I Quit My Job To Take A Yearlong Honeymoon—& Here's What Happened

Photo: Courtesy of Kate Titus.
On May 24, 2014, my fiancé, Andy, and I got married in New York City. Seven days later, we hopped on a plane with two carry-on suitcases and two one-way tickets to Paris. We had just pressed pause on our careers, sublet our apartment, moved all of our things into storage. The only plan was to have no plans at all — and we ended up traveling for 394 days through 25 countries, stopping in nearly 100 destinations.

People always ask how we pulled it off, and the simple answer is that we just committed to the idea and we jumped. It was certainly scary, but more than that it was just so unknown. The idea of traveling and leaving my comfort zone for that long was so abstract that trying to wrap my head around it seemed impossible. But I find that like most of the scary things in life — starting or ending a relationship, changing jobs, or moving to a new city — the more daunting the first step, the more the rewarding the outcome. I’m very much on board with the idea that if your dreams don’t scare you, they aren’t big enough.

Andy and I definitely share this mentality. It’s one of the things that brought us together. We’re always scheming up ways to beat the system. How do we win at the game of life? That can mean a lot of different things to different people, but we’ve come to learn that, to us, it means owning and appreciating our time. We’re fortunate enough to have careers that we’re truly passionate about but that also makes it easy to get caught up in the hustle — especially in a place like New York. We have to remind ourselves that the reason we work so hard in the first place is to have the resources to live a richer, fuller life. In order to do so, you need to actually stop every once in a while and enjoy it.

The idea for the trip had been planted in our minds for years, and it was something that we talked and dreamed about often, but it wasn’t until we got engaged that things started to get real. Making it an extended honeymoon sounded like a perfect idea, and suddenly we had a departure date in mind, an actionable to-do list — and it didn’t all feel like a far-fetched dream. I was already working as a freelancer, with the idea that this trip might be on the horizon. We found a couple to sublet our apartment half-furnished and looked for a storage unit for the rest of our stuff. We were also in the midst of planning a wedding. That kept us so occupied that we were constantly in planning auto-pilot, checking boxes all the way until we set foot on that plane. Suddenly, we had no plans for what was next. We looked at each other as we took off and realized we were homeless, jobless, and plan-free for an entire year. It was perfect.

These are just a few of the reasons why we set out on this trip. Over the next few weeks, come along on this crazy journey to learn more about how we did it — packing, plotting, budgeting — and see some of the tens of thousands of photos we took along the way.

First stop, Paris, because the saying is true: It’s always a good idea.

Want to follow along on this great adventure? Check R29 every Saturday for the latest installment of the series!
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Photo: Courtesy of Kate Titus.
We started in Paris because it’s one of our favorite cities in the world, it’s a great entry point to Europe, and, well, it’s Paris. After our whirlwind year, it was nice to start somewhere familiar and have it feel truly leisurely. We stayed for two weeks, splitting our time between the neighborhoods of Saint-Germain, the border of Marais and Bastille, and Montmartre. We still wanted to pop by a few tourist attractions, but our main goal was to immerse ourselves in the local culture and neighborhoods, stroll through parks, and locate the absolute perfect croissant. Priorities in check.

No matter how many times I visit Paris, I always, and will always, want to have a picnic in front of the Eiffel Tower. It’s cliché — and I don’t care. It’s a strange, spectacular structure, and being that close to it is surreal. Plus, I get great joy out of drinking champagne in public spaces — I'm such an American! I love this picture because it was our first or second day in the city, and the reality of what we had just pulled off was setting in. We were exhausted, excited, and in a bit of shock and awe about it all.
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Photo: Courtesy of Kate Titus.
No Parisian picnic would be complete without a pastry. I live for these raspberry tarts you see on display in pretty much every other window in Paris. There’s a little custard between the buttery crust and this glorious layer of raspberries. I’ve had versions of this dessert that are covered in a sugary glaze. Incorrect. This version is piled high with fresh berries and has the perfect amount of sweetness.
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Photo: Courtesy of Kate Titus.
I’ve still never seen another city that has been built with such attention to detail — the doorknobs, the lampposts, the street signs. It a stunning citywide design system. This is a relatively mundane street corner, but I love the architecture, the balconies, the flower boxes, the white-and-green-striped awnings.
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Photo: Courtesy of Kate Titus.
A charming little side street in Saint-Germain. Paris has had a great bike-sharing program, Vélib’, for years. After many past failed attempts, because our American credit cards are incompatible with many kiosks in Europe, we almost gave up on renting bikes in Paris. It’s a long story about chip-and-pin technology…. But this trip, we beat the system by purchasing credits on Vélib’s website and using an access code at the kiosk. We zipped across the city from Marais to Canal Saint-Martin.
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Photo: Courtesy of Kate Titus.
I was so excited that we came upon the Promenade Plantée on this trip. I didn’t even know it existed! It’s basically the original High Line. Inaugurated in 1993, it was the world’s first elevated park built on top of old railway tracks. The path is covered in gardens with plenty of nooks to lounge in and provides an impressive bird’s eye view of the city streets below. At one point, we even found ourselves weaving through modern apartment buildings and ended up at a lush little park with sunbathers, children playing tag, and couples strolling through rose gardens.
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Photo: Courtesy of Kate Titus.
This is me, appreciating some wise words along the Promenade Plantée.
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Photo: Courtesy of Kate Titus.
The Musée Rodin is one of my favorite places in Paris, and is somewhere I stop nearly every time I visit. It houses the work of French sculptor Auguste Rodin in an 18th-century mansion where the artist once lived and worked. His larger pieces are scattered throughout the surrounding gardens and among the expansive lawn and pond in the back. Unlike many of the massive museums in Paris, this one is like a little jewel box. Beautiful light pours into the rooms and casts shadows of old windowpanes onto the sculptures. It’s as intimate as viewing art can get, as if the artist himself invited you over to his home.

When we visited, the museum was also hosting a Robert Mapplethorpe exhibit. It was a perfect complement to the work of Rodin — two great masters of the human form.
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Photo: Courtesy of Kate Titus.
I finally made it into Sainte-Chapelle and, yeah…wow! On previous attempts, it had been undergoing restoration, closed, or had a line stretching two blocks outside. The 13th-century church is world-famous for its 6,458 square feet of stained-glass windows. It’s absolutely breathtaking.
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Photo: Courtesy of Kate Titus.
The fine art of park lounging.
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Photo: Courtesy of Kate Titus.
Montmartre is one of my favorite neighborhoods in Paris. Parts of it are certainly contrived now and catering to tourism, but there are so many side streets and pockets that have authentic charm. I love its cobblestone streets, steep and winding roads, and colorful buildings. It’s like a quaint little village sitting on top of a bustling metropolis. You can almost still imagine the bohemian life on the streets there in the 19th century.
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Photo: Courtesy of Kate Titus.
We came across this apartment on Airbnb — our savior. It was located on the top floor of an old building in Montmartre with a balcony and views of the Eiffel Tower on one side and the Sacré-Coeur on the other. It was more money than we planned to spend on housing, but every once in a while we made an exception. If you can’t tell by this pic, it was pretty damn dreamy.
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Photo: Courtesy of Kate Titus.
The view from the other side of the apartment. Montmartre is famously perched upon a hill in Paris, so it felt like we were floating above the city. Every night, the sun would set, the city lights were turned on, and we had a front-row seat to the Eiffel Tower sparkling in the distance. It amazed me that these were the everyday views for the locals. When I look out my window in the East Village, I just see that guy watching TV in his underpants in the building behind us.
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Photo: Courtesy of Kate Titus.
This is one of my favorite pictures from our time in Paris. It really sums out what we spent most of our time doing — relaxing, observing, and, yes, eating pastries. We had biked up to Canal Saint-Martin to check out the scene. It’s a trendy neighborhood with many creative professionals full of cafes, bars, and shops — Brooklyn-esque. Here we’re sampling the pistachio chocolate snail from the famous bakery Du Pain et des Idées. It was certainly good, but the grand-prize winner of bakeries, in my humble opinion, was Pierre Hermé. Its croissant almost made me weep, and its macarons were better than the highly acclaimed Ladurée.
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Photo: Courtesy of Kate Titus.
A night shot from our bedroom window of the top of the Sacré-Coeur peeking out.
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Photo: Courtesy of Kate Titus.
We ended up looping back around to France months after we left Paris. My parents, aunt, and mother-in-law met us in Nice for a 10-day journey through the south of France. It was one of my favorite chapters in all of our travels. Getting to share a slice of this trip with the people we love was incomparable. But instead of Andy and me cruising through the rolling hills of Provence in a vintage European sports car, like I had daydreamed of many a time, we hit the streets in a rental minivan manned by my dad — a small price to pay.
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Photo: Courtesy of Kate Titus.
An aerial shot of the beachfront in Nice from Parc du Château. And, yes, the water is really that color. I don’t quite understand it, but the water seemed almost opaque to me, like swimming in turquoise milk. Is that gross? It wasn’t. It was spectacular.
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Photo: Courtesy of Kate Titus.
Place Massena is the main square in Nice and intersects the Old and New Towns. We caught it at sunset on our way to dinner in the Old Town, or Vieille Ville. The square is lined with colorful buildings, shops, and cafes, and several outdoor art installations like these seven kneeling men by Spanish artist Jaume Plensa, which represent the seven continents. At night, the statues light up in bright colors.
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Photo: Courtesy of Kate Titus.
Getting lost in the winding streets of the Old Town.
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Photo: Courtesy of Kate Titus.
From Nice, we took a day trip to the village of Èze. The bus ride takes only about 30 minutes and brings you past some of the most breathtaking views of the coast. Èze is a medieval village perched on a peak overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. This photo is taken from the Jardin Exotique d'Èze, famous for its collection of exotic plants, toward Cap Ferrat on the French Riviera.
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Photo: Courtesy of Kate Titus.
After spending time on the coast, we headed for Provence. A short two-and-a-half-hour train ride took us from Nice to Marseille. Marseille is the second-largest, and the oldest, city in France — founded 2,600 years ago. Sadly, we had only a few hours to explore, so we grabbed lunch near the old port and hopped on a bus toward Notre-Dame de la Garde, the famous Catholic basilica located at the highest point of the city. You can see it in the distance here.
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Photo: Courtesy of Kate Titus.
The interior was bananas. It’s famous for its colored inlaid marble, mosaics, and intricate murals.
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Photo: Courtesy of Kate Titus.
The views from the outside weren’t bad, either…
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Photo: Courtesy of Kate Titus.
We eventually made our way to the car rental company and picked up our minivan. Let the games begin! I was equal parts confident that my dad could drive in a foreign country — he is a truck driver, after all — and equal parts confident that we would get lost immediately. I was correct. Within 30 seconds of pulling out of the parking lot, we were going the wrong way down a one-way street, cutting people off, nearly blowing stop signs, and trying to navigate with a GPS that actually wasn’t speaking to us. We pulled back into the rental lot with white knuckles, got the GPS rebooted, and tried again. This GPS, no doubt, took us the long way. The long, winding way. It may have taken us twice as long, but as the sun started to set, we finally pulled into the glorious little town that is Bonnieux, and all anxieties melted away.
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Photo: Courtesy of Kate Titus.
Some lavender sprigs lined the walkway to our first dinner at La Bergerie restaurant, a recommendation from our Airbnb host.
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Photo: Courtesy of Kate Titus.
Airbnb strikes again: That is where I found this jaw-dropping villa, and if you can believe it, after splitting the cost six ways, it was really, really affordable. The owner had designed it with some architect friends, and it was the perfect mash-up of modern meets traditional. My dad was convinced that we had actually died on our death-defying drive from Marseille and had finally reached heaven. Throughout the rest of the trip, he repeatedly asked how his angel wings were holding up.
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Photo: Courtesy of Kate Titus.
Our first morning in Bonnieux, we drove into town for the Friday market. To our delight, the village was active but pleasantly calm. The streets weren't lined with souvenir shops but with charming cafes, small art galleries, a local bakery, butcher, and pharmacy. While we were picking up some treats from the bakery, we accidentally left my dad alone in the butcher’s shop. Thankfully, we interjected right before we lost his mind and purchased more than 50 euro in charcuterie.
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Photo: Courtesy of Kate Titus.
The market was much smaller than the Cours Saleya in Nice, but equal in quality. My dad, aunt, and mother-in-law all love to cook, so they were on overload, buzzing with ideas for lunch and dinner. In their frantic, totally elated state, great debates were had over cheese, meat, and sun-dried tomatoes.
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Photo: Courtesy of Kate Titus.
We headed back to our house and enjoyed a full day by the pool, snacking on our market finds throughout the day — truffle cheese and rosé on repeat. This is one of my favorite photos from the south of France. My parents travel, but I wouldn’t say they’re big international travelers. My mom met me in Europe when I studied abroad, but I don’t think my dad had left the U.S. since he was a teenager. While this was an incredible stop on the journey for Andy and me, it was the trip of a lifetime for my parents. I feel so blessed that we were able to share it with them. My mom’s carefree float here says it all.
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Photo: Courtesy of Kate Titus.
From Bonnieux, we took days trips to the surrounding villages and sights in the Luberon. The Luberon is a region of Provence famous for its medieval villages, mountainous landscapes, markets, vineyards, and olive groves. On this day, we set out toward Les Baux de Provence. En route, we stopped at Carrières de Lumières, an audiovisual show that takes place inside an old limestone quarry. It’s nearly impossible to describe this sensory experience, but, basically, images are projected onto the surfaces of the rocks — covering the walls, floor, and ceiling — and move to the rhythm of a beautiful soundtrack while you walk through the space in complete darkness. The theme of our show was Klimt and Vienna. It was unlike anything I’ve ever seen — a completely immersive experience that totally exceeded my expectations.
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Photo: Courtesy of Kate Titus.
After the show, we headed on toward the village of Les Baux de Provence. We had a fantastic lunch there, with the standout meal being cod with a life-altering aïoli provençal. Then we headed up to the famous medieval fortress at the top of the village. From its peak, there are never-ending views over Provence, from Aix to Arles. Before our trip concluded, we made day trips to see Pont du Gard, the ancient Roman aqueduct, and to the city of Arles, famously inhabited by Vincent van Gogh. Our 10 days in the south of France were so spectacular that, in the end, I had to agree with my dad: How were my angel wings looking?


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