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  • Writer's pictureEllie Friese

Traveling Full Time in Europe; 1 month down, 10 to go

Moving to Europe has always been a dream of mine. I started college in 2017 with a scholarship to play lacrosse. Two months in to 2018, I suffered from Second Impact Syndrome (Two concussions too close together) and it made me re-think my entire purpose… not just as a college athlete or a student, but who I was as a person and what I would do with my life. In 2019, I took a 3.5 week Europe trip with a girlfriend, my brother, and his girlfriend. We visited Amsterdam, Paris, Lyon, Turin, Florence, Venice, and Munich and I came back that summer with fresh eyes.

(Palace of Versailles, Pairs)

(Diner cruise on the Seine, Paris)

I had caught the travel bug in 2017 when I went to Germany for 3 weeks. I discovered a new sense of freedom and self discovery I had never felt before coming out of High school. Fast forward to years later and that “bug” became terminal. There was no going back.

(Berlin, Germany)

I decided from then on, my goal was to get to Europe… and stay. I applied to several different schools across Germany and the U.K., ultimately deciding on a University in York, England. I took a year off of school to save money to go and then… COVID hit. Now, I know COVID put a wrench in everyone’s life, but looking back and where I am now, I wouldn’t change it for a thing.

(Yosemite, California)

The money I saved to use for school, I turned it into a van with my (then boyfriend) husband. We set off with our dog, Mogli, and travelled the U.S. for four weeks at the end of the summer of 2021. Six months later in 2022, we got Engaged in Spain; our first Europe trip together. We couldn’t stop talking about how we never wanted to leave. Evan, my husband, new my dream was Europe and he was down for the ride since the moment we met. I didn’t know it then how lucky I’d be to find a partner that was willing to uproot and sacrifice the known for the unknown... and be happy about it!

A few months later, we decided to cancel our lease in our college town and prepare to move to Europe. We downsized a LOT and moved in with family so we wouldn’t be bound to the complications of a lease agreement. Fast forward to January 6, 2023 and we are boarding a plane to Portugal with 3 bags each and a dog. Our 3 bags included 1 checked bag, a carry on, and our personal item. Mogli sat in the cabin with us and I’ll explain in another post how we got him to Europe.

Our first stop was Portugal. We have been here now for 3.5 weeks and are finishing out our stay here this week before me move on to the next destination. We have had an amazing time so far both exploring and being tourists to also feeling a little bit like a local. The people here are so kind and welcoming. It was easy to feel at home from day one.

Our apartment has a small dog park, a few duck ponds, free roaming chickens, and an Italian restaurant right outside of our doors. I don’t think we could have picked a better location with being only 1 mile from the city center; the perfect amount of distance from the busy and just enough quiet.

In total, we spend approximately 11-12 days doing “touristy” things and still only saw a few parts of the country. We did several tours in Lisbon, went to Belem, a day in Cascais, a day in Sintra, and 3 nights in Porto with an evening in the Douro Valley. We did several walking tours, a food tour, Fado show, got drinks and dinner with a few different friends we made along the way, and ate our fair share of Pasteis de Nata’s.

When I say I “travel full time,” I am. However, I also work full time. So I’d consider this 75% work and 25% play. My business allows me to be flexible in my hours and where I work, however, if I chose when I worked every day, I wouldn’t have a business. YES, I am so thankful for a career that allows me to live this lifestyle, but it also has its challenges like any job would. I am simply not confined to the 9-5 schedule and tax implications of working for someone else. I still, most days, work until 11pm or midnight for reasons like client availability, meetings, and work load. This life and work style tends to be over glamorized sometimes, but the truth of the matter is, we work f*cking hard, but the pay off is worth it.

Anyways! Our next stop is Morocco for our belated honeymoon. We are spending two weeks traveling the country while Mogli will be living it up (more like taking a siesta 90% of the day) in Spain with a sitter in Seville, where we will meet him after our trip. We will visit Casablanca, Rabat, Fes, Marrakech, the Agafay Desert, the Atlas Mountains, the “blue city” of Chefchaouen and do our best to experience the culture in every way we can! Hot air balloon ride, camels rides, overnights in a Raid, cooking class, and more *heart eyes.*

We can’t wait!

Till next time,

Ellie w/ Ellie's Travel Bug

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