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A New Leg

Since the day we embarked on this adventure, we've had the year to come subconsciously organized into different "legs" of the trip. The two month road trip: an obvious one. Our first three months in Schengen countries. Later in the summer, we complete our Europe leg and make the long journey over to Ecuador. At the moment, we are transitioning from out-of-the-Schengen back into it; from a rainy and windy spring in Eastern Europe and the UK into European summer; but most notably, we are ending the solid 8 month streak of being really far away from my immediate family.

A common phrase both when we said our goodbyes in October and at the end of phone calls with my parents, sister, and maternal grandparents has been, "See you in Amsterdam! Amsterdam is coming! Not long now 'til Amsterdam!" Many months before Andrew and I left, my mom's parents, brothers and their spouses, plus my grandma's sister and her husband all booked a river cruise together down …
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A Not-So Cultural Exchange

Our first Workaway of this trip was all the way back in January at a multigenerational family farm in Thun, Switzerland. We were fully immersed in the family and participated in tasks around the house, childcare, moving cured firewood for the stoves on the ancient tractor, prepping apples or walnuts or herbs for storage, etc. Our second Workaway was in Nardò, Italy, at a small horse ranch/bed and breakfast/farmstead, and our days were spent gathering trimmed branches from the olive grove and storing them, tidying the property for the coming high season, grooming the horses, stuffing our faces with homemade Italian food, and socializing with our host's group of friends in the evenings. These days we are in Garndolbenmaen, Wales, at quite a different style Workaway than our previous two.

Our hosts, Tamsin and Tom, have a pack of foster and rescue dogs living with them while they wait for a perfect forever home. There are some family pets as well, of course, but a majority of these …

Wild Wales

Wales has been wild in many ways so far.

Yesterday was our last "day off" for the next two weeks at our Workaway, as on Tuesday our host family goes out of town until the 6th of June and we will be the sole keepers of this little farmhouse--oh, and the 21 animals who call this place home. We took a walk up the street to the outskirts of the already-miniscule village of Garndolbenmaen (don't ask me how to pronounce it, because I don't know), in between the stone walls separating each parcel of land/sheep pasture, helping ourselves through the livestock gates because that's how "walking paths" are done here. We made it to the top of what we think is Craig-y-Garn, the highest peak you can see from our Workaway house. From up there we had a panoramic view of our area of Northern Wales. We're right on the edge of Snowdonia National Park, but also in sight of the Irish Sea.

The wilderness here looks a bit different than what we're used to in the Paci…

A Journey Through the Motherland

It's been over seven months since we started this traveling thing, and five of those have been outside of the United States, with our itinerary making England the first English-speaking country we've set foot in since well before Christmas. What a weird thing! I'd gotten a little bit used to there always being a language barrier, but in the UK, we can actually make out other peoples' conversations on the street. We're also much more likely to actually get what we intended to order, and feel like we can ask for directions if needed.

I've learned to feel more comfortable than I started out in countries that don't speak English, but naturally, many things are so much easier when you're somewhere where all the signs are written in the language in which you are fluent. Anyhow, the last week of April was when we made the big leap from Eastern Europe over to the United Kingdom, where we will stay until mid-June when we meet my parents, sister, and her boyfrie…