Guys. I’m going to Paris.
Let that sink in for a second.
Paris ?? AND London ?? actually.
Wow! What!? When?
Queue the freaking out because I am leaving NEXT WEEK!
Yup. For reals.
I have been rather quiet about this trip because honestly I still can’t believe this is happening. Even after the TSA Global Entry interview, the passport renewal, the tour booking, the planning and the packing… this whole thing doesn’t seem real.
This trip came together fast. Like REALLY fast. And honestly that is for the best because if I had any more time to (over)think about it I would probably lose my ?.
Hey Honey, Let’s go to Europe
About six weeks ago The Boy and I were humming and hawing over vacation plans. He had some “use it or lose it” vacation days saved up and after being stuck at home all summer last year and having some other travel plans fall through, he has been itching to take a vacation.
I don’t really like to leave AZ in the spring because that’s when it is so nice it feels like you are already on vacation (despite, you know, the daily adulting). And I really didn’t want to vacation someplace that is a popular tourist destination any later than May since that’s when EVERYONE goes on summer vacation. I suggested driving to the beach. The Boy suggested Japan. Liz suggested we “just get a flight to London and figure it out”.
Hah! That’s crazy talk! There was no way that we could plan a European vacation for two people who had never been in less than 6 weeks? Or was there…
Obviously the answer is yes. But not without some MAJOR help!
I started looking into making this really happen. About 4 hours into my research black hole I was having major anxiety and drumming up more and more questions with every search inquiry. There was just too much I didn’t know about international travel. I had technically traveled out of the US, to Canada, Mexico, the Carribean – but never been anywhere outside of the vicinity of North America. These were uncharted waters and I wasn’t sure where to begin.
I noticed a couple of helpful comments by the same travel blogger on several different travel sites and I decided to message her. Boy am I glad that I did!
Paige of The Wandering Gosling has been ah-maze-zing! She not only assured me that I wasn’t crazy and it was possible to plan this trip within the time frame we were looking at. She took care of everything! From what you would expect like researching and booking flights, hotels and tours down to the nitty gritty details like finding us quirky, off the beaten path things to do and guiding me through my novice experience with public transportation*.
Here are some other helpful resources that have been my go to while doing research on what to see, expected weather, what to wear, and how to do laundry in a hotel sink:
*I have like 3 XP points in public trans. I live in Phoenix. We have exactly ONE lightrail and it doesn’t even reach my neighborhood (the closest stop is nearly a half hour away by car). I’ve been on the BART once and the tram at Disney World. No subways. No trains. Barely a bus. Now if you want to talk about my defensive driving XP…?
We are starting our trip in London first, for a week, followed by Paris for a week.
We – scratch that – *I* picked London because…
#1 Harry Potter (obviously)
#2 it seemed like a good place to start
#3 they speak English (or some form of it)
#4 we can get a direct flight from PHX –> LHR.
Paris came about part out of convenience (as we can easily take a train there from London) and mostly because I had a culinary themed ulterior motive. I can’t wait to try french breads, REAL french macarons, croissants, croquembouche and all manor of patisserie I learned to pronounce on the Great British Baking Show. ? Hopefully I will be full of inspiration for some new yummies when I return!
After some debate on whether or not to add a 3rd stop in our itinerary we decided to stick with just the two locations because there is SO MUCH to do and see in each one and we have already had to make some sacrifices because we just don’t have enough time. (Next time, Harry Potter Studio Tour, next time. ?)
This is our first trip “across the pond” and I am equal parts nervous and excited. Obviously we aren’t going to a 3rd world country where they don’t have public trans, “western” style toilets or don’t speak a peep of English. While I am sure things will be fine, I am still a wee bit nervous.
I am mostly nervous about…
- The flight ✈ – being stuck on an airplane for 10+ hours is gonna suuuuuuuck. I’ve packed the eye mask, noise cancelling headphones, and plenty of reading material.
- Navigating the public transportation systems with my aforementioned lack of experience. ?
- Overpacking. I am notorious for doing so, but am getting better and have planned 6 outfits (plus one fancy dress) for 14 days. I feel that’s pretty good condensing!
- Under-packing, in an attempt to not over-pack.
- Jet lag.
I am excited about…
- A transatlantic vacation! Weeeeee! ?
- Bike tours! ? What a fun way to see the sights!
- Seeing lots of these cool places and sights IRL.
- The London Theatre – We have tickets to see The Book of Mormon!
- The Food. High tea, fish and chips, authentic Indian food…
- The patisserie. ? Let’s be real… this is the real motivator here.
- Visiting a country where the native language isn’t English (or Spanish). Though “parlez vous anglais” and “où est la pâtisserie” will likely be my most abused phrases.
- Disneyland Paris – I am stupidly excited about this. Don’t judge. I know what you are going to say – why am I wasting a whole day to go to a carbon copy of another Disney park? Because I am in Paris, it’s RIGHT THERE! and I want to ride L’Aventure Totalement Toquée de Rémy! ? That’s why!
Oh, another fun event on our itinerary is that we are going to be in town for the Royal Wedding! Yup. Picture Me and Jonny, dressed in our garden party best, sippin tea and champagne in the gardens of an old church turned venue, watching the Royal Wedding LIVE on the telly. It doesn’t get much more British holiday than that.??
Be sure to follow our Insta and other social media to see all the snaps from the trip! And come back and visit us for the full recap of the trip!
Carole Mortensen says
Enjoy your trip you will have a great time.