Finding our Dogs a New Home

Meet Juno & Okra. These are the four-legged fur babies we love and adore, and now we have to leave them behind. Going through the process of what we were going to do with them was emotionally difficult. However, it had to be part of the process.  

Juno is a six year old rat terrier mix. We first rescued her in 2011 and she quickly became our little girl. She has lived with us since our first home, a condo in Oak Lawn, to now, our extended stay hotel. Along the way we entered her into the Cutest Dog in North Texas contest and she made it to the top 4 dogs. She officially became the cutest mutt in north Texas in our eyes. We tried getting another dog, but Juno liked having us all to herself. After a few years we decided a partner in crime was not in the cards for Juno, or so we thought…

Okra, the accidental partner in crime, was a dog from the streets. One Saturday, Kevin was driving home through the neighborhood and saw this dog running down the middle of the street just as happy as could be. After chasing her for three blocks and bribing her with he leftover crumbs from his blueberry muffin, he finally caught her. The moment Okra leaped through the door of our home and met Juno they were best of friends! Our chocolate brown Chiweenie, has now been part of the family for just over a year. It’s funny how the unexpected happenings in life become the happiest.     

When looking at every decision we had to make when talking about traveling the world, we knew that the dogs would be one of the most difficult. At first we thought we would look into trying to take them with us. We knew they would want to see the world! Correction, Okra would want to see the world, Juno is a little scaredy-cat, but she would survive.

We found that taking our dogs with you around the world is almost impossible. A lot of countries will keep your dog in quarantine until they give them a clean bill of health. For example, in New Zealand you are required to have an import permit you have to get prior to arriving and our dogs would be quarantined for a minimum of ten days. Additionally, if we had a certain breed of dog, they would have been banned outright. Things like this would not only make our WTR travels much more difficult it would not be fair for Juno and Okra.

Aside from taking them with us, the solution that made most sense was finding them a new home. This was an important decision to make. First there are a number of factors we had to consider when narrowing down potential new homes for the dogs. We had to decide if we wanted them to stay with a friend, family or someone completely new. Fortunately, we both come from pet loving families, however, seeing if someone will keep your dogs for an indefinite amount of time is a lot to ask. In the end Kevin’s Dad and Step-Mom agreed to watch Juno and Okra. They already have two big outside dogs, two small inside dogs, and a cat. Two more dogs would not be too difficult. Kevin also has a teenage brother and sister who live there which would be great for the dogs. Specifically, Kevin’s brother is naturally drawn to animals and will be a protector of our dogs. 

The hardest truth we had to come to terms with is the fact we may never get our dogs back. We are aware that over the course of a year, our family may become very attached to Juno and Okra and it would be wrong for us to come back and take them away. 

At the end of the day, the most important thing is what is best for the dogs. We feel confident in knowing that they will be provided for and loved while we are gone. We will miss our girls very much but are excited to come back and tell them about our awesome adventures. 

Juno and Okra are two en route to a new home.

Advertisements

Biking Berlin: How to See Berlin in 6 hours!

We love Berlin! There is relaxed vibe that draws you in and keeps you wanting more. With such a relaxed vibe you could spend weeks taking your time to explore every nook and cranny of the city. However, when wanting to see the world in a year, spending weeks in one city is not an always option for us and usually not an options for others as well. To help see more of Berlin, a city filled with so much unique history, we decided to take a 6 hour bike tour through Fat Tire. We had never used Fat Tire Tours before and thought, “what the heck, let’s try it out!” We are glad we did. 

 Biking through a park on the way to the beer garden
Biking through a park on the way to the beer garden

We were able to see Most of Berlin’s highlights during this tour. You may be thinking, “6 hours of biking, that seems like a lot.” We thought the same before taking the tour, however, there were so many breaks when our guide gave us amazing information about the sites that we never felt tired. We even took an hour or so to relax at a German Beer Garden. Prost! If you only have a day or two in Berlin, this will be the best 6 hours you can spend. To maximize your Berlin experience, we suggest taking the 4pm evening tour. 

Here are some picture from our amazing 6 hour adventure around Berlin.

 Berliner Fernsehturm (TV tower with observation deck)
Berliner Fernsehturm (TV tower with observation deck)
 Us at the Brandenbourg Gate
Us at the Brandenbourg Gate
 Our stop at the Memorial to the Murdered Jew of Europe
Our stop at the Memorial to the Murdered Jew of Europe
 Learning about the Nazi book burning 
Learning about the Nazi book burning 
 Checkpoint Charlie
Checkpoint Charlie
 Victory Column 
Victory Column 
  Bundeskanzleramt (German Federal Chancellery) 
Bundeskanzleramt (German Federal Chancellery) 
 Taking time to relax and learn
Taking time to relax and learn
 The  Reichstag building
The Reichstag building
 Berliner Dom on Museum Island
Berliner Dom on Museum Island

We could not have asked for a better time biking around Berlin. We will for sure take more biking tours when we can. It is a great way to see the sights and learn more about the city we are exploring. 

We are two en route to bike more cities

 

 

5 Ways We Prevent Homesickness

96

Normal
0

false
false
false

EN-US
X-NONE
X-NONE

/* Style Definitions */
table.MsoNormalTable
{mso-style-name:”Table Normal”;
mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0;
mso-tstyle-colband-size:0;
mso-style-noshow:yes;
mso-style-priority:99;
mso-style-parent:””;
mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt;
mso-para-margin:0in;
mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt;
mso-pagination:widow-orphan;
font-size:12.0pt;
font-family:Calibri;
mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri;
mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;
mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri;
mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;}

One of the fears of being abroad for a year is coming down with a bad case of homesickness. Prior to us leaving for our world tour we had not spent much more than 2-weeks away from home at one time, which really isn’t enough time to get homesick. However, when Kevin was 15 he spent a month in Germany visiting family and remembered at about week three he started to miss home. Well, lucky for us we surpassed three weeks and now start our third month homesick free. Here are five things we find ourselves doing often that we believe are preventing us from catching the homesick bug.

1. Texting

Before we left our home in Dallas, we changed our cell phone plans to Google Fi which offers free texting in over 130 countries around the world. It’s great not worrying about being charged every time we want to send a text to loved ones. It is the quickest and easiest way for us to connect. We just have to remember which time zone we are in.

2. Video & Voice Chats

Sometimes texting doesn’t cut it and we turn to Skype. Skype allows us to have voice and video calls for free over WiFi and allows for a good excuse to stop for a cup of coffee when we see a “free WiFi” sign in the window. There is nothing like hearing Mom and Dad’s voice or laughing with a friend. Skype has become essential for scheduling video dates with our friends and family.

3. Social Media

We do not know about you, but sometimes we love taking some time to scroll through social media. Whether it is Facebook stocking our besties or mindlessly reading news articles of what is happening back home, social media has kept home connected to us and us to home, so keep sharing photos of your lunch, we enjoy seeing it.

4. Meeting Friends Along the Way

While texting, talking, and video chatting with friends and family is good prevention for homesickness, there is no better cure than a hug from one of them in person. Being travel bugs ourselves it is only natural that we have other travel loving buddies. Along the way it has been nice to meet up with friends from back home and make new memories together abroad.

5. Each Other  

We decided to take this trip together. Not only is this a trip to see the world, it is a journey of discovery. We will have our moments of happiness and joy, we will have our moments of fear and frustration, and we will have our moments of relaxation and quiet. Whatever those moments may be we must always remember that as long as we have each other we are home. To us, this is the most important prevention to homesickness. Home is where we are when we are together, regardless of where that might be.

We are two en route for a homesick free journey

Brown Cheese…Quintessentially Norway

We love to try new and different foods that are unique to the places we are traveling. Norwegians have their own unique food item and that is Brown Cheese. Why is it called brown cheese? Well… It’s brown in color. 

 Brown Cheese on Toast, Norway, 2016
Brown Cheese on Toast, Norway, 2016

After some internet research we learned that the best way to eat brown cheese is to simply toast some bread, put two slices on, and enjoy! We are sure you are wondering what it tastes like. To both of us brown cheese had a medium firmness, tasted a little sweet and finished with a heavily preserved fish saltiness. It may sound strange however, it tasted good. It was not the best cheese we’ve ever had but recommended for a try if you are in Norway. 

 Brad trying Brown Cheese, Norway, 2016
Brad trying Brown Cheese, Norway, 2016

After buying the smallest package we could find, because we did not know if we would like it, we still had some cheese left over. The following day we made brown cheese and ham sandwiches; delicious. 

We are two en route with brown cheese in our belly.

7 of Our Favorite Churches around Iceland

As we spent the last week driving around the entire country of Iceland, which is about as big as the state of Ohio, we noticed that everywhere we looked we saw a church. It kind of felt like we were back home in Texas. No matter how big or small the town we were in, there a church stood. Here are 7 of our favorite churches around Iceland.  

1. Búðir

Búðir is a small church located in the west of Iceland. It was completed in 1847 and stands at the end of a peninsula with the ocean to one side and mountains to the other. We love how it is painted black which sets it off from the colorful background of nature. 

2. Stykkishólmskirkja

This church is very modern in the rustic port town of Stykkishólmur. The swooping bell tower is representative of a whale’s vertebra. Inside is a fantastic painting of Madonna. The ceiling sparkles with hundreds of exposed hanging Edison style light bulbs. 

3. Siglufjarðarkirkja

Not only is this a spectacular church with parts of it’s history dating back to the 16th century, it also doubles as the towns high school. The church is in the town of Siglufjörður which sits in a beautiful Fjörd. 

4. Akureyrarkirkj

The Church of Akureyri is in the center of town on top of a hill. When we ascended the steps the church began to become even grander. As we walked through the door we noticed refreshing modern stain glass windows and nods to Iceland’s Nordic history all around. 

5. Seyðisfjörður Kirkjan

What makes this church one of our favorites was the unique powder blue color. Seyðisfjörður is located in the north east of Iceland nestled in a fjörd. This vibrant city and unique church is a must see. 

6. Hellnar Church

Not at all a famous church or even a church that is the center of attention. What caught our eye is how this church shows the wear time has on a building. Located in Hellnar, an other fishing town in the west of Iceland, this church sits off by itself serving as a constant reminder of time. 

7. Hallgrimskirkja

Probably Iceland’s most iconic church, Hallgrimskirkja is at the center of Reykjavik. The design of this church is supposed to be symbolic of the basalts you see coming out of the ocean onto the coast from around the country. It connects with the heart of Iceland’s volcanic history.

From the spectacular displays of nature to the man made structures, we can not get enough of Iceland!

We are two en route to explore Iceland’s churches

Sleeping in Airports

96

Normal
0

false
false
false

EN-US
X-NONE
X-NONE

/* Style Definitions */
table.MsoNormalTable
{mso-style-name:”Table Normal”;
mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0;
mso-tstyle-colband-size:0;
mso-style-noshow:yes;
mso-style-priority:99;
mso-style-parent:””;
mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt;
mso-para-margin:0in;
mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt;
mso-pagination:widow-orphan;
font-size:12.0pt;
font-family:Calibri;
mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri;
mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;
mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri;
mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;}

One goal we set for our RTW trip is to make our money go as far as possible and to live within a new means. This meant making compromises along the way and even being uncomfortable at times. We started our trip by testing how far we could test our limits, asked ourselves if these limits were unrealistic, and even hoped that the edge we would walk up to might somehow continue to be pushed further and further out making what would have seemed uncomfortable not so bad. Our journey to the starting point did just that.

We are no strangers to public transit, so dropping our car off at my dad’s work, putting on our backpacks, and navigating DART (Dallas Area Rapid Transit) to the airport was a breeze. Once we arrived at the airport it was like second nature to us going through security and making it to the gate hours early in anticipation of heading out.

 Goodbye Dallas from the DART, 2016 
Goodbye Dallas from the DART, 2016 

Storms started to roll in just as we were supposed to board the plane. This was not a big deal; we had left plenty of time for our layover in Boston. We finally make it on the plane, which had been delayed nearly an hour, only to find out that the pilots and some crew had not made it because of delays on their end. After another 20 minutes, the crew was there and we pulled away from the gate. Off we go to start our adventure!

 On the Plane, DAL > BOS, 2016
On the Plane, DAL > BOS, 2016

It was past midnight by the time we landed in Boston and by this point we were tired. Not knowing what Boston’s policies are, Kevin asked an employee if Boston was a 24-hour airport. Turns out it is, however, you cannot sleep inside the security area after they close security lines around 2am. We quickly got online to look for sleeping accommodations and found out that getting a “quick hotel” would eat up way more of our daily budget than we were comfortable. Kevin strolled back to the employee and asked, “are their places to sleep outside of security checkpoint that are still inside the airport lobby?” to which the man replied, “yes, but all of the cots have been passed out.”

As we made it out of the airport secured area, sure enough, we noticed a lot of people sleeping on a number of things, cots being one of them. We decided to leave the current terminal (Terminal A) and walk to the international terminal (Terminal E). Along the .5 mile walk, each terminal had its own slew of sleeping patrons. When we walked through Terminal D’s baggage claim, we say a pile of cots on the wall not yet claimed. We found our beds for the night!

 Our Cots for the Night, BOS Airport, 2016
Our Cots for the Night, BOS Airport, 2016

Settling in at Terminal E for the night was a new experience for us since neither of us had even stayed overnight in an airport. Time to test out pushing our limits. We knew we would not be getting much sleep because there was a large tag on the cots saying they would be picked up at 5am and by the time we locked our bags up and settled in it was nearly 1am. Between the stiff cots and the lady on the PA system announcing the next flight to Hong Kong, it was a rough night trying to grasp a few hours of sleep. At 5am, we woke up, tried to compose ourselves to the best of our ability, and wandered like zombies trying to figure out what we wanted to do for the next 14 hours. Figuring out next steps out was quick, we both wanted to find a bench to nap on, so we did. Airport lobby bench seats are much more comfortable than those cots, but only if you are lucky enough to find a bench without fixed armrests. Lesson learned.

 Brad Sleeping, BOS Airport, 2016
Brad Sleeping, BOS Airport, 2016

After a few hours of sleep, we feel refreshed! Testing our limits is a baby-step process. First sleeping in airports in Boston, next we will be sleeping in our rental car in Iceland, and then maybe on the floor of a train station. Not every limitation we test will be worth it in terms of our comfort, but every tested limitation will be a worthwhile lesson learned about ourselves.

We are two en route to mastering airport sleeping.

What’s in Our Backpack

One of the questions we get from people is, “how can you fit everything you need in just one backpack?” The key is really a combination of careful packing, only taking what is really needed, and picking the right items.

First, it was important to choose the perfect backpack and once we had done that it was time to start making a list of everything we thought we needed. Next, we took that list, asked ourselves if we really needed everything on it and started cutting items off the list. This was much easier to do since we had already packed our lives into a box. Finally, we researched what someone would need on a backpacking trip and started to buy things to fill our backpacks.

 Bag Empty. Ready to be Packed. 2016
Bag Empty. Ready to be Packed. 2016

HERE IS WHAT WE DECIDED WAS A MUST TO PACK

SHIRTS

  • 3 x T-Shirts
  • 3 x Collared Shirts
  • 2 x Tank Tops
  • 1 x Long Sleeve T-Shirt

JACKETS

  • 1 x Hoodie
  • 1 x Synthetic Down Jacket
  • 1 x Rain Jacket

PANTS/SHORTS

  • 1 x Jeans
  • 2 x Long Pants (zip-off)
  • 2 x Shorts
  • 1 x Comfy Shorts (for lounging around)

SHOES

  • 1 x Hiking Shoes
  • 1 x Flip Flops (for the showers and beaches)

OTHER CLOTHING

  • 2 x Swim Suites
  • 5 x Underwear
  • 5 x Socks
  • 1 x Hat
  • 1 x Belt
  • 1 x Gloves

ACCESSORIES

  • 1 x Travel Towel
  • 1 x Sleeping Bag (will end up ditching at some point)
  • 1 x Handkerchief
  • 1 x Sunglasses & Case
  • 1 x Collapsible Water Bottle
  • 1 x Bag Rain Cover
  • 1 x Lock
  • 1 x Security Cable
  • 1 x Digital Bag Scale
  • 1 x Multi-Tool Carabiner
  • 1 x Eye Mask
  • 6 x Ear Plugs
  • 1 x Waterproof Bag
  • 3 x Ziplock Bags
  • 15 x Clothes Pins
  • 1 x Clothes Line
  • 1 x Sewing Kit
  • 1 x Toiletries (all the goodies)
  • 1 x Electric Shaver
  • 1 x First Aid Kit
  • 1 x Wine Bottle Opener
  • 1 x Collapsible Silicone Cup 
  • 1 x Business Cards
  • 1 x Journal 
  • 1 x Pen 

ELECTRONICS / GADGETS

  • 1 x Phone
  • 1 x Computer
  • 1 x External HDD 
  • 1 x Ethernet Cable
  • 1 x Camera, Extra Battery, & Extra Memory Card
  • 1 x GoPro, Remote, & GoPro Stick
  • 1 x Mini Tripod
  • 1 x Rechargeable AA Batteries
  • 1 x Universal Power Adaptor
  • 1 x Headphones
  • 1 x 2-Way Audio Amp (so we can listen to the same thing at the same time)
  • 1 x Jambox MINI
  • 1 x iPod Nano 
  • 1 x USB Car Charger & USB Battery Pack
 Bag Packed. 2016
Bag Packed. 2016

We are two en route to pack up and head out