Europe, Travel & Adventure

Adventures in Lyon, France

Lyon is the third largest city in France, the capital of Gastronomy (a foodie’s paradise), and it was my home for two and a half months.  Lyon is the birthplace of the world’s first motion picture La Sortie des Usines Lumière, shown in 1895.  It was also the capital city of Roman Gaul with history that dates back to 43 B.C., making it an important location during the rise of the Roman Empire in present-day France.  The rich history of Lyon makes it an epicenter for the arts, with museums and theaters sprinkled throughout the city, and it’s also the home to The University of Lyon.

The city encompasses the charm and culture of Paris, but is smaller and has more of a local feel and an amazing food scene. Living like a Parisian for 3 weeks gave me the opportunity to appreciate what it was like to be a Lyonnais for two months.

From the architecture and history in the streets of Vieux-Lyon (old Lyon), to the culture and food, to the monuments in La Place de Bellecour, to the cathedrals, the ancient Roman theaters, and the people….there’s something inspiring for everyone in Lyon.  I visited many museums while living there and I was so inspired by the history and art on every level.

Here is a quick local’s guide to Lyon listing some of my favorite districts, cafés, restaurants, and museums.

Les Restaurants + Les Boulangeries 

Eric Kayser Bakery — famous bakery throughout France and a few spots around the globe!   Amazing breads, pastries, and dishes — what France is known for right?!  Here you can find an affordable breakfast and lunch and a delicious baguette for only 1 Euro!

Yabio – Hôtel de Ville — an AMAZING burger spot with organic beef burgers and home made menu items.  Honestly, one of the best burgers I’ve ever had (France knows how to do meat) AND one of the most affordable restaurants that is superb with their menu

IMG_9707Les Retrouvailles — a super cute restaurant in Vieux-Lyon featuring traditional French dishes

Foodie Tips: 

Most restaurants and cafes have free water available that they will bring to your table (une carafe d’eau).  If you ask for a bottle of water, or water in general, and not “une carafe d’eau”  they will most likely bring you a bottle of water which you’ll have to pay for.  So save some dough, and ask for “une carafe d’eau!” 😉

Some restaurants offer “le menu” each day which features all inclusive meals for a fixed price.  This is sometimes a great option for affordable dining if it’s what you’re looking for.  Otherwise, you can order individual items off the menu, which is “a la carte”.

Favorite Cafés in LyonIMG_8617

  • Cafe Mokxa (La Boîte à Café)
  • Slake Coffee
  • La Bicycletterie
  • Raconte-Moi La Terre Librarie Cafe
  • A Chacun sa Tasse

 

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My Favorite Districts & Places of Interest

Place des Terreaux  many cafes and bars; this is one of the liveliest districts of the city.  There are similar vibes near Hôtel de Ville de Lyon (the town center/city hall) and near the Opéra National de Lyon.

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Place des Jacobins  giant fountain in the centre; surrounded by streets and shops; cafes and restaurants; all near the river — beautiful area!IMG_9670

Place de Bellecour

a giant courtyard in the center of the city featuring an equestrian monument of Louis XIV; usually a giant ferris wheel and street performers; outdoor shopping mall, restaurants, nightlife, and plenty of cafés and boutiques

Musée des Confluences  Opened in December 2014 and includes collections of natural science, anthropology, and Earth Sciences of the Musée d’histoire naturelle – Guimet. The four major exhibitions are called “Origins – Stories of the World”, “Species – the Web of life”, “Societies – Human theatre,” and “Eternities – Visions of the beyond” (Wikipedia, 2018.)IMG_9600

Every exhibition in this museum was outstanding and made history come to life.  Think like, American Museum of Natural History, it was so amazing that I would compare it to that and similar esteemed museums around the world.

My favorite part of this museum was the “Societies – Human Theater” exhibition which featured an homage to the history of film in Lyon (Lyon was the location of the world’s first motion picture).  Being inside this exhibition was like standing in a virtual reality.  There were people at a train station in a film with a train coming toward the station — a train whistle sounded, and the sound of the tracks could be felt as well.  The set up of the film and screen created an experience for the audience that felt so real, as if we were standing at the train station ourselves.  The people in the film got on the train and the train continued down the tracks.  It was amazing.  That was the exhibition I saw in January 2016.

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St. George  & St. Jean Cathedrals — historic churches with beautiful architecture

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Vieux Lyon “old Lyon” — the city’s most historical district featuring restaurants, crêperie stands, boutiques and all the places listed below

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Théâtre Romain de Lyon  (outdoor Roman Theater and park)

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Gallo-Roman Museum of Lyon (Roman Gaul Museum of Lyon)

La Basilique Notre Dame de Fourvière  (the famous Fourvière cathedral)

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Traboules (Secret Passageways) in the city used during the Silk Trade (super cool!)

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Lyon sits at the junction of two rivers — la Saône and le Rhône — which divide the city into several districts with beautiful bridges.  Lyon is definitely a city to see on foot and on bicycle!

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If you are in France and get the chance to visit Lyon, it’s so worth it!   It’s one of the many magical cities in France complete with rich history, vibrant culture, delicious food, and travel experiences that you’ll never forget.

It’s also so close to many other European cities so you can easily take theIMG_9167 train.  I took the train frequently to other parts of France and Switzerland as well!  Train travel is one of my favorite ways to travel and is also super affordable.  So if you’re in this part of France, don’t be afraid to explore and go see the Alps as well!

Lyon is located in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region and you can actually see Mont Blanc from the hilltop at la Fourvière on a clear day!   Bon voyage!

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Travel & Adventure

My First Week in Paris

It was a cold, rainy, Autumn day when I arrived in Paris on October 15th, 2015. And it was absolutely perfect.  The clouds broke through as we descended on the outskirts of Paris and I was tense with anticipation from the long journey from New York through Iceland onward to France.  We landed at Charles de Gaulle airport and I nervously gathered my things as I prepared to step off the plane.  I was quickly greeted with the “Bienvenue en France” sign and the sound of French automated instructions over the loud speakers at the baggage claim area. I waited for my ride near the exit, looking for a kind gentleman by the name of Richard who was on staff with the organization I was set to volunteer with for a few weeks.  He found me in the airport and helped me with my 2 suitcases and 1 huge backpack, my whole life in 3 pieces of luggage.

We drove quite a ways to reach the village of Ozoir la Ferrière which is about 45 minutes from the center of Paris by train on the RER.  I enjoyed the scenery on that rainy day heading through the ancient French towns and admiring the architecture and small European vehicles and all the French signs.  It was like I woke up in a dream that day.  My host family was a British/American couple on staff with Agape France who had been in France for over 30 years.  Their little farmhouse cottage was located in the next village over, Liverdy-en-Brie, which was quaint and cozy, and just a minute walk to the town bakery which was literally the only boulangerie in this beautiful village surrounded by fields and flowers.  My favorite part of this village was what stood in the center. A century-old stone cathedral, poised with wisdom and grace in its old age, standing strong on the same foundation built so long ago.

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The first day was spent acclimating to the new time zone, 7 hours ahead of my hometown in Tennessee. After much needed rest time, I joined my hosts for church the next day and their daily activities.  My first day volunteering in the office, I met the Agape France staff at the Office Headquarters. This is where I would be volunteering for the next 2 to 3 weeks.  The staff team was so friendly and welcoming and I was able to help with several administrative duties while I was there to do my volunteer work-exchange.  My host family was so sweet and accommodating and also helpful with tips on local travel and how to get around Paris.

By Day 3, I was prepared to head to Paris. I remembered my French class in college where my instructor made us learn navigation skills through the Paris metro and asking for directions.  Little did I know that 5 years later it would become necessary to navigate the huge Parisian train system myself!  It made me very aware and thankful for the little moments of synchronicity along my journey in the past which prepared me for the future.

On Saturday, October 17th, 2015 — I took my first venture into the city.  I took the RER train into the city all the way to the exit “Charles de Gaulle Étoile” where the famous L’Arc de Triomphe stands.  I anxiously stepped off the train, ascended the stairs and when I turned around, there it was.  The grand, monumental arch with 12 streets stemming from this one roundabout.  Busy traffic buzzing by as pedestrians stand underneath this giant monument.  I gasped with excitement as I took my first video and picture in the city.  I could see the top of the Eiffel Tower peeking over the city buildings from this location. I couldn’t believe I was finally here in this city I had dreamed of exploring for so many years.  My senses were fully alive to the sights and sounds around me.

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From the L’Arc de Triomphe, I headed straight down the Champs-Élysées with my end destination being the Louvre Palace and Museum.  I walked cheerfully past prominent stores like Montblanc and Louis Vuitton, Cartier and more.  A man walking next to me hurriedly, obviously en route to somewhere, quickly asked me, “Excusez-moi, mademoiselle. Avez-vous l’heure?”  I smiled at him and a bit shocked that he so naturally spoke to me in French, apparently not knowing that I wasn’t a local.  I responded, “Oui! Oui, bien sûr (nervously, he was very handsome), “Il est neuf heures trente-quatre.”  I remembered the time exactly that morning because that moment was my first time speaking to a Parisian.  The young man thanked me with a, “Merci!  Bonne journée!”  (Thank you!  Have a great day!)

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I arrived at a restaurant minutes later and feasted on my first Parisian breakfast that morning.  Croissants, jam, eggs, toast, fruit, coffee, and orange juice.  It was perfect.  I walked straight towards the Louvre after breakfast, passing monuments along the way and eventually arriving at the Les Jardins des Tuileries (The Tuileries Gardens approaching the Louvre Museum and Palace).  It was slightly raining, people leisurely sitting around the fountain in bistro chairs, umbrellas in hand, a sweet couple conversing.  The unstaged scene, yet picture-perfect; people enjoying the day fully.  It was real life and it was stunningly beautiful and romantic.  If there is such a thing as a perfect day, this was it.  I think the quintessence of life is made up of imperfectly perfect moments. Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year…”   And with that notion, indeed, that day was the best day, a perfect day, and a day I will never forget… the day I first saw Paris with my own eyes.

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My total of three weeks in Paris I spent wandering around the massive city, full of its own smaller districts, exploring and getting lost on purpose, wandering into cafés and restaurants, eating the most delicious food, meeting locals, drinking coffee and wine, smelling the cigarettes as I passed by the outdoor terrasses, and seeing all the sights I could.  It rained a lot in Autumn and I didn’t mind one bit. I found my favorite cafes and spots including Le Maraïs district with my favorite coffee shop Le Peleton Café.  I made friends there quickly and helped write a display on their store front window since they had just opened weeks prior.  I discovered my favorite restaurant near Pont Neuf, Ma Salle a Mangé, with the best Boeuf Bourgogne and Crème Brulée I had ever tasted.

I visited the Montmartre district and the Sacre-Coeur which was one of my favorite locations in the city.  One of my last days in Paris, I climbed the 300 stairs up and back down to get one of the best views of the city with La Tour Eiffel.  I posted on Facebook that day, November 1st, 2015:

If you want an amazing view of the city of Paris–it’s worth it to go to the top of the dome of the Sacré-Cœur. It’s cheaper (6€) and the view is one of the best in the city! I teared up because as I was climbing the 300 stairs of the dome I could hear the echo of the choir inside the Sacré-Cœur as they’re having mass. It was so beautiful I teared up. It was heavenly! What an amazing day in the city before heading to Lyon tomorrow. I’m grateful every day for this journey. Every moment and every blessing is counted. The challenges, the gifts, the joy– all of it is a gift. All of it is part of the adventure. The adventure of being alive and living every day to the fullest where ever you are in the world! ‪#‎joy‬ ‪#‎paris‬

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Travel & Adventure

Connected Points on the Map

These wildflowers have a story………..

Back in August 2015, right before I headed to California for a 2 week vacation to visit long-time friends, I had a wild dream…..

I dreamed that I hiked up this mountain and came out to a giant cliff overlooking a beautiful mountain valley.  Across from me was a garden in the valley, being dug up and prepped for new growth and new plants, it was completely empty (so I thought), but I realized that something was being planted.  I couldn’t see the seeds beneath the soil, but they were definitely there!  There were other people on the cliff with me and I turned around, and someone had a bouquet of wildflowers.  As they handed me this GIANT bouquet so vibrant in color, the person said to me, “Something new is happening.  Something new is about to begin.”  As I accepted these wildflowers, I was so overwhelmed with emotion and I started crying tears of joy.

I woke up that morning from the dream with actual tears of joy in my eyes.  It was the most incredible experience I’ve ever had from a dream!  I knew intuitively what this meant for me. All the soul work I had been doing the previous year, the personal growth, seeds being planted, all of it.  I took this dream as a message from the universe and I wrote it down, and I’ve never forgotten it!

A few days later, I left on a flight to California to spend an incredible 2 weeks there with my friends in the LA area.  I also visited a friend in San Diego for a few days. One morning I was at a French cafe there in downtown San Diego called Cafe Chloe…..it was raining….and I remember this feeling of almost like I was in a different world…..like I was in France.  I was eating breakfast and sipping my coffee…..and I just got this feeling like… this is the time…..the time to go to France….

Now at that time, I had been dreaming and planning of going to France over the past year since the summer before — slowly and surely making steps in that direction.  I had moved and downsized at this point from my one bedroom apartment in Franklin, TN and had moved into a studio apartment a couple of miles down the road.  I had sold many of my belongings and was planning to be there in Franklin for maybe 6 months to 1 year….thinking, when will I have the time to go to France?  I had just accepted an offer at the Opryland Hotel which I did not feel peace about, but nonetheless, I thought it was the most “sensible” next step, at least from the societal norm.

While still in California, two days before heading back to Tennessee, I got a phone call from the HR department at the hotel and they informed me that they would have to push back my orientation 2 more weeks (I was supposed to start at the end of the month) and they asked me if that was ok.  I remember knowing intuitively in that moment…..this is happening for a reason.  The time has come. I’m supposed to go to France….like now!!

Sometimes we wait for the perfect time or the “right” time to do something, to reach a goal, to make something happen, to put action behind our ideas and dreams. But if we truly open our eyes and see the signs and the opportunities and timing in front of us…..if we truly follow our intuition….we end up exactly where we need to be.

I returned from California and one week later I booked a flight to Paris through IcelandAir.  My flight would leave 2 months from that point. That gave me enough time to finish selling the rest of my belongings, my car, everything.  To build the rest of my travel fund, to get prepared, and arrange all of my plans and accommodation.  I actually had made a vision board in the beginning of 2015 that listed all of my vision for the year, and Europe was the main theme on that vision board, plus stepping out of bounds, chasing my dreams, running to the roar and to my calling and much more 🙂

So in October 2015, I headed to Europe!  Luckily,  the previous summer, I had been a French translator for Agape France and Cru Highschool for 2 weeks on the French Caribbean island of Guadeloupe.  I made many new friends there and ultimately my trip to Guadeloupe had connected me to the organization headquartered in Paris.  One of my French friends in Guadeloupe, Kirsti, connected me to her friend, Manon, in Lyon, France who offered to host me for a time!  Kirsti told me I had to visit Lyon and that I would love it.

It was incredible!  The timing, the opportunities, the connections — all of it fell into place. I trusted my intuition and my network and I truly was starting to see that the Universe indeed does have our back.  If we trust ourselves and our intuition, the Universe will provide the rest.  I arranged a work exchange with the organization in Paris and the staff agreed to host me in exchange for administrative work as a volunteer. So I spent 3 weeks in Paris, 2.5 months in Lyon, traveled around the eastern part of France and the French Alps, to various towns and regions.  I spent a week in Switzerland and visited the village where my family is from near Zurich.  And I spent a week in Iceland on the way back to the States through my “Stop-Over” through Iceland Air.

So Iceland……an incredibly beautiful and majestic country.  My week there was filled with lots of fresh food, Arctic fish, fresh snow (and I mean a LOT of snow), tours of one of the national parks, geysirs, waterfalls, geothermal hot pools, and the Northern Lights!

One evening I decided to try out a restaurant in Reykjavik that locals had told me about called Sægreifinn (The Sea Baron) which apparently had amazing lobster soup for a very affordable price. The Icelandic Krona was very expensive compared with the American dollar, so I was looking to watch my food budget for sure!  I walked in and ordered the famous lobster soup which came with fresh bread and butter, and I ordered an Icelandic beer, and sat down and ate to my heart’s content!  Let me tell you…..this was one of the best meals I have ever had!!  Absolutely delicious. Especially on a cold, Arctic winter night!

I was the only person in the restaurant at the time, and then a few moments later, this tall, dark, handsome guy walks in with long, dark, curly hair wearing a Canadian beanie. He ordered the same exact thing, minus the beer, and sat down and started eating. As the only other 2 people in the restaurant and traveling solo that night, we of course started chatting 🙂  We soon discovered we both were traveling alone and that his name was Sander.  He was a travel photographer and environmental photo journalist capturing the scenery in Iceland, and this was his third time there!  He had been in Iceland for a few months and was waiting out the stormy season in his current home on the west coast of Canada.   We were definitely kindred spirits and had such a great connection that we exchanged contact info and agreed to meet up to go to the geothermal hot tub together which we both had been wanting to do!

So the next evening, we met up and shared more stories while relaxing with the Icelandic locals in the naturally heated geothermal hot tub in Iceland’s capital city of Reykjavik.  It was so surreal, this experience.  It is one of the many reasons I love traveling alone.  Not only does it take courage, but it also opens up so many experiences that you wouldn’t necessarily get if you were with a group.  I’m grateful to have met so many incredible people around the world during my travels.

After hours of sharing stories of our travels and wilderness experiences and epic adventures, we headed to Sægreifinn (The Sea Baron) again for dinner.  Then, onward to a cafe for coffee and dessert.  I remember hugging Sander goodbye that last night in Iceland as we talked about how the Universe points us in the right direction through all the connections and synchronicities and points on our map.  It was incredible to meet such a like-minded soul and his story really touched me. We agreed to stay in touch and to write each other.  We gave each other the warmest hug and I waved goodbye on that cold, Arctic winter night as my bus arrived to take me back to my AirBNB.

A few days later, I arrived home back in the States, spending one night in New York City before my flight out to Nashville the next day.  Arriving back home was definitely a reverse culture shock experience, after being immersed in French/European culture for 3 straight months.  I was thinking in French, slipping French words, stumbling to find the English words that I innately knew.  It was hilarious!  After studying and speaking French since I was 14 and being mostly fluent the past few years, I knew at that point, upon returning from France and this full immersion experience, that I had mastered the language.

The following 2 months back in the States were were filled with job applications, figuring out my next steps, and getting my bearings again after this incredible experience in Europe.  I had kept in touch with my new German/Indian friend, Sander, who had been living on Canada’s west coast for some 8 years now.  So he was basically Canadian.  But really, he was a global citizen, and I too felt like a global citizen. We don’t have to call one country home necessarily if we desire to explore and travel and choose a different way of life. He and I talked frequently during those 2 months; about our plans and both seeking direction for the right next steps on our path.  We talked about life, family, goals & dreams, what we wanted next, all of it.

At that time, I had reconnected with my mentor of 2 years and we talked about my direction and plans.  She had spent some time on Vancouver Island in Victoria, B.C. and had told me about her experience there a few years back.  She told me she kept thinking of me when it came to that location and asked if I had checked it out, since they speak French in Canada, and the Pacific Northwest is filled with forest, and ocean, and all kinds of outdoor adventure which I loved so much.  Ironically, she had NO idea about the friend I had just met who was my only contact in that area.  She encouraged me to check out the area and see if it felt like a good fit.

I looked more into it and started looking at jobs and opportunities in that area of British Columbia on Vancouver Island.  I couldn’t believe it!  It seemed perfect. French speaking jobs, outdoor adventure jobs, and so much more!  So I applied for several jobs, booked a vision trip for just a few days, and then contacted my friend Andrew in Seattle and he offered to host me for 2 days en route to Canada!  I was so grateful and excited about this next step. It felt so right.

I booked my flight to Seattle, then a ferry boat to Victoria, B.C. and from there had several stops along the way to follow up on my job applications in person and set up interviews as well.  One of the places I planned to look at was Tofino, B.C., where my friend Sander was living on one of the surrounding islands in the inlet there.  He and I both shared an adventurous and unique spirit, and I had a feeling that I would see him again, but I had no set plans to see him since he was in the remote wilderness there.  I had no idea if he would even be available while I was there, but I had a feeling that our paths might cross again one day, and that our meeting and connection in Iceland happened for a reason!  It connected me to this new place that, upon arriving, was evident that it was my next step and home for a season.

I can’t even explain to you the connection I felt with this place on the globe.  The wilderness, the people, the environment–everything.  I decided I would accept the challenge and stay in this place longer than I had anticipated, and accept all that it would have for me and for however long that was supposed to be.

So each week after I arrived I was trusting for my next steps to come.  I made connections all over the place and was able to meet up with Sander after 2-3 weeks there which was so awesome to reconnect.  We spent so much time together — dining, drinking tea, cooking, bike rides to the beach, and chatting about life, the universe, and our paths.

I met some wonderful locals, including a beautiful soul named Deanna Lankin who was a local artist.  Her artwork was amazing and we got to chatting one day when I went into the shop.  We talked about trusting the universe and ourselves and that the next step would come.  She painted me a little ceramic piece with the word “trust” in gold, “Because trust is gold,” she said.  🙂 And it was perfect!  I held onto that for sure.

I found many like-minded people living in this beautiful spot on the globe.  People from all walks of life, from all over the world, all there for the same reasons — to live life freely, close to nature, to soak in the raw beauty and power of the environment, and all while in great community.

So after 1 month in — I was finally living in a float house on an island close to town.  The way that came about was so full of synchronicity too!  After weeks of searching for housing, I needed some alone time to think and refuel.  So I biked to my favorite beach that day and happened to look over at this island on the way there and I saw several houses.  One house particularly caught my eye and I thought to myself, “ok, if I could live there on that island, I totally would!”  I didn’t know how people lived out there or how it worked, but I figured I have plenty of outdoor adventure/leadership experience, I could make it work.  I’ve been paddling and adventuring in the outdoors for most of my life. But I had no idea if those houses were even available or how to get in touch with anyone living on the island.

Two hours later, I’m at my favorite beach, sitting in one of my favorite spots where I go for “me time” and meditate.  All of a sudden, out of no where, one of the locals who runs the water taxi, Annie, comes out to greet me with her dogs from the woods behind me! We chatted for a few minutes and she sat down next to me — she asked if I had found a place to stay yet.  I told her not yet, that I was still living at the hostel temporarily.  She told me that her neighbors were looking to fill their 3-bedroom float home, and if I could find roommates, and kayak and paddle over, that it could possibly work.  (I hadn’t yet made the connection to where this float home was located 😉 ) She gave me the owners’ contact info and I reached out to them that evening. The funny thing?  It was the exact same house that I had looked at 2 hours earlier while biking to the beach.  Yeah, I can’t make this stuff up.

So the next few weeks were filled with finding roommates and figuring out a plan, picking up the owners’ kayak they lent me, and going to check out the place in person. It was perfect. It took a while to find roommates who were willing to commit to the lifestyle–paddling to and from home every day, hauling in propane for cooking and hot water, limited showers and water at times, but electricity most of the time. Plus, the weather could get stormy…. and the tidal swell comes in…. and with full moons the tide would be quite strong….and the waves could be high……  For me, it was PERFECT.  I live for this stuff!

About a month and a half after moving in and living by myself, and cleaning up the place after it had been vacant for almost a year, I finally found 2 roommates to move in around June 1st!  The owners offered me a position to be the property manager and tenant of the house — to manage the rental property, create the lease agreements, manage everything and take care of the house and logistics. In exchange, the owners compensated me through my rent each month, so I only had to pay a tiny portion.  It was an incredible deal.  My rent exchanged in American dollars made it very, very affordable and honestly I couldn’t have asked for a better setup.  Especially for living on this amazing tiny house on the sea!

I found a rowboat, I used the kayak they provided, and me and my roomies made it work. The Universe truly showed up with more and more opportunities, one by one, as I envisioned what I wanted and needed for my journey.  The power of our vision….and thoughts….truly they impact our reality.

I ended up building a life there, making new friends and building community, and it ended up being 6-7 months! It was epic. After living at the hostel for 1 month, I finally found housing against all odds. (since there’s a housing shortage there). I found consistent freelance/contract work opportunities and an organization who could sponsor me, and I found sustenance. And even better, I found some amazing people I now call dear friends. ❤

I had built a great community and found some good friends through one of my favorite spots, the Tofino Botanical Gardens.  I knew that I would have to leave at the end of my visa and then come back if the opportunity came about, but I was committed to making this entire season count and be fully present while I was there.

Spring and Summer were filled with hikes through the rain forest, climbing mountains, runs on the beach, hikes and trips with friends, enjoying the beach and the waves with these beautiful people, eating amazing food, sunset beach dinners with some of my favorite friends, paddling under full moons and the stars, summer solstice parties, summer storms, and embracing life on the sea.  I also experienced wildlife encounters of all kinds…whales, otters, sea lions, harbor seals, harbor porpoises, jellyfish, bioluminesence, sea stars, bald eagles, bears, and even cougars and wolves roamed the area.

One of the strangest and most inspiring experiences I had was about 2 to 3 months after I had been in Tofino. Mid-summer 2016.  I had already experienced so many synchronicities that summer and many things I had previously envisioned and journaled about a year prior had happened in reality.

So I went to the beach one day, to my favorite spot where I always go for some rest and relaxation.  There weren’t many people around that day and it was a bit overcast/partly cloudy.  I decided to take a nap and I put my hat over my eyes and face as usual.  All I could hear was the sound of the waves, so loud and energizing, the roar of the ocean.  I fell asleep for about 20 minutes.  I woke up, sat up, and looked around me, not many people in sight, a few families down the beach with their dogs.  And I looked to the left of me…..and there it was.  This vibrant, freshly cut, natural bouquet of wildflowers……

I couldn’t really believe my eyes because I knew that these wildflowers were not there when I arrived…..so I looked around the beach thinking maybe someone left them there temporarily?  But there was no one else around……no one left their personal items there or anything…..it was as if they miraculously appeared out of nowhere.

I couldn’t even thank the kind soul who secretly left these for me.  But it touched my heart so deeply!  I mean, for one, I LOVE wildflowers.  I always have since I was a little girl. Hiking in nature from a young age and going on many adventures, you encounter lots of wildflowers on the path.

But these wildflowers, couldn’t be found nearby on the beach…..you would have to go into the woods, the forest, and surrounding areas to find these.  These were left seemingly with intention.  I’ll never forget the experience….the feeling of waking up to these beautiful flowers and just the joy and laughter that overcame me in those moments….. I couldn’t stop smiling.  And all I could think about was that dream……from the year before……and I felt so close to the universe in that moment.  I felt intuitively that I was EXACTLY where I needed to be in my life and on my journey.  It felt like a confirmation that I was moving forward in the right direction and a promise of what was to come.

I had my backpack with me that day, so I placed the wildflowers in the side pocket on the exterior of my pack and joyfully walked down the beach with them.  I trekked back to my bicycle, and headed to the dock, and paddled home.  I proudly put them in a vase and kept them for as long as I could.

I will never forget that day.  I took a picture of the wildflowers exactly how they were left for me on the beach, tucked perfectly into a log of driftwood. The beautiful thing about this experience, is that it didn’t stop there. Soon, the word wildflower kept coming up more and more and more.  I even named my boat Wildflower, and I stumbled upon a necklace at a local jewelry shop about 2 weeks before I left to head back to the States.  It was a hand-crafted necklace, with a gold-plate and the word “WILDFLOWER” hand stamped across it. So of course I bought it 🙂

Upon returning back to the States in October 2016 after my visa ended– it was a season of searching again — getting my bearings for the next direction.  In the Fall, I had started envisioning creating a healthy living blog or something in that category as I had been passionate about holistic/natural health and nutrition for going on 10 years.  I wanted to share my experience with the world and help others in their health journeys, so I felt like I was going in the right direction for sure.  I brainstormed a ton of ideas and names at that point, and the name “wildflower” kept coming into my head.  I put all the names and thoughts in my idea box and continued with my current seasonal jobs: coffee shops, freelance, nannying, and pet sitting.

I had moved back to Chattanooga for what I thought was my next step and realized 2.5 months later — after discovering maintenance & environmental issues with the house I was renting — that the universe was pointing me back to Franklin.  I made a decision the week before I moved back to intentionally figure out my next steps and next direction for my life.  It felt like the right time to move forward in a big way again. After all, I wanted to use my skills, passions, and gifts to do work that I really cared about.  I wanted to keep using my Bachelor’s degree in Business Management/Health Science & Human Performance, including my passion for the outdoors and a healthy and active lifestyle. In previous years, I had led and managed outdoor recreation programs and advocated for active living and the benefits of getting out in nature. I had worked in event management for several years  as well, and I had even started my own event planning business with personal assisting on the side.  I’ve always been very entrepreneurial and I wanted to do my own thing in my own style and in my own time,  and that’s where I knew I would thrive.

I wrote on my vision board for 2016 “The world needs your untamed spirit, your bold ideas.”  And I believe that the world really does need our gifts and passions that we can share.  We can actually change the world when we show up for ourselves and offer the best and healthiest version of ourselves.  So ultimately, I wanted to create the life and work that I really envisioned.  And that meant I had to do something that was my style and build something I was passionate about where I could use my creativity.    Gandhi said, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” And I wanted to change the way the world does health.

So that led me to April 2017, and my mother had now fully recovered from lung cancer after having a critical surgery in October 2016, so by the time Spring rolled around, she was feeling much better and doing very well.  She occasionally felt off, so I gave her some natural solutions and lifestyle changes she could use, and she felt much better within the next week.  So I thought, “hmm, interesting.  I’ve always been passionate about natural / holistic health, what if I could help others too?”  I’ve always been very health conscious, had transformed my weight in high school and college, and ultimately wanted to make good health decisions consistently in my life. Friends and coworkers had often asked me what products I use and about supplements and natural foods, overhauling their pantries with the right foods and healthier alternatives.

I had spoken with my mentor the week I moved back to Franklin in April 2017 and brainstormed ideas.  She asked me what makes me come alive, what do I already do that I’m passionate about regardless of money, and what feeds the fire of my soul.  So I began looking more into it.

I realized that week that I had already been on this journey for a long time….for 10 years! The journey of Holistic Health & Natural Living.  So I found a school program to support this decision, an accredited, reputable 6 month program to become a Certified Health Coach. It all made so much sense!  I am pursuing the life coaching certification as well because it’s something I am also passionate about.

My personal goal is to help people follow their bliss, master their mindset, experience habit change and ultimately transformation.  So all of this tied together so well and I knew it was for me!   It unfolded seamlessly, and now I’m 3 months into the program, starting to work with both practice and paid clients.

I created a Facebook Page, and updated my Instagram, and created a mission statement:

Through holistic health & wellness wisdom, I’m on a mission to empower people to take back their health and transform their lives so they can flourish and follow their bliss!

And the name for my business?  Of course, Wildflower Health Coaching.    🙂

I had brainstormed names for months, and every time, it came back to that word.  Pun intended, things have been blooming now for months, and seeds that were planted a while ago are starting to show up in my life.  Ironically, or in synchronicity rather, my theme/vision word for 2017 has been transformation.  Gradually over the past 8 months and presently….I’m seeing transformation truly happen and new things starting to unfold…. and all of it gives me the feels ❤

What I love about the name wildflower is all that it represents for my path — the sign that it has been for me from my dream to reality.  All the synchronicities, the symbolism, the encouragement and nod from the universe.  For me, it truly represents new beginnings.

Wildflowers represent so many things.  Wild…..undomesticated by society, untamed, free, wild, natural.  Flower….the verb meaning to bloom; to be in or reach an optimum stage of development; develop fully and richly.    

And that’s exactly what I want my clients to feel when they work with me — free to reach their goals and be the healthiest, happiest, and best version of themselves.

I move to California within the next week…..to start a new chapter and to move forward there.  I’m trusting where this step is leading me and enjoying the adventure of it all. And in more ways than one, it really is a new beginning.

So here’s to staying wild and free, to all the synchronicities in our lives, and to new beginnings ❤

Travel & Adventure, Travel Tips

Travel Essentials | Preparing for Travel & Living Abroad

Stay alert and informed before you travel.

Some of the basics of traveling safely – don’t put yourself in sketchy situations, trust your intuition, don’t walk alone in questionable areas, talk to trusted locals, be aware of your surroundings, and stay informed.  Be aware of the political state of the country or area you’re visiting before travel.

Don’t make yourself a target for theft or scams.

When traveling alone especially, it’s important to blend in and stay confident.  If you’re traveling as a group, it’s still good to be vigilant.  In France, I would hang with trusted locals and friends and orient myself to my surroundings in each new place.  If I was going somewhere solo, I made sure I knew the route, the plan, and had a map of the area.  I always research an area beforehand and look at Google Maps to orient myself. (or a local map)

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Living in Lyon, France and visiting the Musée des Confluences (Confluence Museum)

Many people often thought I was a local, especially in France.  I speak the French language fluently which also helped.  Making an effort to learn key phrases in the language where you’re traveling is really helpful, especially if you get lost or need directions.  Learning key phrases in another language is useful even at a restaurant or the post office!

One of the best ways to avoid being a target for theft or scams is not using your GPS on your phone in highly public places or on streets and street corners.  If you need to search for directions, pop into a cafe quickly to get your bearings and check your map or phone there.  You can also use Google Maps offline if needed.  If you have WiFi at a restaurant, cafe, or where you’re staying and living, go ahead and plan out your route and then head out.

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My favorite little café in Lyon, France

Ask for directions from people who work at a cafe or restaurant and know the area. Avoid asking people on the street or in random places. If needed, go to a local tourist information kiosk or visitor’s center.

Keeping your phone out of sight in busy places helps to avoid cases of theft where people swipe your phone right out of your hand.  It can happen in big cities or high-traffic areas and crowded streets. So never make your valuables easily accessible.

Navigation, Maps, & Routes

Google Maps is the most notorious for navigation and maps and it’s my personal favorite.  It will navigate you by car, public transit, on foot, bicycle, and plane!  It’s also a great tool and resource for looking up businesses and restaurants.

If you’re doing multiple travels by bus, plane, train, etc. – one of the best resources is Rome2Rio – which will help you find the cheapest and most efficient ways to get to your desired destination.

If you’re doing a road trip in the United States, I recommend using Gas Buddy to find the best gas prices for your route as well as calculating fuel costs for your budget.

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At the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris

Guard your personal belongings on trains and when walking in crowds.

Trains and crowds are highly known for pick-pocketing so it’s important to guard your personal items. Friends and locals always encouraged me to wear my backpack on my front or position myself in a way where people couldn’t access my backpack or purse.  I carried an over the shoulder purse (a thrifty find at a vintage store in Paris in fact!) which I kept on the front of my body where I could guard it while walking.

Lock up valuables.

If you’re staying in a private room at an AirBNB, before you book, make sure it comes with a key to lock on the door so you can lock up your valuables while you are away. Many hostels and lodges provide a locker (typically you must bring your own lock) or you can rent one there. I use my combo lock or travel suitcase lock to store my computer and purse at night and any other valuables during the day that I didn’t need with me.  It’s always a good idea to not carry too many valuables with you on excursions.  Just bring the basics and bare minimum.

Research the area before you arrive and make friends with locals and other travelers.

Before I travel to a new place, I scope out my transportation options, maps of the area, restaurants and local places, distances to and from my destinations, and general information about the area (and history! I love discovering the history of a place).  I check reviews on lodging and neighborhoods to make sure it’s ideal and safe.  I opt for walking and the metro most of the time when I can, but at times I take a taxi or Uber if it’s later at night or if I have a ton of luggage with me upon arrival to a new city.  Walking with friends and trusted travelers is also a great way to opt for commuting.  You can meet great people who are also traveling while staying at hostels or AirBNBs – so team up with people when it feels right and you can make new friends along the way!

Banking & Cash Management Internationally

If you are using your personal bank card or credit card internationally, you’ll want to notify your bank of your travel dates and locations.  These travel alerts can be placed on your account for up to 6 months to a year.  This prevents your card from getting blocked during travel and also prevents theft if the card is used outside the countries you listed.

You can use your personal card for ATM withdrawals for cash (bank fees apply + factor in currency exchange rates).  I recommend the Travelex Money Card to save on currency exchange fees.  It allows you to have access to your funds without having to carry large amounts of cash on you.  There are several perks to using a currency Money Card like this:

  • you save money by getting a lower currency exchange rate and avoiding fees when you buy or download currency online to your money card
  • it works just like a normal debit card – you can get cash out at the ATM
  • it prevents international transaction fees adding up on your current bank account
  • if the card gets lost or stolen, someone will only have access to what’s on the card, not your main bank account (you can get the card blocked/stopped immediately by calling Travelex if this happens)
  • it’s super easy to manage and convenient for travel

Working in Other Countries & New Banks

If you’re going to be in a country working for a period of time, you’ll want to sign up for a local bank account of course.  Many banks have deals for newcomers or foreign workers.  In Canada, CIBC offers a free account to Newcomers/Foreign Workers for up to 1 year.

You’ll want to sure you sign up with an internationally recognized bank that offers a Visa or Master Card so that you can use your debit card internationally if you travel to other places, or need to use your current funds in your home country.  Sometimes Credit Unions or smaller, more local banks, don’t offer Visas or Master Cards so those debit cards can only be used locally (not online or during travel outside that country).

Check in and inform trusted people of your travel itinerary.

I checked in with either local friends or family when I left certain locations and arrived at home or at my next destination.  I sent my travel itineraries to my family when I was heading to a new place or going on an excursion.  I gave them contacts of people I would be working with or staying with including organizations, hostels, and AirBNB hosts. This is always a great idea to let friends and family know of your whereabouts or have a contingency plan for trips and outdoor adventures if you’re traveling solo, or in case you get into an emergency.  So if they don’t hear back from you by a certain time, they can know to contact someone you have listed on your travel itinerary.

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Sunset view from the Château d’Annecy (Annecy Castle) in France

Using a Mobile Phone Internationally

This depends on your phone carrier and available global roaming plans. I had a free Global Roaming Plan with Sprint when I moved to France, so I could text for free and use my unlimited data just as I did in the States.  Through that plan, phone calls cost 20 cents a minute.  So I would opt for WiFi when possible to use WhatsApp and FaceTime Audio for phone calls.  For messaging my international friends at no charge to them, I would use Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp. In Canada I purchased a phone plan through Fido for around $70 per month.

Some people use SIM Cards when they travel if you have an unlocked phone which can be another affordable option.  You can choose what works best for you based on how long you’ll be traveling or living abroad.  Most countries have affordable phone plans and carriers or SIM Cards you can set up when you arrive in a main city.  Typically if you find any mall, or search phone carriers on Google, there will be businesses nearby with affordable plans.

Carry extra copies of your passport and ID.

It’s a good idea to make two copies of your passport and ID before you travel.  Scan and e-mail those copies to yourself and/or family member.  Keep the two paper copies in a separate & secure place while you travel. That way, if for some reason your wallet, or passport, is stolen or lost — you have a backup plan and copies of your ID.  You can always contact your bank if your card gets lost or stolen, and put a stop on transactions until that’s resolved.  As long as you’ve notified your bank of your travel plans, usually you won’t run into any issues with using your card.

Get travel insurance.

One of the top travel insurance companies is World Nomads and they offer reasonable plans for the length of your travel.  It’s never a bad idea in case you get injured or have a dental emergency or get severely sick.  It also can protect against theft in some cases. Some countries will accept patients without travel insurance if you need to visit a clinic or pharmacy.

 

© 2019. Sonya Anglin. perksofbeingawildflower.com

Travel & Adventure, Travel Tips

Travel Hacks | How to Plan + Pay for Your Next Adventure

Vision for the Adventure

Create a vision board.  Make it visual and creative.  Make it your own.  I created a vision board on January 4th, 2015 — it had clips from a Travel + Leisure magazine, a Europe issue in fact that I had purchased, and my vision board had all kinds of words leading me onward.  “Follow your bliss”  “What are you passionate about?”  “Europe”  “Run to the Roar”  and so much more.  Ten months later, I was standing in front of the Eiffel Tower.

It might sound simple, but writing things down makes them real and it brings an idea to life.  It is then no longer just an idea.  Your dreams are now captured in front of you.

For more on the visualization & vision board process, I have A Girl’s Guide to Self-Care & Following Your Bliss.  It covers many of these concepts and preparing for huge shifts in your life and making dreams happen!

“Once you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

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How much do you need financially to get to your destinations?  Can you sell things to fuel your travels while saving up through work?  Also, who do you know around the globe? Do you have contacts?  Would you be willing to do volunteer work in exchange for accommodation and food?  Maybe work at a hostel in exchange for lodging?

Volunteer Work Options [Work Exchanges]

Many travelers do work exchanges with organizations across the globe such as Work Away or WWOOF International by working in exchange for room and board.  Work Away Programs can range from being an au pair to helping a family on a farm and more.  If you choose to work with WWOOF International, you enroll in a membership which gives you access to work on farms around the world.

You can also set up your own volunteer work arrangements & work exchanges with organizations around the globe which is what I did.  I worked for a faith-based organization in Paris for part of my time in France in exchange for accommodation and some meals during my stay.   I also had connections in France through friends within that organization.  So it’s amazing what can happen when you meet people around the globe! The rest of my time in Europe, I used my travel savings and funds from selling all of my stuff (including my vehicle) and was able to fund the rest of my time in Europe.

Side Tip:  There are some credit card companies that provide travel rewards and dividends which is a great option if that’s within your means.  I can’t link to any specific ones for affiliate marketing purposes/advertising guidelines, but if you do your research, that may be a perk for you.

Work Visas & Earning Money Around the Globe

For those wanting to work and earn money in the countries they’re traveling to or those who want to participate in unique travel programs, InterExchange is a great option!  I’ve participated in the Work & Travel Canada program and I’m exploring more programs currently. There are several work and travel opportunities with this non-profit organization including sponsorship programs for Working Holiday Visas in countries like Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United States, and more.  (certain age requirements apply)

There are also stints you can do for 1 to 2 weeks, or more in various countries involving language programs, au pair jobs, and teaching English.  Certain age requirements do apply depending on the program you’re signing up for.

For a list of programs available to U.S. Citizens who want to work or travel abroad:  https://www.interexchange.org/working-abroad/

For citizens of other countries looking to work & travel in the United States:  https://www.interexchange.org/usa/#travel-abroad

It’s like a foreign exchange experience – some programs include a work permit/working holiday visa for up to 1 year (or 2 years depending on your country of citizenship), and other programs include teaching opportunities, volunteer work, au pair jobs, and/or accommodation.

Lodging & Accommodation

AirBNB is a great and affordable option during travel for booking private rooms.  Most nightly rates are super affordable if you find the right deal.  Some AirBNB hosts are willing to host you for longer-term stays if you need a rental-type set up.  Some AirBNB hosts also provide breakfast, snacks, coffee, tea, and more!

Other options are hostels & travel/backpacker hotels which are typically super nice, clean, community oriented and affordable!  There are many hostels across the globe, and you’ll want to check reviews before booking of course.  A consistent (and typically clean and safe) option around the globe that I choose is HI Hostels (Hostelling International)These international hostels typically include breakfast and/or coffee and tea in the mornings which can add to your savings.

Hostelling International also offers memberships which means more savings!  If you’re a member, you pay a fee once a year and you can enjoy discounts on nightly rates at hostels around the world.  There are also multiple benefits to being a HI Hostel member. You can view membership benefits here.

The cool thing about Hostelling International is that it’s a non-profit organization. And it also provides many travelers from all over the world with jobs and accommodation while traveling!  Super cool.

“We believe that exploration and travel lead to a better understanding of other cultures, and in turn that creates a peaceful, smarter, and more tolerant world. This is and has been our mission for almost 100 years.” (hihostels.com)

Another accommodation option is Hostel World and they have a great article covering 45 Travel Hacks!

IMG_9651If you’re willing to share a space with someone, or you can opt for your own private room at a hostel, you will be surprised at how much better it can be than a hotel!  Same for AirBNB.  I enjoy this way of traveling because it provides a “local experience” and you meet AMAZING people around the world!  You get to experience what it’s like living in that place on the map.  There are opportunities to meet more people, plus insider information for the city you’re in, locations to visit, food, and culture.

If you’re living abroad for a longer period of time, there are several websites and options for local rentals and room shares/flat mates.  You’ll want to search these options in the area where you’re traveling and word of mouth is usually a great option.  Often, Facebook has a local Rentals group for your area that you can join.

Find Cheaper Travel Options

Cheaper airfare and train fare is available if you find it at the right time. You can try different routes to avoid higher airfare costs. If you’re going to Europe, IcelandAir offers trans-Atlantic flights and you can find a flight for very cheap depending on the season.  It is worth the travel time and you get to see Iceland though a Stop-Over!  I did a Stop-Over in Iceland on the way back to the U.S. from France.  You can stay in Iceland for up to 5 nights or so with no additional airfare cost and explore the beauty of Iceland, then catch your connecting flight to your next destination!

img_0481You can fly within Europe on budget airlines such as Ryan Air and EasyJetCanada has budget airlines such as WestJet, Swoop, and Flair.  I opted for a lot of train travel in Europe because it made more sense for me based on my travel time, budget, and locations.  Trains and buses are great methods of transportation, and scenic!  It is best to book tickets for large trains about 2 to 3 months in advance for the best rates and prices.

For budget airlines in the United States, I recommend Southwest Airlines or Spirit Airlines.  Southwest always has great deals on flights.  I’ve found airfare from Seattle to Nashville for $300 round-trip before.

Train Travel

The TGV in France or SNCF / Rail Europe (high-speed trains) can be taken to many other surrounding countries in Europe.  I took a 4 hour train trip from Lyon, France to Zürich, Switzerland and it was well worth it and affordable.  There are also Euro Rail passes if you’re traveling throughout Europe for a longer period of time which can offer big savings for the travel budget.

Metro + Bicycle + Pedestrian Travel

And last but not least, walking, biking, and metro passes within each city are also affordable options of course!  I love exploring cities on foot or by renting a bicycle and getting lost on purpose. It’s one of the best ways to explore new cities and places on the map.  Many cities now have bicycle stations where you can check out a bicycle for hours at a time and drop it off anywhere around the city where there is a bicycle station.

Some cities have special metro passes with affordable weekly or monthly rates, such as the Navigo Pass in Paris.  I used the Navigo Pass while living in and near Paris for 3 weeks and it was so worth the savings!  Most cities have special metro deals if you inquire at the stations or look at the options at the ticket kiosks.

Food and Dining

When you travel, you want to enjoy the local cuisine, no doubt!  Budget for that!  Find cheap eats and local recommendations.  You don’t have to miss out on amazing, local dining experiences.  This can be done on any budget.  Scout out the local eateries, make half your lunch into dinner, buy groceries, cook like a local, make your own meals some days, and dine out other days.  Make the most out of it!   In France, bakeries and wine are both cheap, so there are advantages depending on the country you’re in.  🙂

Google Maps/Reviews and Yelp are two of the most helpful apps for finding local restaurants, price points, menus, pictures, and more.  Google Maps will also navigate you there efficiently too!

If you’re in Paris, you have to v42t8w8ifndrewftwisit the famous bakery Eric Kayser Artisan Boulanger which has super affordable options for breakfast and lunch.  A great dinner spot in Paris is Ma Salle à Manger which is a small local restaurant near Pont Neuf.  This place had the best Beef Bourguignon and Crème Brûlée you will ever taste!  So worth the visit.

blog picCurrency Exchanges

You can use your personal card for ATM withdrawals for cash (bank fees apply + factor in currency exchange rates).  I recommend the Travelex Money Card to save on currency exchange fees.  It allows you to have access to your funds without having to carry large amounts of cash on you.  There are several perks to using a currency Money Card like this:

  • you save money by getting a lower currency exchange rate and avoiding fees when you buy or download currency online to your money card
  • it works just like a normal debit card – you can get cash out at the ATM
  • it prevents international transaction fees adding up on your current bank account
  • if the card gets lost or stolen, someone will only have access to what’s on the card, not your main bank account (you can get the card blocked/stopped immediately by calling Travelex if this happens)
  • it’s super easy to manage and convenient for travel

Navigation, Maps, & Routes

Google Maps is the most notorious for navigation and maps and it’s my personal favorite.  It will navigate you by car, public transit, on foot, bicycle, and plane!  It’s also a great tool and resource for looking up businesses and restaurants.

If you’re doing multiple travels by bus, plane, train, etc. – one of the best resources is Rome2Rio – which will help you find the cheapest and most efficient ways to get to your desired destination.

If you’re doing a road trip in the United States, I recommend using Gas Buddy to find the best gas prices for your route as well as calculating fuel costs for your budget.

Travel in the United States

These travel hacks and resources are relevant to not only Europe, North America, and other countries, but can be applied to travel within the United States as well.  There are Work Away and WWOOF International options in the U.S.A. for sure.  There are hostels, AirBNBs, camps and organizations, all of the above and more!  If you’re wanting to explore the U.S.A. as a foreign citizen, or as an American wanting to see your own country, I definitely recommend taking advantage of some of these travel hacks!  It’s well worth it for the experience of exploring the beauty of America.

Stay Open and Flexible

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Whatever you do, you’ll learn and be challenged, that is a guarantee. And it’s also part of the goal.  To overcome obstacles, grow from the experiences, learn more about who you are and what you’re capable of, to adapt to new worlds, to be uncomfortable, to learn about a different culture. To let go and be free, to express your joy, to feel bliss and la joie de vivre. To live fully.

When I’m traveling, and in my life in general, I have the philosophy of “go with the flow, stay open, and be willing to step out of the familiar zone.”

Your thoughts, perspectives, ideas, cultural paradigms, preconceived notions, and routines — all of these will be challenged.  This is a good thing.  You will get lost sometimes and go the wrong way, you will arrive at a cafe or restaurant to find out that it’s in fact closed on Mondays. Or maybe there is only lunch served from 12pm-2pm. Maybe that cafe you headed to doesn’t have WiFi.  Maybe the bathrooms are so small that there is standing room only.  It’s actually comical sometimes.  You have to find the humor in everything.  Like when the streets are so small because they’re ancient and you have to dodge mopeds and bicycles while walking.  (True story in Lyon, France).  And like when the metros are crowded some days and you get to know your neighbors in the most random ways 🙂

You get the point. It’s all part of the adventure. You adapt. You learn. You laugh.  You change your plans.  And you make the most of all of it.  It’s what makes the story, the magical experience, that trip you’ll never forget, the adventure of a lifetime. ~~

© 2019. Sonya Anglin. perksofbeingawildflower.com