I never did get to sending around a Christmas card while we lived abroad. Let's get real. In the past 7 years of my marriage I think I sent out one and it was the year we got married.

But my lame excuse is my blog. And whether you're a friend, family member, or casual reader, this letter is to you.

Dear Everyone,

Merry last Christmas and Happy New Year from Germany. Next year I move back to Dallas, Texas. The plan is to travel America. Lots of people are worried my adventures are over. But I think road tripping the States with the dogs and Michael will be adventurous enough. I haven't even been to New York! But let's focus on this year. It's been the most traveled year of my life. So much so I feel like I spend more time in airports than at my apartment in Heidelberg, Germany.

I traveled to over 100 cities (yes, I counted), three continents, and more than a dozen countries. For the first time in my life I went to Africa, to explore Morocco. I fell in love with this country, especially my mystical experience in the desert.

I went back to places I loved and explored new countries and cities that I might not have experienced if I didn't live abroad.

One of those experiences I didn't really want was having surgery abroad. On a trip in late March to Leogang, Austria, I tore my ACL. At the end of the day on the last ski run, I fell after going a bit too fast.

After a 21-year-old kid doctor told me it was most likely torn, I had surgery in Germany. The surgery went fine, but the lack of pain medicine was intense. It's interesting to really get an inside look on how things are done differently across the world.

Despite the setback, I went right back to exploring. Traveling is often exhausting but always worth it. It gives me a renewed sense of passion and purpose every time I go somewhere new.

This year I spoke at two different conferences sharing my two passions, blogging and travel.

Michael and I hosted our first trip ever in Portugal. We loved it so much, we knew we had to do it again. Next year we are taking folks to Italy. There are still a few spots left if you want to join!

The dogs came on quite a few trips this year. We started out going to the Swiss Alps and Zermatt quickly became one of my favorite places. It's truly like a snow globe come to life.

We also took them with us to Normandy, France then through the Austrian Alps, explored the region of Istria, Croatia, and took the scenic route through Slovenia. We spent some time seeing more of Germany and taking them on as many hikes as possible.

Last year we made the house feel a bit more like a home when Michael built our furniture. In case you missed it, we were also on House Hunter's International. I can't say we've changed all that much. We're still embracing the minimal lifestyle. We did exchange a couch for wine and add a few new pictures to the wall.

I look forward to decorating our home back in Dallas again. With real furniture and maybe not a table we dragged in from outside.

I have really loved living more sparingly the past three years. I think its made me appreciate what I do have. It's also taught me that you don't really need a lot of things. Less is definitely more. Except when it comes to sweaters. One can never have enough of those.

Since we have about 9 months left living in Europe we're trying to hit up all the places we haven't been yet. The plan is to go back to some places we love and experience some new places on our bucket list. Here are some of our top places to see: Southern England, French Alps, Malta, Faroe Islands, and explore more of Germany.

In the three years we planned to live abroad I thought I would see all of Europe. But it seems like my bucket list just keeps getting longer.

Even though this is my last year in Germany, I know that I will keep coming back. I've already devised plans to come back during Christmas. It's just such a magical place during the holidays.

I hope you had a wonderful year and I thank you for being part of our journey.

ANNOUNCEMENT! Join me January 3rd for a end of the year recap and review. Link up your posts and share your favorite memories from the past year.

Every year I host an end of the year recap and review. It's a great way to not only share your favorite memories from the year, you also get to see what others are sharing as well as goals and inspiration. Click here to add the event to your calendar!

Here are some things that I'll be focusing on: best (and worst!) trips, favorite places I traveled, most memorable moment, best hotel, most fun experience, favorite blog posts, blog and Instagram stats, best photos, 2018 highlights, and music favorites. I'll also be sharing my 2019 goals.

Here's a look at 2017's link up for inspiration.

I'll also be sharing some memories on Instagram @heleneinbetween – and I hope you'll join me there too!

Here are our previous year's Christmas cards:



Other posts you might like:

My First Christmas Abroad

My Last Christmas Abroad