Our thirty days away were incredible. My wife and I visited 6 countries, saw so many beautiful places rich with history, and simply enjoyed day after day of time together. A couple years ago I never would have dreamed that we would be able to have such an adventure. Thank you airline miles and hotel points.

monaco_view

A breathtaking view of Monaco from La Turbie, France.

We started in southern France, seeing the Azure Coast for several days. The highlights included wandering the narrow streets of Old Nice, hiking up the slopes above the tiny Principality of Monaco, and strolling the paths of the beautiful Lerins Islands off the coast of Cannes.

florence_duomo

The rooftops of Florence, dominated by the Duomo.

Then it was onward to Italy, where we stayed in the swanky Park Hyatt Milan (for free, of course!) before moving on to the tiny Republic of San Marino. The spectacular views from Monte Titano made our days in this unique country some of my favorites. The we were off to enjoy the art in Florence, before moving on to the history of ancient Rome.

colosseo

The Colosseum was my favorite place in Roma, hands-down.

Ireland was our final stop, where the weather was a refreshing change from the hot and humid Mediterranean. The lush, green landscapes and lazy rivers already leave me longing to go back. It really was yet another ‘once in a lifetime’ trip!

ireland botanical gardens

National Botanical Gardens (free!) in Dublin, Ireland.

Our time away really caused me to pause and think about life. It made me consider where life has taken us and where we are headed. I realized how incredibly fortunate we are to be able to see the world like this, especially now, while we are young. And I also realized that it is a gift. We may not always have opportunities like this.

Life had changed so much for us in the last couple years. I finished school, sold my landscaping business, and landed in a job that is both enjoyable and flexible. My boss allows me to “commute” from abroad from time to time. It is something I too often take for granted. I may not always enjoy such freedom. But I hope to leverage it as long as I can.

flying clounds airplane wingtip

Somewhere over the western United States.

This got me thinking about where we are headed. I love the job I have and everything that it has allowed us to do. But there are some days on which I really feel like this won’t last. Only God knows. I left a piece of my heart in Guatemala last summer, and I often wonder if the Lord will lead us there someday. Or to some other country. I love living in America, but there are days where I feel like we belong somewhere else. Maybe it is just the wandering thoughts of a still-in-his-20s dreamer, or maybe it is a nudge from the Lord as to where we should really be investing. Time will make it clear.

But right now it is back to our current reality after a beautiful time away. We need to knuckle-down and save for a new vehicle. We also just had our adoption dossier approved (finally), and are now waiting on a phone call that will take us to Costa Rica to meet our children! Which kinda puts life in limbo…and also makes travel harder to plan. Not to mention life will change dramatically once we are matched with our kids.

Maybe we will get away again for a while, or maybe we won’t. We do hope to join our church’s mission team to Guatemala in December, but that is the only trip on the radar at this point. Travel to far-flung places is likely going to hit the back-burner for a while. And I can honestly say that I am content with that.