Ending of a Season.

The ending of 2014 is just around the corner. Usually the end of the year prompts people to evaluate the last year and consider what to work on in the next. Although it is the time of year where everyone is posting about reflections and New Years Resolutions, this post has been a long time coming. I started this blog with the intent of posting regularly, I was excited about travel and life and experiences.

Recently, my Pastor was speaking about the year and how if we are not progressing we are regressing, but in the last couple of months I felt like neither was the case. Everything had seemed to plateau, the dreams I once had non-existent, future plans uncertain and unsure what will come next.

There is a funny thing about dreams, sometimes they are better in your head, things don’t always turn out how you wanted. For years I believed I was the type of person that could go to Europe, that could have an amazing adventure. I believed I was the type of person that would travel, maybe it was the fact I was always a dreamer and I believed in big things, but although I enjoyed my trip to Wales, it wasn’t what I expected, and maybe solo travel isn’t cut out for everyone. I don’t mind traveling alone, I don’t mind exploring places by myself, but in Wales, although I was in another country, I was still just me. I don’t know if I was expecting to learn something new about myself, or if I was expecting to find a part of me that could be adventurous or free-spirited.

This year I’ve realized that I’ve lost who I am. I’ve lost the personality and spirit, I’ve lost that part of me that makes me who I am. I’ve lived in Oklahoma for almost 5 years and have realized that no one here knows who I am, but no one actually knows me. I want 2015 to be different. I’m not sure yet how that will happen, or what it will involve.

This next year will be full of decisions. This year I have a job thats ending will most likely coincide with my lease ending. The perfect opportunity to move if I wanted to. Out of city. Out of state. Out of country. I could go anywhere (as long as I can get a Visa that is), but where to go? Do I stay? There’s nothing in Oklahoma holding me here, but there’s also nothing anywhere else that is leading me there. The world is just waiting for me to take a step. To make a decision. Do I move forward? Move back? Stand still? Which way do I go?

Where do I start? Where do I continue? Do I stick it out and try to change who I am? Reach out more? Continue to accept this is how it will always be?

At the moment I am making a list of 30 things I plan to do this year. 30 things, not necessarily goals, or changes but things I would like to accomplish. If you made that same list for the year, what would you add to the list? What types of attainable things would you commit too?

2015 is right around the corner. A new season. A new beginning. A new outlook. A change.

-Elle

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