As I head to Morocco, I am completing my first month on the road and celebrating my mom’s birthday (Happy birthday Mom!).
Since leaving New York City, I’ve visited Israel, Jordan and France. I’ve met up with friends, and met some other nice fellow solo travelers. I have lots of great food and wine and have managed to stay out of trouble… so far.
I wanted to share a few reflections on the first month.
- Go-go-go! I’ve been pretty much go-go, but am trying to fit in down time (which ends up becoming blog time!). Still trying to get used to the concept that you don’t have to fill every second of the day, but not quite there yet (although my time in Annecy helped). I thought I would have read a ton of books and finished House of Cards by now, but all I’ve read is travel books and the only thing I’ve watched is Creed as it was the only English on TV in my hotel in Colmar.
- Packing Modifications. I’m doing a great job with my shoes, I’ve changed some shirts out and I’ve gotten rid of my solid soap and shampoo. It takes up too much room and I like the way the liquids work better. I also sent a few things home including some tops, purchases, my travel blanket and random pouches. I was so proud of myself for navigating the post office speaking all in French, until I heard how much it cost to mail the 5 lb box… 11 Euro per pound… but yeah.
- You can (mostly) buy it here. So far I have been able to buy what I need. It took a while, but I finally found contact lens solution that wasn’t Renu in France. Not sure what the deal is since they have like 35 kinds of toothpaste but only one contact lens solution.
- J’aime France! Twenty-five years after I first visited France, I still love it. There’s a bit more English spoken and an embrace of tourism. They even are amused by our tipping. I always love it when someone gets excited over what we in the U.S. would consider a mediocre tip. And of course the food and pastries are amazing! As I complete two weeks here, I can’t wait to come back. Thanks to all of the folks here who put up with my mediocre French, who kept on speaking French to me anyway and who came up with words in English when needed. Everyone’s been lovely.
- Mixing it up. I’ve enjoyed having a mix of being with friends and having alone time. I will admit, it is still nicer to have dinner with someone, but I’m getting used to the table pour un. And for the most part, the servers are accommodating. I saw folks in Annecy eating fondue and decided to try the restaurant. I noticed on the menu that it was only available for two people. When I asked the waitress about it, she declared, “pas de problem” with a smile.
- Being Female. While I think we still have a way to go on women’s rights in the US, I am thankful to be an American. I was looking to buy some t-shirts for some adorable and cute rascals when in Jerusalem and asked the vendor how much. He asked how much I wanted to pay so I started thinking. He said, “ask your husband.” I walked out immediately. Sadly, the babies didn’t get the t-shirts that I wanted but I just couldn’t give money to someone who thinks of women like that.
- I miss my animal(s). It’s much easier to keep in touch with your family and friends than it is your pets, and when you’re used to sleeping with a furry creature, it’s hard not having one with you. When I Facetimed with my mom, I tried to talk to the animals (my cat and her cat and dog). They didn’t seem to understand that I was on the iPad and went running to my room to look for me. Cute, but sad at the same time. Only Wookie figured out where I was and gave me a few nose-nuzzles!
- I’m having fun! This has been the longest I’ve traveled to date and I’m not itching to head home. In fact, I’m sad to be leaving France and trying to figure out when I’ll make it back here! I’m looking forward to things down the pike and excited for each next adventure.
- Happy birthday Mom! One of the things about being on the road is that you miss things back home. Today is my mom’s birthday, so please wish her a good one :).
The first month by the numbers:
- Miles walked – Approximately 160
- Different hotels/B&Bs/apartments/tents/rooms – 11
- Currencies – Three (four if you count US Dollars, which are accepted a lot in Jordan)
- Languages spoken – English (ha!), Hebrew (about 6 words), Arabic (about 3 words) and French (with bad grammar)
- Pictures taken – 1,000+ mostly on my phone, which must be exhausted
- Countries visited – Israel, Jordan, France (and heading to Morocco)
- Cities visited – Tel Aviv, Petra, Wadi Rum, Jaresh, Amman (briefly), Paris, Honfleur, Saint Malo, Mont St. Michel, Rouen, Colleville Sur-Mer, Paris (twice), Annecy, Colmar, Kaysersberg, Riquewihr, Eguisheim, Turckheim, Orschwiller
Anything else you want to know about life on the road? Any advice you have as I enter month two?