Just before we left on our Around-the-World trip in the summer of 2012, we took a “Family and Friends” road trip in order to say goodbye to some of our loved ones since we were heading out for a year. It was a crazy and exciting time: we had left our big townhome and rented it out, moved into a two-bedroom condo, quit our jobs, put the bulk of our things in storage, and then left our new two bedroom condo – all in the span of five months! Our little goodbye road trip gave us some breathing time before we hit the road and tried to make one of the biggest decisions of our lives; whether or not to permanently retire and live in another country to do so.
Well, if you’ve been reading our blog, you already know we did move to Ecuador and base ourselves there the last several years! It’s been great living in and exploring another country, and we wouldn’t trade the experiences we’ve had for the world. In the middle of 2017, though, we were ready for another change, and we moved ourselves back home, to the suburbs of Philadelphia. Just before we made the official move, we found ourselves on another “Family and Friends” road trip, and I couldn’t help but think about how perfect the timing was. It was exactly five years since the last one, and just like then, it was right before a big change in our lives! What a special “anniversary.”
Five years ago, the same trip was immediately before we started our blog, and barely got a mention. I thought it seemed more than appropriate then, to include it this time. First, we headed up to Toronto to visit Elliott’s Uncle Roger, Aunt Rose, and any of his cousins we could corner. On the way to their beautiful lakeside cottage two hours outside of Toronto, we stopped in the city to meet up with our friend James, whom we met several years ago in Cuenca when he came to stay with us through couch surfing. Unfortunately we didn’t get a photo of James that day, but we got a few of Elliott’s family. At the cottage, we had a great time relaxing, canoeing in the lake, catching up with family members, and even ballroom dancing! When we left, we stopped in the city of Toronto again, this time to see one of Elliott’s cousins who hadn’t made it to the cottage.
Next up was the coastal town of Tiverton, RI, just outside of Providence. This time we were visiting my Uncle Jon and Aunt Mary, and they were wonderful hosts as always. They took us to a local Maritime Museum where we learned all about a famous ship builder with local origins and his contributions to racing yacht designs for The America’s Cup. We met up that evening with my cousin Chris and his seven-year old daughter, whom we were thrilled to meet for the very first time. And the next day Jon and Mare took us out into Mt. Hope Bay on one of the boats from their local boat club – always a special treat, and a great and relaxing time for us.
Last but not least, we drove to Bristol, Connecticut to see our good friend Stacey and her daughter (our niece!) Pez. They had made a big move in the past five years as well, out of her parents’ house and into a place of their own with her boyfriend Craig. It had been way too long since the last visit so we had a lot of catching up to do. The five of us played lots of games together. We liked Craig right away and had such a blast hanging out with them all, that we ended up going back a few times in the summer and fall.
Visiting our friends and family again just before our move back to PA reinforced for us that no matter where you travel or end up in life, it’s always great to be back home.