Leaving On a Jet Plane.. Destination TBD

Thrifty Travel Mama | Leaving Freiburg: where do we go from here? I’ve been a very bad internet friend lately. To all the really fantastic blogger friends I have out there, I just want to say… I’m sorry.

You have read my posts and commented and shared and tweeted and sent smoke signals. And I, well, I haven’t done much to return the favor.

I’ve read your posts on my phone in the five-minute pockets of time I can find in my day, but you don’t know that because I haven’t left any e-trails. My Feedly is full of your saved posts, ready to comment, pin, tweet, and all that jazz.

The thing is, for the past six weeks or so, we’ve been in the painful place of deciding our next step.. or rather, waiting for the next step to be decided for us.

Doc Sci has interviewed over the phone and in person for several jobs in the US, the majority of them in places we hadn’t really considered or even imagined. We’ve been on the proverbial roller coaster, screaming on the inside, for weeks. We didn’t have anything concrete to say, but we could feel the tension rising. The need to start purging, selling, planning, scheming was overwhelming.

I don’t know how I managed to post, let alone get through the chaos of kids finishing kindergarten and transitioning to staying home all day every day in the midst of planning a move with only one known variable..

But, friends, it’s happening.

The only thing I can tell you now is that we’re leaving Germany, and soon. The date, route, price, and beverage of choice is still TBD.

Because I can’t give any exact details (I’m not being cryptic; I don’t know them myself), I need to leave space open in my day to sort out the finer points of all the pieces that will eventually become part of the grand plan of moving back across the pond.

Even while I’m reeling from the enormity of this move, I have something else to consider: this blog.

I started Thrifty Travel Mama in 2010 as a way to tell friends and family back home about the quirks and adventure of our new life abroad. TTM morphed into something I never imagined: a full-fledged family travel blog. You guys, we have been to over 71 cities in 16 countries (not including the US), and I haven’t even written about all of them.

At it’s core, TTM is about budget family travel, but it’s also heavily influenced by my life as an expat (hence the tagline, “an expat life of marvels, miracles, and mishaps”). And now, I won’t technically be an expat. I’ll just be an alien, a stranger, a triangle.

I might be without reliable internet and time to write for months. After that, will I be able to rally and write about all travel stores I haven’t yet told? Or will I be too forlorn, mourning the loss of 28 vacation days, low expenses, and cheap childcare?

Only time will tell.

But, I would very much like to hear from you, my friends. What would you like to see happen to this blog?

Would you like to continue to read about our adventures, even if they’re fewer and not as exotic?

Would you prefer to hear more about how we were able to go so many places and practical tips for you to do the same?

Are you intrigued as to how reverse culture shock might manifest itself in our family and all the things we will find different / strange / just plain WEIRD when we go back to the US?

Do you have another idea that I haven’t even considered? Point me in the direction you’d like to see TTM go by leaving your ideas and thoughts in the comments.

And, in between booking flights and shipping boxes, I’ll do my best to clean out that Feedly and drop in on your adventures.Thanks for being awesome readers and amazing bloggers.

Signature Thrifty Travel Mama

21 thoughts on “Leaving On a Jet Plane.. Destination TBD

  1. An interesting dilemma that we will face in 9 months time when we move back to Canada (we do know the landing point and the approximate time though not the exact date and details yet). I have found your blog interesting though we don’t travel with kids but some of your tips apply to everyone. The settling back in the US is interesting because I have heard expats often have a hard time settling down after time away living wonderful adventures. I guess I am not being very helpful as it is truly up to you what you want to do with this blog: continue, morph it or abandon it. (Suzanne)

    • Suzanne, the repatriation aspect is interesting to me as I personally wonder how our five different personalities will cope and adjust as well as how long it will take to thrive again. How are you feeling about going back to Canada?

      • I think it will indeed be an interesting process for your family. For us, right now, we aren’t thinking about it too much (putting our head in the sand and avoiding it). We are moving back to a different city than where we left from and it is a city where we haven’t lived in for almost 30 years so there is a certain trepidation in thinking about the whole process of going back. We will have to come to terms with it eventually…

      • Ha, Suzanne, I must admit that we are still putting our head in the sand, and it is just around the corner! We are also most likely moving to a different city. But in a way, there is certain comfort in that. To move back to the same city is often harder because so many things (and people) you thought would remain the same end up changing. Ugh, it’s never easy.

  2. Reverse culture shock and repatriation can be difficult, but I hope you get all of your dots lined up and things go as smoothly as possible! Thanks for stopping over to my site and referencing the post about being a triangle!

    • Hi Naomi! I actually read your triangle post a long time ago, and it has stuck with me ever since. It’s brilliant :). I am looking forward to digging into more of what you have posted on the topic. Every expat needs to read it!

  3. Every stage/experience in the life of a writer, traveler and mother is interesting to me. I am a USA expat living in Australia. Soon our time will morph to a different location but our stories about our travels will always come pouring out of me. Hopefully, people, fans will find them interesting too. I hope the same for you too. If you are still up to sharing your life with us. 😉

  4. The US is kind of exotic to me…? Although I have to admit it’s also a long way off our radar since it’s really and truly the opposite end of the earth. A little too exotic, perhaps 🙂 but my point is that what’s not exotic/too exotic for one is about right for another.

    I expect you’ll be busy and all that for a while and then you’ll have to muddle around a bit and see what works.

    • Thanks, Bronwyn. Sometimes I fall into that dreaded “America is the center of the universe” and I feel like there’s nothing interesting to say about it because obviously it’s all been done before and everyone has already read all they want to about it. I probably need to put on the same glasses that I did when we first moved to Germany and look for whats unique, valuable, memorable, interesting, and hilarious.. as well as WEIRD!

  5. I will thinking and praying that your move goes smoothly. I think all of the questions you posed would be excellent for the blog. I, of course, am very interested in your repatriation and how it really is. That may be me sooner than I really want (which is never, so it’s bound to happen). I think tips for the places you visited will be really useful too.
    Most important though is just drop a line so we can give you support and encourage no matter the circumstances. 🙂 Good luck!

    • Thanks, Jenny fur such a sweet note. I was so glad to hear that you can stay a little longer! Sorry I did not get to say that at the time I read it. I’m dreading the move back, though I am looking forward to a few things (Mexican food and customer service for starters). I would love to read about how others have gone through repatriation, so I guess that means I need to write about it :).

  6. yes, yes, yes, keep on writing! I too don’t comment very often, but I read. I need to see your words on a page… er screen. All you have to do is write what you do, what like, what you feel and we’ll all love it. Who cares about the tag line – change it!! Wishing you much love and strength and you get through the move to the unknown and try to readjust to live in the USA.

  7. My two+ cents – I think it would be great for you to write about your repatriation first…just continue your family story here, I think people will be interested – and then see where it goes, make clearer decisions/distinctions later. I’m also betting that wherever you settle, you’ll find similar things to write about…kid-friendly destinations, cheap food, hole-in-the-wall spots, tips, etc…to keep you busy for awhile! I also think that a lot of people in the US don’t see travel out of the country as an option, for financial and other reasons – and they end up saving for Disney or maybe Hawaii and call it good – when there’s lots of other creative and out-of-the-box, relatively inexpensive experiences that they could try for closer to home…. I think there could be a travel-writing niche in there somewhere for someone like you…. I guess all I’m saying is I think you’re readers will allow you plenty of time and space to meander through some varied writing topics for awhile so just flow with whatever comes!

  8. I just moved to Germany with my two little boys last month and I have to say that selfishly I mourn your imminent departure! When I got my fantastic job here I scoured the ex pat blogs and yours has been my all time favorite – your photos and pictures, all the places you have gone as a family with your three little boys…. it got me thinking – if you could do it, so could I! (My husband is still currently working in the US so we are experiencing a part of this solo). I would love for you to perhaps post more of your travels in Europe as well as your travel tips about how you were able to go so many places and how you managed it. You have been an inspiration for me in my move here. ALL the best with your move back to the US. We were there for 9 years before living in Germany for 4 years prior. As with all places, you will LOVE some things about being back “home” and miss others about here. I hope you continue this blog; your posts are always my favorite in my feedly. Good luck! Dawn PS if you have any blogs you could recommend to me, I would be very grateful!

    • Hi Dawn, it is always an encouragement to hear that I’ve been able to help readers like you in some small way. I never imagined four years ago that this blog would turn into a resource for other expats, but I love helping people so this has been one of the best perks for me personally. Thanks for letting me know about what you’d like to read. Sorry your husband is still in the US! I hope he’s able to join you very soon.

  9. I only just stumbled across your blog today and am starting to go through your archives. Wherever this move takes you, I hope you continue with this blog! We’re based in the U.S. ourselves, and even with limited PTO and astronomical plane tickets, we still make thrifty travel a priority. It’ll be a transition from being an expat to, well, figuring out the non-expat life again, but travel can still be a big part of your life! Looking forward to reading more about y’all’s adventures.

    • Thanks so much for your kind words. we are in the thick of that transition now, and no time for blogging :(. But, I have lots of posts in draft, and can’t wait to get back into writing. Love your blog name by the way – it’s how we’re feeling now!

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