Posted in (All Posts), Culture, Travel

Eat Play Louvre: My Solo Trip to Europe – Prologue

So the backstory to my sudden, radical decision to travel alone to Europe is a good one.

Back in December, my younger sister and I decided to take a trip together. At first, we were imagining backpacking around Southeast Asia, or hitting up some beaches somewhere, but in the end we settled on Europe. We were going to fly into Paris, then travel to Spain, see the Italian coast and finish in Rome. Sadly, circumstances shifted and the plan ceased to be a plan. My  beautiful sister went on to travel elsewhere with her lovely new man, and I had a hard time letting go of my dream.

Where I work, we have personnel management software that we use to book time off. I had heard that May was the best time to see Europe, so I booked off two weeks well in advance so I’d be sure to secure the best dates. I was reluctant to give up such a perfect two-week break that would include my birthday. However, I did eventually delete my time off request, I just neglected to tell anyone at work. The proper thing to have done would have been to send an email alerting the powers that be that I’d changed my plans. I didn’t do that, and nobody knew I wasn’t going anywhere. Maybe I was secretely hoping the following would occur…

My workplace MADE OTHER ARRANGEMENTS and found a replacement for me while I’d be gone. In other words, I had a “vacation,” without having a vacation if you catch my drift. Oh noes! I panicked and called my husband. I was sure he’d be angry with me. “What are you going to do with two weeks off work?” But he shocked me. Instead, he said, “You know what? You deserve the break. It’s been a tough year for you. Why don’t you fly off somewhere? Enjoy yourself.” I was speechless.

I immediately contacted my HR person, and she was cool with letting me shorten my vacation by a week, but to still take part of it. So now, I had less than a week to plan something! Holy crap! Most people suggest planning a Europe trip at least a year in advance. I’ve got five days to put this together. Oh. Em. Gee.

Of course, it’s all planned, and I have written this in advance. I will publish this the morning of the day that I’m leaving. First stop: London, England.

Stay tuned….

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Posted in (All Posts), Culture, O Canada 🇨🇦, Personal Anecdotes, Travel

That Time I Was Kidnapped in Venezuela

Read about one of the scariest experiences of my life! I’m certainly much more aware of my naiveté and I’m a little more cautious these days.

Survivor@37

When I was a college co-ed, I decided to take my white bread Canadian self down to South America with my then-boyfriend Adam.  The idea was that I’d broaden my horizons and see some of the world during the semester break.  First stop:  Caracas, Venezuela.

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Here’s an excerpt from the Lonely Planet [guide to discovering] South America on a Shoestring ©1997. (Yes, I still have it.)

DANGERS AND ANNOYANCES

Venezuela is a relatively safe country in which to travel, though robbery is becoming a problem. Common crime is increasing in the large cities. Caracas is by far the most dangerous place in the country, and you should take care while strolling about the streets, particularly at night. Keep your passport and money next to the skin, and your camera, if you are carrying one, hidden in a pack or bag. Venturing into poor shanty-towns is asking for trouble.  Avoid police…

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