Our First Trip

Slow Travel Espinozas

When Amanda and I were dating we knew early on that we would one day be married. We loved spending every minute of time together and our personalities just clicked. Both of us were looking forward to marriage and didn’t want to waste time in a relationship that wasn’t headed that direction. In my youthful exuberance I told her “God says to come boldly before his throne; let’s pray and fast for a week and ask God if we should get married!” Thankfully my bold statements didn’t scare her off and we kept going down the road toward engagement and marriage.

Waiting to plan

There was a time before we were engaged that Amanda stayed away from wedding magazines. She’s a planner and couldn’t wait to start into the details of planning our wedding, but we decided that doing so before we were engaged would be a distraction while we were both finishing our university degrees.

Part of our engagement story is that while we were out at a fancy restaurant and right before dessert I arranged for the wait staff to bring a box to Amanda (Amanda calls it a t-shirt box when she tells the story). The box had wedding magazines in it. While she opened the box I walked around the table and got on one knee. She said ‘yes’ and it was finally time to plan our wedding!

Just like holding back on planning our wedding we tried to hold back on planning a trip until it was time to travel. We felt planning too much would be a distraction. Because we want our travel lifestyle to be sustainable we didn’t want to travel until the trip was prepaid in cash, we were out of debt, and the house was sold. We had a partial plan last fall, but with the kitchen fire that plan went up in smoke.

Slow travel and digital tentmaking

When we talk to people about the concept of slow travel as a family and digital tentmaking whoever we are talking to will inevitably ask “So, where are you going?”

Normally we would smirk and shrug then say we didn’t know. We’d say “wherever the Lord leads” or we would list some places that we would like to visit to give an answer, but the reality was that we weren’t sure. We don’t know anyone who does exactly what we are trying to do so there wasn’t a model to make decisions by.

How we decided

Amanda muses that she thought when it was time to plan the trip God would let us know where to go. Maybe we both expected to be presented with a t-shirt box containing travel brochures of the places we were supposed to go.

But that didn’t really happen and we found it very difficult to decide on a destination. It’s been years since Amanda and I have traveled internationally together or as a family. I describe our situation to a starving person who opens doors to a grand buffet. The starving person would be overwhelmed by all of the options and the richness of the food. Since we can go almost anywhere in the world it has become a grand buffet waiting to be devoured.

We finally decided on an itinerary by choosing a travel theme.

Our theme is urban living. That’s it. We want to live urban in large cities in Europe. We want to exit without a car, use public transportation, and live in a smaller space. Plus, this first trip will help us know if we really are made for a travel lifestyle or if this is a huge mistake (we don’t think so).

The itinerary

We chose to use part of the proceeds of selling the house to fund our first trip. The house closed on a Friday, but didn’t fund until the following Monday. That gave us a weekend to plan and research. I have a trip coming up in June so we limited our planning to April and May.

In four days we will depart for eight weeks in Europe. One week in London, three weeks in Berlin, and four weeks in Paris.



If Amanda could only pick one city in the world to visit it would be London. She’s read every Jane Austen novel and watched a ton of BBC. Soaking up the streets of London is a dream come true. We found inexpensive tickets flying into London and we feel it’s a good place to get acclimated on this first trip.



After London we fly to Berlin. I’ve heard great things about the German capital from other freelancers who travel. Since this is a longer stay it will be less tourist events and more living. I’ll work and the kids will homeschool. I’ve already made a connection with a co-working space where I can work. Amanda has researched a ton of kid friendly places.



When I first visited Paris 12 years ago I knew I wanted to return for a longer time. And for 10 years of marriage I’ve promised Amanda that I’d take her there. Four weeks in Paris seems like enough time to really get to know the city. We are staying in the Marais district which is in the 3rd Arrondissement. It is a 13 minute walk from our door to the front of Notre Dame.

This will be our first taste of slow travel as a family, digital tentmaking, and urban living. We are beyond excited to go see and taste what the world has to offer!

About Daniel

I'm a web developer, a native Texan, avid reader, a wanna be polyglot and a traveler. Follow Daniel on Twitter @d_espi or on Google+

11 Responses to Our First Trip

  1. Marla Taviano March 21, 2014 at 12:29 pm #

    So fun! And so soon! Can’t wait to read your posts from overseas!

    • Daniel March 25, 2014 at 9:06 am #

      Thanks Marla!

      • Marla Taviano April 17, 2014 at 10:28 pm #

        Will you guys be blogging at all while you’re gone? Hope it’s going well!!

        • Amanda Espinoza April 18, 2014 at 1:54 am #

          Thank you, Marla! We’ve been spending out a weekly-ish newsletter. I’ll forward you the latest one with links to old ones.

          And YES we need to blog. And update Flickr. ALL THE THINGS! :)

  2. Brian Purkiss March 21, 2014 at 10:59 pm #

    That’s pretty exciting stuff!

    I would highly recommend checking out German castles if you can work it in. They are quite the experience.

    • Daniel March 22, 2014 at 12:34 am #

      Thanks Brian! We will give the castles a shot.

  3. Erica Maier March 22, 2014 at 11:03 am #

    SO SO SO excited for you guys! You are blazing an unprecedented trail. I can’t wait to follow your adventures!

  4. Donetta Dalman March 24, 2014 at 7:28 pm #

    Can’t wait to read about your adventures there! This is definitely something James and I hope to do one day!! :)

    • Daniel March 25, 2014 at 9:07 am #

      Thanks for all of your and James’ encouragement!


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