The Gorgeous Gorgeous Keukenhof Gardens in Holland

Thankfully, I shook off my thinking that getting there from Amsterdam would be a hassle. The gardens were AMAZEBALLS! I was there on April 23, perfect and peak timing for the tulip festival.

Team Carryon: Ride or Die*

(*See Urban Dictionary)

My being solidly #teamcarryon led to many, many, many “debates” with my partner/boyfriend/bae when we first started traveling together. He just wasn’t down, didn’t see the point, and the idea of him NOT being down made me very anxious.

It couldn’t be just ME not checking a bag. #pointless

Over time, I got us more bags to try, bought him packing cubes, wore him down and eventually we even graduated to #teambackpack. #yay

(I am, however, still seeking THE ONE TRUE BAG.)

Traveling carryon only — even better with a backpack — allows you to be more nimble and quick. Agile. We don’t do luxury travel. We walk A LOT and rarely take taxis. We go by bus, train and metro. And when you’re navigating those cobblestone streets in Europe and metro stations or facing four flights of steep stairs in a traditional Dutch house, smaller bags or backpacks just make more sense.

On my last trip, three weeks in Europe, I carried one 40-liter backpack (REI Co-op Trail 40 Pack, Women’s), one smaller backpack-tote bag and my Pacsafe anti-theft day bag (Citysafe LS150), which could fit inside the smaller backpack.

I was never happier (prouder? more relieved?) to be traveling with a backpack than when on my way back to Paris from Milan by train, we all had to de-train and take buses to a different station, and new train, to continue the journey.

When I heard someone say, “Pas baggage!” — no luggage — my hand shot up and I made it on the first bus out.

I did that…

On January 22, 2018, I formally told the powers-that-be that I’d decided to leave my job of 19-and-a-quarter years. I figured some kind of rock-n-roll pants were appropriate. (Also, I’d lost 10 pounds so I could finally zip them AND sit in them.)

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I look a tad dazed, right? I think I’d just gone and done the damn thing when I took this picture.

It’s been three months and a week. So far so good. I’ve traveled for about a month of that time, to Cartagena, Colombia, my first time in South America, and to Europe (Paris, Brussels, Bruges, Ghent, Rotterdam, Amsterdam and Milan) for three weeks. More about that in another post.

So yeah, this is my blog. A pic of me from my first trip to Italy, in the Navigli district of Milan, fall 2013.

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