It’s an adventure.

I’ve been abroad a handful of times, but there are some variables with this trip that have me a little nervous.

One such variable is my ability/inability to pack 10 days into a single duffel bag. (I did it though and now I deserve a present. But, it has to be something I don’t have to pack.) I’ve never left so much behind.

Next, I’m travelling with three friends, two of whom are zero percent familiar with my travel quirks. The other, Kate, could write a novel on the high level of maintenance I “require.” Her familiarity, however, does not necessarily make her forgiving of my crazy. So, 10 days in close quarters with these girls and I’m sure I’ll be forced to stray from my routine. If I need to get specific, yes, I am concerned I won’t be allowed my usual 15 minutes to diffuse my hair. Or, that I won’t hear the end of when I insist on doing it anyway.

Now, these girls are not without their own necessities, so I’m hoping for a lot of give and take. But what I decided it all comes down to is that we’ll have a great time no matter what.

WE ARE GOING TO HAVE A GOOD TIME EVEN IF IT KILLS US!

Except it won’t kill us.

Because two days ago I thought I lost my favorite/lucky ₤ forever, but then I found it. Then today I woke up with another headache. But then it dissipated in near-record time. And when I turned my iPod on this morning, “Inner Smile” from “Bend it Like Beckham” played first. So, I can only assume, perhaps with a little prayer here and there, that there is no way this trip won’t be spectacular!

But also, this is not a vacation.

It’s an adventure.

At least, it will be. That’s what I keep telling myself. Because cramming four countries into 10 days is no time for layabouts!

First London for a few days, then Stockholm, then Tallinn and Helsinki, then back to London. What? Rick Steves made me do it. If Rick can do it, I can do it. No, that’s wrong. Rick doesn’t travel with two iPods, an iPad and an iPhone. Rick doesn’t need at least an hour to get ready in the morning. Rick will probably eat herring for breakfast.

Rick Steves I am not, but I got this. I think the many, many hours of planning will pay off. We’ve managed a good mix of scheduled/ticketed events, flexible entry type stuff (a la a couple of handy dandy city passes), and a few spots (Just a few – 10 countries, four days, remember?) of not doing much of anything.

So, I’ve got the butterflies I get when I get to travel. The good butterflies. There are even some rare, extra fancy butterflies reserved just for England. And I LOVE that this still happens.

Even if it all goes kerflooey; if every device fails, if none of the adapters or converters work, or if they blow up in the socket like last time, it will be okay. If the weather’s shit or I can’t do my hair or the train line is down, it will be okay. More than okay. Because it’s England. And also an adventure.

~      ~      ~

England or Bust #7: Travel Buddy, Paris are Go

Phew… Kate bought her ticket. Did I fail to mention that earlier? Well yeah, she’s finally done it and now I can breathe a bit easier.

Not that I had any doubts.

Other than that, it seems we are “go” for Paris. While I think Kate would apply her “well, if we’re already so close” to pretty much every country in Europe, I happen to agree with her when it comes to the City of Light.

Our Eurostar tickets from London are just about sorted, however now comes the hard part: booking another hotel. I’ve found this to be the most difficult bit of the travel planning process.

So, if anyone has any recommendations, I’d love to hear them! We’re looking for a three or four-star-ish place near the center of the city/tourist attractions. So, along the Seine, near the Louvre, Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame Cathedral…

Ready, go!

England or Bust #3: Paris on the table…

Parlez-vous Francais? Oui! Oui! Mais, mon ami n’a pas… I could probably go on, but I’m sure I’d rather not reveal my ability to butcher the written French word. Anyway, I speak French, at least enough to get by (used to be almost fluent, but let’s not…let’s just not) but Kate doesn’t.

This could be very interesting.

Kate has, however, been to Paris. Our plan is to hop over to France via the Eurostar from St. Pancras and spend two nights in the City of Lights. Originally, we were talking about Scotland, but we’ve both been there, and we’d like to spend the majority of our trip in Mother England, so… Paris is winning.

Of course, we may end up in Amsterdam or Prague or Istanbul by the time this all gets settled, but for now, Paris is on the table.