I'm going to Europe! This trip was really spur of the moment, I literally scraped pennies together pay for everything (seriously - I almost broke the change machine at the bank), I have no idea what I'm doing, but I'm going to Europe! I've wanted to do this my entire life, but there's never been enough money, and I'm really busy, and I have obligations, and blah blah blah...
It dawned on me about 6 months ago that none of that is probably going to change very soon (if ever), so I can either keep talking about how I'm going to go to Europe someday, or I can eat Ramen for a while and go to Europe today.
So I'm going to Europe.
I made a list a mile long of what I need to do, with these ten items seeming to be the most important:
1.) I called my cell phone carrier and made sure my phone would work in Europe, had them activate it for international calling, bought a 10 day package to make international calls, and learned how to shut off international data roaming. Apparently data roaming in other countries can get expensive. I did the math on what it would cost me if I went over my allotted international limit, using the amount of data I normally use in America. $20,000. I'm not even kidding.
Apparently this cake was twenty grand. Because Kim Kardashian.
2.) I exchanged my money here. Everyone told me to wait until I got to Europe, but here's the thing: I don't know what I'm getting into over there. I don't speak the language, I don't know where ATMs are, I don't want to spend valuable super-fun-Europe-time hunting down cash machines...I just want to get there and go. So I exchanged my money here.
3.) I put travel notices on all of my credit cards, so they wouldn't think my overseas purchases were fraudulent. If I want lederhosen, no one is stopping me from getting lederhosen. Damnit.
I'm probably going to do this in Germany. With this guy. In this field. (picture via Pinterest)
4.) I booked hostels in different cities for our entire vacation, based entirely on reviews, and no real knowledge of the cities we're visiting. Adventure, you guys!
5.) I declined every offer of assistance getting around Europe. I appreciate that someone has an aunt in Brussels that would be willing to show me around, but I'm just not that keen on being on someone else's schedule. Like the whole ATM thing, I just want to get there and go, but at my own pace.
Being lost is part of the experience, right? Guys? GUYS?
6.) I have a European phrasebook. I can't pronounce anything except "Ich Bien Ein Auslander" which means "I am a foreigner." I didn't learn this from my phrasebook. I learned this back in my days as a cage dancer in an industrial club...true story. It's a song and it's the only German I know, and I just keep saying it over and over again.
7.) I printed out all of my emergency contact information for my husband and my traveling companions, clearly marked it "EMERGENCY CONTACTS" and put copies of it everywhere. If I fall into a canal, somebody will know who to call. Unless the paper gets wet. In which case, I hope the water isn't too deep. Or infested with sharks. And alligators.
8.) We're staying in hostels, so I brought an extra blanket and some toilet paper. I mean...I've never stayed in a hostel before, and I don't like to be cold and toilet paper...well...I'm probably going to pee at some point.
9.) I pre-posted scheduled facebook/twitter/blog posts for every business that I own and/or manage social media accounts for. Vacation should not mean disappearing. If all goes well, no one should even notice I'm gone. I mean...except for the fact that I just told you I'm not here. I mean, I'm here, I wrote this here, today, but when you see it, today will be yesterday and I'll be over there instead of here. Obviously.
10.) I bailed out of everything I'm supposed to do the day I come back. I hope I don't have jet lag, but if I do, I want to be prepared.
image via Business Insider
I already drew eyeballs to stick under my own glasses when I return, so I'm prepared should I be called to do anything important while I'm sleeping. Because rest assured, no matter what anyone wants me to do when I get back, I'm going to choose sleeping.
I'm supposed to come back December 4th, unless I decide to pull some Eat, Pray, Love thing and just...eat, pray and love all over Europe for the rest of my life.
That's probably not going to happen.I'm probably coming back. I have to open my store back up for your holiday jewelry needs. And I have a husband. And dogs.
We'll see how what I thought about going to Europe before I left compares to what I know when I come back...see you then!