Travel Guide: Paris, France

Paris was easily one of the cities I was most looking forward to spending time in while I was in Europe, as it has been near the top of my travel bucket list since I was sixteen. And let me tell you: it was well worth the wait. Despite meeting other travelers along the way who had expressed that Paris was overrated, I refused to lose my wide-eyed wonder and excitement for the city of love… and it did not disappoint, as I fell in love hard and fast. Six days hardly felt like enough time — as I’m convinced that I could have spent many more days wandering the charming streets and arrondissements that make up metropolitan Paris — and yet they gave me enough of a taste to know that I will definitely return some day. And while there are so, so many things you can and should do if you find yourself in Paris, I wanted to compile a short list to get you started. So here is a little guide for your (hopefully) next weekend getaway in Paris…

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Travel Guide: Dubrovnik, Croatia

Dubrovnik, Croatia was easily one of my favorite cities that I got to spend time in during the first half of my Europe trip.  It was also the hardest city to get to (cough *27 hour travel day*), but was totally worth the travel headache because the city itself was stunning, the people were so kind, and I left with countless incredible memories.  If you don't know much about Dubrovnik, it is one of the largest cities in Croatia, it borders the gorgeous Adriatic Sea, and it's a massive filming location for the likes of Game of Thrones and more recent Star Wars movies, which has become a big tourism draw in the last few years.  Whether or not that matters to you, I can't fangirl enough and say that everyone should make it a priority to visit and experience all that Dubrovnik has to offer.  Here is a short list of things to do when you find yourself in Dubrovnik, Croatia!

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Not So Brave

"You're so brave!"  It's something that I've heard over and over again, from the moment that I shared that I would be quitting my full-time job to take this trip until just today while chatting with someone at my hostel.  It's always an interesting response to this little season of my life, because I don't feel all that brave.  Sure, I suppose it's pretty cool that I felt confident enough to quit my job, move back to my hometown for a season, and then traverse around Europe for a few months, but brave feels like a stretch to me.  Looking back, I was scared when this all started to come together, and I'm still a bit scared now.  From the initial dream to travel and knowing I'd have to leave my job of 4 years, to realizing that moving back home — while weird — was exactly what I needed to do, to planning all of the details and then leaving the states for 4+ months, I've been nervous the whole time.  But it has all come together one step at a time, because I honestly did not have the nerve to jump head first.  No, I had to take baby steps, asking God to affirm anything and everything along the way.  Do you see why "brave" might be hard for me to grasp or accept?

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Real Talk: Confidence

I know that I've said it before, but this solo trip through Europe has already proven to be pretty stinking life-changing.  Not only have I been able to take in countless beautiful places, interact with so many new cultures, and meet some of the most amazing people, but I have also been challenged in numerous ways.  I've had to navigate all of these new cities, typically alone (shoutout to Google Maps for being the real MVP), I've been forced to find the balance between exploring and making time to rest and recharge, and I've endured some some truly awful travel days.  I have also come face-to-face with some hard stuff, such as melancholy, feelings of loneliness, being single in some of the most romantic cities in Europe, and most recently, a desire for normalcy and routine.  The coolest and hardest part of all of this is that I've been edged out of my comfort zone to the point that I'm not even sure where it begins and ends anymore, which is amazing and — trust me — a huge deal for your girl.

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