Mykonos, Greece

I wish I could say that over the past years of living overseas we significantly shortened our 'Bucket List.' This pesky little thing seems to happen once you start traveling . . . for every new place we visit, we somehow add about three more to our ever growing list of must - see - before - we - die locations. I love to ask fellow travelers where their adventures have taken them, what their favorite place was and where would they eat if they happened to return. Instagram has also given us way too many ideas for future trips. The list just keeps getting longer, but for our anniversary, Chris helped me check off a location that had been on my 'Bucket List' for as long as I can remember. 

The Greek Isles - Mykonos, Greece

Mykonos is known as the island of the winds, and I have always been enamored with the ancient white washed homes accented with a blue almost the same color as the surrounding ocean. In my mind, Mykonos screamed romance. Chris was more interested in the Greek mythology (you don't remember reading about Zeus battling the Titalns and Hercules killing big-ol giants? Yeah, me either!) than the pretty buildings and fancy (expensive), waterfront cocktail bars. 

We were interested for different reasons, but in the end, we both loved weaving in and out of the narrow streets, and sipping local wine and beer on the waterfront. I even talked Chris into renting a 4-wheeler and putting around the island. Once he agreed to the rental, I started asking every agency if we could rent. (Come on! Take our money!) I must have asked four or five different rental companies, and I was denied every time. Either the bikes were all rented out (lies - because there were parked all around), or I was 'too young' (yeah right), or I got no explanation, just a simple 'no.' We gave up and decided to walk down towards the water for a coffee. The bar tender laughed when we told him we were not allowed to rent a 4-wheeler. He promised that if Chris asked, we would not have any problems. Funny thing, as soon as Chris asked, we were given the vehicle, two helmets, a map of the island, and sent on our way. Guess I was the issue!

We spent most of our day at beautiful Paradise Beach, soaking up the rays and getting away from the crowds in Mykonos. We enjoyed local pastries that we bought from a sweet little man carrying a basket and hawking his delightful treats. After several hours, we hopped onto our 4-wheeler and tried to put-put back into town. We tried and tried, and couldn't get it to start! Oi! After about 30 minutes of trying, I called the company from a beach bar phone, and we waited. After a jump, we finally did make our way back into town, but I think our 4-wheel days are over. Next time, we will opt for a Jespa. 

Here's a few pictures! Hope you're loving your summer!


(Lake) Konnigsee in Bavaria, Germany

If you're, say, visiting Munich or Salzburg, and want to take a short sightseeing trip that could include hiking, boating, or simply standing in awe of the beauty of the Alps, then check this place out! 
You will not be disappointed! 

Situated in the far southeast corner of the German state of Bavaria, this little gem is perfectly shoved between the narrow pass of two jagged, alpine mountains. Lake Konnigsee is in the Berchtesgarden National Park, and while it's a relatively small body of water, it happens to be Germany's third deepest lake (random facts from wikipedia). 

At the end of last year, Chris and I had just moved to Regensburg, and Reece suggested a quick trip down to see the breathtaking Konnigsee (which literally translates to "king's lake"). We never hesitate when a new sightseeing destination is on the table, so naturally, we packed the car and headed south. 

The first thing you notice when walking up to the lake is the intense, aqua-green color of the water, oh and it's strangely clean. The lake is so clean in fact that it is said to be the cleanest lake in all of Germany. In order to keep up appearances, no fuel powered boats are allowed on the lake. In the summer, get extra exercise by rowing or paddling your way around the crystal clear lake, or do what we did, and take an electric powered passenger boat tour. If I remember correctly, the boat will put you back 12 - 18 Euros depending on the duration of the boat tour that you choose. We got off the boat at the beautiful, red domed church named St. Barthomoma, and we enjoyed a local beer at a nearby restaurant. And naturally, I took a million pictures.

We didn't have time to take a long hike, but next time we visit, I really want to hike Mount Jenner. I think it would be absolutely incredible to see Lake Konnigsee from above! Hopefully we will have time to go this summer! Another thing that we really want to see is Hitler's Eagles Nest, and if you're in this area, you're too close not to visit this historic piece of German history. Unfortunately, you can only reach it by bus or by hiking for 2-3 hours. If you want to figure out how to get to The Eagle's Nest, I found this post quite helpful. From the parking lot of Lake Konnigsee,  on a clear day, you can see The Eagles Nest. If you look at the last picture in this post, you will see it in the top left hand corner. You'll really have to look closely!


Our House Hunter's International Episode (Serbia -> Belgium)

Hello blog readers (and family and friends)!
Chris and I hope that you are doing well and thoroughly enjoying 2014! We have been quiet (on our little blog/journal) for a while because life has gotten quite busy. Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining about that at all! In fact, I find that I feel incredible when I am really busy (I'm not speaking for Chris here - just for myself). Maybe I like being busy because I feel ultra productive? Maybe I get more done when I have a strict schedule to follow? Or maybe I am just wired to thrive under a little bit of pressure. In any case, a lot of people have asked if we would ever post our House Hunters International episode online, and after much ado, we finally got around to posting it! 

For those of you who are new here, Chris and I were filmed in April and May of 2013 for House Hunters International. HGTV wanted to document our move from Subotica, Serbia to Belgium, and even though we had already been living in Belgium for a good seven months before filming even started, they wanted to 're-create' our house hunting experience. We agreed to be filmed, and they asked if we could add a _touch_ of drama to our episode. In reality, our house hunting experience was not complicated at all, but for TV, we gave them some of the drama and conflict that they wanted. While Chris and I really loved filming part of our story abroad, this experience made us realize that most things on TV are slightly slanted and embellished. 

So if you are interested, here's our HHI episode! It is fun to have a 20-minute video of a piece of our journey together. One day we can show our children this episode when they want to see where we used to live around the world! 

Feel free to post your thoughts after you watch this, but be nice please! This is a positive space, and I won't post rude or degrading comments. (Why do people even post mean things about people they have never met? Unfortunately it happens a lot)


Dubrovnik, Croatia (Game of Thrones Anyone?!)

I know that everyone is getting sick and tired of winter (especially our friends and readers in America! What a wild winter you have all had!), so summer 2014 holiday plans are hastily being made. 

While Regensburg, Germany has been experiencing a relatively mild winter (knock on wood. There's still time for a blizzard or an ice storm to hit.), Chris and I are already dreaming about lazy summer afternoons spent by the sea. We've been trying to get our travel plans straightened out, and sadly, we've realized that budget flights are not as accessible (or cheap) as they had been in Brussels, Belgium. We're having to get creative with our travel plans. In any case, in an effort to inspire myself, I started looking through photo albums from last summer. We've visited Croatia two summers in a row, and we think we may go back again this year! We just cannot get enough of the incredible beaches, warm locals, fresh seafood, and affordable accommodation. If you're considering a trip to Croatia, this is the year to go! They just received their European Union status, so prices have not had too much time to skyrocket! Croatia is a hidden gem that hopefully stays unspoiled and mysterious. 

Chris and I have documented our Croatia trips to Krk, Hvar, and Plitvica Lakes, and this post contains a few pictures from our time in the walled city of Dubrovnik. If there are any Game of Thrones fans reading this, then you already know that Dubrovnik is the set for King's Landing. We rented kayaks on the beach that Game of Thrones also films on. Chris was totally geeking out. I guess I was too. The city is ancient and perfectly preserved, and no visit is complete without an hour (plus) walk around the thick city walls which were constructed between the 12th and 17th centuries to protect the city. If you have time, a kayak adventure will allow you to explore some of the hidden coves surrounding the city. Or rent a little boat and explore that way!

Food Tip: We had an authentic Balkan meal (made us really miss Serbia) at a little place called Dalmatino Knoba. They found out that we could speak a little bit of their language, and they completed our meal with a shot of complementary cherry rakija.  

This is making me want to get back to Dubrovnik! 


When Change is Exciting and Terrifying all at the Same Time

July 2013 - Oh, you sneaky little month, you! I had no idea how drastically our lives would change when you rolled around! 

After a year in Belgium, Chris and I felt 'normal,' and settled, and maybe even a little bit 'local'. We had a great group of friends in Roeselare and in Bruges, we spoke enough Dutch to understand what was happening around us (and when people were talking about us), I had two jobs, and we were celebrating 4 blissful years of marriage by departing on a whirlwind tour through the Mediterranean. For the first time in a long time, I was ready to "be," (I know shocker, eh, Mom?!) and simply enjoy the life that we had worked so hard to establish.

Stay Still - Relax - Enjoy the Season - Rest - Dig Deeper - Invest More - Plant Roots . . .

Who am I kidding?! We signed up for an adventure, and we have gotten more than we could have ever anticipated! It's been a beautiful and terrifying journey that has stretched us and pushed us closer together as a couple. We have learned to rely on each other for just about everything (he is great with directions, and I am not afraid to make linguistic mistakes so I am the mouthpiece when we travel), and through the joy and the tears, we would never rewrite any part of our story. The journey has not been what we expected, but we have been blessed every step of the way. 

Two and a half years ago, we moved to Subotica, Serbia and expected to stay rooted there for three years. We dug in, we made life-long friends, we experienced the beautiful Serbian culture, and we simply fell in love with the country. A year later, Chris' company moved us to Roeselare, Belgium, and while we were excited, we mourned leaving our beautiful Serbian family. Ghhhaa! Moving can be such a wild mix of emotions! Luckily, we loved our new city; I was almost immediately befriended by Niekie, the owner of a darling cafe called the MokkaBar, and Chris met the man of the town, PJ. Niekie and PJ invited us into their lives and introduced us to their friends. We can never express what a difference they made in our experience. I believe that it takes about a year to truly feel comfortable in a new culture. By July 2013, we had lived in Belgium for a year, so naturally, we had gone too long without a major change. 


We are on House Hunter's International Tonight!

Loving the beauty of Bruges, Belgium
Checking out some scenery in Roeselare, Belgium with the HHI film crew
We made them do our signature pose
Tonight is the night!

Chris and I had such a great time (such fun) filming a House Hunter's International episode detailing our move from Serbia to Belgium and our apartment hunting experience. We filmed for four full days in between Serbia and Belgium, and we were able to involve so many of the amazing friends that we have made along the way. We can't wait to see our friend's faces on TV! This episode was filmed quite a while ago, so it will be interesting to see the finished product. 

Anyway, on the west coast, HGTV will show our episode at 7:30pm and 10:30pm tonight. In Kentucky, our mugs will be on TV at 10:30pm and again at 1:30am. Get all of the exact information here. Feel free to tune in!! You may be seeing the episode before we do since we have to record it and watch it on Thursday morning. 

The Statesman Journal in my hometown of Salem, Oregon also wrote a piece on us. Read that article here if ya want. 

Thanks for reading (and watching). 
Lana and Chris McCoy

Want to see the episode? I posted it here


{Sneak Peek Istanbul}

Hagia Sophia at night
I turned 30! 

Actually, I hit the big 3-0 at the end of September, but this season in our lives has been a whirlwind that seems to finally be calming down. Sort of. It is just starting to sink in that I've hit that age when most women freak out about wrinkles, job security, settling down and babies. I have the wrinkles, but the other things are so far from my mind these days! Chris and I had been planning a birthday trip to Istanbul with two of our dear friends from Belgium since sometime in June. All of a sudden, we were thrown a curve ball when the opportunity to move to Regensburg, Germany popped up. It was not an easy decision, and we talked it over and over together. After a couple weeks of weighing the pros and the cons, Chris accepted and started the new job a week before our scheduled trip. Needless to say, instead of spending my time researching restaurants and scenic look-out spots in Istanbul, I was frantically packing, and cleaning, and turning off utilities and breaking the apartment lease. 
There never is a dull moment for this little expat family!