Thirteen years ago today my hubby, Tim, and I stepped on to an Amtrak train at Denver’s Union Station – on a train heading east. We each had a backpack, and an open heart and mind for world travel adventure. We also had a few plane tickets and a loose itinerary for the first part of our trip.
When I first met Tim, he mentioned that he wanted to travel ‘around the world’ when he turned 40. “OK”, I said, “that sounds cool.” And so the seed was planted.
Less than four years later we had saved a bunch of money, ditched our jobs, sold our vehicles, did some planning, talked his father into being the tenant in our condo…and off we went. It was scary, and exciting, to jump-off the societal train so to speak…and I have absolutely no regrets!
Our first leg was to clickety-clack our way to Philadelphia, for a visit with my mom, before heading across the pond to begin the international adventure. The train, in the US, seemed like good practice for all the modes of transportation we knew we’d encounter…in all different places. And it gave us a few days to slow down from the life we were used to – and begin to get acclimatized to not really concerning ourselves with what was next.
This was April 2000. Friends pitched in and surprised us with a digital camera, so they could see pictures along the way, and it was before they were very common. We had little space for images, and although we enjoyed sharing images along the way, it ended up being awkward trying to find a way to archive the media on the road. Tim also had a film SLR…and was shooting slides. Through a travel agent we had an online journal that allowed us to share stories with friends who took the time to log in. We did not have a blog, although I do believe they existed then. In today’s terms this all seems so archaic.
The year was an unbelievable adventure with many experiences that will ever be etched in my mind. We set foot in 20 countries on five continents; experienced a multitude of cultures, explored landscapes and savored many culinary delights. I learned people around the world live vastly different lives, yet they are the same. – we are all people with hearts & souls and desires & needs.
We also have some everyday memories from things that we bought along the way. They hang on the wall, or on my body:) I still have the same backpack, that goes on the occasional back country adventure, too.
When I returned I immediately began a scrap book. I bought paper, organized all the ephemera I had collected, got a few prints from each area we traveled, began playing with pages – and then promptly got caught up in my life ‘back at home’ and the project fizzled. Over the years I’ve thought about these travel adventures, and this book, often. I’ve hauled the book parts out many times to start again, and I’ll have fun sorting through some of the ephemera (as I just did again today:), and then it always seems to get relegated to the some day pile.
I’ve decided to try a different strategy to tell my stories – I want to share them on the mountain mermaid. It may be partly selfish – wanting to revive the memories – and I hope that there will be some entertainment, inspiration and fun for all of us along the way.
I decided to start today – on the very day of our departure thirteen years ago – and figure out my way to share as I go along. I feel unprepared, and procrastinated starting this post (it’s nearly 10pm…I think we were on the train by now). And hopefully this project won’t get relegated again to the some day pile.
So here I am – beginning – prepared or not so much. Thank you for listening, and I hope you’ll come along for my journey as I relive this adventure. I don’t have a plan for how often or when I’ll share. I’m going to have faith that this will happen organically – just as we found internet cafés, when we could, to share our journey as it was happening.
And I hope this beginning post will inspire you to think about some project you have relegated to the some day pile. There may still be hope…and if you follow along, you may find out if there really is hope for my project:)
Lisa, aka the mountain mermaid
A few fun facts:
- My hubby was 40 when we left on our trip, and I turned 40 while we were on the trail. (Yikes – it seems like yesterday, and I guess this reveals how many years I’ve been on the planet:)
- We originally talked about traveling for about a year. As we got closer to being gone for year, and closer to making our way back towards the states – on the one hand I wanted to turn around and keep going and on the other I became obsessed with being gone for exactly one year. We rolled back into Denver, on the train from San Francisco, 365 days after we left. And so our adventure became Around the World in 365.