Five Years in the Books

On this date, five years ago, we backed out of the garage and left our home in Reno, Nevada for our first month-at-a-time travel destination. Driving out on the icy streets, we were anxious to be leaving behind the comforts of home, but ecstatic to finally be off on our grand adventure.

Best Natural Setting: Pismo Beach, California (February 2016)

During the first year, accompanied by our old dog Lizzie, we drove to the neighboring states of California and Arizona, and stayed in six locations for one month each. In the ensuing years, Lizzie crossed the Rainbow Bridge, and we crossed international borders to destinations in Mexico, Spain, Holland, and Patagonia.

Most Photogenic: Guanajuato, Mexico (October 2017)

With a full month in each place, we can settle in, delve into our interests, and realize a memorable travel experience. Because the memories will surely fade, we have chronicled our five years of slow travel in this blog. As a timely tribute, this is our one hundredth post!

Favorite Month: Basque Coast of Spain (September 2018)

With the best of intentions, we originally hoped to globetrot for three months each spring and three months each fall. But alas, the best-laid plans of mice and men, often go awry. During the spring of 2020, we had to return home early from South America because of the COVID-19 global pandemic.

Most Fun Adventure: Hot Air Ballooning, South Holland (October 2019)

Pandemic restrictions also caused us to abandon our travel plans for the fall of 2020 and spring of 2021. Deterred but not defeated, we eagerly await the day when we can safely resume our month-at-a-time adventures. After all, the world is full of fun and interesting places to stay a month.

Most Beautiful Place (so far), Mount Fitz Roy, Patagonia (March, 2020)

Feature Image: Most Pleasant Surprise, Cataluña, Spain (September, 2018): Because Esther’s birthday was a travel day, we didn’t have a big celebration planned. Upon our arrival in the small town of Olot in the Pyrenees Mountains, we discovered a festival in progress. We thought it was very hospitable of the locals to throw Esther such a spirited party.

23 thoughts on “Five Years in the Books

  1. Joe, congratulations on your one hundredth post and commiserations on another year of travel plans on hold. Having the blog is certainly a great way of looking back and reminding yourselves of your great adventures. I hope you will be able to travel again very soon. We are still in lockdown here in England and our travel plans are on hold for the time being. The vaccine campaign is going well and the “R” number is coming down, so fingers crossed we might be able to travel in the Spring. Keep well 😄

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Gilda. While stuck at home, it has been fun looking back at those 100 posts and recalling all the good times we had over the past five years. We have heard about the more infectious covid variant in the UK, and have been thinking about you and Brian as you endure the restrictive lockdown. Continued success in your efforts to reduce the spread. Hopefully, you will be able to get that shot in the arm real soon, so you can get back to normal and carry on with your exciting travels.

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    • Thanks Neil!, I’m proud of you for extricating yourself from your plush sofa and grabbing that snow shovel. We couldn’t believe how much snow you guys got in Philly. I hope you have successfully dug yourself out and are now back on the couch composing a comical post about the whole mammoth undertaking.

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  2. Hey Joe, glad to see you back. Five years is a long time but it seems like yesterday. A year and a half ago we were in Paris, drinking red wine without a care in the world — wow — things have changed. But, like you I’m an optimist and I know there’s a European café just waiting to welcome me back. Happy trails!

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  3. I’m so sorry that your plans were temporarily derailed, but the key word is “temporarily.” I’m hoping you will resume your travels very soon. I am so envious of your ability to spend a month at each new location, as that is exactly how to fully experience a new land. Once my husband is able to retire, I really hope we can do the same thing! Meanwhile, we just wait for better times (thank goodness for the vaccine!). And congrats on your 100th post! That is huge!

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    • Thank you, Ann. After five years, I finally made it to 100! I guess I am a slow traveler and a slow blogger. It is fun to look back at the blog photos, but the best part is re-reading the generous and uplifting comments from you and my other WordPress friends. I hope you and your husband remain well and in high spirits. Now that there are a few effective vaccines, we can finally see a little light at the end of the tunnel.

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  4. Congrats on 100 posts! Wow, that hot air balloon ride… I remember the trip to Holland but not that particular moment. You guys are brave! I also recall being apprehensive about your getting back home during your last trip, and a bit of virtual relief when you did make it. Beautiful pictures here, Joe. I think Pismo is one of California’s most underrated beaches.

    Here’s to vaccines and getting back out there someday soon! – Marty

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    • Thanks, Old Buddy! Sorry I have been such a stranger. Esther received the balloon ride as an extravagant birthday gift from her family. Once our pilot lifted us off the ground in the phone booth-sized basket, I feared that neither of us would be celebrating any more birthdays. After a gripping ride over the city of Utrecht, we landed with a skid in the paved parking lot of a nondescript warehouse. It was truly a worthy once-in-a-lifetime adventure. Unfortunately, it didn’t have anything to do with my blog post subjects like flood control engineering, Golden Age history or Dutch snacks.

      You are so right about Pismo. Since it is about half-way between San Francisco and Los Angeles, it is a little remote for some. But, because it is only a 7-hour drive from parched and landlocked Reno, we went there several times on family vacations, and absolutely fell in love with the beaches, dunes, bird life, and relative lack of visitors. It was an obvious and unanimous choice for our first month-at-a-time destination, and remains one of our favorites.

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  5. Hi Joe – well, the waiting game doesn’t get any easier but with each passing week we are all hopefully one step closer to resuming our chasing of dreams. Hot air ballooning was also one of our high points on the excitement scale (so far) – alongside, possibly, what you guys call spelunking. (We’d never heard that word until we had the adventure). Wishing you luck for your next travels; we look forward to reading your stories.

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    • Thanks Phil and Michaela! Back in my youth as a geology student, I did quite a bit of unguided spelunking. I now realize how reckless that was. I have also become more claustrophobic as I have aged. A fun-looking adventure that I have yet to experience is whitewater rafting. It looks like a real adrenaline rush, and fit for an aging acrophobic and claustrophobic guy like me. Best of luck to you too. I hope 2021 turns out to be an epic travel year for you guys.

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  6. I have been doing some desktop traveling myself lately, looking through my photos at past adventures and dreaming of future ones. Good to see that Guanajuato was your choice for Most Photogenic… I will be sure to have lots of memory cards for my camera when we (hopefully) are there.

    I can’t tell you how many times I’ve driven by Pismo Beach but I don’t think I’ve ever stopped. Silly me! Is that rock in the picture one of the nine sisters?

    It’s nice to begin making – tentative – travel plans again. I’m looking forward to reading about your next adventures!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I hope all your travel dreams come true, Janis! You probably never stopped in Pismo, because you were eager to get to Monterey, San Francisco or back to your banana slug friends at UC Santa Cruz. The rock pictured is Moro Rock, sometimes called the “Gibraltar of the Pacific”, and the westernmost of the volcanic plugs that make up the Nine Sisters. Next time you are driving up Highway 1, you might want to check out the Peregrine Falcons that nest up on the rock face.

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        • Sorry for the confusion, Janis. When I think of Pismo, I also include Moro Bay. Pismo Beach itself doesn’t have its own rock, but it has a long 17-mile stretch of sandy beach, some of which you can drive on. It also has massive sand dunes, a fresh water lake, and a monarch butterfly grove. It would definitely make a nice stop on your next trip up north. Happy trails!

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    • Thanks Christi, Yeah, 2020 was not the best year to be a travel blogger. This travel blogger in particular doesn’t have much to write about while cooped up at home. Hopefully we will make a full recovery and come storming back in 2021.

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