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Back in the US!

Big Ben tower in London


If all goes well, by the end of the day, my family will be back at home in Colorado. After 21 days, seven countries, and eight times of having to pay to use the bathroom, I’m really glad to be back in the US. I wrote this mini-post early yesterday in the dark from our hotel room in New York. It seems like I should have been up hours ago, although it’s still very early. Gotta love jet lag! Because I can’t yet hold a coherent thought, I’ll share a few pictures from our trip and hopefully be back to normal next week.

Most Exciting Moment

I would love to say the most exciting moment during our vacation was watching Tom Watson play his last British open or seeing the Eiffel Tower sparkle at night, but honestly, it was finding out the night before we were supposed to leave Europe that our early morning flight had been cancelled. After almost four hours of phone calls and speaking to agents at the airport, we did make it home. It ended up working in our favor because the original flight left Amsterdam, connecting through Vienna, before going to NYC. Instead, we got booked on a direct flight. It saved tons of time, although I had about 14 heart attacks until we had boarding passes in hand!

park day in London

Kensington Gardens, London

Things I Missed Most From Home

I loved just about every part of our trip, including being out of our comfort zone. Although stressful, I believe learning new ways to go about life makes us grow as humans. However, there were a few things I did miss.

  • Plentiful, free, public bathrooms-I have established a new appreciation for McDonalds. I still hate their food for the most part, but having a known place to hit the restroom and score free wifi is a huge bonus in my book.
  • Iced tea– Being from the South, I probably drink a gallon of iced tea every two weeks. 21 days with no iced tea was hard. One of the first things I did upon arrival was hit McDonald’s for an iced tea. I guess the golden arches are growing on me!
  • My closet-I am really tired of living out of a suitcase. I was very organized in the beginning and had all the varieties of clothing sorted into plastic bags. Toward the end, it all fell apart when I left my underwear bag in Amsterdam. I had to buy new undies and socks to make it home. Ouch!
  • Washer and dryer-Although, we did have one apartment style room in London that had a washer/dryer, for the rest of the trip, we had no easy access to laundry facilities. We did scope out a “lavarie” or laundromat in Paris. I felt very worldy sitting there with the Parisians waiting on clothes to dry. Our confusion while trying to figure out the instructions in French probably gave it away that we weren’t really local.
    British Open in Scotland

    St. Andrews, Scotland

  • Privacy– I love my family, but spending almost a month with them, 24/7, sometimes in very tiny hotel rooms, really gives family togetherness a new meaning.

Things I Will Miss About Traveling

While it’s always good to be home, I also miss a few things about traveling.

  • Public transportation– I haven’t driven a car in over three weeks, and I love it. If I could hop on a train, bus, subway, or walk to everywhere without having to drive, that would be awesome. I am proud that we only took one taxi the whole time we were away. The rest of our getting around was by foot or public transit.
  • The excitement– I will certainly miss waking up to a new adventure every day. Sometimes life can throw its own adventures your way. At least when traveling, you expect new and exciting things. I’ll miss that a little as we get back into our routine. Although, I am kind of looking forward to routine a bit as well.

Evening in ParisWhat is the longest you’ve ever been away from home? Ever had a flight cancelled at the last minute?

canals in Amsterdam

One of the many canals in Amsterdam



About Kim Parr

Kim Parr is a private practice optometrist, freelance writer, and personal financial blogger. You can follow her journey to 20/20 financial vision at Eyes on the Dollar.


  1. Sounds like you and your family had a great trip! I have never been gone for more than a week so far and haven’t had to deal with flights being cancelled (only delayed for hours). I can only imagine the anxiety that would cause.

    I’m still a travel newbie so I’m hoping to be able to partake in it a little bit more over the coming years once my daughter is old enough to begin making the trips!

    • I think 8 was just about perfect. She really was a trooper and didn’t complain too much about strange foods or walking miles and miles. I think last year would have been a bit too soon.

  2. I can’t wait to hear more about your trip! The longest I have ever been away from home is two weeks and I can’t imagine spending 3 in tight quarters with my two guys. I love them to pieces, but I think we would all get sick of each other after that much time. For me, after spending two weeks in Italy a few years ago, I REALLY missed ice. The first thing I did when I came back to the states was drink a huge glass of ice water. I had no idea how much I loved cold drinks until I didn’t have them.

  3. You’ve been gone so long my website didn’t even autofill in this section. lol! I know what you mean about bathrooms. Its just not as easy in Europe as it is here. But what a trip!!! Now can you see why I’m so sick of doing laundry at the laundromat and doing it at your house that time I stayed there was so awesome? πŸ™‚ I did laundry at a Parisian laundromat too and it did give you that very local feel. Much better than sitting in one in LA. Glad you had a good time and sorry for the little snafu at the end.

    • I do have a new respect for those who must seek out laundromats. I am not good at downtime, so I’d have to probably bring a computer or something to do while waiting.

  4. I also can’t wait to hear more about your trip! I’ve never been gone from the United States for that long but it sounds like a blast πŸ™‚

  5. When my daughter was 8 y.o. we had a big trip (6 weeks) back to the UK with my folks. We had a week in the US (California) on the way, too. It was an amazing trip and I really hope my daughter and I can do another one before she flies the nest. She learned so much during that trip and really had her eyes opened to the world and how lucky we are to live where we do.

    Thankfully, we had no airline related issues while we were away. πŸ™‚

    We hit up a couple of laundromats in the UK. Excellent places to people watch!

    • That sounds like a wonderful experience. I agree that teaching kids how other people live is one of the most important things we can do as parents. Hopefully my daughter will be ready for anything before she leaves our nest.

  6. When we were returning from Brooks Lodge to Anchorage in Alaska, our flight out of King Salmon (look that one up) was cancelled without notice to us. We were stuck in this tiny airport with about 200 fishermen who were also trying to get their coolers of fish flown back to Anchorage. After the news of a potential stay overnight in this airport with seats in the lobby for about 20 people, we requested to be put on stand-by for other flights. Fortunately we did get back to Anchorage that night, but our luggage didn’t accompany us so we had to wait the next day for that to arrive. Fortunately we had stored another suitcase with clothes at our home base hotel, so we didn’t suffer much. As much as we love Alaska, we were glad to get home. Travel has this romantic connotation, but it is getting increasingly frustrating to deal with all the things you must go through to get to your destination. Oh how I wish for the Star Trek scenarios where you can just magically transport to your destination.

    • I think you win. At least the Amsterdam airport had many options for eating and was close to many hotels if we had needed to stay another day or two.

  7. Whenever I travel, I always look forward to being home. And I have rarely left the States, I do not even have a passport.

    Great job on the blogging while you were out!

    • This is the first time ever that I’ve been about a month ahead. I am not behind again, which is pretty typical!

  8. Sounds like an amazing trip, even with the lost undies πŸ™‚ I’ve had so many flights cancelled I’ve stopped counting. The joke at work is not to fly with me if you want to get somewhere on time.

  9. That looks a fun trip, Kim! It appears you enjoyed every bit of it so much! Whenever I am on vacation, I don’t get a car but I just use train or taxi, which is really good as this would be more interesting and adventurous to explore the place.

  10. I hear ya about the bathrooms! Ugh! It’s so bad in some places. We sat down and had a sandwich and coffee in a cafe in Paris because I could not find a bathroom to use anywhere. I was about to pee my pants.

  11. Public restrooms are amazing. We have never been out of the country yet but we had limited restroom access in New Orleans. Needless to say, we were very thankful to be staying on Bourbon Street!

  12. Welcome back, Kim! It sounds like an amazing trip! The longest we’ve been away from home was around the 20 day mark too when we went on our Disney Cruise. I was sad when the trip ended but it also felt really good to sleep in my own bed too. I forget about paying for bathrooms, which seems like such a strange thing to us.

  13. I can’t wait to hear about your travels!!! And, YES-bathrooms are an issue overseas.

  14. Sounds like an awesome trip! A co-worker also just got home from a month-long trip to Europe (4 countries for them) and it sounds like such a fun trip to take. I have never been to Europe but would like to go one of these days. The longest I have been gone is about 10 days during a mission trip to Juarez. I met and got to know my wife on that trip, so obviously it was a great trip!

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