Someplace Old, Someplace New


With a firm decision to become full-time nomads once again, we are now beginning to think about where we might want to go on this next round. There are so many places we did not get to visit before, but also several places we did visit that we’d love to experience again, mostly because there was so much there we did not have time for (or we were sick). 

The process of creating an itinerary will be ongoing for a while, and even once we get an initial itinerary drawn up we expect things will change. Our goal is to have a firm schedule set up a full year before we depart in April of 2023, which we’ve chosen as our departure date.

Once again, several things will be under consideration: cost, time of year and weather, lodging availability, and transportation costs and time to and from each location. We know there may be a few other variables we haven’t thought of yet.

Some of the places we visited before and would like to see again (including Tokyo, of course) are (in no particular order):

  • Rome: While we enjoyed our 10 days in Rome in 2018, we both had bad colds there and were also fairly anxious the entire time about crime, touts, etc – it was the first place we ever felt a real potential for theft. Also, it felt “too big” after a wonderful month in Florence. We didn’t give the city a very high rating when we left, but it has grown on us since then and we have often talked about giving it another chance.
  • Lisbon: Portugal was our destination following Rome, and if anything we were even sicker during our time here, and ended up experiencing very little of the city or the surrounding area. We’d like to give it another try as well.
  • The UK: We absolutely loved our time in the UK, and in Blockley, and could happily do another long stay there. We’re sure we’ll return to England, but I’ve learned where some of my ancestors came from (Derbyshire, the Peak District), and am now wondering if that area might be a place to visit instead of or alongside the Cotswolds.
  • Buenos Aires: We spent 10 days in this wonderful city at the beginning of our travels, and have wanted to go back ever since as there was much we didn’t get to see and experience. It’s a long and expensive trip to get down there though.
  • Australia: There’s another long train journey though Australia we want to take, from south to north this time (The Ghan) through the heart of the continent, and we’d also very much like to visit my brother and family in Queensland as well as spend a few more days again in and around Sydney.

Then there are places we initially wanted to put on our last itinerary but couldn’t make fit:

  • Athens: Brett spent time here early in his navy career and would love to visit this city again (me too, for the first time).
  • Germany & Austria: This is a big area, with lots of choices. Vienna has always been a dream destination for me.
  • Amsterdam: Another dream destination for both of us.
  • Morocco: Marrakesh was on our original itinerary back in 2017 but eventually was cut due to time and the cost of getting there and back. We very much also would like to visit Casablanca and Chefchouen (“the blue city”).
  • The South Island of New Zealand: We only had time and money to visit the North Island on our last journey, but promised ourselves we would go back some day to visit the South Island. I was also sick and missed out on seeing Wellington when we were there so I’d like to slip in another stop there as well.
  • Ireland: We have often talked about doing a road trip around Ireland, like we did in New Zealand.
  • Scandanavia: It’s an expensive area to visit, but we still want to go. Copenhagen and the Norwegian fjords are at the top of the list for me.
  • Southeast Asia: Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore, Cambodia, and Malaysia in SE Asia all call to us. 

A photo safari to Botswana remains high on my bucket list but still seems almost impossibly expensive right now. Who knows though? Maybe I will put a little away each month into an “Africa fund” after we get started and see where that takes us. We also very much want to go back to Strasbourg, but there’s a tiny bit of fear that it might not be as magical the second time around as it was the first. We feel the same about Florence, and think maybe only doing short stays in what were dream locations for us the first time around might be the way to go this time. There are loads of new-to-us places to explore and stay, but the goal this time around is to not wear ourselves out by being on the move so frequently.

Any itinerary we come up with now is going to be a process in flux for a long while, especially as we research costs, available lodgings, things to do in the area, and so forth. We want to do this smarter than we did before and that gives us even more to think about as we plan. 


28 thoughts on “Someplace Old, Someplace New

  1. Too many places!!! Love the photos. I don’t know when our govt will let us leave the country. Only the really wealthy, businesspeople or politicians are allowed out. So I don’t want to dream just yet. I get your fear with returning to a loved place that may not feel as magical.

    I want to go back to Rome and have cacao e pepe. You put me onto this and I loved it. Have had a couple of cravings for it the past year and nothing filled the hole.


    1. These are just our top destinations! There are so many places to go – we plan to continue traveling next time until we can’t any more (or there isn’t another pandemic – ugh). The reason we’re waiting until 2023 is to make sure that we can travel successfully – we’ll know by then if it’s possible, or if we have to come up with a Plan B.

      Eating cacio e pepe (along with some beautiful fried artichokes) was one of the highlights of our previous time in Rome. Our host in Florence told us not to miss it and he was right! I had it later in Tokyo at an Italian restaurant – they did a very good job, but it’s been missed.


  2. Love the pictures. One thing I’m finding during the pandemic is how much I enjoy looking back through pictures of our travels. I rotate my favorites as screen savers and background on my computer so I can enjoy a different one every week or so.

    Cornwall and Ireland are high on my list right now, as well as hiking along the Jurassic Coast in S. England. We really loved the Umbria area in Italy and would go back and do more exploring there, too. Our time in Rome was great, but you’re right…it’s a huge city. We saw most of what I wanted to see there, and neither of us are really big city people. I would love to see Australia and New Zealand, but I hate the idea of those long flights. My DD did much of her PhD research in Botswana, and I can see your interest in that area for sure. Again, I’m becoming less tolerant of long flights though. But I would love to travel along with you via the blog. 🙃 Looking forward to seeing where you decide to go.


    1. I enjoy looking at my photos too – so many wonderful memories. Did we really get to see that? Remember when we did xxx? The blog is helpful as well – it was a great way to keep a journal while we were on the road.

      We think if we go back to Rome we will pick a different neighborhood to stay in. We were in a great location to get over to the Vatican and that area, but we would have preferred something more cozy, like we had in Florence. We know they exist in Rome, but we’ll have to do our research. There was so much great art we missed out on in Rome, and a few other things, and we feel like we should give it another chance.

      The long flight will always be an issue. Thank goodness for extra comfort or enhanced economy seating or whatever they call it. It’s worth the price for those long flights.


  3. I’m glad you’re sharing your decision-making process. Very helpful.

    Do you think if you were single you would still be traveling like this? Any singles out there who have accomplished trips like Laura and Brett’s?


    1. We’re in the very beginning of the process and have two years to go before we leave! We’re starting with the easy stuff first, like where we’d like to go. There’s nothing set in stone yet, but it’s fun to get started on it.

      I honestly don’t know if I would or could continue traveling on my own. There are definitely some destinations that are easier to do with the two of us together though. I think if you did a search on single nomad travelers there would be a bunch of information available.


    2. I did some research in the past for singles. The problem is cost as you are usually charged extra of 1/3 to 1/2 of a couple. Things may have changed and I have not looked in a while. I checked several sites and the single sites usually involved setting you up with a stranger for a roommate so you pay comparable to a couple instead of the single premium and that did not appeal to me.


      1. There usually is a penalty, or what seems like one, for singles when you sign up for a tour. And I agree, I don’t think I’d enjoy having a complete stranger as a roommate. Rather than be part of a tour I would consider setting up my own lodging somewhere and then taking tours in the area I’m visiting (there are so many in all prices ranges, for just about anything you want to see or do). We took a tour of the Colosseum when we were in Rome, and it was one of the best I’ve ever been on: small group, affordable, and the guide knew his stuff. We saw things, learned things, and got into places we couldn’t have otherwise. There were three or four singles doing the tour that day, and they had all traveled to Rome/Italy on their own and set up tours after they arrived.


  4. Some thoughts- highly recommend Cambodia – I was there 6 days as part of a month in Asia – I recommend more. South Island of New Zealand is soooo beautiful – definitely worth the trip. Give yourself a little extra time in each place because sometimes things aren’t available to do because of bad weather. Rome never grew on me – I was there 3 times – and i like cities. Venice never got tiring and Florence is worth a couple of trips. Have you though of Milan (loved) and Lake Cuomo area (loved and needed more time)? So excited you are traveling again – love watching your process and trips


    1. We very much want to visit SE Asia, but know that will be a destination for early in the year because of the heat and humidity. Cambodia is definitely on the list of places to go – I really, really, really want to visit Ankor Wat and some of the other temples there. It would be a good location to visit before going to New Zealand. Still a long flight, but nothing like from other places I can think of.

      We have been surprised by our feelings for Rome and our desire to go back. We at first thought of going further south, to Naples or Sicily, but then figured it we could get to Naples from Rome for a getaway or such, and not have to stay for such a long time. Florence remains very special to us – we’ll probably go back but for now continue to enjoy the memories of our magical first visit. Lake Como is also a dream destination.


    1. It is fun. Everything is so open right now and we don’t have to make any decisions. We’re just pulling things together for now, making lists, talking things over, etc. In a few more months things will start to firm up, and by next year we’ll have a solid plan in place.


    1. Hopefully NZ (and lots of other places) will open back up in the next couple of years. Vaccinations are starting, but it’s going to take a while to build up true herd immunity world wide.


  5. I want to go to Argentina…..and Peru….., and Mexico,…. and Costa Rica, …..and Panama…..hmm you have inspired me!!!


    1. We loved, loved, loved Buenos Aires, but there are so many other wonderful places to visit in Argentina as well that we would like to see. If not for the pandemic we would be finishing up a long stay in Mexico right now and heading on to ???? Peru, Bolivia, and Chile all call to us as well.

      I’m happy you’re inspired! That’s how the seed for our travels was planted – we were inspired by the stories from other senior nomads.


  6. Between work, money, logistics, my health, and a pandemic, I’m excited for a possible three days in Iowa! Lol!
    Sure do enjoy your blog, and dreaming!


    1. Right now we couldn’t even make it Iowa! We are looking forward to seeing YaYu graduate next year in Pennsylvania – that’s going to be our first real bit of travel in two years!

      The best thing about dreams is they’re free!


  7. Laura, I miss the way you used to label the pictures.
    Jenny, I don’t know how far you travel to Iowa but I understand your excitement. I am looking forward to mid-April and visiting my 94 year old mother over the next mountain range once our vaccines kick in and the current lockdown ends.


    1. The picture labeling is something that changed with the new editor. It was very easy to label photos before to provide a roll-over description for readers, but the current editor doesn’t give me that option, or at least doesn’t make it easy. I haven’t figured out yet if it’s even possible, although I’m trying.

      How exciting for both you and your mom that you’ll be finally able to see each other again after all this time. The photos I’ve seen of the reunions taking place because of the vaccinations have been very moving. We can’t wait to see our grandkids again, and our two oldest daughters, but that won’t probably happen until next year, at the earliest.


  8. I’m getting my first vaccine dose on Monday and I immediately felt a sense of relief because it means I can finally start to plan for the future again. I was in such a holding pattern since this started, afraid to make plans because I didn’t know when or if this would ever end. Of course, it’s not over yet, but there does seem to be a light at the end of the tunnel. So I understand why you’re planning your trips and I have started to do the same. I’m in the early stages, but I think you’re wise in waiting until 2023. I would like to come back to Kauai in 2022, but we’ll see how it goes.

    Out of the places you listed, I’ve been to Rome (twice), UK (twice), Amsterdam, Germany & Austria. Out of those, I’d like to return to Rome (there are still some sights I didn’t get to see) and the UK. I don’t know if you’ve been to Capri, but I went there the first time I went to Italy. It’s so pretty there and I’d love to go back. I think your idea to take a slower pace this time is a great idea. Since you plan to be nomads for a long time, there is no rush.


    1. The sense of relief when getting my first dose was immense, and I know I will feel even more relieved when I get the second dose on Monday. People here though are not being careful and cases of the virus are rising again, vaccine or no vaccine – it’s scary.

      We’re in the early stages of planning as well, and are holding on to hope that things will be improved around the world in 2023 so that we can travel full-time again. I don’t think it will ever be like it was before – lessons have been learned. I think prices may be higher as well as businesses and individuals recover.

      We had talked about spending time in Naples and visiting Capri while we were there, but Rome seems a more likely destination, with maybe a getaway down to Naples (it’s only a couple of hours away) and Capri.

      The times when we were moving quickly from place to place were very tiring. We loved how we got to know a place and the neighborhood when we stayed longer – that’s the experience we want to embrace again.


  9. Athens: I visited Athens in November 2018 and the tourist crime warnings were just as serious as Rome with an economy BC (before Covid) that was in even more dire straits than Italy. I found taxi drivers trying to scam me several times and was scared off from taking the subway. In the five days I spent in Athens there were two strikes that essentially shut down the city. That being said I am so glad to have seen the sites. First – Uber works in Athens and are registered taxi drivers who agree to Uber’s ethics plus you know in advance how much the ride will cost you. The issue is when you don’t have access to wifi in order to contact Uber. The airport is at least one full hour from downtown Athens.

    Plan to spend the majority of a day at the National Archeological museum. There is a café with limited choices. Prior to leaving my hotel, I had downloaded Rick Steve’s podcast tour of the museum and it was great. Jaw dropping items in this museum – incredible gold work that was 3,000 years old.

    Early November was a perfect time to visit – warm enough for tshirt and cropped pants but not overheating. In addition, there were not a lot of cruise ship passengers at this time of year, which made climbing the Acropolis much more pleasant.

    The new Acropolis museum was stunning and worth several hours. I also really enjoyed the Benaki Museum, which was a private collection and included examples of traditional rooms, costumes, etc.

    I took a bus from Athens to Nafplio, a small city on the coast and the trip crossed the Corinthian canal. I LOVED Nafplio and highly recommend it. There are several Venetian forts here including one on an island in the harbor. Nafplio is where Athenians go for getaway weekends. Nafplio struck me as a very livable city with lots of restaurants – some good and some horrible. There was a vibrant art community here and the city was surrounded by orange groves.

    Using Nafplio as my base, I was able to take local commuter buses for about $3 each way on two day trips: to Mycenae and Epidaurus. Most of the gold items in the Athenian National Archeological museum were from Mycenae. I was traveling by myself and split the cost of a private guide with a couple from my hotel. The guide made the ruins of Mycenae come alive. There is a small museum on the site and the guide had spent a year volunteering in pottery restoration. One thing that was frustrating is guides are not allowed to give rides to customers. You are either a guide or a driver but not both!

    Epidaurus was also fascinating. It was a medical center and has one of the best preserved amphitheaters. You can stand in the middle of it and speak normally and people sitting at the top of the bleachers can hear you perfectly. Again I was glad to be traveling at a less touristy time of year.

    Germany & Austria: From Athens in November 2018, I flew to Vienna. Vienna is a jewel box – small, clean, very walkable city, great subway/tram system. And the museums….. one thing I did here was attend a concert at the Schonbrunn Palace. It was limited to 100 people and included two opera singers. I won’t have said that I liked opera, but this concert was magical. A splurge and well worth it. The Christmas market around St. Stephen’s cathedral had just started when I was there.

    On prior trips I have spent time in Salzburg and Innsbruck. Salzburg is an easy two hour train ride from Munich. I remember staying in Salzburg and taking the train to Munich to celebrate New Year’s Eve at the Hofbrau House and then catching a train that arrived in Salzburg just in time to see the fireworks over the city to celebrate midnight!

    From Vienna I took a train to Ljubljana, Slovenia. The train ride was gorgeous through the Austrian Alps. I adored Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia. Beautiful old city center, cheap daily green market, fabulous restaurants, and the manhole covers all have dragons on them! One excellent day trip from Slovenia was to Lake Bled, which is the iconic photo of a church on a small island surrounded by the Julian Alps. I traveled further south into the former Yugoslavia but since Slovenia borders Italy, it would be an easy trip over to Venice and then further into the boot.

    Morocco: Back in the 90’s I spent two weeks traveling around Morocco. My favorite area was Berber country on the “other side” of the Atlas mountains. Berbers had never been conquered and were fiercely independent but also treated their women more equally then the Islamic part of Morocco. Again this was a long time ago and things may have changed. I loved Ouarzazate and we spent three days there. My other most beloved site was Meknes – the ruins of a Roman city that have never been built upon as the water source dried up. Fully intact mosaic floors. This was a much more interesting site than Pompeii for me. There used to be very cheap flights from Portugal to Morocco or from Marseilles to Morocco.

    Scandanavia: One thought for visiting the Norwegian fjords is to take a week long cruise from England. I’m not a cruise ship person either, but viewing the fjords from the water is spectacular plus it gives you control over your food and lodging costs in an extremely expensive area.

    SE Asia: I have only been to Bangkok on business and going back to Thailand is on my list. So much to see throughout the country. But politics can be dicey.

    YIKES this turned out to be a long comment!


    1. So much good information, Libby – thank you! Have poured over it a couple of times and taken a few notes. Brett’s ship took him to Athens several times back in the day and he’s always wanted to go back, so I’m sure we’ll figure it out even if it will be a challenge. Morocco may be one of those countries where we take a tour – there’s so much we want to see and experience there. We’ll figure out the rest somehow – right now though we’re having fun working on an itinerary of some kind (even though that’s bound to change a few times before we set off).


  10. Rome, I was so disappointed that it was not a good place for you. I have spent several weeks there on and off–sitting at tables, playing with my terrible Italian, smiling at passers by, lingering in museums. Maybe that was part of the problem–it was SO much more crowded when you went?
    Well, there is Garmish and the Alps. The area we fell in love.
    We are doing a massive England/Scotland/ Wales/Ireland tour on our own to see towns where family came from.
    Late 2022 or early 2023. Waiting for Europe to settle down and get vaccinated.
    Manoa April 2022 is our next big trip for the entire gang…..Thirty years after hubby graduated from U of H!


    1. I think the combination of coming from beautiful and easygoing Florence, reading so much beforehand about pickpockets, and being knocked back with bad colds is what did Rome in for us, and it wasn’t until we had some distance that we realized we liked it more than we had at the time. We would choose a different area to stay in this time, which I think would make a difference, and would also feel better prepared to deal mentally with crime avoidance. There’s so much we want to see that we didn’t get to last time, and places we’d like to see again, and I want to eat cacio e pepe there again!

      I think I need to get on Ancestry or somewhere and figure out where more of my family came from in the UK and Ireland. I’ve discovered on village/area, but know there are more places, especially in Scotland.

      I’m with you on early 2023. April 1 is our target date – taxes will be done, we’ll have new driver’s licenses, and will be ready to become nomads again!


  11. For Scandanavia, I would recommend Stockholm over Copenhagen. (I’ll likely get some blowback for saying so!) It is an incredibly beautiful city with all the islands and water and some absolutely magical sights. There are many museums and the tourist bureau offers good discounts. Even the subway stations are art attractions. Several of them are very fancifully decorated. I lived in Sweden for almost two years and grew to love it. There are some great side trips from Stockholm. There are inexpensive day boat trips through the archipelago. The Hanseatic League city of Visby on the island of Gotland is a neat place and the old university town of Uppsala is a 45 minute train trip from Stockholm. Of course, the west coast of Norway is by far the most scenic landscape, but also by far the most expensive place.


    1. Thank you – can’t tell you how much I appreciate this information. This is wonderful to know about Stockholm, and we could easily make short getaways over to Copenhagen or Norway from there as well.


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