Similar to thinking back to your previous birthday or your most recent major work milestone, I can’t help but feel that our journey only started, while at the same time feeling that we’ve been on the road for years. So many things have happened during our journey so far, even though we’ve been staying close to a full month at most stops, that it feels like years have passed. I’ve also very much gotten used to the fact that we don’t really have a ‘home’. And while living out of a suitcase is no picnic, we’ve made do and have optimized our packing so that we don’t tire of it.
Let’s start with some facts:
We’re currently writing to you from Split, Croatia!
Tomer and Michelle in Croatia
After our month in Split, including one whole week of which we will spend with Michelle’s family that is coming to visit us, we will take a ferry to Italy and be there for just under 4 weeks. We’ll be walking the magical streets of Rome, watching the sunset in Genoa Nervi, and stuffing our faces with as much pizza and pasta as possible in Florence, before heading to Israel again.
So far, it is absolutely amazing and better than we could have imagined! We’ve gotten to see some great cities, met some incredible people (and some not so), and have eaten some delicious and unique local foods. Traveling 1 month at a time (as much as we can afford - both financially and Visa-wise) is a great cadence to travel long term without getting tired of it. This isn’t a checklist of countries for us, rather actually trying to get to know some places and find a routine. I am also quite certain that with shorter stops we would get tired of traveling very quickly.
Tomer: This is probably the question we get most often, and yet I still don’t have a straight answer. Tel Aviv will always have a special place in my heart. Budapest was an extremely fun city, relatively cheap, with plenty to do - I would definitely consider that in my top 3. Berlin really surprised me for the better the first time I was there, but unfortunately our stay there this time was too short to count for a ‘real’ visit. And both our stops in the Netherlands (Groningen and Amsterdam) are very fun and easy places to be.
Michelle: I struggle with this in the best way possible, I live by my senses so depending on where we are and what mood I am in, I will have a different answer. I love the food in Tel Aviv so if I am hungry for lunch, I’ll say Tel Aviv with its tons of tiny salads, or Portugal with its fresh octopus salad. If I am thinking of friends and closeness to an adopted culture, I am very much at home in the Netherlands. I love the kindness and the sweetness of the people in Belgrade and the Berber people of the Atlas mountains in Morocco. If I have had a drink and am craving some late night food, nothing beats a Langosh in Budapest. When I wake up thinking of breakfast, I miss sitting at my aunt and uncle’s table scoffing (Scottish word for eating) beans, rolls, sausages, black pudding, and a huge mug of tea. When I think of magic and feeling small, my thoughts go to the soaring mountains of Switzerland or biking my Swapfiets (bike rental) down the Spiegelstraat under a starry night in Amsterdam. I am a mess with feelings about all these wonderful places. Right this second I am in Croatia and just left friends and family in The Netherlands - so my nostalgia is casting my vote for the Netherlands right now.
The Soaring Mountains of Switzerland
Tomer: My family and friends, without a doubt (it’s a cliche for a reason, right??). The hardest part for me is experiencing all of these new things without being able to share it with some of the people I would most like to share it with. I remember when driving for 25 minutes to a family dinner felt like a chore - I now realize how silly that was. Because I made the conscious decision to leave on this trip, I make it a point to keep in touch with everyone through calls, chats, and random Snapchats of things that remind me of someone in particular.
On the flip side of the coin, it means that when I do see my family (like this past December in Israel) or friends (like just last week in Amsterdam), we appreciate the time we spend together and create more cherished memories since we’re not able to do so as often as we used to.
Tomer with his family in Tel Aviv
Michelle: Family, yes but they can call and visit. Friends, yes but they can also call and visit. For that reason, most of all I miss my family dog Charles Snarles Barkley Mckenna, greatest dog ever. My life would be complete if I could transport my dog without stressing him out, have him visit for a day or two, and return him to his little hiding spots in my parents’ home where he likes to snuggle.
Charles Snarles Barkley Mckenna
Michelle: We get asked this question in several different ways, people aren’t sure how to ask it. I have a few theories as to why it works. We have always been quite a close couple and we don’t tire of each others’ company quickly. Some couples need more independent time, and we enjoy that too but it’s less necessary for us. We are also very good at being around each other but being in our own headspace, writing, reading, watching TV, calling friends or family - we are around each other a lot but not interacting. Tomer is also a morning person and I am a night person so Tomer gets alone time before I wake up and I get alone time at night when he has fallen asleep. Being a relationship coach helps because we have a real growth mindset when it comes to our relationship. For example, in every argument there is something to learn and we really do work like a team everyday - otherwise this wouldn’t work. We keep each other in check and try to motivate each other. I consider myself pretty luck for this reason - Tomer is amazing, I am humbled to be on his team.
Tomer: I won’t lie, they weren’t super happy about us leaving. Of course they were happy for us. But they don’t appreciate the distance between us. Michelle and I, both being 3CK, felt the hunger and urge to travel and to try and feel like a local anywhere. We love and miss our families very much, there’s no question about that. In the meantime, we get to plan exotic vacations to see them again instead of family meals/gatherings (like the upcoming Split vacation with Michelle’s family).
Tomer: As a regular reader may be aware, we are still very much working while traveling, as was our original intention.
I’m very happy with my current situation! Traveling while working was very much an experiment, for both myself and for EBSCO, my employer. I think it’s safe to call it a success! Given the time difference, I have a block of uninterrupted time during my morning in which I’m able to be extra productive. This is a combination of my introverted-ness, getting into my Element, and being able to just hone in on my work without distractions. During the second half of my workday, I still interact with my team and we work together to complete more work. I honestly feel like I’ve become a better employee and team member by working remotely. Of course there are some downsides, such as not being able to participate in team building activities or lunches, being remote for our quarterly multi-team planning sessions, and being left out of offline conversations and water cooler gossip, but overall, I’m very happy with where I’m at. Stay tuned as I plan to write more on this subject!
Last we checked in about the subject, Michelle was working for RelationshipHero. She has taken a turn in a different direction and is now running her own business doing the same type of relationship and life coaching, but under her own personal brand name, TalkToCoachMichelle. While working for oneself comes with a lot of overhead and is by no means trivial, at the moment she’s loving the new challenge and is making much better use of her time in exploring our destinations.
Michelle Working on the Train to Amsterdam
Our original plan for this trip was to travel for around 2 - 2.5 years, and I don’t think anything has changed in that regards. While we haven’t gotten too far out of the European region yet, we plan to head towards South East Asia (with a stop in India along the way) later on this year. In that area of the world, with looser Visa regulations and a lower cost of living, we plan on increasing our stays to closer to 3 months per stop and really get to explore that region in depth.Written on April 30th, 2019 by Tomer and Michelle