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I didn’t start traveling until I was 22 years old. My brother moved to Belgium to live with his wife. In order for me to see him I had to travel. I planned for a year, worked a crazy amount of over-time, and convinced an adventurous friend to come with me. For 2 weeks we went to Belgium, roamed around Bruges, Ghent, Bastogne. We went to Amsterdam for a day and got to the Dam Square at the tail end of a protest over an illegal drug. We saw marijuana plants as tall as my brother and saw nearly naked women dancing in windows in the Red Light District. We were in another country but it felt like we were in another world. It was then that I realized there is so much to see in this world and this was only the tip of the iceberg.

In the past 7 years I have been back to Belgium, France, Finland, and Poland. I long to travel 365 days a year. I realize as of right now it is just not feasible. I have a life here in the United States, friends and family, people that depend on me. I have a condo, 2 cats, a girlfriend. I have a home here. But eventually, I hope to be able to leave most of this behind for an extended period of time. I long to live like a local. I’m lucky to be in a relationship with someone who shares my love of travel and is pretty easy-going when it comes to where we go. She too would like to be able to travel for a few months at a time and experience a city or a country for longer than 1 or 2 weeks.

On December 1st we leave for a trip to Paris, France for 5 days and Bruges, Belgium for 9 days. I could say I have been waiting for this Parisian vacation for 1.5 years but that is a lie, I’ve been waiting all my life. My love affair with Paris began early in life. I was 7 or 8 years old. I saw a picture of Paris, an overhead shot, and asked my grandma what this place was. She told me “That’s Paris, Brittany. Isn’t it pretty?”. Pretty doesn’t do it justice. I’ve been once before, for maybe 10 hours. I saw a lot in those 10 hours but didn’t have a chance to really experience Paris. This 5 day trip has been a lifetime in waiting. We are staying 1 block from the Louvre, 15 minutes from the Notre Dame and the Seine River.

For the past 1.5 years I’ve been planning this trip. First in my head, then talking with Angie, writing things down, organizing a rough itinerary (I hate itineraries but I needed to have a general idea of where things were in proximity to where we are staying and when places are open and when they close). Its all I ever talk about on Facebook, at work, with friends. I found a great rental apartment in Paris, a nice hotel in Bruges.
It is now 13 days away and I am finding it hard to contain my excitement. It is all I think about. You know how people go to church and sometimes start speaking out in tongues? I am sometimes surprised I don’t start speaking in French just out of pure excitement.

In 13 days I will be ‘home’.

Here are some pictures of my past trips. Click on picture for larger image.