Greetings from Asheville, N.C. The year 2022 was one for the record books for the Fledgling Flâneurs. We had such a great time being nomads that we are preparing to head back out for more slow travel in 2023. We are returning to Florence, Italy, for February, followed by Porto and Lisbon, Portugal for March and April. From there, we plan to visit Morocco for a few days, then go on to Victoria, British Columbia (Canada) for May, then Boulder, Colorado for the summer. It’s been amazing to reflect back on 2022, see all the photos, think about all the people and places we got to see and wonder what it all means.

Overall, the year went about as smoothly as we could have dared to hope. There were no huge adverse surprises or jams that we couldn’t handle. All the pre-planning paid off in spades. This lifestyle is becoming second nature, and I love that feeling. I’m fine with not knowing where we will be at this time next year. Home truly is wherever we are together.

I guess you could say we are about to begin our sophomore year of multi-national flânerie. For actual birds, the stages after “fledgling” are apparently “juvenile” and “sub adult.” I think we may qualify for the nomenclature, but SubAdultFlâ just doesn’t roll trippingly off the tongue.

We are going to make a few changes for 2023, based on lessons learned in 2022. For one thing, we are dropping our international health care policy. Health care in Europe is accessible and affordable, so we feel comfortable self-insuring while we are there.

The contrast between the health systems in the U.S. and Europe continues to astound us. If you are a regular reader, you know that we have had an international health care policy with Cigna, with coverage (supposedly) available worldwide. When we arrived here in Asheville in November, we tried to find a doctor who could see each of us for a routine check-up and prescription refill, but there were none in the Cigna network that were available. Steve called one practice and was offered an appointment in December. Of 2023.

Fortunately, we were eligible to get an Obamacare plan through special enrollment, so I notified Cigna that we were dropping their plan and signed up for an Obamacare plan in North Carolina. Despite following Cigna’s procedures for cancelling their plan, they have continued to charge monthly premiums to my credit card, so I’m going to have to fight with them tomorrow. Anyhoo, with the new local plan in hand, I was able to find exactly one physician who could see us, on different days, during the two-month period we are here … in a town over 30 miles south of Asheville. We’ll see what happens when we return to the U.S. in early June. God bless Barack Obama, because we will qualify for another special enrollment then.

I’m going to travel lighter in 2023. We will be moving around more frequently, and the luggage gets easier to pack but doesn’t get easier to handle. I was able to “shop my closet” and make some substitutions when we visited our storage unit in Savannah in November. It’s thrilling to have some different clothes and shoes to wear, and to have fewer pieces overall. I have no idea when we will get back to Savannah, so this is it for the foreseeable future. We are also going to ditch the handful of kitchen utensils we thought we couldn’t live without. Turns out, we don’t cook much overseas.

I kept a small collection of our holiday stuff in a box in our car while it was stored in Savannah for nine months. That way, when we returned to the U.S. for Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s, we had our  ornaments for the Christmas tree, cookie decorating supplies, stockings and a few other familiar holiday items on hand. For years, we have bought Christmas tree ornaments when we travel, and we added about a dozen new ones in 2022. We will keep adding to the collection as we travel through 2023 and beyond.

Steve and I are hoping to find “our place” sometime this year. We expect that we will want an actual home base in the U.S. starting in 2024. However, if we are still undecided a year from now, we will probably just lease something, possibly back in Washington, D.C., and keep searching. Que sera, sera.