Obrien World Tour


The Sorley’s and Abbey

England, RTWAmy ObrienComment

After a full day of Harry Potter, we were off to visit my friend from Crystal Lake who was so lovely to offer us a place to stay. I was super excited to see him again and meet his family. Jeff has been living abroad for the last several years, so this would be my first time meeting his wife, Erika and their adorable little one VB.

Once we finally got there, I was ready for some wine! and good friends. Ella and miles felt right at home running around with VB. Ella and Erika talked sci-fi and magna while Sean and I hung out with Jeff while he was making the most delicious food! Once Ella got settled in with a book Erika and Miles hit the playstation. It was great fun watching them.

After a great night sleep Jeff took us on a walking tour of Oxford. It was great having our very own tour guide! After a quick run by Oxford University, we headed to the Oxford library! Ella was so excited to get her hands on all those old books. Turns out you have to be a student to get into most areas, maybe some day. Instead we checked out the exhibits of rare books which was really cool. Even miles got into it! After lunch we bid Jeff adieu and headed to Gloucester Abbey. The kids were sad we couldn't stay long. They really loved Jeff and his family.

The drive to the abbey was breathtaking. There were fields of yellow flowers blooming everywhere. Off in the distance were hills of yellow patches mixed between several shades of green patches.

We had decided to visit the Gloucester Abbey since parts of the Harry Potter movies were filmed there. I am so glad we went, the place was unbelievable. They started building it in 1089 and finished in 1499. It took 410 years to build and you can see why. King Edward the II is buried in the main cathedral and there are catacombs below. We wanted to do the free tour but Miles was a little freaked. While we were there they were starting plans to remove the parking lot to restore the gardens that were once there. While they are doing this they need to make sure they don’t upset any people currently resting below the parking lot. Apparently they used to bury people all over the grounds of the church.
If you get a chance to check this place out you can wander around for quite some time. Best of all it is free, they just ask for a donation if you would like.

After the Gloucester, I picked a small hotel that was actually a pub with sleeping rooms above. I thought it would be perfect since it was about 2 hours from our place in Wales, and it is Sean’s birthday(he is waiting till Belgium to celebrate). I thought he could stay for a drink at the bar, while we headed to bed. When we first walked in, my first impression was that there is no way this is going to work. It was a bar! but once we met the charming couple that owned the place and saw our room, I was glad we came.  Plus as an added bonus, it has been the best food we have eaten since we're been here. They had a little something for everyone. Happy 40th Sean!

16 weeks to go

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Only 16 more weeks to go. That is only 16 more weekends to get the house packed up, the kids set up in homeschooling, everyone to get their shots, and plan our first leg of the trip!

With work, girl scouts, boy scouts and school how will we ever get it all done!


Bought our first Tickets! We are really going.

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While searching Skyscanner.com. I noticed that all the flights from Chicago to Europe were routing through Iceland.. Hmm Iceland, never really thought about going there but why not! So instead of just a 2 hour layover, we are spending 2 days there. Though the more I read about Iceland, the more I wished we were staying for a week. I guess we will have to make a return visit.

Our first leg of our trip is looking like:

Iceland - England - Wales - Scotland - Ireland

After that who knows. Back to England or move on to Paris or Belgium.  The possibles are endless.



Let the adventure begin!

RTWAmy ObrienComment

We have been planning a trip to Greece for the last 3 years.  Ella has been reading every Percy Jackson book she could get her hands on. Which then moved to Greek Mythology. She even wants to name her son Percy one day. So we started to plan. The more I planned the more I tried to squeeze in. How we could see all of Greece and Italy on our 3 week vacation from work ? Then I stumbled across the Family Adventure podcast. This one podcast opened my eyes to a whole new world, actually the WHOLE world! The world of RTW travel.

I never would of thought that we could anything this crazy. The more I listened, the more I knew we could.
The next step was to get Sean and the kids on board. The kids were a little skeptical at first. Wait?? We have to sell all of our stuff? Sean was an absolute NO. No way! No how! Things are good.
I said just listen ...and his wheels started to turn too.

We bought a huge map and circled all the places we longed to see.. Wow!! almost the whole map was circled. Miles and Ella wanted to see as many things as Sean and I did and more.

Still Sean was not quite sure. He had been at his job for 12 years and had just gotten a promotion to Regional Procurement Manager. How could he walk away from all of it.  One day he came home, said why not! We have been dreaming of doing something crazy. Let's go

We decide that if we were going to go we needed to go soon or we wouldn't ever do it. The plan was sent into motion. We decided that we would leave spring 2015, in time for Sean's 40th birthday.