I talked about this in a previous Wanderlust Wednesday, but stick with me, I promise I’m going somewhere good. ;-)
Last summer, I met Lia Riley at a Facebook launch party for Chanel Cleeton's second book. She was one of the hosts, and because Chanel’s book is set in London and a lot of the questions were travel-related, Lia asked ’s question was something like ‘what was the best trip you took in your early twenties?’ That was easy for me - it was a trip I took with a friend I’d met online, had known for less than a year, and who lived in the US (I’m Canadian). She came here for a few days to stay with me, and then we travelled thirteen hours back to her place in Kentucky, then after a few days, took another road trip to visit her family in Virginia before coming back to my place.
I told Lia that people thought I was crazy, and even though some part of me knew it was nuts, it ended up being one of the best experiences of my life. She said that was the time to do crazy things like that - when you’re young and unattached. I got thinking about it…if you’d asked me at the age of twenty where I thought I’d be in ten years, I’d have told you married with kids. That’s always been endgame for me - I want a family of my own. But there I was, ten years later, single and childless. I could still do crazy things if I wanted to…but who could/would do those crazy things with me, since most of my friends are married with kids?
Then I had a lightbulb moment: one of my childhood best friends was still single and had no kids. We’d just reconnected the year before after a long time apart, and our friendship was strong. I sent her a long, rambling email asking if she had any interest in travelling with me, and telling her why I thought we’d make great travel companions (among the reasons: we’re both introverts, so we’d respect each other’s need for space to decompress; we both deal with anxiety and understand what it’s like and can keep each other calm...or at least freak out together lol). She said yes, she’d like to travel with me (!!!) and then told me about this tour group called Contiki that does tours for people 18-35. She had been ready to book one the year before, but then had to spend the money on vet bills. She was thinking about it again though, and was considering asking me if I’d like to go with her. I’m big on signs, and that was a sign.
Long story short (oops, too late), we talked about it, figured out when it would be possible financially, and scoured the Contiki site for tours. There was one I had in mind, but I was waiting to get the green light from her since she was still figuring out if she could afford it…and then she sent me a link TO THE TOUR I’D PICKED. Another sign! We got the ball rolling…and as of last week, the tour was paid for, and as of yesterday, our flights were booked.
I’M GOING TO EUROPE THIS SUMMER!!!!!!!!!!!!
I’m so freaking excited. This is a lifelong dream come true for me - not only getting to travel, but doing it with a friend I’ve known for 25 years. Our tour goes from London to Paris to Rome, and lasts ten days, but we’ll be gone for two weeks. We booked extra nights in London and Rome to make sure we get to see as much as we can (plus hopefully get over jetlag before the tour starts).
If you’re interested in seeing the itinerary for our trip, you can find it here (ignore the price, we got an early booking discount, so it was several hundred dollars less). Be sure to check out the rest of the Contiki site if you’re looking for a tour - they go just about everywhere, and I've heard great things from everyone I've talked to.
Now that everything is booked and paid for, we’re making plans for what to see and do. We’re each making a list and then we’re going to cross-reference it to make sure we see as much as possible. I went to France when I was 17, but I’m eager to see everything again, and to see things I didn’t get to see (the Musée d’Orsay, Montmarte, and Sacre Coeur among them).
So that’s my big news. It’s crazy how one simple comment can kick-start an idea. I’m not sure it ever would have occurred to me if it weren’t for Lia’s comment, so I’m indebted to her. Dreams do come true, guys. It still feels surreal thinking/saying that, and I'm sure it'll continue to feel like a dream for another 21 weeks until we're on that plane heading for London. LONDON, BABY! OMG!