Belgium, France, Italy AND Switzerland? Don’t mind if I do!

On a serious whim I decided to go to Belgium in July. My mom is spending at least a month there and I thought it would be fun to see my family again and also travel around with my mom. My brother had the bright idea to take my mom to Italy for a few days. We’ve been trying to plan and sort out how we wanted to do this. We thought a train would be fun but that seemed to require a lot of planning and figuring out. We figured a plane would be the easiest thing to do but possibly a bit pricy since its already April. Yesterday I talked to my brother in the morning and he said last night he was sitting down with his wife to book hotels and flights and figure it all out. Well, he called me yesterday afternoon and it turns out we are driving. And on the way we are stopping in Switzerland! I know it isn’t much but I have always wanted to see Switzerland and see the Alps and now I am going to! We are trying to figure out where at in Switzerland we are going to stay. Bil wants to stay either in the Alps or somewhere with a view of the Alps but doesn’t want to drive too far. Judging by the comments I received on Trip Advisor and the research I did too we will probably have to do a 7 hour drive from Belgium. I think we should either stay in the Lucerne or Geneva area. Lucerne looks so beautiful so I am hoping I can convince them to do the 7 hour drive!

After our afternoon and night in Switzerland we are driving to Pisa, Italy. They found a cheap bed and breakfast with decent reviews, about a 30 minute walk to the Leaning Tower of Pisa. It has a kitchen which will help us. For all of us to stay there (4 adults, 1 child) it will cost us roughly 60/each for 3 nights. Once I stay there and the trip is over I will tell you the name, I don’t want to give anything away until I can give a full review. We’ll have the car so it’ll make going to other cities in Italy so much easier. I really want to take my mom to Volterra because she is a HUGE Twilight fan and I think Lavinia wants to go to Siena. I’m pretty open to anywhere in Tuscany as long as I can get some gorgeous pictures of the rolling hills. I’m going to take Angie’s camera and she is going to buy a better lens for it (a better zoom) and I think I am going to bring her Lensbaby. I have a few months to practice!

On the way home from Italy we are going to stop in France for an afternoon and night so we’ll be in another country! I have no idea where they want to stay there but I am hoping somewhere near Strasbourg but ultimately I will let Bill and Lavinia decide. I’ll be happy going anywhere in France. I was hoping I’d get away for a day or so and see Paris again but I think this is probably a better plan. I’m really looking forward to this trip. I think it will be a great experience to travel with my brother and his family and our mother. I may drive them crazy with my camera though. Is it bad that I can’t wait to do the totally typical picture of holding up the tower of Pisa? I’m going to get my little niece in on it too. My only regret about this entire trip is that Angie can’t come with us. She wouldn’t be able to get off work and she also doesn’t have the money. Although she is super excited to redo the bathroom while I’m gone! It was supposed to be a surprise but she’s not real great at keeping secrets. 🙂

Any readers with any advice on where to stay in Switzerland on our way to Italy or a nice town in France to stay on our way back to Brugge, Belgium? Leave it in the comments!

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“A daydreamer is a writer just waiting for pen and paper.”

Do you ever just want to get away? Pack your bags and go? Do you question how your life is going and what you are doing with it? Do you worry that you are too old to fulfill one dream and too young to fulfill another?

That’s life, I suppose.

I blame turning 30. I’m not old by any means. I had no issues turning 30. I wasn’t scared, I didn’t cry about it, I didn’t become fearful at mentioning how old I would be. But at 30 I’ve decided that life just isn’t worth living unless you are living. Are you picking up what I’m throwing down? Are you catching my drift? Should I add a few more cliches so you know what I’m talking about?

I work a normal 9-5 job (or rather a 6-2:30 job). I sit in a little cubicle and push paper around my desk for 8 hours a day. Luckily I have a big window with a big window sill so I’m not stuck with no link to the outside world. And in those 8 hours, while doing my job, all I can think about is when I can leave. Every day I listen to travel podcasts. “Shall I go to Paris, Ireland, Amsterdam, Sweden or Finland today?” is what I ask myself around 8am, as more co-workers filter in. I turn on my MP3 player and listen to a French movie, not because I can understand even half of what they are saying but because its a different language than what I am used to hearing. I go online to the Tunein website and select a radio station from France or Belgium or Poland just so I can hear a few songs in different languages or even just listen to the DJ talk. When I get home I check out websites like Trip Advisor, Virtual Tourist or websites for expats and dream some more. Every other day I switch the background of my computers to another location.

I know that right now I can’t pack up and leave. Its not an excuse, its just the Gods honest truth. I have a fiance here, a condo, a car. But this 8 hour a day job, this paper pushing, this monotonous job is the precursor to the life I want to live with Angie. I want to be the person that says “Oh, last week we went to Paris!” like its the most normal thing in the world. Wouldn’t that be amazing? Wouldn’t it be amazing to know that in 6 years where you live will be paid off? That your car will be paid off, that all you have to pay for is car insurance, phone, and electricity which in reality doesn’t cost much. I can’t pack up and go right now but it sure is amazing to know that by the time I turn 37 this paper pushing job will be a thing of the past. It gives me hope on the worst days and its a little bit of sunshine.

Every day I dream about Paris

The Eiffel and graffiti

Every day I dream about Belgium

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Every day I dream about Poland

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Every day I dream about Finland

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But mostly…I dream of Paris. I miss Paris so much I feel it in every bone in my body. There is an ache for it. An ache to experience life there. To live there and breathe the Parisian air and befriend the French and understand them and know them. I will forever be grateful of the time I’ve spent in Paris, even if it is never enough time.

 

It gets better.

I haven’t been around…again.

But I am here to say that life does indeed get better. Life will not always be sunshine, rainbows and roses. Life is hard. Life is rough. Life tears you down. Life beats you down. It makes you cry.

But then the sun does in fact come back out. For the first time in a very long time I feel alive. I can’t blame the weather, I honestly hate when it starts to get warm, my allergies act up, the humidity comes back. But for some reason lately (even with bad times) I see a light at the end of the tunnel, excuse the cliche.

In July I am going to Belgium to see my family again. It wasn’t something I planned on. It just kind of happened. My mom will be spending a month or two there and I figured that I have never traveled internationally with my mom, what better time? In talking with my brother and his wife we decided we should take her to Italy while we are over there. She is currently obsessed with Italy for some reason. Actually, you know, I know the reasons but I won’t divulge them here. But it makes me happy she has something to look forward to. I haven’t yet been to Italy. It will only be for a few days and we’ll be going to the Tuscany region of Italy. That is a nice distraction.

I turned 30 a few weeks ago. No, I don’t feel old and no, I don’t feel any different. But turning 30 does make you reflect on a few things. Mainly just life and all that goes along with it. For the past year I have been toying with the idea of going to school for a degree that I honestly was not passionate about. All I saw when I thought about it was ‘work from home, make money’. While making money is a great idea (ha!) and working from home sounds fun too, it wasn’t my passion. I had no tie to it, no real desire. It took me applying into 3 schools (and being accepted to one) to realize…eh, I don’t want this. Our condo will be paid off in 6 years. We are putting a lot of work into it…for our enjoyment. We decided for the time being to stay. Its nice to know that by the time I am 37 I won’t have to work 40 hours a week, with a 30 minute commute each way. Our bills will be nearly nonexistent. And that maybe in 7 years or so we can finally fulfill our dreams. Working part-time and traveling. New Zealand for 3 months? Sure! Paris for a month? Why not? In 7 years who knows what our life will be like but its a nice goal to set. To know that eventually we won’t be in the 9-5 grind. You want to know my dream? To work in a bookstore or library. I can’t afford to quit my job now, and work at a job paying way less. But maybe eventually with the bills are a thing of the past.

For my birthday Angie bought me something amazing. Ever heard of Etsy? If you haven’t, you should go on that website. But she got me a subscription for “The Paris Letters Project” for 6 months. I get a letter each month with a painting of Paris. So far I have received 3 and I couldn’t be happier. Yes, sometimes it makes me sad that I am not in Paris. But at least I am getting news about it, from somebody living there and experiencing the life I (eventually) want. I received this today and nearly broke down in tears. But it made my day.

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I will be blogging more. I promise. It makes me feel better, I just wish I could remember that! I am cooking more and baking more too so be prepared for some YUMMY and delectable desserts. I bought a book on Macaroons last week—I can’t wait to try my hand at those.