so! much! to! do!

I have a to-do list that is about a mile (or should I go metric and say a kilometer?) before I leave TOMORROW!


I do realize that I have deprived you of many a promised post so we’ll do a quick run through of my basic tentative itinerary:


Sept 1-14 London

A good college friend lives there and I will be hanging out with her who has the blog that must not be named (that’s right, I just made a H. Potter reference, jealous much?)

September 14-21 Paris

I lived in Paris for 2 years as a child and I really just love the city; between walking down the rues, going to the museums, and sitting at cafes for hours doing nothing more than drinking a cup of coffee or tea and people watching I could spend years in Paris.

September 21-24 Munich

OKTOBERFEST!! Chris, Allan, and Eddie are meeting me from the good old state of Texas and Audry is coming up from Spain so we can all drink beer, dance to the polka, and basically be fools together in Munich.  Oh yeah, and celebrate my birthday, yes, my birthday, at Oktoberfest. I know. It’s awesome

September 24-28 Berlin

September 28-October 2 Prague

I’m so excited for this! I’ve heard Prague is such and amazingly beautiful city, especially since it was never bombed during WW1 or WW2.

October 2-4 Vienna

Meet my momma here for the next 10 days!

October 4-8 Istanbul

With Mom!

October 8-12 Nice/South of France

With Mom!


And here is where my planning gets a little looser and I still haven’t made hard plans for exactly what I’m doing but somewhere in there will be Spain, Italy, and more France.


Look in for a post tomorrow I’m going have it set to update while I ON THE PLANE TO LONDON!!


Shoot me an email!




Taking it to the bank

I just got off the phone with Bank of America and I have some decent options for accessing my limited amounts of money while I'm abroad.

The bad ideas:
1. I can use any atm in Europe. However, I will have to pay a $5 fee each time I use the atm plus whatever fee that atm charges.

So, pay 5 to 10 dollars each time I use an atm PLUS the currency conversion fee? No thank you!

2. Only make purchases with my credit/debit card. But, on each purchase there will be a 3% fee on each and every purchase.

Add an additional 3 percent onto my budget, I definitely can't handle this option either.

3. James Bond style I handcuff a metal suitcase onto my wrist and keep all of my money for 4 months traveling on my body at all time in order to avoid crazy bank fees.

This definitely sounds like the best idea. Dangerous, heavy, and easy to rob? I love it!

The decent ideas:
1. Transfer the money to a european bank where I can access my money in Euros from multiple bank locations.

The problem with this idea is that I would have to transfer the money from my current account here and I could lose money on the bank transfer fee.
The best option (I think, I hope):
1. Bank of America has association with banks in France, England, Germany, and Italy where I can make withdrawals without any penalties.

The only problem is that I'm going to Spain where BOA doesn't have any banks where I can make withdrawals without penalties.

But maybe I can take enough cash or travelers checks to Spain? Spain is at the end of itinerary so I have time to figure it all out.

Right now I'm just trying to save save save in these last 2 weeks before I leave. I'm babysitting several times a week; making meals at home out of all of the random supplies in the pantry and the freezer; and selling some old clothes, books, and dvds.

It's 2 very busy weeks until I leave!


I'm all a TWITTER

I forgot to tell you I joined twitter!

Follow me!

I'm going to try to tweet as much as possible!!

also, a big thank you to Lo for giving me the scoop about twitter, Steph for helping me choose a name and being a great friend and posting comments on my blog, and Chris for setting up the wireless internet at my mom's house (we've been in Chicago for the weekend!) and all my other lovies Mel, Imo, James, Jamie, Sandra, Allan and everyone else who are following me on my blog and on twitter. It makes me very very happy!

Some goals for my trip:

1. Journaling: I'm terrible at keeping a consistent journal. I have approximately 15 journals from different periods in my life that have 2 to 3 entries and then I never wrote another word. I'm sure somewhere there is a rocking Lisa Frank hologram journal from 1994 detailing my love for Tommy McDowell (he was really cute with that blond bowl cut, a stud, truly). 

So, the goal: write in my journal AT LEAST every other day. 

2. Don't spend all my money. 
Being broke=not fun 
Eating ramen (or equally cheap meal) everyone once and a while=fun, delicious, and sodium filled!

goal: while I have a set daily budget. try to spend less on a regular basis so that if something special, and more expensive arises I will have some extra spending.

3. Call my mom once a week (Hi Mom!). You know, make sure she knows I'm not dead, or kidnapped, or anything bad-- MOM, THIS WILL NOT HAPPEN. DON'T WORRY. I'LL BE FINE. 

goal: keep in touch with family and friends while I am gone through blogging, email, and rare phone calls

4. Try to learn as much language as I can along the way. I'm going to create some cheat sheets of commonly used phrases and their pronunciations for all of the countries where I am going. Be honest, how many people do you know who can say "Where are the restrooms?" in 9 languages?  

goal: don't look like an idiot while doing the "pee pee dance"

so, guess what....

ahhhh!!! 15! 

I've been procrastinating and still haven't done a dry run of my packing yet. But I swear! Tomorrow! Will post! Trust me!


Do you think money grows on trees?

Hello my readers!

You are probably curious as to how exactly I am paying for this trip. Well, almost a year ago while on a family vacation in Cabo San Lucas I was talking to a member of the hotel staff, Carlos (name changed for privacy), and he told me of a treasure hidden below the seas that had been left behind hundreds of years before by Spanish sailors. All he wanted in exchange for the information was the recipe for my delicious stuffed poblano peppers. I quickly scrawled the ingredients on the back of a palm leaf, rented scuba gear and found millions of gold dubloons!

Okay, I'm lying. Heavily.

I'm really paying for my trip to Europe in 2 ways:

1. Savings-- as previously mentioned, I have only bought 2 items of clothing since November. People, do you realize? That's TEN MONTHS of wearing the same things! TEN MONTHS! I have traded in 2 gift cards to get a new skirt and 2 pairs of jeans. But other wise I have been wear the same things over and over again! But, it saves a ton of money!

I have also been eating lunch at home every week day for months. Once two weeks ago I bought a pickle for a snack, and one day I had a diet coke. But otherwise it's been 99% eating at home. I also cook dinner for Chris and I an average of 6 nights a week. For the 2 of us I spend any where from 40 to 80 dollars a week. And since I take care of the week nights Chris pays for weekend entertainment.

By no means are we eating ramen for dinner every night but we're also not getting drinks at Nobu going to dinner at the Ritz once a week. It's actually been great. I LOVE to cook and have invented so many cheap delicious meals in the past months.

Besides my measly paycheck as a kindergarten teacher I have also been picking up as many babysitting jobs as possible.

In all I have been able to save almost $10,000 since November.

2. Family funding-- When I was born my parents bought a 20 year bond with a decent amount of savings (nothing that would even be near to a down payment on a house). After 20 the interest on the bond had allowed the initially investment to become 60 times greater. I received the money from the bond when I graduated in college and have done nothing with it in hopes to something life changing with it like put a down payment on a house, possibly start a business, or take a trip around the world!

So, while without a doubt I wouldn't have been able to take this trip without my family's help I have learned to save during this process which even if my travel plans fell apart I would still be so grateful for this lesson alone.

So, while maybe this wasn't the most exciting of posts I just wanted to clear that elephant out of the room.

Really, I swear I'm funny and smart and entertaining! Stick with me and when we get past the boring basics and are actually on the trip (ONLY 24 DAYS AWAY!!!) Things will get much more exciting!!