Check out my previous Wanderlust Wednesday posts
Fourteen weeks from now, I’ll be embarking on one of the biggest, most incredible journeys of my life. Fourteen weeks from today I’ll be spending my first full day in London, England after an overnight flight across the Atlantic Ocean. *insert me doing a crazy happy dance here*
Fourteen years ago now I was on a different adventure. My first big adventure, the trip that awakened my wanderlust. In 2001 I spent March 7th - 10th in France. My high school partnered with another school a few hours away, and about 25 of us, including me and my then-best friend went on an incredible trip. It was the first time I’d been away from home for more than a few days, my first time flying, and so many other firsts. We started out in Nice, visited Monaco for a day, headed up to Nimes by bus, then flew from there to Paris. We got to see and experience a lot in those ten days. I was on sensory overload the whole time, but I enjoyed every minute of it.
We had way more freedom than I expected we would. We would head somewhere on our coach, do something as a group, and then we’d have free time, often for hours. We had a curfew at night (I think it was about 11 o’clock, which, for a bunch of 15-18 year-olds was pretty late, considering we were in a foreign country thousands of miles from home). My friend and I bought so many souvenires, we ended up buying an extra suitcase just to carry everything (this was in the days before you had to pay an insane amount of money for extra checked luggage). That trip was one of the best experiences of my life, and I’ve been dreaming of going back to France, as well as visiting many other European countries ever since.
And now that dream is finally coming true. On June 16th, I’ll be leaving with a friend to spend two weeks in London, Paris, and Rome. 14 weeks seems like forever, and yet it doesn’t seem long at all. The weeks are flying by. It feels like just a few days pass between the weekly countdown my friend and I do (which basically consists of me texting her every Tuesday morning in all caps with a bunch of exclamation marks, and the two of us proceeding to squee and giggle).
It’s funny how much things can change in 14 years. I haven’t flown since 9/11 (we went 6 months before it happened), so the thought of getting through airport security kind of freaks me out. You could basically bring anything on the plane back then. I know the rules now (I’m already planning my 3-1-1 bag of toiletries), but it still freaks me out. Also, pretty much the only way you could research a place back then was through books. I didn’t have the internet at home, so I bought a bunch of guide books and did my research that way. This time, I’ve been doing research online. I can’t tell you how often I get sucked into Pinterest, looking for packing tips, money-saving tips, and things to do in the places we’re going. I’ve read hundreds of blogs, infographics, and articles over the last few months, and I still have a ton bookmarked to read.
We don’t plan to have every moment of the trip mapped out, but I’m the type of person who likes to be prepared and know what to expect, so doing all this research makes me feel better and keeps my anxiety somewhat in check. Plus, we have a limited time in each place, and there’s obviously no way we can see and do everything, so I want to make sure we get to do everything we really want to do…and there’s a lot we want to do, with the list growing constantly.
Over the next 14 weeks, I'll talk more about what's included in the tour we're doing and what we plan to do on our own. I hope you'll check back! For now I'll leave you with a 'Letter to my 17-year-old Self' blog post I wrote three years ago (!!) on the anniversary of my France trip.