Month: April 2023

Don’t Blink or You’ll Miss It

While serving an overseas tour, you will have unusual experiences and adventures unique to your country or region of assignment. In the meantime, life continues for your family and friends half a world away in the United States. And once you come home to serve a domestic tour, you too get to enjoy all those people, places, and conveniences you missed. You soon settle into the familiar and relish in all that’s just easier. But every once in a while, you might get a bittersweet pang of FOMO thinking about the novelties you’d be enjoying if you were elsewhere. Or, homesickness may creep in for a faraway land that’s no longer your home.

My unsolicited advice, wherever you are, is to avoid looking across the fence to see if the grass is greener on the other side. There may not even be grass, so incomparable are the chapters of our lives one to another, and so starkly delineated by overseas moves. I think the trick is to enjoy each experience maximally for whatever it is before it’s time to change everything – house, job, cars, life – once again.

Fifth Tour Bidding: A Preview

Unbelievably enough, I have officially passed the halfway point of my fourth tour and that means it’s time to start thinking about bidding. Again.

It is strange and a little unsettling to think about bidding a fifth tour, while I feel like we just figured out where to store our linens. It took 11 months from the time we moved into our Virginia house for the new master bedroom furniture set we ordered to even arrive. I just joined a gym this month. Thinking of having to find another job and pack up every item we own all over again kind of makes me want to hide under the bed. And… it also kind of makes me think how exciting it is that every country is a possible new home.

Open Skies to the Pacific Northwest

As I mentioned in my Road Trips 2022 post, last year was a big road trip year for me.

I took five major U.S. road trips and one European road trip in 2022, racking up over 21,000 miles as a solo driver across five countries and 28 states. And that was after a relative lot of road miles during the years since we’d returned from our second diplomatic tour in Australia already: in 2019 we drove over 2,000 miles through Hawaii, followed by California, Oregon, and Washington; in 2020 we moved by car from Virginia to Mexico and once we were settled took a jaunt up to Alamogordo, NM; and in 2021 I crossed the border on smaller road trips both alone and with my husband to Las Cruces, to California and Arizona, to Carlsbad, Cloudcroft, San Antonio and Fort Worth, and Albuquerque.

Apparently the driving didn’t get old, because last month I was ready to jump back behind the wheel and drive all the way to the west coast by myself again.

New Year, New Scenes

At the beginning of 2023, I made a commitment to spend more time during the months of January and February hiking in new places. There are so many parks and trails in northern Virginia I’ve never seen despite having lived here for eight years off and on.

The new year is always a good time for me to get motivated about a goal, cheesily enough, and I think exercising outdoors in the cold feels better than during the hot, humid times as Virginia marches from late spring into summer.

Year in Review: 2022 Blog Stats and Recap

For me, 2022 was a profoundly strange year, filled with ups and downs. We finalized adopting our cat and moved from Mexico to Virginia, I succeeded in my 100-lb weight loss goal, took a road trip to Florida, started my fourth tour in Washington, DC, and visited the west coast three times in one year. I got promoted, saw my favorite band live, took fun beach trips with my husband, and took a family trip to Europe. But I also was knocked off-center by the traumatic death of an old friend, struggled at times to learn my new job, and dealt with illness – both my own and that of multiple family members.

Sarah W Gaer

Author, Speaker, Thought Leader

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