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Life updates! Today is the first podcast of 2020 and at the date you’re listening to this, Nate and I are likely aboard a plane to Mexico City, which is our first location of many on round two of world travels.
Now, I realize I titled this podcast episode “Life Update & Travel Itinerary.” But it’s going to feel like a travel podcast simply because that’s the bulk of our life on 2020. We will also talk kids, work life balance, and what Nate does in all of this. For those of you who don’t know, Nate or Nathanael is my husband of six and a half years now.
So today you will for sure get our travel itinerary – as much as we have planned anyway. And our plan for coming home between our travel bouts. Because no, this time we are not traveling for a year straight.
That was the goal the first time around – travel the world for 365 days. But this time around, we’re being more picky and strategic with our travels.
Here we go, let’s dive into some life topics and updates.
Oh, but first – if you’re not following @meanderingmillers on Instagram make sure you do so. I’ll be saving IG stories there for each location. And then also make sure you join my mailing list for Annie’s Weekly Wrap which includes a recap of Instagram, travel blogs, podcasts and my current fav brands.
Okay, now let’s actually dive in.
2020 Travel Itinerary
We shall start off with the fun stuff – our 2020 travel itinerary and some details within that.
As I stated, we are starting off with two weeks in Mexico City.
Why Mexico City? A bustling city with over 20 million residents? Because it was on our list last time and we didn’t go. Their food is amazing from what we have read in blogs and seen on YouTube food travel channels, it’s a bang for your buck location and we wanted to work our way down to Patagonia so that we’d be in Patagonia in February and/or March. January is peak season in Patagonia and we wanted to avoid that as much as possible. It will still be busy when we’re there because it’s Patagonia, especially since the southern most regions have a rather short season for visiting.
It just made sense to start in Mexico City. We also want to see the ruins and pyramids near Mexico City. And Nate made sure we’re staying in a “hipster” or “nomadic” neighborhood. Basically we’re staying in the safest neighborhood with the most food options. For those of you who don’t know, food is a HUGE motivator for our travels and especially for our Airbnb or accommodation choices.
We also made sure to get an apartment with a gym in it for our first location because we wanted the transition to world travel to be as smooth as possible. Having access to a gym and not having to find one, and figure out week passes, or day passes, helps that process.
After two weeks in Mexico City, eating all of the tacos for 80 cents, we head to Santa Marta, Colombia for one week.
Last round, we were actually deciding between Santa Marta and Rio De Janeiro, Brazil for our month long stay in South America. We chose Rio and absolutely loved every second of it. We’d love to go back and visit again in the future if the political situation is stable and safe.
Santa Marta is a small coastal town just east of Cartagena. It’s less touristy and more laid back than Cartagena. And last time around we chose Rio for the versatility and access to fast WiFi, which I need that for my work. We will spend 7 days in Santa Marta, which is enough time to enjoy the Colombian beaches and get up to the National Park which I’m the most excited for. Nate and I definitely lean toward natural beauty over cities.
Then we have a short flight to Medellín – another one that has been on my list for a long time. Medellín is obviously known for its history with drugs and narcotics and of course, Pablo Escobar. But for at least 10-20 years now, it’s been on the up and up and is a thriving metropolis from the research we’ve done. Like any city, there are safe and not so safe areas. Nate and I like to be inside by 9pm anyway and we found that anytime we didn’t feel safe during our travels, it was after 10 or 11pm.
Anywho, Medellín is called the land of eternal spring because of its temperate climate and the greenery that surrounds the city. I’m super stoked to stay there for almost two weeks. Again, Nate booked an Airbnb in the supposedly safest neighborhood and while we’re there we have no plan. Just eat great food and probably look for some national parks or markets to visit.
After Medellín, the real fun begins, when we head south to La Paz, Bolivia.
So now we’re about five weeks into the trip, just so you’re keeping track. Mexico City, Santa Marta, and Medellín.
On to La Paz. Now, we have no interest in La Paz. Bolivia in general is one of the poorest countries in all of South America. It’s super sketchy from what we hear and read, and it’s rather expensive and cumbersome to get a visa as a US citizen. So why the heck are we going?
For the Salt Flats. We literally fly into La Paz, stay there for three full days to acclimate to the 12,000 foot elevation. I don’t feel elevation changes like Nate does. This is pretty typical for larger humans with more muscle mass, which needs more oxygen. #science. Smaller humans who are as fit as larger humans will typically feel better in comparison at higher elevations. There’s just simply less demand for oxygen.
ANYWAY. We’re not doing any hiking or anything, but it will be nice to just chill for a few days before getting on a puddle jumper to Uyuni, where the Salt Flats are. We’re only staying two nights, one full day here. That’s because we want to see the Salt Flats and get the heck out of there. No need for the three day tour for us. It’s a bucket list thing for me, and Nate hates deserts and places without greenery, so this was our compromise.
After one day in Uyuni for our Salt Flat tour, we head back to La Paz and the following day we fly to Bariloche, where we begin our 22 day Patagonia Road Trip.
I won’t take you through the entire Patagonia Road trip but I will list our locations and how many full days we have in each. It’s a lot. It will be tiring, and I cannot even express how insanely excited I am for this portion of the trip. A lot of our travels were planned AROUND this portion of the adventure.
We start with three full days in Bariloche. Pick up the car, get an old school road map, draw out our route from our goodie maps plan for reference. And begin on Feb 16th.
Bariloche – get car, get old school road map, map out our route
Then head down through I think four or five towns before ending up in Lake Pehoé
We will be staying IN THE MIDDLE of Lake Pehoé. Nate and I pick and choose when to go all in and splurge on an accommodation and when we hold back and get a mediocre place that has WiFi, a bed and a shower. Lake Pehoé doesn’t have many accommodations and it’s a very large gap from low to high end places. We’re talking camping outside to thousands of dollars a night to stay in an all glass eco lodge. And there’s not much in between. You have to park on the lake edge and walk a cross a foot bridge to get to the hotel which is in the middle of the lake, with the freaking mountains as the backdrop. I have no words. I’m so stoked for that experience.
Then the trip starts back towards Bariloche.
That will be another four or five stops on the east coast of Argentina.
I like numbers and don’t give a rats ass about sharing them. So, with the car and all accommodations for two humans it was just over $5,000 for almost a month in Patagonia.
After Patagonia we have 4 full days in Buenos Aires which will likely be used to eat amazing meats and catch up on work. I don’t plan on doing much during the road trip so Buenos Aires will be work/rest mode.
Then we’re officially out of the America’s!
On March 14th I think it is, we cross the big water to visit a friend in Melbourne. We met him during our time in Peru last time around and he came to visit us when we were in Rio. So this time, we’re stopping by his motherland for a week. I’ll also likely do some prep work while in Melbourne since after our week there, we fly to Japan for another 22 day road trip.
Like Patagonia, I’ll spare you tiresome details, but here’s the general itinerary:
3 days in Tokyo – this will be for working and seeing a bit of Tokyo. We’ll pick up the car and head to our first location. We will be heading north, and then make our way West to Hiroshima. That’s the furthest west we’ll go before heading east, back to Tokyo.
We really want to got way up north and down to Okinawa someday but it just would have either been too fast or taken too long this time around.
A huge difference in the Japanese road trip is going to be the length of drives. We have much longer drives in Patagonia, think 7-9 hours. Whereas in Japan they are from 2-5 hours. That’s a big difference when it comes to how taxing the travel feels. I know, first world problem; but a thing nonetheless.
We start and end the road trip in Tokyo.
So, after 27 days in Japan, we fly back to the Southern Hemisphere for ANOTHER ROAD TRIP. This time it will be through the country of New Zealand. Both the North and South Islands.
It will be mid-April by this point. Just to keep things and seasons in perspective: so it will be Fall in New Zealand.
We’re renting a camper van and trying to see everything we can. Now, we must remember I still have a job. So we may still find a few Airbnb’s along the way or on the start and end of the trip. That’s not yet solidified. I foresee a decent amount of time in cafes for WiFi and working.
We don’t have the itinerary planned at the time I recorded this podcast. But we’re chasing all the natural attractions. That’s the goal – see each natural beauty that New Zealand has to offer. It’s been on both our lists for a long time. Again, it was on the list last year and we just didn’t get to it. So we’re very excited to finally see the land that has been described as the PNW on steroids.
Now, we’ll leave NZ in mid-May, but at the time of this recording, I don’t know exactly where. We may have an opportunity to go to Israel, and then we for sure want to visit South Africa and do a safari. We almost chose South Africa last year as a place to live for one month but the timing was never right. So, it needs to be happening this time around.
THEN IT’S HOME! We should be home in early June, just time time for summer and to avoid all the tourists out and about in other areas of the world. Which is exactly why we planned it this way:
Well be home June through part of September and then take off in September for Northern Europe.
We covered 14 European countries last round but didn’t get up to the Scandinavian countries. We don’t mind a cold and dark winter, so that’s the plan.
This isn’t completely planned yet and has a lot of room for changes but we’ll do a stopover in Iceland, do a week long road trip then fly to Brussels, Belgium to where we’ll lease a car for four months.
We leased a car for our European road trip last September and October and it was an absolutely amazing experience. I highly suggest road trips if you like a good road trip: you just get to see so much more and it’s way less stressful in our opinion. I personally love the freedom of it all.
So, pick up the leased car in Brussels, the drive to Denmark, and up into Norway, then cross over into Sweden, maybe Finland, then down into Poland, Germany across to Amsterdam to catch a ferry to Ireland. Spend a few weeks in Ireland and Scotland in the winter and then end back in Brussels do drop the car off and head home.
The plan for that is to lease the car first, and then fill in the dates for when we want to be where, and make our route!
That trip will likely take us into the first week of Jan 2021. Then home, and we have no clue after that!
Which kind of brings me to the last few subjects of babies, Nate’s job, and work life balance.
We don’t want kids, not right now anyway. We don’t hide that, we’re not ashamed of it. We’re pretty transparent about the whole thing. We also don’t hate on people who choose to have kids. But for us, we’re unsure, so we lean towards NOT having them for now.
Yes, plenty of people travel with kids. We’ve met a lot of them. But we also openly say we’re too selfish for kids right now. Maybe forever? Don’t feel called to have them. Don’t have the baby fever. Enjoying our season of life right now.
As you know, I work online, coaching 1:1 clients, Nuilt by Annie, FitsPRO Foundations and obviously blogging and podcasting.
So….what does Nate do?
Everything else! When we were home, he planned everything I just laid out – hours of researching visas and locations, seasonal timing, cars, safest neighborhoods, flights, and anything else you can think of. Which he’ll continue to do as we travel.
He plans the food, the restaurants the activities. He has all the reservations stored. I honestly know nothing. I mean I make the spreadsheets. But he does the booking and fills the spreadsheets out.
So he’s like a full time house husband and travel agent. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Some people question how we don’t get sick of each other or want to rip each other’s heads off…and to be truthful, I think not having small humans around helps with that. Right? Like, we don’t have to consider another human, or babies who are dependent on us. While still nurturing a marriage. AND, we just genuinely like each other. When I work, he’s planning or researching or doing whatever he wants and then we go adventure together or just hang out. It works for us.
That brings me to the last section which is work life balance – something that is REAL when it comes to two people who are home, together all the time. But also need to work.
Work life balance
I mentioned this in another podcast, but my work life balance is better when we travel. Because by default I don’t have access to work whenever I want, wherever I want. I am forced to be more intentional and efficient because I can only work when i have WiFi. And then the work I can do is limited if I only have my phone vs my laptop, hard drive and full set up.
As far as health goes, we both really got “back on track” through November and December of 2019. We certainly won’t have access to weights most of the time, and we’re moving so fast this time that it will be a lot of body weight, band workouts and running. Regardless, I want to be more active this time around than we were last time as a whole. Basically if we didn’t have a gym membership, there was a slim chance I was working out. And I didn’t enjoy that. So, we’ll see if I can move more this time around with a new perspective.
Oh and when we come home in the summer for our break, we’ll be staying at my moms house for the 3-4 months we’re home. We don’t own a home and didn’t want to return to our old duplex. So, that’s the plan!
That’s it! 2020 travel itinerary, and overall life update with babies, Nate, and work life balance through all of this!
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I'm an adventurous introvert from Vancouver, Washington who lives on sleep + "me time." I'm a lover of lifting weights, dinosaurs, real talk and traveling with my husband. I am here to help you move better, lift more, bust the myths of the fitness industry, and inspire you to love the process.
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