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

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    Photo: Courtesy of Kate Titus.

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    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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  2. Photo: Courtesy of Kate Titus.

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    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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    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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    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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    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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    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.