This winter, I decided to exchange our condo’s stark, white walls with color from my travel photography. Huntley and I have had a serious case of wanderlust since our honeymoon, almost 15 years ago. Sadly, I wasn't a professional photographer during those earlier journeys, but after digging through the files from recent trips, I discovered plenty of options to fill my walls and blog.
When we first decided to travel for multiple months in Europe, we knew we needed to get creative. Hotels were just too expensive. We also desired to extend an open invitation to family and friends who wanted to join us along the way. Our solution? An RV. We lived in an RV from September 16 to December 27, 2013. We drove that thing from Germany to Italy to Austria to Italy to France to Spain to Great Britain to Spain to Portugal to Spain to France to Switzerland to Germany. Phew!
Our first guest, my sister Sandy, met us at the beginning of the trip when we picked up the RV in Munich. Upon landing, it took us about three hours to to find our first adventure: buy bedding. This should have been a simple task, but nothing is simple when you haven’t slept in 42 hours. Or when you don’t speak German. Or when you’re from one of three freaking countries on the planet that doesn't use the metric system. We eventually found our first camping spot on the journey: a dirt patch off a random road a few miles from Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria.
Sandy and I about giggled Huntley out of the RV that first night. I’m sure our gluttonous consumption of a 3€ bottle of wine had something to do with it. But I think I would have been a little heady that night without the wine. It was our first night of over 100 in that RV . . . we had a castle out our back door . . . I suddenly found myself living this crazy, dream adventure.
I spent many of my favorite European moments with Sandy. We hiked the Italian Dolomites; picnicked on bread, cheese, and wine; and watched Huntley float above us on his paraglider.
In October, Sandy brought her husband Chad with her so we could introduce him to Northern Italy, too. One morning, we woke up in the Alps with a fresh foot of snow on the ground. The snow juxtaposed against the vibrant, fall colors took my breath away. We ended our week by wandering the streets of Venice.
We weren't able to bump into Sandy and Chad again until Christmas in Chamonix, France. We’d imagined this epic ski holiday. Instead, Chamonix had eight inches of snow. But that didn't stop Huntley from lapping the mountain with his speed wing. And it didn't stop Chad and Sandy from taking their first tandem paragliding flight, even if Sandy was three months pregnant.
Between paragliding, visiting Europe’s highest peak Mont Blanc, running out of propane in the RV in the middle of winter, eating a most-expensive and delicious French dinner on Christmas day . . . I’d say it was definitely a holiday for the books and this adventure photographer.