(August) Even though we had an unfortunately long 7-hour layover in the Manchester airport, our first legit European city we visited was Dublin. Hip and easy to navigate, we enjoyed our first of many narrow cobblestone streets and castles. Our first Workaway was located in the far north in Co. Donegal, where we enjoyed the wild coastlines and the rugged beauty there.
For visa reasons we had to make a quick trip to the mainland so we visited PARIS! We love the City of Lights and a weekend trip (plus an additional day for missing our flight) wasn’t enough time, so we are making plans to return. At the end of August we spent 4 days taking in the history and sites of Londonderry, Northern Ireland, UK as we prepared for our next stop…
(September) Absolutely stunning countryside and very reminiscent of Oregon. Through Workaway, we spent one week on a cider farm but could not find a strong enough internet connection to do P’s online school so we had to relocate. We spend two days in the small, charming village of Llanidloes before heading to Cardiff for three days. The city captivated us with sunshine and allowed us to nerd out at the Doctor Who Experience.
We tried to find a Workaway in Wales but quickly connected with a placement in East England, and set off the next day. We spent the remaining three weeks of September at the beach-side Othona Community, helping with group events and maintaining the property.
We spent a sunny weekend in London before flying to our next destination…
(October) We stayed the night in Santander before heading to our Workaway destination in the mountains above the small village of Gibaja. We did some major farm work there, we were introduced to the late and slow lunch hour + siesta, and we had the opportunity to take a few weekend trips to Bilbao and to San Sebastian in Basque Country.
We are currently in Barcelona, enjoying a break– sleeping in, late dinners out, sightseeing and wandering the different neighborhoods of the city. We are extremely happy here in Barcelona, yet we are getting the itch to move on and we will be flying out November 9th to the Balearic Island of Mallorca for the remainder of November!
It is a colossal shift in everything I have lived before, to be on this trip. Intense, slow travel with a kid (how are we still alive right now?!) Epic volunteering around Europe, and basically doing whatever we want, when we want. This is generally a sensation we are told does not exist, or if it does, only the rich or greedy get to live out this ‘fantasy’. I have made sacrifices to arrange for this type of uncommon agency over my life… and guess what?? It’s awesome! But it gets lonely, and there are times when it would just be easier to be told what to do and when to do it because sometimes I feel like:
I am done with the schedules and the schlepping, dammit!
We are still finding the balance between school work, volunteer work, and travel. We have shared beds, slept on floors, lived in tiny caravans, and navigated some of Europe’s busiest transit stations. We both agree that we would much rather be learning the ropes while on the road for the next year (now, 8 more months) then stuck to any monotonous routine back home.