One of my friends from Belgium, Bieke, has a brother, Wim, who is currently biking around the world with his new wife, Amy. As of their last blog entry, they were on day 242 in Laos, and they just had the craziest experience ever! They were apparently drugged or something and spent 2 days in a country where they don't speak the language having no idea what was going on with them while going in and out of consciousness! Other than that ultra-crazy experience, it sounds like they have had such an amazing time.
Keith and I have been fortunate enough to have done some great traveling in the past few years. In early summer 2005 , we had just visited Norway for the first time during the previous fall, and I had just returned from a trip to Rome with my mother-in-law, sister-in-law, and sister-in-law's mother-in-law. We had been discussing going over to Europe for a couple of weeks for Keith to get to meet some more of his new European colleagues and to see some more of Europe... but then we found out we were expecting a baby. That news put everything into fast forward mode and we quickly decided that if we were going to travel Europe, it was now or not-for-a-long-time. So we decided on "now" and began planning a 30-day European vacation of our own for just 2 months later. On August 17th we began our trip with a stop in Amsterdam, then over the next 30 days we visited the cities of Lueven (Belgium), Brussels, Paris, Barcelona, Cinque Terre (the most beautiful beach in Italy!), Pisa, Florence, Rome, Vienna, Linz (Austria), Salzburg, Stockholm, Oslo, and Bergen. Along the way we visited with colleagues and friends in Amsterdam, Lueven, Linz, and met up with friends in Scandinavia. Most of our travel was done by train, which was an experience in itself. During the trip, I kept my first blog which was a purely travel-oriented blog to keep our friends and family back home informed of where we were and what we were doing. Like this blog though, it has also served as a personal journal to remember details that we probably would have eventually forgotten about, and I plan to make it into a photo book for us to keep forever.
Since returning from our European vacation, we haven't travelled as much, but have still managed to keep it up a bit. After Annabelle was born, we were able to visit the U.K. and later northern Italy with her, then the British Virgin Islands without her (for our babymoon). So far Corgan hasn't been anywhere outside of the U.S., but I have his passport application ready to go and he might be joining us for a trip to Austria in the fall. I have the travel bug so bad right now, but with trying to save up for our addition, that just isn't possible. One thing that's keeping me excited about traveling though is that my sister and I are planning to take a sister-trip to Europe (itinerary TBD) next Spring for her 30th birthday! I can't wait!
I wish that when I was in school, I had thought more (or at all) about doing an exchange student program. At that time, hanging out with my friends would have been more important to me than the experience of living somewhere totally foreign to me. My friend Jill (aka "Fancy") did the exchange thing both in high school and more recently in grad school. In high school she spent some time living in Germany, and in fall of 2006 she did her last semester of grad school in Oslo, Norway. While in Norway, she did lots of traveling, and I enjoyed reading about her adventures and even getting to be a part of that adventure when we met her in Italy for a week. I hope that when my kids are old enough, they consider an experience like Jill had, and maybe I'll even get to go along for a part of it. :)