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March 15, 2023

Dreams Really Do Come True-Part Two.

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I have been dreaming of sitting at a small Cafe in Paris, sipping an early morning coffee, savoring a fresh baked croissant and alternating between people watching and writing poetry in my little red notebook since I was a romantic, love starved teen. The story in my head had me living there for a year, writing the greatest romance novel of all time, and of course falling deeply in love with Jean Pierre.

Unfortunately, my life choices led me as far away from that dream as possible. But I am here to testify that dreams can still come true-even if you find yourself in the midst of the last chapter of your life- or as I am fond of calling it- my last great adventure.

I am going to Paris! And London, Rome, and Madrid. It won’t be the yearlong angst filled love story that I once imagined. It will be a whirlwind trip of a lifetime though. And who knows- Jean Pierre might just be sitting in that little Cafe waiting for me.

At the beginning of the year I started planning a solo trip to France. Friends got wind of it and it has morphed into a 3 week girl’s trip to Europe. Like the popular meme says, “Everyone needs that friend that calls and says “Get dressed, we are going on an adventure!”.

My friends and I are scattered across the country, making planning a bit complicated. After research, several zoom calls and lots of compromise we have a clear picture of what our holiday abroad will look like. The obstacles we faced seem very similar to the general difficulties in just trying to navigate through our daily lives.

I want to share the things I have learned with you in hopes that these tips will be of benefit to you.

Tips For Planning Your Dream Vacation

Or

How To Navigate Through This Crazy Life

(They will work for both situations)

  1. Choose Your Friends Wisely – Traveling to new places can be exciting but also frightening. It helps to surround yourself with people you share like interests with, but who will also challenge you to step out of your comfort zone and try new things. This also requires a certain amount of trust and a belief that your friends will always have your back in unexpected situations. And while you want to all experience the wonder of it all together, friends also allow each other space to venture out on their own. Sometimes half the fun is coming together afterwards and seeing the adventure through someone else’s experiences.
  2. Managing your finances – Money is always an awkward topic. There is all kinds of good advice out there. Never loan money to a friend. Don’t spend more than you can afford. Always keep an emergency stash of cash on you. All really good rules to live by. When traveling with friends it is smart to keep expenses separate unless you have agreed ahead of time on how they will be shared. Before you embark on your journey, a conversation on expectations is always a good idea. If you are feeling generous and want to spring for lunch for the group, that is wonderful. But don’t do it with the expectation of someone else returning the gesture.
  3. Be willing to compromise – Everyone’s dreams are not the same. My idea of Paris might be a lazy afternoon in a cafe drinking wine and watching the world go by. My traveling companion might want to see all the sights -the Eiffel Tower, the Mona Lisa, the Arc de Triomphe. A little pre-trip planning can help avoid any disappointments or feelings of resentment. Find ways to share the experiences or agree to spend some solo time pursuing your own activities to make sure everyone’s dreams can become a reality.
  4. Go with the flow – nothing in life plays out as expected. Surprises are around every corner. Sometimes those surprises end up being the best memories. Planning is good but living in the moment is even better.
  5. Never end the day angry – A little debriefing at the end of the day is good for the soul. What was the best part of the day? What was the most disappointing part of the day? Are there things that can be done tomorrow to avoid those disappointments? Were there discoveries made that can now be included that there was no awareness of before? Recapping shared moments is a wonderful way to see the world through someone else’s eyes.

My dream trip is still a few months away. But there is so much to be done, so many things to be planned and anticipated. Jean Pierre don’t give up on me. I’m coming!

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