And just like that, the crazy month (one that I had been anticipating for so long) of May has come and gone. The last 31 days are the epitome of why I started this blog and why I love traveling so much. They were exhausting, exhilarating, beautiful, relaxing and eye-opening all at once.
May was about spontaneity (a surprise trip to Nice), work (meetings in Amsterdam and Berlin), friends (Michael and Sean's birthday celebration in Austin), family (Dallas "reunion" on a Norwegian cruise) and love (Rae & Kurt's much anticipated wedding). I can't wait to share these adventures with all of you over the coming weeks. For now, I thought I'd give a quick recap of this whirlwind month!
By the Numbers
A lot of ground was covered over the past few weeks. I tried to take every plane, train and automobile possible to get from London to Dallas to a Norwegian fjord and back. Even as I map everything out, it's crazy to think that some people travel infinitely more every month for work (or pleasure if they are so fortunate).
- 30 miles by rail (a quick hop from Nice to Monte Carlo and back)
- 300 miles by road (courtesy of Galina and Hertz)
- 2000 miles by sea (courtesy of Norwegian Cruise Line)
- 14,000 miles by air (all within the One World family of course)
- 2 miles by kayak (although it felt like much more)
- ??? miles by foot (too many steps to count)
Thankfully, all roads lead somewhere, and I got the chance to go to some pretty awesome places spanning 8 countries and 2 continents:
- Monte Carlo
- Karlsruhe (thanks, Google!)
No matter where I was, my iPhone 6 Plus and Sony a6000 never left my side. All in all, I took over 3000 photos. That probably doesn't seem like too many for some of you experienced photographers (or Chinese moms with iPads). I plan on spending the next few days sifting through every shot and making sense of it all. Thankfully, the new Google Photos app will be there to help. It has quickly become one of my favorite Google apps. While still not perfect, the search feature is pretty awesome.
If you look at my browsing history, you'll see plenty of Google searches that start with "best coffee shops in..." This quick search helped to uncover some top notch coffee in far reaching towns like Ålesund...as well as some quality cannabis in Amsterdam. Of all the stops we hit up, below were my 5 favorites:
- Jacu in Ålesund, Norway: This one was a no-brainer. The Norwegians really know their coffee. The local roaster is only open to the public for 3 hours every week. We totally lucked out with timing.
- Cuvée Coffee in Austin, Texas: Nothing helped us beat the humid weather (and massive hangovers) like Cuvèe's nitrogenated cold brew coffee in a can.
- Det Lille Kaffekompaniet in Bergen, Norway: I think my friend, Jonas, put it best when he said he could have spent hours here sipping coffee and reading from his Kindle. Too bad our cruise ship waited for no one.
- Coffee Collective in Copenhagen, Denmark: We stopped by the roaster's outpost in Torvehallerne food hall. They whipped up one of the best lattes I had all month.
- Houndstooth in Dallas, Texas: Houndstooth's in-house roaster, Tweed, created a custom coffee blend for Rae & Kurt's wedding. Hopefully, everyone who took home a welcome box has already finished off their freshly roasted beans!
Some people might be wondering if I ever get any work done. The answer is yes! In fact, of the 19 available work days in the month, I worked for 13 of them and only took 6 vacation days. That meant crazy morning hours (due to the varying time zones) while working remotely in Dallas. Additionally, my overnight stops in Amsterdam, Berlin and Karlsruhe were all for client meetings.
Need I say more? Not a trip goes by without a few good jumping shots. I'm pretty sure they are why iPhones have a burst mode. My new favorite hobby is forcing my parents to jump :)
Bringing It Home
Beyond some locally roasted coffee beans and a magnet, I've tried to cut back on shopping while traveling abroad. Sometimes, the smallest, most insignificant, things catch my eye. From a heart-shaped Lindt chocolate* handed out by Air Berlin flight attendants to a perfectly weathered stone from the shores of Nice, these tiny memorabilia are priceless. Below are a few keepsakes I've gathered over the last month. Can you spot any familiar items?
*Don't worry. The chocolate was eaten shortly after I photographed the collage.