, but other than that we're pretty open. Here are a few locations that caught my interest for this trip:

Uppsala, Sweden from Trip Advisor

Uppsala, Sweden from Trip Advisor

Copenhagen, Denmark from Hylocore

Copenhagen, Denmark from Hylocore

Bruges, Belgium from Eurail

Bruges, Belgium from Eurail

Vaduz, Liechtenstein from Bicycle 2011

Vaduz, Liechtenstein from Bicycle 2011

Maastricht, Netherlands from Amy Graham

Maastricht, Netherlands from Amy Graham

Assisi, Italy from Italia

Assisi, Italy from Italia

Porto, Portugal from Comoze Blog

Porto, Portugal from Comoze Blog

We won't be able to visit every city we might want to, and while most European backpacking trips are about squeezing as much in as possible, Keith and I also like to take our time and enjoy ourselves. We haven't decided yet whether we'll stay in hostels all along the way, or find a few centrally located accommodations and then travel by train for smaller day trips. I have a tendency to over-plan every single detail of every trip and then stress myself out the entire time trying to see everything. But the past few trips we've taken, I tried to be more laid back about it. I did a little research and had a few places I'd like to see and if we got there, we got there. If not, it wasn't meant to be and our trip was more relaxing because we weren't running about as much as we might have in the past.

Our next trip is this winter for a cross-country drive. Keith doesn't usually get much time off for the holidays, but both our offices are actually shutting down for two weeks between Christmas and New Years. We're planning to spend Christmas in Wisconsin with my family (most of them live there) and then spend the following week in Colorado and New Mexico. It'll be our longest road trip together yet, so I'm trying not to over-plan and am looking forward to sightseeing, hopefully lots of snow, and plenty of time relaxing by the fire.