What a year we’ve had! We retired, got rid of (almost) all our stuff, and sold our house. We spent 5 months in Italy, came home to say goodbye to my Dad, and flew off to Tulum, Mexico for the winter. From afar, we may look like an adventurous and spontaneous couple. But the truth is, we had been planning the adventures of 2017 for a long time.
We’d known for more than 10 years that we wanted to experience living in Italy. And after scouting out Playa del Carmen last year, we agreed that spending this winter in Mexico would work for us. We had a firm plan for the first year of this slow-travel journey.
Our 6 months in Italy were magical. It was a dream come true to wake up in our rustic stone house, drink coffee on the terrace, and experience the beauty of Umbria and Tuscany. I loved walking the local rural roads with Bella and watching Winter turn to Spring, then Spring into Summer in our neighborhood olive groves and vineyards. When I look at our photos from Italy, I weep. The tears are a mixture of the joy I felt living there and the sense of loss I felt as we left. My heart yearns to return to Italy.
Tulum, Mexico has been a different experience. The winter weather is perfect, with hot sunny days, warm evenings and cool nights. The tropical beaches in Tulum are so scenic, they feel like they’re photoshopped. Relying on bikes as our primary transportation has turned out to be one of my favorite things about living here. It’s like being a kid again, jumping on our trusty bikes to go to run errands or go to the beach. Biking has definitely improved our health and shrunk our waistlines. Yet, there are things about Mexico I don’t love. I’m not ready to call Mexico home.
We find ourselves halfway through our 6 month stay in Tulum and people keep asking us “where are you going next?”. (And when I say people, I mostly mean my Mom.) The answer is that we don’t know. Oh, there are lots of places on our “list of places to go”, but we haven’t felt a real sense of urgency to come up with a plan. Perhaps we have finally adapted to the laid back hippy vibe in Tulum.
I ‘m a bit of a bossy, compulsive over-planner. Typically, the lack of a solid six to twelve month plan would have me pretty anxious, but I’m not. We have airline tickets from Mexico to New York at the end of March so that we can visit family, get our sort-of annual check-ups and have our teeth cleaned. We want to spend both regular and Orthodox Easter with family. I’m thinking that we’ll be home for about 4 weeks. But the truth is that we could stay a little longer if we need to. It’s nice to have that safety net.
In the meantime, we’re enjoying life in Mexico and looking forward to a couple of upcoming visits from family. We even occasionally talk about what we might do next.
It took awhile to settle into a rhythm here, but now that we have, I think that the next three months will fly by. After that we are indeed heading into the “great unknown”.
I wish you all a peaceful, healthy and happy New Year!
Lynne, Nick and Bella
P.S. Where would you go if you could go ANYWHERE?