Sometimes I melt into a little puddle of envy when I think about how passionate, knowledgable, and gifted the people in my life are. I waste precious time drooling over the talents of others when I could instead be fanning my neglected interests and hobbies. My own embers grow cold instead of leaping into to flames they could be, all because of misdirected energy. I sometimes forget that I have interests, hobbies, and dreams, especially when I work as much as I have recently.

Today I was reminded of some of my interests and passions: people, culture, and language. I was reading a blog about travel, culture, history, and language when a part of my soul that had been sleeping was awakened. I was excited, eager, and dreaming again… a level of energy I had not experienced for some time suddenly rushed into me, and I felt like skipping, dancing, and running from place to place, ingesting books, words, knowledge about these things. I was ravenous because I had finally made time for one of the things that fascinates me.

That being said, I thought I would finally make time to write (another one of the passions I have neglected for several years now) about the adventure Jesse and I got to go on this summer. This way, I will remember the precious experiences with which I’ve already been blessed, and I will get to relive our travels.

After being married for 4 years and having gone on only two 2-day getaways/vacations since our honeymoon (plus multiple trips to visit family), we figured it was about time to take our long-discussed international vacation. Settling on a destination was difficult; there are so many incredible places on this planet! We finally chose to visit Barcelona and Southern France, as it seemed the appropriate balance of some of the things we were hoping to get out of the trip: to be pushed out of our comfort zones, to travel to a non-English speaking country, to learn/practice a second language (both of us knew a teeny bit of Spanish), to see both natural and man-made wonders, to see some of our history, to ingest delicious food, and to experience different cultures. We both craved adventure, challenge, and growth, which is why we did not want an English-speaking country or a resort/cruise vacation.

So, after much research, planning, shopping, and preparation, on August 12th, armed with our passports and backpacks, we boarded a plane and left Northwest Arkansas, ready to get a taste of another world.

Early morning sun is the best! Each of us took one backpack. Jesse opted for the Osprey Farpoint 40L backpack, and I the Rick Steves Convertible Carry-on.

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