Planning the trip
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Sooo. I began planning this trip nearly a year and I half ago. I'm a college student at Long Beach State University, and I have worked at a tanning salon since I began school. Then, last summer I got a job at a credit card processing company that payed A LOT more than the tanning salon. I worked there full-time over the summer and put away as much of my paycheck as possible. I was trying to decide what to do with it... either a nose job, or a trip to Europe. Lol. Obviously, the trip won.
So then I had to decide how exactly I would do the trip: in a travel group, with friends, with a single friend, or even by myself. I really wasn't too thrilled about the idea of getting a set travel package. The idea of being able to travel as I like and see exactly what I want to was important to me. Then I started asking a few of my close girlfriends and good guy friends to see if anyone was interested in joining. Originally I wanted to do the full three months of summer, but the more I talked to my friends, the more I realized none of them would be able to join me, and three months sounded awfully lonely without a friend. So at that point I basically set my mind to just go by myself.
Then, during this past school year I saw a flyer for a summer course at the University of Leichester, England in forensics, which is related closely to my Criminal Justice major. The course starts on the 19th of July and goes until the 8th of August. So then I figured I could go a month or so beforehand to backpack through several other countries. This was my plan until I finally met someone who had the same dream of traveling through Europe that I do.
That person woild be my friend Jen who lives in New York. I actually only recently met her through a friend, making her a friend-of-a-friend... not exactly a person I was expecting to be traveling through Europe with. However, we started hanging out and going out once she got back to Huntington Beach from New York to stay with her parents. We just seemed to abolutely click, and I'm so beyond excited to do this trip with her.
So then we had to attempt to merge my plans that I'd been building for over a year to mesh with her idea of the perfect trip. She said that she could only afford to do several weeks, so we settled on leaving three weeks prior to my summer course during which we could visit three different countries for a week each. Tickets seemed to be the least expensive flying into France, and I speak French so I figured it would be the easiest place to start. We ended up having to buy our tickets for a date three days earlier than we had planned, which was good because we could now spend eight days in each country. Anyways, Jen was really set of seeing Spain, France, and Italy. The more we went over our plans, however, the more it seemed too difficult to go from France, then over to Italy, back across France again, and then into Spain. So unfortunately we had to cut out Spain from this trip. There will always be another!! So now we had decided we would spend eight days in France, then eights days in Italy, and then another eight in beautiful Greece.
Finally we settled our plans, bought our ticket to France, booked a hotel for our four night stay in Paris (the only time we will be staying in a hotel rather than a hostel, other than our first night in Greece which will be my birthday!) and put in a reservation for a hostel in Lyon where we'll be spending our fifth night in France. I also bought my plane ticket from Athens to England the day before my course begins, and Jen has her plane ticket home. I've decided that I'll be spending an additional two or more weeks in Europe after the course ends. I haven't actually decided where I'll be going, but I most likely will just go wherever seems like a good idea at the time. I don't know, I might even be most excited for the idea of traveling all on my own for the first time ever.
There are several things we know for sure we want t do on our trip; we absolutely must find somewhere to go skydiving. I've never been and I can't imagine a better first time than during my first backpacking trip ever. I'm also thinking about getting a tattoo, another first. Jen has said if I get one, she'll get one with me! We definitely want to go wine and cheese tasting in France, and try some awesome Italian food.
I do have to admit, up until two nights ago I was in a relationship, and I was determined to remain faithful to my boyfriend. Everyone, including his friends, told me that I should be single for a two month trip to Europe. I agreed, but I just couldn't do that. He decided to make things easy on me and treat me like absolute dirt and dumped me out of the blue. I'm much more angry about the whole thing that upset, mostly because I've been thinking of breaking up with him, for many reasons, the past month or so. I guess he beat me to the punch, and he was very cold about it. So now, I have absolutely NO problem with the idea of flirting with many, many sexy European men. I know this is probably much too much information, but I guess I really just need to get that off my chest. I know in the long run, I'm better off. Especially when taking all of the experiences available to me in Europe.
So that is my plan, and that's how it came to be. Now, I just need to buy everything I'll need for two amazing months!! I can't wait!