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Announcement: Changes to the Plan

murphmans reveal changes to travel plans for year two

We’ve been hinting here and there that our plans for year two of travel have changed.

In our last post, we mentioned how the threat of terror–the potential danger of places we’d intended to visit– made us reconsider our travel plans. But this isn’t what changed our plans. We considered it, but it didn’t derail us.

What it did do is perhaps make us less eager to force a trip to places where pieces weren’t falling in place smoothly, and people were recommending caution. We can’t really know the full impact, but we suspect it’s rather low.

Instead, the mere fact that planning was becoming difficult was enough to make us doubt. Housesits in Africa were slim, timing and logistics for visiting contacts were complicated, and workaways were not accepting volunteers during the weeks that we wanted to be in particular countries. Not to mention the fact that travel in Africa was looking to be very expensive.

So, we stepped back and considered a change of plans. On a whim, we applied to a random house sit that caught our eye. And the rest (as we say in the video) is history!


Anyone up for visiting us now?!

How We Packed for a Year in Europe

how we packed for a year-long trip to europe// helpful video with lots of travel tips

We have had lots of people asking how we packed for a year-long trip to Europe.  The short answer is: we each took one pack and one smaller bag, and we did lots of research on what to put in them.

The long answer… well, I could talk for about five minutes just on how we arranged our bags. Which I did. In this video.


The Murphmans Fly to Europe!

And… we’re here! (London, that is.) After several weeks of constant travel–which you can always follow along real-time via Instagram and Snapchat!–we are semi-settled in one place and back to blogging. We have lots of stories to share and are working on new ways to share them.

This week we’ll be trying to play catch up so we’re dumping a lot of posts at once. And you’re even getting the pleasure of multiple videos 🙂 Hope you don’t mind! We’re always working on improving those random videos, but as Tyler has been pushing me.. “finished is more important than perfect!”

This video is a condensed look at our flight(s) to Europe. The trip was relatively uneventful, even with a couple delays thrown in there. We were caught in the middle of being immensely excited and in a surreal fog. The departure from Philadelphia was a rush of goodbyes and catching trains and realizing we had to check the bags we’d planned to carry on. We didn’t end up loving our experience with Iceland Air, and probably won’t fly with them again, but we had plenty of chocolate and granola bars to keep us happy. And 16+ hours later, we made it safe and sound, with our own little camper van in the garden to make our home.

featured photo from modern hepburn

Sleep/Eat/Shop: Road Trip from Seattle to Detroit

So here’s our second half of the trip! If you want to see the first half– Anchorage to Seattle– check it out here!

No one can deny the beauty of the mountains as you come down through Alaska, the Yukon, and British Columbia. However, as the blanket of terrain smoothed out and the mountains were pushed down to hills and then plains, we began to remember the love we had for the Midwest and corn fields and grasslands. We say it all the time, but it’s true– we leave a piece of our hearts every place we’ve lived.

But for now.. across to Detroit!

missoula cityline

Missoula, Montana

sleep– this hotel is exactly what you’d picture for montana– a huge wooden lodge// we see this place every time we drive through and haven’t stayed but admire it from afar// i did some research for you all and it turns out this hotel is as fun inside as out! hot tubs and trees. need i say more.

eat– this locally famous ice cream shop is located at the edge of a neighborhood and looks like the classic small town hang-out// make sure you get here early or budget plenty of time because the line can be long// the prices are reasonable and the flavors varied (my suggestion? the mexican chocolate)

shop- again, we were in power-through-driving-mode, and we literally couldn’t fit another thing in our car or mini trailer, so we didn’t shop here// but if we were to do any purchasing, i’d recommend Montana as the right place to scrounge for the perfect antique and vintage home decor

traverse city

Traverse City, Michigan

sleep– we didn’t stay in a place with four walls in this city, so i did my research to pick the perfect spot to recommend// if we ever return i will certainly be booking a stay for ourselves in this charming b&b// this stone cottage is the quintessential old small town home that we love to ogle when driving through new cities

eat– this place is a classic and my college roommate (a michigander) even had their pies as her wedding dessert// we would recommend sticking to their pies though.. from pot pie to apple pie their baked goods are top notch, but the sandwiches and soups are slightly missing the mark in our opinion// we also were delighted to find they had gluten-free pies that we could purchase as a gift for gluten-sensitive family members

shop– this shop has a little bit of everything from home decor to clothing// it’s in a newly renovated warehouse-turned-shopping-district near downtown, a mix of industrial and earthy// reminiscent of anthropologie, the shop offers eclectic wares with little gifts perfect for anyone// and there are both a coffee shop and flower shop right next door to enhance the experience 🙂

detroit cityline

Detroit, Michigan

sleep– this hotel is the place to stay for a great view of downtown// it’s just undergone a $30M (!!) renovation, so it’s swanky and up-to-date// unfortunately, that means that there are occasionally long lines and slow service, but if you avoid staying during a big event in the city, we think you’ll be just fine// there is restaurant on the top floor if you are the type to stay in, but as always we recommend heading out for more local flavor

eat– this place comes highly recommended to us and we’re passing the advice on to you// we will be trying it ourselves tomorrow when we finally end our cross-country move in detroit// everything we’ve heard and read about this restaurant makes it sound right up our alley.. i knoooow tyler will be getting the mac and cheese and i am already being tempted by the brussel sprouts

shop– this is the shop for all the ladies out there looking for a custom designed handbag// it may be founded and owned by one of our own #fulldisclosure but i have done the daily wear test on multiple products and can guarantee them myself// plus this is a business that gives back to its community in a big way so you can feel extra confident about your investment// if you’re lucky enough to be in town the one weekend of the month that the storefront is open, check out the brick-and-mortar of this largely online business// otherwise, find your perfect handbag on the site linked above

image missoula/traverse city/detroit

We doubt that many of you will be taking our exact road trip anytime soon, but next time you’re driving anywhere between Anchorage and Detroit, we hope you’ll check some of these places out! Let us know if you do, and if there are any places you think we missed be sure to comment on those as well!

Sleep/Eat/Shop: Road Trip from Anchorage to Seattle

It took us just three and a half days to drive between these two cities. We had everything we owed– plus three adults!– in the car and trailer pictured above. It was a tight fit and long, long days of constant driving. Would we recommend a slower pace, allowing for leisurely sight-seeing? Yes. Yes, we would. Either way though, you have to stop and sleep, eat, and maybe even shop somewhere! Here are some of the bigger cities on the first half of our trip, and our top recommendations for places you should sleep, eat, and shop!


Roadtrip Route: AK to MI

So you can keep up with us in spirit, here is the route we’re currently driving. We have budgeted about ten days for the trip, which is shaving off a good four or five days from our trip up last summer!

The drive down the Alcan (the Alaska Canada Highway) is gorgeous and remote. It’s a popular road trip route for those who are looking for pristine nature views… and a little bit of roughing it. There are very few places to stop and eat/sleep/refuel, but you get to see plenty of wildlife and enjoy the simplicity of a two lane highway under constant re-construction 😉  We saw mostly semi trucks and RVs last year, and we expect similar vehicles to share the road this summer.

After heading straight down on the Alcan, we’ll hang a sharp left and start across the mighty West and cross off more nearly-empty states. This land lies in stark contrast to the mountainous Canadian portion of our road trip. While we found that Montana does rival Alaska in some of its views, for the most part our week driving through the West is going to be flat and dusty. Lots of farmland and a continuation of scarce amenities. We’ll do a bit of a detour north to see a tiny Minnesotan town (and more importantly, a new “nephew” and his parents) and then we’ll head down to Michigan, our final stop. The map shows us cutting through the Upper Peninsula in Michigan, but we may also change our route to hit up Chicago and then drive around the bottom of the lake to visit West Michigan on our way to Detroit.

Check back later this week to see our recommendations of places to sleep, eat, and shop in the major cities along our route!