Talk about the American Dream. Marianna and her boyfriend quit their corporate jobs, packed up their life in New York City, and plunged into a year-and-a-half trip around the world. They're almost halfway through and still going strong! After checking out her gorgeous photo diary, Nomadic Habit, we decided to check in.
So, what made you decide to take this trip? My boyfriend and I got sick of the go-go-go of New York City and had serious corporate pains. We had to get out. We wanted to live BIG.
What was the best tip you got before you left? Be open to the experience.
How did you get there? We've thus far taken planes, trains, buses, ferries. All of it!
Your itinerary so far:
Barcelona, Spain (4 nights with friends)
Aix en Provence, France (2 weeks with family)
Rome, Italy (3 nights at Francesco House)
Florence, Italy (3 nights at Hotel Byron)
Venice (2 nights at Hotel Guerrini)
Reinheim, Germany (4 nights with family)
Berlin, Germany (3 nights at The Best Western East Berlin)
Finland (1 month with family and friends)
My family is spread out in Europe, Asia, and Australia, and so our path was born by connecting the dots. We've always wanted to know what it would be like to cross five time zones over three days on a train in a cabin with two strangers, so we booked passage on the Trans-Siberian Railway, a dream of ours. What does a midnight sun look like in the Arctic Circle? We had to go to Nordkapp, Norway to find out. We had to know what it felt like to be a gladiator! The Colosseum in Rome was our answer.
Between family visits, we choose countries or cities at our leisure, but nothing is set it stone and we will move as we please. We are restrained by money (we both quit our jobs), but also freed from responsibility (we have nothing we need to get back to).
What did you know by the last day that you wish you had known on the first? We'll see!
This was especially great: East Berlin. There was a youthful, creative atmosphere that felt reminiscent of certain parts of New York, namely Brooklyn. Since we both hail from New York City, we felt a little bit at home. And it was incredibly cheap!
But this was't: Flying RyanAir from Italy to Germany and landing in a different airport than we booked.
This was touristy and worth it: Venice. We loved the food all over Italy.
Let's talk about stuff.
1. Glad you packed: An umbrella.
2. Wish you'd packed: A day-to-day tote for groceries.
3. Didn't need: I've used most everything in my backpack.
4. Brought back: I got a tattoo of the outline of Finland from Sari Palm in Helsinki. Since I am half Finnish, I wanted to get a tattoo that represented my mother's heritage and when I make my way to Indonesia, I will get another tattoo to represent my father's heritage. Then I will be fully balanced.
Speed round of favorites:
1. Meal or meals: Cacio e pepe pasta in Rome.
2. Neighborhood to explore: East Berlin.
3. Site/place/thing you did: Road trip to Nordkapp, Norway.
4. Cafe/casual hangout: Emma Pea in East Berlin.
Are you there for the right amount of time? Still hoping to travel for one more year!
One place you didn't get to visit, but wanted to: Cinque Terra in Italy.
Any surprises? Berlin! I had no expectations and loved it. It has a New York City vibe to it.
You can’t stop thinking about: The gelato in Italy.
The Kodak moment: A wild reindeer migration in Norway.
What's the #1 tip you'd give a friend who wanted to go? Save your pennies!
Also, I would definitely plan ahead if you are going anywhere during high season. We planned our entire trip through Europe months ahead of time since we were going in the summer.
If there are any difficult visa requirements, you should also plan ahead. Russia has really crazy stipulations, so we got our visas taken care of in April even though we just entered Russia at the end of June. However, past Russia we only have accommodations for our first week in Mongolia, and then we will be planning as we travel. In places where accommodations are a dime a dozen, it can be more rewarding to be spontaneous. You may get a better place for a better deal.
Taxis are definitely worth the splurge when you've just traveled a lot and have no idea where you are. Just be okay with the idea that you will often get ripped off.
To save money, I always do cheap eats research. Do not be afraid to eat like the locals!
Would you go back? Still going!
SEE WHERE THEY'VE BEEN
FOLLOW THEIR TRAVELS
Keep up with Marianna and her boyfriend through their blog, Nomadic Habit. Besides all the great photos, you can also buy handmade goods from Marianna's online shop.