Author: robetrotting

Derek Hartman is an American expat from Philadelphia, currently living in Copenhagen, Denmark. His blog, Robe Trotting focuses on travel, expatriation and lifestyle topics.

30 Excuses Not to Travel – and How to Overcome Them

No excuse not to travel

There should be no excuse not to travel, but we hear them all the time. Travel or stay home? Everyone has a reason not to go traveling and usually they’re things we tell ourselves to put off stretching our comfort zone and exploring the world. Most people find the time to go on vacation – trips to the beach or relaxing in a resort – but travel is a much different beast.

Should I go traveling? When I say travel, I mean immersing in another culture including the food, language and history. Travel isn’t always easy or glamorous, and sometimes it can be a sensory overload like walking the streets of Delhi, India or navigating through the Souk Bazaar in Marrakech. Continue reading “30 Excuses Not to Travel – and How to Overcome Them”

One Day in Helsinki – A 24 Hour Itinerary

Helsinki Day Trip

We spent one day in Helsinki, Finland as part of our Baltic Easter travels. Although we only had a day in Helsinki, we were determined to hit every Helsinki must-see. While I know it’s impossible to see everything, here is what we covered sightseeing Helsinki for 1 day. Continue reading “One Day in Helsinki – A 24 Hour Itinerary”

Learning Danish Got Political With the Dansk Folkeparti

How Learning Danish Got Political

Before we moved to Denmark, Mike and I were excited to fully embrace the new culture including learning Danish. As we prepared to move our lives to Copenhagen, we downloaded language learning apps to learn Danish language basics. Is Danish hard to learn? Yes, and a lot of this is because of Danish pronunciation. Still, when we arrived in Denmark, everyone pointed us towards enrolling in Copenhagen Danish courses. It was free to enroll and the best way to really start speaking Danish. We made a lot of friends in our class but after completing the first module, we stopped taking lessons. It was a huge time commitment and we had other activities we wanted to pursue. We also realized that things could go off the rails when learning Danish got political. That political reason that caused us to stop taking Danish lessons  is the Dansk Folkeparti. Continue reading “Learning Danish Got Political With the Dansk Folkeparti”

American Dining Service vs. European Dining Service

American dining service vs. European dining service

Before I moved abroad, I heard tales of culture shock and reverse culture shock. Of course, I wondered if these experiences would eventually hit me. The ups and downs of culture shock in Denmark have come and passed and I’ve come out on top. While I have adapted well to the Copenhagen lifestyle, this past week I enjoyed a trip back to the US from Denmark and noticed some reverse culture shock where I didn’t expect it – dining out. Continue reading “American Dining Service vs. European Dining Service”

Woman Kicked Off Plane Over Vomit and Arrested

It seems like every few months there’s an unfortunate story of someone being kicked off of a plane in the United States. Most widely publicized is the 2017 United Airlines incident where a passenger was bloodied and forcibly removed from a flight. Sometimes these removal stories appear to be for valid reasons while other viral stories are just bizarre. If you do a quick Google or YouTube search for “Passenger removed from airplane for…” the results will give you a list of reasons from “body odor” to “fat shaming” to “yelling at a Trump supporter” along with wild stories and videos. There was even the time a woman was denied bringing her emotional support peacock on board a flight. Now we can add “woman kicked off plane over vomit”

Ridiculous stories aside, this morning I learned about a serious one involving a Frontier Airlines flight out of Las Vegas that appears to have a lot of unanswered questions. The incident resulted in a mother being removed from a plane and arrested in front of her 14 year-old daughter who was placed in child protective custody. YIKES!

The alleged reason behind the arrest doesn’t seem appropriate for the outcome and it got me thinking about why these unfortunate incidents happen so frequently in America compared to the rest of the world and how my flying experiences vary greatly in both regions. Continue reading “Woman Kicked Off Plane Over Vomit and Arrested”

Benefits of Living Abroad – the Hidden Trade-offs

The hidden benefits of living abroad

When we decided to move to Denmark for an expat assignment, everything happened fast. One thing we came back to often was, “what will we miss if we move abroad to Copenhagen.” Even in a short term expatriate assignment, we knew we would miss out on family birthday parties, friend’s bachelor parties, weekend trips to the beach and almost every holiday besides Christmas. But what would be the benefits of living abroad?

What we found was some incredible trade-offs to missing these events. This week, while we were missing Easter with our families, Mike and I spent time talking. We discussed what we gained in exchange for missing those events. These “expat trade-offs” really mean something to us. We focus on them when we start to get down about missing things back in our native country, America.


Tallinn Estonia is Awesome! You Should Go. Here is Why.

Tallinn, Estonia

We began our Easter Holiday travels with two nights in Tallinn, Estonia and we were not disappointed. In fact, we left feeling that everyone should visit the capital of Estonia and we had discovered a hidden gem of Europe. Here are 13 reasons why: Continue reading “Tallinn Estonia is Awesome! You Should Go. Here is Why.”

Culture Clash: How Michelle Obama Annoyed One of the Happiest Countries on Earth

One week ago, Michelle Obama visited Copenhagen, Denmark as part of her European book tour promoting Becoming. While she has sold over 10 million copies worldwide, her Royal Arena appearance last Tuesday has drummed up some pointed criticism. As an American living in Denmark for over two years, I see a cultural misunderstanding with confusion on both sides. While I may not be an expert in everything Danish, I have adapted quite well to the norms of Denmark and therefore have a solid foot in Danish and American culture. Here’s where I think things went wrong for the former First Lady and how some cultural sensitivity could have prevented an awkward appearance. Continue reading “Culture Clash: How Michelle Obama Annoyed One of the Happiest Countries on Earth”

Travel Plans – Baltic Trip to Estonia, Finland & Russia

Next week we are off to explore a section of Europe we have yet to travel, the Northeastern Baltic cities of Helsinki, Finland – Tallinn, Estonia and finally Saint Petersburg, Russia. We can’t wait to explore the beauty, culture and unique character of these cities. Even with a late Easter holiday, the temperatures will be cooler but we are ready. The shoulder season should mean smaller crowds and the cities may be a bit quieter, even for a holiday week. Like I posted about earlier this week, it’s a good time for us to travel as expats because most of our friends will be visiting family for the Easter holiday. Here are some of our plans for the week: Continue reading “Travel Plans – Baltic Trip to Estonia, Finland & Russia”

Expat Advice – Avoid the Travel Trap

At times, I think about what I would do differently now that I’ve been living in Denmark for over two years. Being an American expat in Copenhagen has been thrilling – Mike and I often describe it as “really high highs and really low lows.” There’s a lot more than what you see on House Hunters International – expat life is intense! Most of this adventure, I would never change but there are still things we could have done better. One of those is something we look back on and call “the travel trap.” Continue reading “Expat Advice – Avoid the Travel Trap”