I have asked myself this question a million times. There are so many places I want to go. So many places I need to go. Traveling for me is like breathing. I need to wander, I need to see new people, new places, I need to move and learn. But how do you narrow it down to just one place? And how do you fit all the places into one busy lifetime filled with so many other responsibilities and obligations? A husband who works and little people who need to go to school and sports and ballet? That, is the constant balance that I’m trying to find.
Sometimes I have spun the globe that sits in Nate’s office and let my finger stop on a spot and that was it. Other times we have planned trips around special events or life goals. Last summer we took our two oldest boys on a road trip through Europe to watch the 2016 UEFA European Soccer Championships. That trip was fun and crazy to execute.
I am a planner. My self prescribed OCD gets crazy when we don’t have a plan. I started planning this trip over a year before we left. It was absolutely necessary to do it this way. We were using points to pay for the airfare and hotels. In order to maximize their value we had to book at the first possible moment which was 12 months for the hotels and 11 months for the airfare. Also, did you know that the process for getting tickets for UEFA soccer matches is crazy!? You register for a lottery 12 months before the games, that has a six week window, then…you wait. Once you get picked for a game, it runs your credit card automatically but American credit cards block the charges because they are from Europe. There is no recourse for this. So, you re-sign up for the lottery…and wait. AGAIN. To make a very long story short…it was a process. In the end we got tickets to two matches, 15 days apart, in two different parts of France. The idea of the road trip was born.
We decided that since we were there and would be traveling hundreds of miles anyway…and we now had 15 days from the opening match in Paris to the second match in St Etienne. Which, by the way is 300 miles south of Paris. We should let our boys see as much of Europe as possible. We asked each boy to pick the number one city that they would like to visit outside of France. For Jackson who was 12 at the time and obsessed with history, it was Rome. For Samuel, who was 10 and lives, eats and breathes soccer; it was Barcelona.
It is 877 miles by car from Paris to Rome and 846 from Rome to Barcelona. My husband and I love a good road trip, so we filled in the miles with lots of stops along the way. It turned into 19 days, 3800 miles and 10 countries. We saw so much of Europe and our boys learned so much. The memories we made will last a life time and more importantly, we can’t wait to go back.
Now on to my backpack…I love traveling with a backpack. It is my preferred bag of choice, when on a trip. Maybe it’s the backpacker in me that won’t die or maybe it’s because I’m a mom and it just holds more stuff. I happen to have a lot of people with a lot of stuff. Anyway, the one that I love best is from Lululemon and its been my fave for awhile. It’s super cute and has plenty of room for everything that you need. We really really wanted to give it away to one of you. However, Lululemon only offers them during “festival season” and when school starts. Sadly, neither of those times is now. They are nowhere to be found.
So, instead, as a homage to my backpack, we are giving away this awesome Lululemon overnight bag. I recently bought it for a trip and it is so good. We are sure that you will love it almost as much as my backpack. But more importantly we are sure that you will use it when you go somewhere awesome. It even has a heat pouch for you curl stick or flat iron, so you don’t have to wait for them to cool down… (Jen made me add that, I honestly really don’t care;))
Happy Traveling!! -Lalani