Category Archives: General

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.

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.

Look Up! Miles/Hours Traveled (2013-2014 Trip) FINALIZED

Before leaving on our trip, we vowed to be good about updating the section of our site that documents total miles and hours traveled. Want a laugh? We never once updated AT ALL while traveling. Whoops. No, these travel times are not made up. We did keep track of the total times during the trip.

We finally got around to finalizing everything, so without further ado…

Click here to see the final tallies.

Obviously we did not come close to our tallies from the 2010-2011 trip. We, however, are proud of the fact that in about four months, we traveled over half of the total miles from last trip. Impressive, no?

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.

Mike: Katie A in Hong Kong

When I was fourteen years old, I started working at Sea World. (Yes, there used to be a Sea World in Ohio. I always get confused looks from people when I tell them that.) I took pictures of incoming guests at the front gate, and it was there that I met fellow employee Katie A.

August 2010, Portland. Katie A Was One of the Last People We Saw Before Our Last Big Trip.

August 2010, Portland. Katie A Was One of the Last People We Saw Before Our Last Big Trip.

She was never Katie to me…always Katie A. There were a few Katies who worked there, so using last initials was the way we differentiated them. Over the seven years I worked there, Katie A and I became really good friends. During one summer we each had bleach blond hair (yes, I had bleach blond hair…stop chuckling), and park guests always used to ask if we were brother and sister. We always laughed and nodded our heads to play along. Though we spent all day together in the hot sun, we would race home after work, make dinner, and then sign on to AOL Instant Messenger to have a Very Important Discussion about what we were eating. She even made me a daily food diary (complete with illustrations) when she took time off for vacation. Priorities, you know…

I am sad to say that Katie A is no longer smiling and laughing her way here on Earth. She’s snowboarding up there with a cupcake in one hand and a Pabst Blue Ribbon in the other. No matter what, Katie A believed in her dreams and followed them. “When pigs fly” was a favorite expression of hers…because pigs DO fly when you live the way Katie A did: with a smile on your face and a big bear hug around life. I have never met anyone else who fully appreciated the everyday like she did.

When Hanna and I were home in Cleveland, we visited Katie A’s mom Linda and dad Steve, and we went elfing with Linda as well. Though Katie A may be gone from this world, she is still traveling with us. Linda gave us a bunch of flying pig stickers, and we will put one in each country we visit.

First up: Hong Kong. Since we met working at a theme park, it only seemed apt to place a sticker at Hong Kong Disneyland. Here’s a close-up of the sticker:

Enjoying the Magic.

Enjoying the Magic.

I debated where to put the sticker as I was a bit nervous Mickey and his crew would kick me out of the park. I made a rash decision and stuck a sticker next to the steering wheel on one of the Autopia cars you “drive” around the track:

Don't Worry, Walt. The Sticker Will Come Off If You Try Hard Enough.

Don’t Worry, Walt. The Sticker Will Come Off If You Try.

During our last big trip, Katie A was our top commenter, and her mom is on a mission to continue Katie A’s legacy this time around. In the immortal words of my good Sea World buddy, “you’ll have that…that you will.”