Expat to Expat {travel}

If you’re keeping up with our countdown, we leave this beautiful country in less than six weeks. That’s so soon! Too soon, actually. We walked around our little town today and hitting me that we won’t be here much longer. I’m also sad I won’t be considered an expat (a person who lives outside of their native country) any more. I’m sad about that and about 100 other things. Sigh. Time to change the subject…

Thanks to the Hemborg Wife and Found Love Now What for their Expat to Expat series, here are some thoughts all about travel! I was all too eager to answer their questions.

1. Which airport would you like to never see again?
I’m inclined to say the Atlanta airport, because that’s the hub I’ve been flying in and out of since 2005, but I actually like it. In fact, I really love airports. They mean I’m going somewhere, so to not ever see one again would probably make me cry. 

my travel nightmare. cops in France

2. What is your travel nightmare?

Getting arrested or pulled over in another country. Heh, this actually happened when we went into France last weekend—getting pulled over, not arrested! We just crossed the Switzerland/France boarder when twoFrench cops on motorcycles started escorting us and another car to the closest off-ramp.  So we pull off the interstate and I’m literally shaking, because I’m so nervous. My husband and I jinxed ourselves earlier by talking about how we left our international drivers licenses at home (oops!), so we were slightly freaking out. Plus, there’s the whole language barrier; my husband knows a wee bit of French, but unless I’m ordering a coffee and croissant, the only thing I can say is “Je ne comprends pas le français” (I don’t understand French). Right. So we pull off and the motorcop scoots up next to us, says a bunch of stuff really fast and talks with his hands. Now, body language, I can understand! His arms made the, “Go ahead, we weren’t stopping you” phrase. I asked if they spoke English (okay, so I can say that, too), and he said no. Between my husband and I, we also managed to ask if we were really free to go. The last thing I wanted was to flee from a French policeman. He said something like, “Yes, get going!” And so we left. I continued shaking for a good 30 minutes after that happened.

My second travel nightmare? Breaking my ankle minutes before moving to Europe

view from a “fancy” room we splurged on for NYE 2011/2012

3. Would your rather stay in a fancy hotel and do less activities or stay in a hostel and do more activities?

We actually stay in a fair amount of lower-end hotels just so we can have more money to do things outside of where we’re staying. I always try to find a nice, clean, reputable place to stay, though. I’ll spend hours (literally) searching the ‘net to find a good place, and they’ve all luckily turned out great, even for a lower price. I figure that we’re on vacation to see a new place, not the inside of a hotel room. Granted, we’ve splurged a few times and stayed at fancier places. Comfort and cleanliness is really important to me, so sometimes you have to pay more for that, especially in Europe. My favorite places to book rooms in Europe are on Booking.com and AirBnB.com and I always triple check reviews for each place with TripAdvisor.com so I know what to expect before we arrive. Like I said, I spend a lot of time looking for where we’ll rest our heads.

4. Do you have any pre-travel rituals?

Hmmm. Once we get on the road (if it’s a road trip) we usually pray for safe travels. I also always pray during the take-off when I’m flying.

5. What is your favorite airline to fly with?

Southwest, because they’re flipping awesome in every way possible. And Delta, because they were the only airline with a direct flight from Albuquerque to Atlanta, so I’ve been racking up miles with them for almost a decade.

6. If you could take a trip anywhere in the world, where would you go?

Right now I really want to go back to France. We were only there for a couple days, but I fell in love with the countryside. I’ve had a love/hate thing going for Paris, so I’m thrilled we got out of the city and experienced more of the country. Now I’m itching to go back. We’re also trying to go to Czech Republic, Slovenia, and Germany, all within the next 41 days. I’d also really love to go to Hawaii sometime.

7. How do survive long haul flights?

Luckily, I can sleep on flights, so I try to sleep. I also take books with me and watch the in-flight movies. Walking around always helps, too. Long flights don’t really bother me. Then again, we’re about to spend 9 hours on a flight from Germany to America with an almost five-month-old wiggle worm little girl. Send good thoughts, please!

not my first stamp, but still exciting!

8. What is your favorite stamp in your passport and why?

Probably my very first stamp in my (now old) first passport. It was from the UK when we landed in London. I just couldn’t believe I was actually there! I remember being SO excited. I still get giddy when they stamp my passport.

Questions from Lisa at Meanderings, Adventures & Crafty Inspirations

1. What are your top 3 necessary items for travel?

A. headphones. (Ironically, I always forget them and have to buy some at the airport. Fun fact: the Venice airport does not sell headphones. I learned that the hard way. Twice.)
 B. Walking shoes. When I’m in a new place I know I’ll walk around a lot, so I’d rather be comfortable than stylish.
C. camera. Luckily I have a camera on my phone, but I always take my DSLR and/or my smaller point and shoot.

2. What is your off the beaten track trip in your current home? 
Any place that we can go without our GPS, which, as of right now includes: Croatia, Slovenia, Switzerland, France, and Arizona. (We forgot to update our maps a lot).

[Also, if you’re going to visit Venice, you must, must, go to Burano, Italy. 
(Link takes you to fellow expat, Casey’s blog; I realllly need to post my photos from Burano.)

I can’t tell you how much I’ve enjoyed traveling around Europe and
I’m heartbroken that we’re getting kicked out of Italy before this tour
was supposed to wrap up. I’m just thankful we’ve been able to see so
much in such a short amount of time. I know it’s taking me forever, but I do love sharing our travels with you.
Do you have any more questions about travel? Leave a comment below! 


  1. Hello! I saw your link-up on the Expat to Expat Q&A which I have taken part in too! Good luck with your move back home – I am in the process of moving to the US to be with my husband. I have my visa interview in July!! Have a great weekend!

    Molly @ The Move to America

  2. First… your photos are beautiful! Second… good luck with the flight. We PCSed to England with a 6 month old. Fortunately he slept most of the flight! I wasn't able to sleep, however, because I was worried about not hearing him. (Ha.) Sadly, the flight to the US is harder than coming out. Something about flying into the daytime signals AWAKE! to babies. Just have low expectations, bring a carrier, and try to make arrangements to sleep when you get there, if you can. Good luck!

  3. Cripes, I don't know what I would have done dealing with the transport cops in France – I drove in America for the first ever time, and I was worried enough about the sheriff cars, and they spoke English!
    Lovely round-up. You must be getting excitedly nervous now!

  4. How scary to be pulled over and not speak the same language as the cops! I would have freaked out! Hope time slows down for you a bit during your last couple months in Italy! Enjoy!

  5. I do the same thing as you when I fly – I am always saying a prayer during takeoff. That is also because I'm terrified of flying. I wish I could get over that…

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