Heidelberg After Dark & Our (BIG) Decision

Heidelberg After Dark & Our (BIG) Decision

Heidelberg, Germany - The Overseas Escape-14

The temperature gauge flashed 34C (93F) on my way to work this morning while hot air blew from the vents. Heidelberg does cobble stone and christmas markets well, heatwaves though, not so much! It’s been absolutely boiling in Heidelberg this summer with temperatures in the 90s more often than not. Dan and I have been going to the local pool frequently and trying in vain to find the cold spots in the deep end. There’s literally no reprieve with the lack of air conditioning at my gym, office or apartment. In desperation, I googled ‘how to stay cool without air conditioning’ and the only resolution that seems to work is to channel my inner Cleopatra and drape washcloths all over myself in front of our one precious fan. (This is really what the Egyptians did!) With my abnormal disdain for the sun, all my pictures of the city recently have been from the evening, where we all huddle around the Neckar river and cross our fingers for a breeze. Of course, the city is still beautiful under the lingering humidity, and especially dazzling during the big firework show that happens 3 times each summer. 

Heidelberg, Germany - The Overseas Escape-33

The heat combined with our repatriation to-do list (like trying to sell everything with a funny plug) has been, to say the least, consuming. But, to come totally clean, it’s been a looming life decision that has occupied my thoughts most. After weeks of procrastinating, Dan and I finally sealed the deal this afternoon and bought our tickets… 

Instead of going back to the US and starting jobs right away, we’re going to go backpacking in Southeast Asia for two months! After returning to DC for a few weeks we’re going to stuff our lives in a few book bags and head off to Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, Malaysia and Indonesia with plans to return in mid-October, just in time for our friends‘ wedding!  

As a career-oriented ENTJ married to a career-oriented consultant, this kind of long-term travel break took a lot of thought and consideration. It totally goes against the DC mindset that was ingrained in us for so long. After living here in Europe though, we realized that jetting off to somewhere beautiful and exciting for more than a week is in no way irresponsible. More than anything, as adults we deserve a few weeks of relaxation or adventure every once in awhile. So that’s what we’re going to do – just go, because we want to. I swear, when I was sitting in bumper to bumper traffic in DC 3 years ago, I never dreamed that a trip like this would ever be in the cards for me. I’m not going to shower you with quotes about YOLOing but I will say, doing something out of the ordinary (whether it be backpacking for 2 months or pitching a tent and going camping in your backyard) is what makes life interesting and memorable. And looking back years from now on today, that’s all that we can hope for, right?

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  • Oh wow that’s going to be quite the adventure. Good luck to you guys. Looking forward to the posts!

    • Thanks so much, Mersad! It’s going to be quite the adventure. It’s a shame that I was never able to make it to your neck of the woods before leaving Europe but that’s always a reason to come back! πŸ™‚

  • Molly Rohal

    That’s amazing. Can’t wait to read about your trip.

  • Wow, y’all are so incredible!!! I hope you have the best time ever! Sounds like you are enjoying this special time in your lives!

    xo Mary-Katherine

  • Yay for making decisions and going on an epic trip! Being between jobs/plans is a great time to squeeze in some travel!

    We’re currently in the middle of trying to figure out what our plan is next (and can’t really make any travel plans until we get settled away wherever we’re going), so I know how exciting and relieving the decision probably was, but also how stressful changes can be!

    Enjoy your trip!

  • So jealous! SE Asia is the top of my list. I can’t wait to read about all of your adventures.

    When it comes to the heat after spending two years in the middle of South America (Paraguay) for the Peace Corps I became a pro at cooling myself down with out AC. A good fan is key, but one thing I found to really work is putting an ice pack on the back of my neck and my feet in a bucket of cold water! No joke, that is the only way I survived the 100+ days.

  • Awesome! If you have a chance you should also pop over to Laos. I visited Vientiane several years ago and did a kayaking trip down the Mekong (with the company Green Discovery Laos). It was seriously awesome. I also stayed in the Chanthapanya Hotel, which is probably one of the nicest hotels I’ve ever stayed in. If it is still around you should check it out!

  • That is amazing! What a wonderful decision y’all came to! Have a fantastic time and I can’t wait to read all about it.


  • So glad that you guys finally went ahead and booked your flights! πŸ™‚ I’ll be trying to live vicariously through all the fun you guys will have while I work on my thesis! πŸ˜‰

  • That’s awesome!!! It is so true – you have to take time and enjoy life, which is something that I too learned a lot about while living in Europe! You won’t regret not jumping right into work and moving back, but you might regret not taking the opportunity to backpack through Asia when you had the chance. Good luck, and looking forward to following your next adventure!

  • emilygrapes

    Your night shots are so pretty. I love the lights reflecting off the water. I think that is the best decision ever to go travel around Asia while you still can!! What an amazing adventure that’ll be!! It might be super duper humid during those months, (I know those are the most humid for Japan) so my tip is to plan accordingly for that but have an amazing time!!

  • Ahhhh this is soooo exciting! I think you guys made a great decision because the “work life” will always be there. I seriously can’t wait to follow your adventures!

  • I just came across your blog and I am loving it. I think travel is always a good idea. You will have an awesome time and I am excited to see your photos. Thailand is slowly creeping up my list of places to see, and eat. πŸ˜‰

  • Ahhh so exciting! Can’t wait to read your take on SE Asia and of course see your beautiful pictures! I’m hoping to make it there next year when my parents go back to visit they were both born and raised in Vietnam), they went last year but I couldn’t go, boo! PS firework shots on fleek! πŸ˜›

  • Excellent decision!! While I don’t foresee us in a similar situation anytime soon, if I was relocated I would do EXACTLY the same thing! I get a sabbatical for work next year with 3 weeks off and we’re trying to plan something incredible. It’s traumatizing to realize that I have no idea when I’ll ever have another 3 weeks completely free until retirement :-

  • Chelsea Zinck

    That’s really exciting, and I can’t wait to read about your adventures! I can totally feel your pain with the heat..two summers ago we were in Vienna with 95 degree temps and no air. Just. plain. brutal.

  • Oooh so exciting!!! What an amazing decision. Ooooh and I have so, so many tips for Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam…let me know if you want them and I’ll email you! πŸ™‚ Congrats again!! Also, I’ve also been meltinnnng in Europe this summer. Luckily we’re on the coast now, but Prague was just boiling!

  • Sooooooooo excited for you!! This is incredibly awesome and I can’t wait to see how it unfolds!! Hugs and high fives!!

  • #YOLO.

    Also, come visit me when you’re back for some wine-y goodness πŸ™‚

  • Beautiful pictures – and a great decision, in my opinion! Not at all irresponsible – what could be more responsible than taking your own life in the direction that will bring you most fulfilment? I travelled to Bangkok and Siem Reap recently so can recommend some hotels if that helps. I personally adored Siem Reap, not just because of Angkor Wat but because it’s also a lovely town in itself, so I’d recommend staying there for as long as you possibly can. Especially if you like temples!

  • Great photos- and decision! I spent a month in Koh Samui and Bangkok and loved every second of it. For Thailand, and probably all of SE Asia- don’t waste your money on expensive hotels! The daily cost of living is sooo cheap, that I’d definitely recommend a cheaper hotel- you can spread your trip out over such a longer time period! I’ve been dying to go back to Thailand and SE Asia in general. Have such a terrific trip!

  • Great (big) decision! I’m going to South East Asia in November so look forward to seeing your suggestions πŸ™‚

  • Oh my gosh!!! I can’t tell you how excited I am for you! And for your photos! πŸ™‚

  • That’ll be sooooo much fun!!!! I can’t wait to read all about it! And the only thing getting me through this Texas summer is air conditioning, I can only imagine the heat without it!

  • Wow, your backpacking adventure sounds like so much fun! Can’t wait to hear about your experiences!

  • Every time you post pictures of Heidelberg it makes me want to cry but not because i’m sad (although I am a bit) but it makes completely nostalgic. I grew up in Heidelberg until I was 16 years old and I moved away about 5 years ago — the last time I went back was in 2012 and I have plans to go back next summer! I go to your blog sometimes when I just feel like I need a reminder of how perfect a city can be and how grateful I am to have grown up in such a beautiful place. <3

  • Lyana

    Backpacking southeast Asia sounds so exciting! I definitely want to still be able to take trips like that while I’m working, listening to your perspective on living life is refreshing.

  • Congratulations on your big decision! I am SO looking forward to reading about and seeing pictures of your trip to Asia!

  • I will have to share this post with my boyfriend! Show him that you can absolutely be career minded and make these sort of trips happen. Congratulation on your decision, and I can’t wait to read about your travels!

    • Ha! I totally know the mindset that your boyfriend has… I married to someone just like him! It takes some time but I swear he’ll warm up to it eventually! it really helps if you can find employment abroad because that makes the whole situation much easier. πŸ˜€

  • emi

    can’t wait to follow this next adventure!!

    xo welltraveledwife.com

    • Thanks love! Yes I’m so excited to share our travels as well! You keep it up over here in Europe because I’m loving your posts!

  • Your pictures (and those fireworks) are beautiful!

    Backpacking through SE Asia sounds like a dream. I’m excited to see your future posts about it! If everything works out, I’m going to volunteer in Vietnam in December for a month, so I’m excited to see your posts about Vietnam in particular!


    • Oh, that’s so awesome! Which philanthropy are you volunteering with? I’m actually planning to volunteer in Cambodia while we are there. πŸ˜€

  • I’m right there with you, Margo. Surviving this European heat wave in 90+ degree temperatures without A/C has been challenging to say the least. The rain finally arrived in Zurich yesterday, and I’ve never been so happy for the dreary, cool weather πŸ™‚ Have a great time in SE Asia. I can’t wait to see the photos.

    • Yes- we are so excited because today it seems like a hurricane outside and the wind feels wonderful after all the heat. I’m not sure if you guys are getting the same weather? And yes! We are so pumped for our trip and I can’t wait to share our journey! πŸ˜€

  • I love your fireworks pictures! And what an exciting decision – sounds like a great one for you both though. Can’t wait to follow along the adventures! xxx

    • Thanks, dear! If you want to try fireworks pictures you should take a look at Amanda’s (from living in another language) tutorial all about how to do it… I followed it along exactly and ended up with these pictures. Thanks for the support for our trip! We can’t wait!

  • The slow pace

    You are BRAVE!!! I admire your decision, we have always thought about changing our lives but never gor the courage to do so… Looking forward to all your posts and your travels… this is going to be the overseas escape more than ever!

    • Ha! You know, I never really thought about it that way until you said it just now… This really is an overseas escape. I guess it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy? πŸ˜€

  • Oh my goodness! I can’t wait to follow your adventures through SEAsia! It’s going to be amazing!

  • That is AWESOME!! I’m so happy for you guys! Best decision ever, seriously!! I couldn’t possibly jump more in your bandwagon! (did that sentence even make sense??) Traveling is so essential to who we are and what we learn in life. Plus, Southeast Asia is going to be such a completely different experience from anything you’ve seen or done in Europe! I’m so excited to follow along with your adventures! I totally agree – we all need to make crazy decisions like that, even if they are out of our comfort zone! Hence my decision to live in Taiwan for 4 months, haha! You guys will have a BLAST! Cheers πŸ™‚

    PS: fireworks pictures are AWESOME!

    • Yay! Yes we are so excited as well! But I can’t say it was the easiest decision whatsoever… I’m sure you felt the same way when you’re deciding if you wanted to go to Taiwan. You should hear what our parents have to say about us not going back to work! Ha!

      • Haha yes, I totally sympathize with the decision-making! Parents come around eventually, though πŸ˜‰ It’s certainly a tough decision, but I have no doubt you will feel it was the right one, especially after the trip. We live once and our lives should be full of adventures and doing things that make us nervous! πŸ™‚ And plus, this seems like the perfect moment for the trip since you’re not tied down to a house/work!

  • HandLuggageOnly

    OMG! You guys are gonna have such an amazing time!

    • Here’s an idea… Meet us in Bali for surf camp! That would be such a good blog material right? πŸ™‚

      • HandLuggageOnly

        Don’t tempt us, Margo! We are online booking our tickets as we speak! You will have such an awesome time! Can’t wait too see everything. Totally need surf camp. For sure! Neither of us can even skate board! :-/
        Lloyd & Yaya

  • I just got back from SE Asia! You’re about to have the most amazing time. I hope you’re pumped!

    • Thanks so much my dear! I’ll definitely be referencing your posts when planning of our trip! πŸ™‚ xo

  • ahhhh!! that’s fantastic news! so excited for you two and i hear ya on the yolo…thank you, europe, for giving that to us!!

    • When we moved here and we never realized how much Europe would change us. I’m sure you guys feel the exact same way! So here we are not going back to work the 9-to-5 and just running off to the South East Asia because we can. We’re like our own hybrid mini Europeans!

  • how exciting! you guys will have such a great time, and I think you’ll be happy you went out and had one more big adventure before officially heading back to the US. my only beef is that Taiwan is not on your itinerary :/ but if you decide to squeeze it in somewhere I’ll be happy to play tour guide πŸ˜‰

    • Ha! I really wish we could make it there as well. Unfortunately we are kind of limited in order to get back to this wedding… But of course this is a reason to return! I would also really love to see the Philippines but we don’t have time for that is either. Sad!

  • So exciting! I can’t wait to see your gorgeous photos that you’ll undoubtably take in Asia. If you end up in Japan for a bit let me know and I can point you in the right direction!

    • Thank you so much! Yes, I’ll be sure to reach out if we make it to Japan… Where do you live? πŸ™‚

      • I’m in the UK but speak Japanese and used to live over there. I’m a Japanese itinerary wizzard!

  • Ashleigh

    That first fireworks picture is stunning! It looks like it’s from a Disney film or something.

    Finding Everland

    • Yes! This was actually the first time I’ve ever taken fireworks pictures and I was surprised how well it worked out! If you want to take pictures like this one you should take a look at Amanda’s from living in another language tutorial on her blog. πŸ™‚

  • Julia

    Wow this is such amazing news! I know two guys who did a similar trip this year and they said it was absolutely incredible. Wishing you two the best of luck πŸ™‚



  • What an exciting new adventure for you two! Looking forward to following along and all the beautiful pictures that will come:)

  • Ah what a cool decision! Having travelled a bit over there, I know you won’t regret it for a second. Can’t wait to read all about it πŸ˜€

  • Congrats! PS: will you take the Doggie with you? (I always do) πŸ™‚

  • What an exciting decision Margo!! Can’t wait to see your Southeast Asia adventures on the blog! πŸ˜€

  • What a fantastic adventure! I look forward to seeing the pictures of the places you travel to! If you have time in between packing and finishing everything up before you leave, we should get together.

    • Oh man, sorry I missed you guys! We’re back in DC now preparing for our trip! Best wishes to you and dear Germany! πŸ˜€