#NomadicNordgrens January 2018 Travel Update / by Rachel Nordgren

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Every month, Hans and I send out a travel newsletter to update our friends and family about our European adventures. It has been a lovely way to keep in touch with family and friends back home, and stay connected to new friends as we make our way across the map.

Over the next few weeks, I'll be sharing some of those newsletters with you on the blog! If you'd like to read about our adventures in real time, you can check out our #NomadicNordgrens hashtag or sign up to receive our monthly updates right here.


Thank you so much for wanting to share in our nomadic adventures across Europe! We're incredibly grateful to have friends and family who are interested in our journey and want to follow along!

Every month, you can expect to see...

  • 4-7 photos (there's more in this one because we're making up for Nov. - Jan.)
  • Where we've been, where we are, & where we're headed next
  • The best thing we've eaten that month
  • The most interesting thing we've done or seen
  • A quick note from Hans & Rachel
  • An even quicker note from Banjo (his lack of opposable thumbs makes typing rather difficult)

Enjoy, friends!

1. We saw The Late Show with Stephen Colbert in NYC!
2. Banjo in his Queen Mary 2 "regalia" in Southampton.
3. Our dinner companions on the QM2; Erich, Emily, Ian, and Julie.
4. Our leased car, a Peugeot 308 SW we have named "Fleur."
5. We've fallen in love with classic British cream tea.

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1. Poppy, Jasper, and Banjo in Porlock
2. Reggie, Walton, and Banjo in Bath
3. Max, Mylo, and Banjo in Rushden
4. Oscar and Banjo in Ilmington
5. Lucy and Rachel in Cheddington

Where we have been: We started off in Kansas at the end of October. Since then, we've been to...

  • Vermillion, South Dakota
  • Chicago, Illinois
  • Indianapolis, Indiana
  • Frostburg, Maryland
  • New York, New York
  • The Queen Mary 2, The North Atlantic
  • Southampton, England
  • Quick jaunt to and from Dover to Calais to pick up our car
  • Rushden, England
  • Porlock, England (in the Exmoor National Park)
  • Cheddington, England
  • Bath, England
  • Ilmington, England (in the Cotswolds)
  • Honorable Mention to Oxford, where we took a delightful day trip

Where we are now: Le Vast, France (near the D-Day beaches!)

Where we are headed next: Laz, France (in the Brittany region of northwest France)

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Now, for one of our favorite subjects...FOOD.

So far in our travels, we've eaten really well. Banjo particularly enjoyed our time on the Queen Mary 2, because he got fresh chicken and bacon from the kitchens at every meal! We've also loved sharing meals with our housesitting "hosts" as well. We have been blessed by wonderful hospitality at every turn, and we're so grateful!

Hans' favorite meal: a venison burger at the Top Ship pub in Porlock
Rachel's favorite meal: fish + chips and cider at the Bottom Ship pub in Porlock Weir

1. The view of Porlock + the surrounding fields from one of our walks.
2. The "dreaming spires" of Oxford University.
3. Bletchley Park, home of the codebreakers during WWII.
4. Advent candles in St. Dubricius Church in Porlock.

When it comes to interesting things to see and do...our brains feel a bit like oversoaked sponges. There are simply TOO MANY amazing, significant, historic, stunningly gorgeous places to visit in one lifetime! It's impossible to pick favorites, but if we had to...

Hans' favorite: our long walks on the moors surrounding Porlock in Exmoor
Rachel's favorite: anything and everything to do with Oxford University

Most of all, we're really grateful that we're in a season of our lives where we can travel around Europe like this. This has been the thing at the top of our "Bucket List" since we got married, and (as some of you know) the last season of our lives definitely reminded us that we don't always have as much time as we think we do. We have been deeply thankful to have met such lovely people (and animals!) along the way, too.

There are lots of purposes to this trip, but these are the big ones...

  • Figure out where "home" is (what sort of place do we want to settle down in?)
  • Have adventures we'll still be talking about when we're 80
  • Reconnect with who we are as individuals and as a couple
  • See as much of Europe as we possibly can!
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And now, the reason you are REALLY here...a note from Banjo:

Uruope smellz funee sometimez. Der are lots of doggee bumz 2 sniff. I lik it when my hoomans take me 2 pubz. Lots of nise peeple huv pet me and geeven me treets. Dey call me a purdy doggee and my hoomans say "thank you" like dey made me or sumthing. I miss my freends Randee and Oloover from the beeg boat. I doont huv 2 weer a leesh as much and dats nise. My hoomans doont let me sleeps on der bed anymoor. Boo.


It's terrific fun to relive our adventures! Hans and I keep pinching ourselves...how crazy is it that this is our life? Traveling Europe together with our dog in tow? We're so grateful for the ability and opportunity to travel, and see this part of the world that we've been in love with from afar for so long. We are determined to make the most of our time here before heading back to the States in December.

What do YOU think are some of the purposes of travel? Let's talk in the comments!