If you follow me on social media- you definitely, kind of should- you will know about the following event that occurred recently that equally got me buzzing, but also made me very broke. If you don’t follow me on social media- which you should probably go and do right now- here it is: I booked and paid for a trip to the United Kingdom and Europe! Yes, this happened.
To my surprise, quite a few (more than expected) people are buzzing for me, which is genuinely a nice feeling. This means that I have also been receiving numerous questions; which I am completely fine with, ask away! I decided to write this post today mainly because it is still over half a year away and I need to let out all my excitement somehow and find a way to remain sane while the long wait takes place, but also to answer questions that I’ve been getting.
The Lead Up
I am going to be completely honest here, don’t judge me, but the first reason I started developing an interest in the UK was because of One Direction. Yes, I was one of those 1D fan-girls way back when I was 14; I mean come on, wasn’t every girl? Then as I got older and less obsessed (but still pretty obsessed) I started researching the UK for reasons not regarding the boy band of the century. I also have a relative that lives in London, so seeing their Facebook updates and Instagram uploads made me want to visit even more.
I can remember finishing high school and having the concrete decision that I was going to travel the UK the year after I finished school. How delusional was I? I was in my first year of university and me being me was always, constantly stressing out about passing my units. I was also virtually unemployed; I had quit my job at a wedding venue because it was too far to travel and was surviving each week off two shifts at McDonalds. I had savings, but not nearly as much as needed. There was no way in the world I was making it to the UK a year after finishing school. I came to this resolution but vowed that within the next couple of years, it would happen.
I was in my second year out of school and I really just wanted to travel overseas, I didn’t care where, I just wanted to go somewhere. So New Zealand was the obvious choice because it was relatively cheap and close by (something that I wanted because I had never been overseas before and I didn’t know how I would handle it). I chose to go to New Zealand also because I guess I kind of gave up with the whole UK trip because I just couldn’t see me having the money to go anytime soon. I went with Contiki and a friend from university, Holly, and we had a blast! I don’t regret a thing.
When I arrived back from New Zealand, I had just got a new position with a coffee shop and was working the most I’ve ever worked and having decent paychecks coming through for the first time in my four years of working. I am eternally grateful to my boss because the amount of hours I was and am currently getting is helping me to fund my UK trip. I am the boss of saving money and within a couple of months later, going to the UK actually looked possible.
The Big Day
I researched and researched and researched. I knew that I wanted to go with Contiki because I had such a great experience with them in New Zealand, everything is organized for you and they are cheap as chips. I thought, “if I am going to spend money on flights to the UK I might as well travel Europe as well”, I had the savings too, so I thought fuck it, why not.
Before I knew it, I was exchanging emails with two travel consultants; trying the get the best deals possible. They both informed me that if I paid in full by a certain date I would receive a $350 discount. So, I had some thinking to do. Am I actually doing this? Am I ballsy enough to go to the other side of the world, alone, in countries where some don’t even speak English? Will I have enough money for spending? Will I still have some savings when I get back home? In case you can’t tell, money is a big factor for me. The answer to most of these questions were yes, the “ballsy” question I was still debating; but I thought to myself “if I don’t take action now, I’ll spend too much time overthinking everything and I will keep finding excuses to not do this”. So guess what happened, I marched into that travel agency, showed them prices on the internet that were lower than I was quoted, I got an extra $200 discount because they matched them, and I basically chucked my envelope of cash at them and ta-da, I’m going to Europe and the UK.
Taken and Adapted from Contiki
I fly into England early in 2017 and start a Contiki tour around England, Ireland and Scotland for a couple of weeks. I then stay with my relative in England for a little where I will probably do day trips up to Manchester, Leeds, Sheffield etc. I then leave England and head over to France where I will spend nearly a month travelling around Europe; I visit France, Spain, Italy, Switzerland, Austria, the Czech Republic, Germany and the Netherlands. I then fly out of Amsterdam on the way home.
Taken and Adapted from Contiki
Despite me being Australian and how I start to freeze as soon as it hits 19 degrees, I decided to do Europe and the UK in Winter. I’ve been to the snow once when I was about 13, it was only for two days and my brother and sister almost got frostbite so I don’t remember it very well; I figured if I am going to travel to one of the coldest places in the world, I might as well experience a European Winter!
I am so scared. The morning I say goodbye to my family at the airport will probably be the scariest moment of my life. But I couldn’t be more excited. This is something that I’ve wanted to do since I was 14 and now I’m finally going. It is insane. But I feel like this is something that I need to do. I am always trying to find something more, whether it be in my grades at university or within the workforce or within my appearance or more. I never give myself a moment to just take everything in, but I feel like this trip will give me a moment to take a breath, to jump into something so frightful that makes me feel so alive, to meet strangers, to take me out of my comfort zone, to learn about other cultures and realize how extremely lucky I am, to maybe find love- whether it be in a person or in a city.
If you’re hesitating to do something like this, think it through but don’t overthink it. If you can find an equal amount of pros and cons, or more pros than cons, go and conquer it.