I am writing this as I take off to Canada for our first layover. Keep in mind my postings might not actually be online right as I do them because I can only post when I have wifi. I will include the actual dates and times if it’s going to be significantly later!
We’re on a TINY plan that is only 4 seats across and not even full. I am in the front row with a window seat and I don’t even have a buddy next to me! It’s pretty weird.
I have been pretty nervous the past two days but as takeoff begins I am surprisingly extremely calm. I love flying but it’s the leaving that is tough. Goodbyes (better known as ‘see you laters’) are never easy but I know I will have people thinking about me and praying for me daily. That’s a pretty cool feeling!
As my mom said multiple times this morning as I left, “only 58 more days until you’re back in America!” See you then Mom!
I slept on the 1.5 hour flight to Canada… I don’t brag about my ability to sleep anywhere for nothing!
Our flight to Paris was delayed due to a hydraulic leak and we had to switch planes and terminals. We were supposed to leave at 7:30pm but now we are leaving a little after 9pm… So that will put us landing in Paris around 10am (Paris time- it is a 6 hour difference).
This plane is the biggest I have ever been on. It is set up in a 3-3-3 format and I’m in the last row. I like being the last row because you can lean your seat back without feeling guilty about the person behind you! If my calculations are correct there is a little over 600 people on this plane!
The strangest thing happened to me on the plane but it’s pretty complicated so I won’t bore you with details…Let’s just say language barriers are already become an issue. I have the feeling this is going to make for some very interesting stories. Stay tuned!
Selfie with my plane buddy….
I finally began the long process of packing! I have a tendency to overpack but with a 50 pound weight restriction, I have to be picky! I had seen several packing blogs and websites with tips but sometimes those are completely unrealistic…Sorry lady, I do want to wear clean underwear everyday! I can’t fit all this crap in one backpack like your photos show!
A friend told me about this little trick a couple days ago and I am excited about the results. They sell fancy bags designed specifically for this purpose but guess what? You don’t need them and they are expensive. I just gathered some gallon ziplock bags from the kitchen and filled one with my first victim, my socks. I shut the bag except for a small part, sat on it, and got all the air out that I possible could while sealing it.
I have almost 2 weeks worth of bulky socks taking up the same amount as about 2 t-shirts. I’d call that winning!!
Now what am I forgetting?….
“Are you ready?!”
“How’s your French?”
“What exactly are you doing?”
“At least you won’t have to shave while you are there!”
These are just a few of the most popular statements people make when they find out about the adventure I am about to embark on. Thankfully, I had a couple of weeks off between leaving for France and when school got out. I have had some good preparation time, relaxation, and I was able to have some fun with family and friends. The only problem being… how exactly do you prepare for a trip like this? It’s both a physical and mental process. My only answer from my experiences so far is, you can’t be completely ready! You go to Wal-mart and buy all the necessities you need to survive for 8 weeks, you read countless blogs and pinterest links, you book all of your flights and other things months before you leave, and you talk to people who have had similar experiences. However in my opinion, there is no possible way to fully prepare yourself for the months abroad up ahead. I know actually opening up my suitcase and putting things in it would be a good start (no, this hasn’t happened yet- 26 hours left and counting ). It doesn’t matter how many blogs you read or people you talk to, studying and working abroad is still going to be an absolutely terrifying feeling at times. Not knowing what will happen exactly, being so far from family and friends, missing out on things back home can make it difficult. I feel confident that it is completely normal to feel this way. The element of the unknown is daunting, yet knowing the places you will have the opportunity to see, the things you will learn about, the culture you will surround yourself in, and the friends you will make be worth facing every fear, uncertainty, or struggle that might be put in your path. So…. Ready or not, here I come Paris, Toulouse, Barcelona, and the many escapades in between!
It is safe to say that I have the greatest family and friends in the entire world. While I am only gone two months, there are several significant things I am going to miss while I’m away. I won’t be here for the legendary Hancock County fair, my 21st birthday, the 4th of July (my favorite holiday), and the everyday happenings of sweet summertime in rural Indiana. I know I will be having a GREAT time while I’m gone but how could I not be a little upset in missing all those good times!? Thankfully my friends are always looking for a reason to party and held a gathering in honor of me leaving! Seriously though… Luke, Sam, Ashley, Blake, Lori, Evan, Mom, Dad, Lauren, Jennie, Rick, Susan, Wilma, Ethan, Josh, Brooke, Zach and Fletcher- thank you and au revoir!!
I am a 100% believer in the value that this sign is expressing. For those of you who know me well you know that I L-O-V-E taking pictures. I love editing them, posting them, and looking at them. However, I always take a moment on my trips to stop, think, stare, and embrace my surroundings. Especially with international travel it is important to take the moment to realize that you may never see this again, that there are people that may never see it in their lives, and that you are so very fortunate that this is happening to you in real life. While the pictures are important too so that you can share them with others and remember your trip vividly, it is vital to take a moment to appreciate and enjoy your surroundings. There are some feelings and memories that no picture can capture. So if you are traveling this summer, whether it is to Europe, across the U.S, or even just your local zoo; please take a moment to stop, take a deep breath (ok, you might want to skip this step at the zoo), and appreciate the beauty around you. The world is an extraordinarily beautiful place and if you don’t take your eye out of your camera lens and look around a little, you might just miss a priceless view!
I am including a link to my Pinterest albums that I typically post travel tips, pictures of lovely places to possibility go, and other random travel related things. It has really helped me plan several things for this trip. I love Pinterest and I definitely advise that you check it out before you plan a big trip if you aren’t on there already! I have two different boards; I use one specifically for my France trip and the other is places that I hope to go someday! Check them out!!