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No bucket lists!

Updated: May 12

Wheel's up in thirty six hours! I should be packing, checking things of my to-do list, making sure I'm as prepared as can be for these next two months, however, I'm more of a last-minute -thrive in chaos kind of girl, so instead, I'm going to spend this time answering some of your most commonly asked questions about our upcoming trip! If you have any questions you'd like answered, please leave them in the comments and we'll be responding to them via facebook live videos throughout our journey!


Are you ready for your trip?

Ready? No. Prepared? Almost. This first conception of this trip was brought to life nearly 11 months ago and to realize it’s now upon us is hard to wrap my head around. I’m trying to remember to do things like hold my UPS deliveries for two months, set up auto billing for everything, find care for my dog, purchase what I need, get laundry done, coordinate flights and visits with friends, make lists of things I can’t forget. I’ve got my backpack out on the floor near my bed and a couple of piles of things around it ready to be put in there. Kayla fly’s in tomorrow and then it’s go time. So, prepared? Almost. Ready, no. I wish I had another month, maybe two to get ready, just to emotionally acknowledge that the time is here.


Why such a big trip? Why for two months? I vividly remember sitting on the light green bedspread in the office-turned-my new living quarters in Nikki and Aaron’s house, 7 months pregnant with Adeline, Izzy and Hudson playing in the room next to me and thinking, fuuuck, this is it. Sitting in this dark bedroom, the few posessions from our life in Hawaii scattered around the floor, Brian ashes in the brass urn on the nighttable next to me, thinking, this is my life from here on out. I sat and cried in the dark room every single day. For weeks. Never ending tears of sorrow and grief. A mom with three young kids, grieving the loss of the greatest love of my life, sick with memories and sadness; a depression and desperation I’d never felt before. I remember thinking, this is my new reality and I’m not equipped to handle it. I can’t handle it. I don’t want to handle it. I can’t do this by myself. I’m strong, but I’m not this strong. I remember thinking the sadness was finally consuming me and I either need to end this now, and with it the excruciating pain I was in, or I need to figure out a way to get through it. I sat on that bed in the corner of the room, the faintest amount of light peeking in through the blackout curtains and made a deal with myself. If I could find a way to get through this, to give birth to Adeline, to fight through this sadness and to make sure this wasn’t the end of the story for me, then suicide wouldn’t seem like such a viable option. I couldn’t stand the thought of Izzy and Hudson having to go through life explaining both of their parents died at such a young age, but the thought of not being in such pain was certainly alluring. I knew in order to get through this, I needed something to look forward to. Something to occupy my time so that not every single thought was consumed with Brian, I needed something to plan for in the future, to give me small goals to reach. It soon became apparent I needed to plan a trip. I needed to plan a trip extravagant enough that it would get me excited, give me something to look forward to and to eventually be excited about. This trip has evolved a handful of times over the past 11 months, but has stayed consistent with the fact we’re going to Europe and we’re going to go for two months. I have spent a lot of time traveling around Europe and with three young kids and two nannies who haven’t done much/any international travel, I needed the ease of travel that Europe provides. I also needed the trip to be long and crazy enough that it would be something to really look forward to and require a lot of planning and coordination which would be a welcome distraction for me. I knew Izzy would have the summer off from school, so I’d have two months to play around with before we needed to get back for her to start Kindergarten.


Did you plan this all yourself or are you going with a group? I’ve planned every detail of this trip under the advisement of Isabel, Hudson, Adeline and my two travel companions; Kasey and Kayla, but no trained professionals. Planning the countries to visit, flights, accommodations and travel is exactly what I needed as a way to focus my energy on something positive.


Where are you going? Our first stop is going to be New York City for a couple of days to visit my little brother and a couple of friends and wait for Kasey to meet up with us. We then fly from NYC to The Netherlands. Then to Norway. Poland. Switzerland. Greece. Ireland. Iceland. We’ll have a rental car in the majority of these countries so plan on doing some traveling around and through each of these countries pretty extensively to see what they have to offer! We’re open to suggestions and recommendations if you have any, please feel free to message us!


How long will you be gone? We’ll be gone a little over two months total!


Are you going by yourself? I’m crazy, but not crazy enough to bring three children under the age of five through seven countries for two months, BY MYSELF. I’ve got two dear friends; Kasey and Kayla traveling with me to help with the kids. You can read more about them and why I specifically ask the two of them to come along on this journey here: https://www.ashleybugge.com/post/the-bugge-s-do-europe


Are you nervous to travel with the kids? No. Not one bit. I’ve been traveling internationally with the kids since Hudson was three months old. Brian and I took the kids to Portugal when Hudson was three months old and Izzy was two years old. They’ve been to five countries since then and countless states throughout our own. They’re expert travelers and I’m confident they’ll do just fine. I’ve found as long as you are adequately prepared with plenty of snacks and (new) toys, they’ll keep themselves entertained on the airplane, and we’ve got enough time built into each country that we’re visiting, that if we need a day or two of downtime to just sit around the Airbnb/hotel, we’ll have it without feeling pressure to go see everything right now. This will be Adeline’s first international trip and she’s got big shoes to fill in order to keep up with her brother and sister!


How will you get around? Planes. Trains. Automobiles. (RIP John Candy!) We’ve got rental cars in all countries except for The Netherlands (I tried but they didn’t have a car large enough to fit us all that had an automatic transmission – and I can’t drive a manual!) So, we’ll utilize the metro and walking as much as possible, but use our rental cars to travel outside the of city centers when we want to. We’ll fly from each country to the next in order to save time and to get to our destination a little quicker than we would if we traveled by rail.


What are you bringing with you? Thinking about this has consumed nearly as much time as planning the entire trip. Kasey, Kayla and I each have a travel backpack we’ll be bringing. In it will be our own clothes and items, as well as one child’s. (We're using packing cubes to help organize.) We’ve each claimed a child at this point, Kayla/Izzy , Kasey/Hudson and Me/Adeline. Because of the limited space we’ll have to carry all of our goods, we’ve had countless group chats discussing who is bringing what so that we don’t double up on certain things. Kayla’s bringing the hair straightener. Kasey’s bringing the curling iron and eyebrow tint. I’m bringing my laptop so we can all watch movies at night. We’ll go to the market in each country upon arrival to buy things like toothpaste, shampoo, sunscreen, etc. because they’re inexpensive and we can all share them so that we don’t have to carry those around from country to country. I’ve purchased and packed enough baby formula to (hopefully) make it through the entire trip as I remember we ran out in Portugal and it was a nightmare trying to find baby formula that didn’t upset Hudson’s belly at the time, so this time I’m prepared. I’ll buy diapers and wipes in each destination country. I’ve packed bandaids and children’s Tylenol, a bottle of Advil, hand sanitizer and nail clippers. Things that might be hard to find to somebody who doesn’t know their way around town and items I want to have on hand because of the young kids. We’re packing 10 days of clothing for ourselves and each kid which should last us just about through each country, and nearly all accommodations we’re staying at have washing machines so we’ll be able to do laundry consistently.


Tips/Q&A’s/Feedback

We’ll be doing facebook live streams along the way if you’d like to follow along you can do so here, just click and hit LIKE to receive updates: www.facebook.com/ashleybuggexo. You can also follow us on Instagram: www.instagram.com/ashley.bugge. Please leave comments and words of encouragement as you watch us begin our journey! If you have any tips or places we need to check out, please let us know! We’re open to any/all feedback and excited to get out there and start this!


No bucket lists! Live a life you will remember. xo




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Lessons of turning tragedy into triumph 

from a military widow

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