We picked up wanderlust some six years ago when we were traveling to Australia. There's no way we'll see all the countries in the world during our lifetime, but there's a strong chance we'll succeed in seeing all of Europe's. Humans often focus on wrong things. Our apartment could burn down, but we would move on. Material things are not that important. It's important that we have each other. But we are lucky enough that our fundamental needs have been met at this point in time so we have some space to pursue our desires.
I wasn't writing for a while since we were away from home for a month and a half. I was called to an off-site in Panama and an on-site in New York was planned to be soon after. We chose to take our holidays in between so we didn't have to do two transatlantic flights. Planes are leaving a substantial carbon footprint as is. We saw a fair chunk of Mexico and Caribbean as well. The trip was long and enjoyable, but I can say Aegean islands do beat the Caribbean in terms of what you can see. It's hard to pack a lot in limited time, and the cultural sites, which we prefer to visit, are more tightly packed in the former.
As for the nature, Yucatan peninsula is full of cenotes that are a sight to be seen. The time we spent in Mexico was the top experience of our journey. It had some nice natural and historical sites. From ancient Mayan ruins, to reefs and groundwater pools.
Our first flight was from Dublin to Madrid, for a long layover towards Panama City. We saw the Panama canal and the city itself. The work was exhausting, trying to get a new feature off the ground within a very tight deadline is always hard, but I got to see people I hadn't seen in a while. For Panama we also opted to get vaccinated. Our bodies are not really used to the conditions there. The vaccination went well and some protections we took (DTP, Hep A and Typhoid) will last a long time. This will be useful for us in the future.
After Panama, we went to Cancún. It was a mixture of nature and history. We saw the city itself because we had accommodation near the center. It's not a very walkable city, and we're not car people, but it does have good public transport. We jumped off to some guided tours towards Chichén Itzá and Tulum. We admired the Mayan architecture and took a dip in the sea and some sinkholes, which made me want to start a scuba course one day.
After Cancún, we went to Orlando as our jumping off point to the islands. We had some mean tostadas over there that we immediately tried to replicate back home. Those tostadas and the Colombian empanadas we had in Panama were two food items that we enjoyed the most. The rest of our culinary experience ranged from average to sadly subpar, and left us with the impression that vegan scene in North America is just not that developed yet. The highlight in Orlando was the Universal Studios amusement park. We managed to go to all the adrenaline rides that we wanted.
The Caribbean islands/territories/countries we visited from Orlando were the US Virgin Islands, Saint Martin (both French and Dutch parts), Antigua and Barbuda, Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico. The culture over there is diverse and influenced by the previous colonialism era and dramatic historical overturns. We enjoyed some historical sites and the cities themselves. It was a long round trip that took us back to Orlando again.
Back in Orlando, we decided to stay for a few days before traveling for the New York on-site. The US is still expensive as is, but Orlando is cheaper than New York. We went to see the Kennedy Space Center and all the US space program exhibitions. We got to fondle a moon rock sample. We did miss an actual rocket launch, because it got postponed so many times. Eventually we packed our bags (that were not many because we always travel light) and flew to New York.
In New York it was the usual on-site work, the combination of rooftop bars that the company usually goes for and an evening of personal time that we used to see the Edge skydeck and Manhattan from a higher vantage point. By then we were getting homesick and were looking forward to going back to Dublin.
Those first days at home were us just trying to catch up, wash all our clothes, get things in order. I had my hair cut a bit, installed a bug net on the balcony. We were getting ready to spend a summer at home. As luck would have it, less than two weeks after we came back, I got laid off together with around a third of the company. I really strive not to obsess over things I can't control. After all, the job market situation is very bad recently, especially in IT. Layoffs are happening all over the world.
Right now I'm out there on the job market, as well as doing some personal stuff. Losing a job really messes with one's head. Looking for a job is not helping it. Constant impostor syndrome, questioning self-worth, being worried all the time. I feel like this is not talked about enough. Life goes on, really. Time stops for nobody.
P.S. While I was writing this, my citizenship application got approved so I guess there's some more bureaucracy in that department. Time indeed does not stop for anybody and tends to be very turbulent. :)