Category Archives: Coming Home

One Year

One year. That’s how long we have lived in Seattle. Want to hear something even crazier? It’s been almost a year and a half since we made The Decision and officially left New York.

When we first moved here, friends and family kept asking us if we were happy…if we made the right decision…if it felt right. After one year of living here, we are proud to answer yes to all three questions. (No, it didn’t take one year to figure out the answers, but it’s more dramatic and powerful if you think that it did.) Life is easier here: we can throw a boatload of groceries into the trunk of our car, we can do laundry while watching TV in the comfort of our own apartment, and we can let those dirty dishes pile up because, hey, we can throw them in the dishwasher! Be jealous, New York friends.

In the year that we’ve lived here, we have had lots of family and friends come to visit, and two remarks are always made: a) “Oh, we didn’t realize how hilly Seattle is!”  b) “Seattle and its surroundings are truly beautiful.” We love it here. Mike loves his daily view of the Cascade Mountains from the top of Queen Anne Hill as he drives to work, while Hanna loves seeing the snow-covered peaks of the Olympic Mountains as we drive to the grocery store.

To be fully inducted in the Pacific Northwest Club, we had to do one of three things: 1) buy bikes, 2) fall in love with hiking, or 3) join a rowing club. Since Hanna hates hills, we chose option #3. We did a learn-to-row class back in November and December, continued with a five-week trial, and are proud to say that we are now fully-fledged members of the crew club. (We never said that we were good; we just said we are members.) We row three times a week, and we love our time on the water. It’s been a great way to meet people, and we haven’t fallen in…yet.

Why are we writing this post now? Well, the one-year mark seemed as good of a place as any to officially wrap up the blog. We have put it off long enough. Do we miss our time on the road? Sure. Do we like our not-so-new life in Seattle? Of course. We’ll still pay for the domain of this blog next year. Who knows? Another travel adventure could be around the corner. (It isn’t…but why not leave with some modicum of fake suspense?)

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Step Three, Part B: Jobs

Yes, our blog is still up. No, we never write on it anymore. Whoops. We figured we should tie up loose ends. Hanna’s been working since last June, and we are proud to say that we are a two-income household. Mike has been working for about seven months now, and Hanna didn’t adjust well to the change. Why wasn’t the house cleaning itself anymore? Where did the magical laundry elves go?

Now that we are DINKs again (if you don’t know what that means, look it up…the stupidity of it makes us chuckle), we have been slowly putting our apartment together. New couch, new HDTV to bring us into the 21st century, new rug, pictures actually going up on walls… We’re, like, adults now.

Full disclaimer: This blog post was written in November 2014, but we never published it…and then totally forgot about it. We’re only posting it now so that closure is gained before we write a final post.

Hanna: Book Club (2014 Edition)

My motto when it comes to travel reading: find something easy, fun, and free. I always love reading John Grisham books and find myself rereading a lot of his tales when on the road. Usually it is pretty easy to find books in hostels, but you can’t always be choosy. Mike played on his iPad, and I read. Who’s the smart one now? I beat him in total number of books read both on this trip and the last.

Here’s my list of books read on the road:

1) THE PARTNER by john grisham
2) THE BROKER by john grisham
3) RISING SUN by michael crichton
4) THE FIRM by john grisham
5) TRUST ME by lesley pearse (This book was over 700 pages, so I should get double credit for reading it)
6) BABYVILLE by jane green
7) MONSOON by di morrissey
8 ) PICTURE PERFECT by jodi picoult (I have never read Jodi Picoult before and definitely felt like a housewife while reading it. Surprisingly good.)
9) THE TESTAMENT by john grisham
10) INHERITANCE by tara palmer-tomkinson
11) FINDING COLIN FIRTH by mia march
12) THE HELP by kathryn stockett (I read this book in a day. We watched this movie about three times before finding this book in New Zealand. It was fun reading direct lines of dialogue from the book.)
13) BRIDGET JONES: MAD ABOUT THE BOY by helen fielding
14) WAITING TO BE HEARD by amanda knox

Obviously I go for the intellectual reads. I am currently rereading the Little House on the Prairie series. Enough said.

Prairie Duggars.

Mike: Book Club (2014 Edition)

I do like reading. I really do. On our last trip, I only read 21.5 books because I often played dumb games on our netbook instead of reading. One thing that we brought this trip that we did not have last time was an iPad. Swap out netbook games for iPad games, and that’s the reason why I didn’t read a ton on this trip.

We stopped at thrift stores before our trip and overpaid for old John Grisham paperbacks (Hanna’s favorites). Otherwise we traded some books at hostels along the way, downloaded some classics for free on the iPad, bought more cheap paperbacks in Bangkok, or borrowed books from the condo in Maui.

Here’s the final list:

1) THE PARTNER by john grisham
2) ALICE’S ADVENTURES IN WONDERLAND by lewis carroll (e-book)
3) THE BROKER by john grisham
4) RISING SUN by michael crichton
5) THROUGH THE LOOKING-GLASS by lewis carroll (e-book)
6) THE FIRM by john grisham
7) THE HUNGER GAMES by suzanne collins
8 ) BOOKY WOOK 2 by russell brand
9) CATCHING FIRE by suzanne collins
10) THE TESTAMENT by john grisham
11) THE THIRTEENTH TALE by diane setterfield

Some notes:

  • I actually did not love the two Lewis Carroll books. Alice is meh.
  • I liked The Hunger Games books (and movies) more than I expected. Must be the Survivor fan in me… I have the third book but still haven’t finished it. Guess I don’t truly care about the finale.
  • Since I read Russell Brand’s first book on our first trip, I figured I had to read the second one when I stumbled across it.
  • I am impressed with myself that I read about half of the number of books from last trip in about a fourth of the time. My prize please?

Book Igloo.

Freedom Haiku

It’s Fourth of July.
Let’s celebrate ‘Murrica!
Freedom ain’t free. Yup.

Enjoy your day off.
Eat hot dogs and hamburgers.
More blog posts next week.

Maui, March 2014. First Picture Taken on American Soil Since Leaving in January.

Maui, March 2014. First Picture Taken on American Soil in Months.

100 Things?

Honestly we were going to keep track of 100 things we wanted to do while traveling. We make promises, and we break your ever-loving hearts by failing to do what we said we would do. Ultimately we DID end up with a list of 100 things we would try on our 2010-2011 trip, but on this most recent trip, we never even kept any sort of list. We could easily just make up a list now, but….uh, we don’t want to. Do not click here because there’s nothing to see.

Instead enjoy this random picture of ferns taken in Hokitika, New Zealand:

Ferns.

Ferns.

Why ferns? No idea. That is all.

Final Route Map

So when we finished our 2010-2011 trip, we posted our final route map and total miles/hours traveled almost immediately after returning home. How lazy we have gotten in three years… Though we finished our most recent trip three months ago (has it really been that long?), we Mike took it upon himself to start wrapping up the blog.

Enlarge the map to see all of our stops along the way:

Before embarking on this trip, we posted our route. We pretty much had everything booked/planned except our itinerary for the South Island. Whoa, living on the edge in New Zealand… While we have absolutely loved the two big trips we have embarked upon, we still do not feel that we have seen a majority of the world. Wait until we are old, retired, and rich; then we will see the world in style.