Dobar den! A common greeting in Bulgarian and the sum of what I’ve picked up after a week here. Luckily, some French and Italian phrases are used regularly by Bulgarians so there is a smidge of familiarity. I had forgotten how disorienting it can be to enter a space where you literally can’t speak or read the language-not even one word of it!
Plovdiv has an excited, vibrant feel. We have been staying in the Old Town area and are surrounded by cute coffee shops, abundant street art, nice restaurants, art galleries, Roman ruins, museums, a large Mosque and the longest pedestrian mall in Europe!
The city has been chosen as one of two ‘European Capitals of Culture’ for 2019, a European Union project meaning to, among other things, highlight the richness of the cultures of Europe, revitalize areas, and boost tourism. It appears to be working! There is a lot of fresh energy and capital running through the city.
Today is our last day staying in the heart of Old Town. We are spending a few days in a hotel to take advantage of some nice services and celebrate my birthday! Then we have one more week in an Airbnb apartment we found right outside of the city center. There is supposedly a large market right in the neighborhood, so am hopeful for something interesting.
Feeling grateful and a little tired
I am so grateful for these past months of traveling. Grateful for the support of my friends and family. Grateful for a wonderful companion and boyfriend to travel with. Grateful to be able to fulfill this urge to wander and explore. This has been a great idea!
However, we are on our last month of traveling and feeling a bit travel-worn. Settling into Bulgaria has been more difficult than other places. Even with all the vibrant energy, being a foreigner has started to take it’s toll. The weather is a little cloudier and rainier. Internet problems and dealing with little set backs are somewhat harder. It was difficult to become enamored of Plovdiv, our home for a few weeks, at first. We are a little grumpy and a little ready to come home to our friends and family!
We’ve since found the charm and are getting acquainted and getting some work done. But not before contemplating some changes in direction, including heading for warmer climes and coming home early!
After some serious prioritizing and reflecting on what are goals are at this point, we decided to stay our plotted course. Two more weeks in Bulgaria. A few days in Barcelona (would love more but we have stayed our welcome in the Schengen Zone!) and a week in Morocco.
Have figured some things out along the way
I have decided I am not cut out to travel as a digital nomad indefinitely. Which is good to know! I like the contrast. Leaving home and coming home. Pulling up roots and putting them back down. Three to four months is a nice amount of time to travel. After that home starts to call. Friends and family start to get missed a lot. I crave my own bed. I want to plant a garden.
Home is Wisconsin. Home is also Hawaii. Hawaii hasn’t been home for as long as Wisconsin has, but it has those similar feelings and longings. Friends and family and familiar places which I miss dearly.
We have some things to celebrate! Pete and I have almost finished our book. Hooray! One of our goals was to write a book together while traveling. We are not quite, but almost done. Very soon you will be able to find our ebook, Moving to Hawaii to Teach-Your Study Guide online! Definitely before the start of next school year 😉
One of my personal goals was to explore and develop means of supporting myself while being location independent. I am happy to say I am currently working with my first client to help her develop her online presence to sell her books! It’s a trip and a learning experience.
A few favorites
- Major City: Rome
- Greek Island: Naxos
- French Village: Eguilles
- Italian Village: San Gimignano
- Coffee: Cappuccino al banco anywhere in Italy
- Sandwich: Croquette Monsieur in France
- Salad: Naxian salad in Greece. Bulgarians, however, take salad making very seriously
- Pubs: London-a great pub on every corner
- Views: Santorini. Sigh. Although the Cliffs of Moher in Ireland were also breathtaking
- Overall aesthetic: Greek Islands. Love the white and blue architecture
After a few months in the Midwest, Pete and I plan to return to Kauai and find a homey space to live. My goals are to write, tend a garden, foster clients, sell my soap, explore options to keep teaching and of course, hang out at the beach.