On March 9, our family sets off an adventure: three plus months living in Europe.
The plan hardly needs explaining: why, of course we want to pull up roots and try out another continent for a while. Who wouldn’t? We just happen to be in a somewhat unique position to pull it off: the software company I run has a virtual office: everybody works from home (or a coffeeshop, as the mood strikes). Since I can work wherever I open my laptop, why not open my laptop somewhere interesting…like Spain? Put in a day’s work and then, instead of being in Seattle, I’m in Seville!
I’m hoping the time difference between Seattle and Europe will work to my advantage, as well: I can wake, spend the day exploring with the family, then, in the late afternoon and early evening, when Europe goes home to their families and the West Coast wakes up, I can go to work. Spain’s notorious reputation for late evenings (dinner as early as 10 pm?) may throw a wrench in this plan, but we’ll see.
Likewise, our son Zev is finishing up kindergarten this year, so pulling him out of school doesn’t present an obstacle (indeed, the education he’ll get as we travel should be better than what he’ll poring over worksheets and coloring assignments.) And Michelle takes care of our family as her full-time job, so when the job moves, she moves!
Our idea is to “go deep” rather than broad. We’re not bucket list travelers, checking things off the list and rushing on to the next attraction. Instead, we’re looking forward to getting to know an area, break in some favorite haunts, hopefully meet people, carve out a little home away from home. That means we’re hoping to spend three to four weeks per city, living in apartments (via AirBnB or Craigslist) instead of hotels.
Here’s our loose itinerary thus far:
- March 9: Bon voyage!
- March 10 – 31: Seville, Spain
- April: Barcelona and Basque country, the first half with Nick, Loretta and Moby, my brother, sister-in-law and niece (Moby is the same age as Zev and they make a fiery, cheerful pair)
- Early May: Five days in Morocco (Essaouira and Marrakesh, most likely) with our friends Marcus, Amy and Luca (age 4)
From there, it’s less clear, although a month’s stay in Amsterdam sounds attractive, and we have friends and relatives in London we’d like to see.
I’m expecting there will be some themes to our travel, issues we’ll be facing over and over. The biggest: food.
Both Michelle and Zev have complex and serious set of food sensitivities. Michelle has Celiac Disease (even eating food that has been cut on the same cutting board as bread, or soup from a pot that has previously cooked pasta can leave her sick for days) and Zev is sensitive both to gluten and to amines and salicylates, a set of chemicals in virtually all foods. As such, eating out at restaurants is close to impossible, so we’ll be cooking in our apartment as much as possible. (Sadly, this means that one of the top pleasures of traveling, sampling the locale delicacies, won’t be on our itinerary.)
Michelle has done enormous amounts of legwork already to prepare: we’re bringing our own pot and pan to ensure we have “clean” cookware plus some key staples of a gluten-free, low-salicylate diet that may be difficult to buy in smaller cities. But we have to eat every day, more than once!
Whatever happens, it should be an adventure! If you’d like to receive automatic email updates when we post here, please enter your address below. We’ll be posting photos, videos and stories from our adventure as we go.
Twelve days and counting!