Back to Hogwarts

Today is the day that James Sirius Potter heads to his first year of Hogwarts. In celebration here are some of my favorite Harry Potter moments in my life.

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Hagrid’s Hut

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Welcome to Hogsmeade

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-Elle

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I want adventure in the great wide somewhere..

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“I want adventure in the great wide somwhere…”

Alright, so maybe I kidnapped that line from one of my favorite movies, but it is so true. I’ve always had it in my head that once I graduated college I needed to find the perfect career, to be in a job that had upward mobility, that I could make a living from and have a retirement from the end. This probably came from my mom continually telling me that she wants me to just find a good job that can go somewhere (I was told this once again earlier today, you think by 29 she’d realize it’s not exactly in the plans for me).

I don’t want to just have a job, a career to be able to have a retirement in my future, I want to have a job that allows me to travel to explore. My moms idea of travel tends to be cruises with excursions that have guides to parts of islands that have been commercialized and show nothing about the culture except what is practiced and rehearsed and allowed by the cruise companies. I’ve taken to traveling on my own, yet haven’t figured out how to tell her I don’t want her idea of traveling.

I don’t want to travel and stay at all-inclusives where you stay on a resort and never leave, I don’t want to take guided tours through a city or see the the latest tourist attraction. I want to stroll through the streets of Italy eating gelato, learn how to surf in Hawaii, watch the aurora borealis from Norway, wander the streets of London searching for fabric. I want to hike through the highlands of Scotland, maybe happen upon a castle or Nessie. I want to take part of a lantern festival in Thailand and explore the marine life in Australia. I want to travel to see the world, to meet new people, immerse myself into a new culture. I don’t want to travel to escape life, I want to travel to experience all the world has to offer and more.

Over the next few weeks I have a lot of decisions to make, what job to choose next, where to move, if I should stay in the states or look elsewhere for a job. Essentially where do I go next, I don’t know what the future has in store, but I do know that I will continue to explore and search for the adventure in it all.

-Elle

I’ve always wanted to travel…

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The Travel Dilemma

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In a little over a year from now I plan to make my next big trip. As a planner by nature I have been working on where I will be headed next. Last year when I went to Wales I was able to spend a day in London and now all I want to do is go back and stay in London longer. Since moving there at the moment doesn’t seem to be an option at the moment, visiting may be the next best option.

When considering travel there are many things that can create a problem. From finances, to schedules, to finding a travel buddy. However, my biggest issue currently is do I go some place I’ve never been or do I go back to a place that I’ve been but would like to explore more. My heart wants to go to London, but this world is so big, with so many things to see how do I justify returning somewhere?

I have some time before needing to make a decision, but there are so many places to choose from, so where do I go next?

How do you choose where to travel too? What is it based on? The people? The sites? The cheapest ticket?

-Elle

London Calling.

I’m a planner. I’ve always been a planner. I’ve always planned about the next trip I would take. The next place I would visit. That was until Wales, after I returned from my trip from Wales I lost my desire to travel. I loved my trip to Wales, but afterwards I realized maybe I wasn’t the type to be able to travel by themselves. I had this vision of being the type of person who could go someplace new and have this amazing, life changing adventure. What can I say, I’m a dreamer.

I thought I would be taking a break from my next international trips and than Friday night I saw the newest Night at the Museum. And in case you weren’t aware, it takes place in London. Watching the movie as they flew over London and passed the streets and places I could name because I had seen them made me realize that I wanted to go back. That I need to go back.

Over the next 6 months my lease and job contract end, and if I could find a way I would make the jump and move to London, or any other part of Great Britain (a cottage in the English country side would be ideal).

Who knows where I will be in 6 months, it may be London or Florida or Antarctica or it may still be Oklahoma, but I am ready to travel again, ready to see the world. Now where to first?

-Elle

Back to the States.

I’ve officially returned from my first trip to Europe. The United Kingdom to be exact. I spent 5 days in Cardiff, Wales with a quick trip into London. Although this trip was planned completely solo, about a week before leaving, a friend who lives in Spain and that I hadn’t seen in 5 years decided to join me for the weekend.

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As you prepare to leave for your trip across the world, the people around you will unintentionally project their fears and worries onto you. The world news and media will make you nervous, second guess you and discourage you from travel. Don’t listen to them! Take the trip! You won’t regret it. With everything going on in the world today it’s easy to make excuses on why you shouldn’t travel. Ignore it. Go have an adventure!

While abroad I never felt unsafe or uncomfortable. Overwhelmed, yes (Note: Don’t take the early train to London full of all the business paper. When you get off the train you will get caught up with all of the people rushing to work!) This trip was amazing, I’m sad that it has ended. The memories are worth the trip. Taking the time to see exactly what you want, when you want, on no one’s schedule but your own is worth every second of the adventure, and getting past the indecision and opinions of others.

Over the coming week I will share about my experiences, the tours I took, pictures, and things I learned. In the meantime, continue planning your trip, while I search for the next destination for mine.

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Back from Wales!

I’ve been AWOL for the last week exploring Wales and England! I am back and am working on posting about my adventures. In the meantime, feel free to head over to my Facebook page and check out some of the pictures from the journey! (And like the page while you are there!)

https://www.facebook.com/FlyingSoloBlog

Travel 101: Where do I go?

Planning your first trip is always exciting, planning any trip for that matter is, but there is something about planning that first trip and realizing that this is actually happening is like no other trip you will plan. If you are like me your list of where to travel is constantly growing. And with the help (and detriment) of sites such as Pinterest have introduced you to things and places you never knew existed.

Here are a few tips to choosing your first destination on that solo trip you’ve been dreaming of. These are in no particular order, but I hope they will help you on your way.

1. Where do you want to go?

When I chose where to travel internationally first, I thought of the places I’ve always dreamed of going. For this trip I thought of the United Kingdom and Australia, both of which I have dreamed of seeing since I was a kid.

I find that sometimes creating Pinterest boards for each location helped me to determine what type of things I wanted to do and helped me to see which place I tended to come back to more.

2. How much time do you have?

How much time you have for your trip when traveling internationally is a huge factor. I knew I only had a week for this trip, which meant Australia was out because the flying time comes close to a total of 4 days as well as losing time because of the international date line. So I aimed for a place that would only take a day each too and from that way I had 5 solid days in the city.

I also knew that although London has been at the top of my list 5 days just would not be enough to do everything I wanted, and I wasn’t willing to go for 5 days and be bummed about missing some things.

3. What is your budget?

Budget is a huge consideration, especially when you look at airfare. Also consider what types of tours and attractions you plan to see, if you are traveling to the other side of the world you want to be able to enjoy it, getting there and being stuck at your hotel because you can’t afford to do anything is never an option; it takes planning but you can find a trip to fit any budget.

Travel packages come in very handy for this.

4. How comfortable are you jumping into a new place and culture?

Nervous about your first trip and experiencing a whole new world? You may want to focus on somewhere that is a little more comfortable the first time out. Look for places that speak the same language or have a high ratio of English speakers so you don’t feel as lost.

Personally, I am not a city girl and the idea of London my first overseas trip was a bit overwhelming. The UK was still on the top of my list so I did a little research, with the help of the internet (and the Doctor (Doctor Who)) I found the city of Cardiff, Wales. One of the younger capitals of Europe it is a smaller city that is still full of history, many BBC shows have been filmed there (I love British television). Roald Dahl, one of my favorite authors from my childhood, grew up there, and there was a castle.

The more I researched the more I realized Cardiff was somewhere I would love to see and would be a great option for the first trip. It was also only a 2 hour train ride from London, which meant I could take a day trip without having to budget the higher prices of London or dealing with such a big city.

When you are planning your trip, you want to be try new things and leave your comfort zone, but that doesn’t mean you can have to jump in with your eyes closed. No matter where you travel it will be a great adventure!

5. When are you traveling?

Depending on when you are traveling, be aware of local holidays where attractions may be closed, festivals that cause hotel prices to rise. Pay attention to the weather and the seasons, if you don’t like winter going to Australia during North American summer is not a good plan since the seasons are opposite.

If you are going to a location because of a festival or event remember to budget it in, you will also have to book earlier as places tend to sell out quicker when something is going on in town.

 

You don’t have to over-think and meticulously your trip to enjoy yourselves, but being aware of things that will affect your travels will allow you to get the most for your money. Doing research ahead of time will also help your trip to run smoother so you are not overwhelmed when you show up at your hotel and find the whole place is full of a bunch of people attending the yearly beer festival.

6. Have Fun

The most important thing to remember when planning your trip is to have fun. Looking at all the places that you can travel to and learning about new cultures is amazing, bookmark places that you want to visit on another trip and use the resources available. Talk to friends, you would be amazed to find the people you know that have been somewhere you are planning to visit.

Enjoy your trip Flying Solo (or with friends)

-Elle