Late last June, Joe and I packed up our Brooklyn apartment. We stored everything in the basement of Joe’s parents’ house (thanks Kathy and John!). And we hit the road. So far, we’ve spent four to six weeks each in:
- Montreal, Canada
- Portland, Maine
- Nashville, TN
- New Orleans, LA
- Split, Croatia
- Bologna, Italy
- Berlin, Germany
- London, England
- Edinburgh, Scotland
We both started working remotely as a result of leaving New York — Joe works full-time for BeerMenus while I work independently as a content marketing consultant. Traveling full time, working remotely, jumping into the consulting world. It’s been a year of firsts.
So Joe and I took a trip down memory lane. We separately answered a few questions about our first year as digital nomads. Check it out below! (We did a similar Q&A six months in. Read it here).
What from year one do you want to keep doing?
Joe: Exploring! Seeing new places and learning the culture of both small and large cities has only made me want to travel more. There’s so much of the world to see, and we’ve only really been through the US and Europe!
Adrienne: Home cooking that’s inspired by the city and country we’re in. Our kitchens, cabinets, and grocery stores change monthly — we make sure that’s reflected in our choice of meals.
Finding equal value in local routines and in sightseeing. When I look back on my time in these new places, I think first of our greenmarket in Split, our salumeria in Bologna, our neighborhood park in Berlin, and our coffee shop in London.
What from year one do you want to change moving forward?
Joe: I want to ensure that I’m more prepared for each new city we visit. Learning a few key phrases in the language, when and how people buy food, and an idea about public transportation are my top priorities when arriving somewhere new.
Adrienne: I’d like to spend longer than one month in each place. We’re going to expand to three month periods and target cities we truly think we could live in. Next up: revisiting Montreal and then Berlin for three months each.
What has surprised you most?
Joe: How much I enjoy feeling like a local. The fourth and fifth weeks in a city are my favorite – I have my grocery store, local bodega, and board game store all figured out. Some of them are even starting to recognize me when I walk in! I love this because it makes me feel like I’m actually living there and understanding the local culture, not just visiting for a few weeks.
Adrienne: How in love with working remotely and from home I am. You have flexibility and comfort (No makeup! No tight pants!). The home-cooked meals and lack of commutes are added bonuses.
How each place feels like home, even after just a month. The experience has shown me that ‘home’ can really be anywhere.
Finally, I’ve felt surprised by how sustainable this level of traveling is. Sure, the constant planning is a stressor. But it’s just replaced other stressors like commuting and taking care of a more permanent apartment.
What are your highlights from our time in Europe this year?
Joe: Diving into the local food culture everywhere we go. In Split, I had about 10 carrots per day from the farmers market. I had pizza from one place in Bologna four times, a croissant every day for breakfast in Paris, and I’ve already had fish and chips more times than I care to admit in London.
Adrienne: The insane beauty of Croatia — particularly, the joy of walking one block to the Adriatic Sea and another to Split’s ancient Roman center. The feeling of reaching the end of the world in Dubrovnik.
Seeing loved ones every week for about six consecutive weeks across Berlin, Paris, and London. If that sentence doesn’t make me feel grateful, I don’t know what would.
What were the hardest parts of our time in Europe this year?
Joe: I didn’t like Rome, and I’m kind of embarrassed by it. I don’t know what it was, but I just couldn’t resonate with the city. Adrienne, however, loved it! I guess it shows Rome really is a love/hate kind of city.
Adrienne: We avoided planning the first half of this year in Europe. The planning draggggggged on and was always hanging over our heads. We tackled the remainder of 2018 in two chunks. Much easier.
I’ve also felt guilt about how fortunate we are to leave the U.S. and enjoy the world, while the U.S. political climate is what it is. That guilt is unsurprisingly alleviated by taking action from afar via monthly donations and calling my senators.
What were your favorite meals from our time in Europe this year?
Joe: A super fancy prix fix at Jules Verne in Paris was easily the best meal I ate out this year. The restaurant is HALFWAY UP THE EIFFEL TOWER! Standouts from the menu were potatoes anna and a plethora of desserts.
Just the next night, Adrienne and I hosted eight for a dinner party back at our Paris apartment. We taught the group how to make homemade pasta from our time in Rome and didn’t get up from the table until well after midnight. We met some amazing new people and were able to spend time with loved ones.
Adrienne: Our first Italian meal — and one of the best we’d have in Italy — thanks to a cooking class in Rome. The class visited the Campo de’ Fiori and spent hours making fresh pasta, artichokes, and tiramisu from the bounty we’d picked up.
The five-course dinner party Joe and I cooked on our vacation in Paris. We shared our favorite foods from Italy (negronis included) and Joe taught my Aunt Adrienne and her family how to make fresh pasta.
And our first doner kebab in Berlin. We’d had some rooftop beers at Klunkerkranich and found Imren Grill on our walk home. I think we spent the entire walk home talking about that sandwich.