Spanish Day Trip- Girona, Pals & Costa Brava

After being in Barcelona, Spain for a few weeks I was anxious to explore some surrounding areas outside the city. A friend suggested Girona, a medieval town about an hour from Barcelona, and I also came across Costa Brava and its beautiful beaches. During more research I landed on a small group tour company who actually takes you to BOTH in one day! Plus a tiny medieval town in between the two called Pals. I signed up right away and was so excited to spend the day exploring these new places. And best of all… I didn’t have to plan a THING!

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GIRONA

The first stop in Girona was a city rich in history with influences from multiple cultures. Our guide gave us a introduction to the city’s history while walking through the streets, and we were then given alone time to explore on our own. I made sure to hike up to the gardens on top of the hill where there were multiple towers looking over the beautiful city and green hills in the distance.

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PALS

Next up was a tiny town called Pals. It is known for the rice it produces there, and most of the dishes with rice in the surrounding areas have rice from this town. We strolled around the streets and admired the countryside that was very reminiscent of Tuscany, Italy.

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Playa Calella De Palafrugell, Costa Brava

My favorite was definitely saved for last! Playa Calella De Palafrugell is a part of Costa Brava, and the views were stunning. The water was crystal clear, and the blue sea was a gorgeous contrast against the bright white city. Our group divided off for lunch where we enjoyed a few drinks with a perfect view. I was set on getting in the water, had been wearing my bikini all day under my clothes. So despite the fact that it was freezing water, I dove right in.

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My Barcelona adventure is almost over on the blog! Next up is the wine and tapas tour to wrap up my first month abroad in such an artsy and vibrant city.

 

The Best View of Barcelona- Mount Tibidabo

I’m a good view addict. I think it’s fair to say my traveling pattern is constantly searching for the best view, and Barcelona was no exception. Over the 3 weeks in Barcelona leading up to this point I was always eyeing this huge church on top of the mountain behind the city. While strolling around the streets I would keep getting glimpses of it and told myself I had to get up there before I left.

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The church is called the Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (or the Temple Expiatori del Sagrat Cor) and it sits on top of Mount Tibidabo. There is an amusement park at the base of the church, and everywhere you go has breathtaking views. I was surprised more people I talked to hadn’t been there or even knew about it. Maybe people think it’s out of the way, but it’s actually very easy to get to and completely worth the time to get there.

Easiest way to get to the top of Mount Tibidabo and to the Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus from Barcelona: Take the T2A bus from Plaça de Catalunya. It takes you directly there in about 30 minutes and costs 2.95 euros each way. *Very Important- the T2 bus only operates during the summer months when the amusement park is open. If you’re traveling outside of the summer months here are some other options to get to the top.

From where the bus drops you off it’s about a 10 minute walk up the hill to the church. You can then choose to see the view from the first 2 levels of the church, or pay 3 euros to ride the elevator to it’s highest points. Obviously I chose the best views 🙂 What’s even better is you get a 360 degree view of the entire area of Barcelona- from the ocean, to the inner city and then out to the rolling green hills of Spain.

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After you’re finished soaking in the views from the church you can walk down and enjoy more views from the amusement park! If you have kids they’ll have fun playing on the rides, but the park it’s just for families. I got myself a refreshing glass of Cava and enjoyed every last view from the mountain.

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This day was one of my last spent in Barcelona and I am so glad I fit in this trip to Mount Tibidabo before leaving. Later that night I went on a wine and tapas tour in the city, another thing I HIGHLY recommend! I’ll have all the details coming in the next post along with pictures and links so you can sign-up for this tour on your next visit.

Visit to Gaudí’s Park Güell in Barcelona

First off I have something to own up to… I have been totally MIA from my blog during my travels! The reality is these past few weeks have been filled with keeping up with my clients, exploring these amazing places, actually GETTING to and from these amazing places, and spending some quality time with people I care about. I have been so lucky to meet up with friends along the way, and to have my boyfriend come visit for a week with me in France. With only limited time in each location I’ve visited I wanted to make sure I was soaking up as much of the culture as I could instead of being locked to a computer 24/7. Hence, the little break I took from the blog 🙂 But I have so many pictures and stories to share with you so let’s get back to it!

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Last we left off was in Barcelona (O how I miss Barcelona already!), about 3 weeks into my stay there. It was my friend’s last day visiting me so after gasping at the amazing sight of the Sagrada Família it was time to get over to another one of the city’s most famous must-sees- Park Güell also by Gaudí. The park was walking distance from my flat in Gracia so we hiked up the hill and lots of stairs to what we thought was the entrance. Turns out we entered into another section nearby which led us to these beautiful spot looking over the city. We probably wouldn’t have ended up here if we went to the main entrance of the park first, one of the things I love about getting a little lost sometimes.

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Once we finally found the actual Gaudí park we learned that there was about an hour wait until the next entrance time to get in. Be sure to grab your tickets ahead of time online, unless you don’t mind waiting a bit! For us it was no problem, there is plenty to see in the park outside the famous Gaudí sculpture area that it’s so known for.

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After some leisurely strolls and a few photo opps, it was time to go check out a view I had been waiting for months to see. This view of the park, Gaudí’s sculptures and architecture and the city behind, was one I had on my computer desktop and phone background for months leading up to my trip. It was finally right in front of me and I got to take those pictures for myself. We made our way through the park the lower levels, examining the massive columns, mosaic sculptures and tiles along the way.SauvignonBlue-Barcelona151 SauvignonBlue-Barcelona152

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Another thing checked off my Barcelona to-do list! Which did you like better, Gaudí’s Sagrada Familia or Park Guell?

Next up is a day trip I took into three other cities of Spain close to Barcelona- Girona, Pals and Costa Brava. You won’t believe the views from the park in Girona and the crystal blue waters of Costa Brava!

 

Sagrada Família & Sailing Away

One of Barcelona’s most famous must-sees is the Basilica of the Sagrada Família, the largest church in the city designed by Spanish architect Antoni Gaudí. Although the construction of the church began in 1882 it is still unfinished… and it is insane. Your trip to Barcelona cannot be complete without seeing this amazing place– the details, combination of different architectural styles, and overall grand size of it is an amazing site. I was surprised my weeks in the city leading up to that point I never caught a glimpse of it, but after a quick 20 minute walk from my place my friend and I arrived. Be sure to purchase tickets ahead of time (only 15,00€)  because you are assigned specific entrance times into the cathedral- purchasing ahead will let you skip a big wait time to get in!

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If the outside of the Sagrada Família isn’t enough to make your jaw drop just wait until you get inside. It was so interesting to me that despite the fact the church is over 100 years old since its construction began, the inside felt extremely futuristic to me. I could probably lay on the floor and stare at the ceiling for hours, and the way the stained glass was arranged it gave the inside a complete spectrum flood of light.

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Later that day we decided to experience another amazing site in the city and were determined to find a great rooftop bar nearby. We ended up deciding on the Skybar on the rooftop of the Grand Hotel Central and it was the perfect place to relax with a glass (or two!) of Spanish wine and enjoy the sunset.
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The next day we had reserved a spot for a brunch sailing trip with Sailing Experience Barcelona. After browsing a lot of sailing options available in Barcelona we decided on this one because #1 the price was right, #2 it came with free drinks, and #3 it wasn’t a total booze cruise. You know you’re inching toward 30 when the idea of a booze cruise sounds like a crowded boat with a group of young people getting too drunk and being super annoying. I mean we wanted to do some nice day drinking like everyone does, but we also wanted it to be a relaxing experience. After a few croissants, cheese and cured meats, we set off out of the marina with glasses of white wine in hand. Our skipper was wonderful, not only was she very attentive (even provided us with fleece jackets when it got chilly out in the water) but she was extremely knowledgable about Barcelona’s history which we learned about while gazing back at the city from the water.

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SauvignonBlue-Barcelona145When we returned safely to shore we took a short walk over to Barceloneta Beach, ordered  a bottle of Cava, and enjoyed some bubbles with more ocean views. For me it was so nice to actually take an entire day off from work, no laptop was opened that day. After an afternoon nap (much needed after a lot of sun and a little day buzz!) we ended the night with some delicious sushi.

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What did you think of Gaudí’s Sagrada Família? Pretty cool right?! The next day we went to another one of his famous places in Barcelona (another must-see of course). Check back at the next post to see our experience at the beautiful Park Güell.

Balancing Work y La Playa

The day after arriving in Barcelona it was time for me to get back to keeping up with work. I’ve been asked a lot by people I’ve met out here if I’m here for work or pleasure, and I always answer with both. Do I have to be in Spain for work? No. Am I on vacation? Not exactly. I’ve had to find a balance between wanting to explore the city all day and making myself stay put to get my work hours in. It definitely makes it easier that there is so much to do work wise and my travels depend on getting it done, but there are definitely those times where I look out the window from my apartment on a beautiful sunny day and just want to close my computer for the rest of the day and go to the beach.

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I found in the early mornings or later evenings (when the sun isn’t directly in my eyes and on my screen!) our little patio is the perfect spot to enjoy the amazing weather while still knocking out some projects on our apartment’s wifi. It’s definitely necessary to switch up your environment when you’re working from home. When you’re not surrounded by coworkers in a regular office environment sometimes the change of scenery helps stimulate your mind and you can get more accomplished.

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Another routine I have started while working remotely out here in Barcelona is my midday break. Usually I throw on a pair of sneakers for a run, but other times just a casual pair of sandals for a walk around the neighborhood. With the time difference between here and Atlanta, GA I can usually get back from my afternoon explorations by the time everyone else over there is just getting to work- perfect timing. This has helped me break up the day while still feeling like I’m taking in more and more of the city each day.  And with SO many beautiful places to still explore there is always more to see.
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Once the weekend came I was ready to treat it like a true weekend. Now I did still open my computer for a few hours of work here and there, mainly just to make up some time  from earlier in the week during my travels. On Saturday despite the cloudy skies I made my way down to Port Olímpic, right next to Barceloneta Beach. Thankfully once I got there after 2 metro rides the clouds had moved past the beach and I still was able to get a few hours of sun in.

On Sunday I went to Basílica Santa Maria del Mar, what a beautiful interior of a church. I have a thing for cathedrals, they always make it to my must-see list when visiting a city. The architecture, soaring ceilings, stained glass and attention to detail is so beautiful. From there I took a walk back down to… you guessed it… the beach. 🙂 I can’t help it, I am in love with the ocean and needed to take full advantage of now living so close to it. Although my neighborhood in Barcelona is not right near the water, a nice long walk or a quick metro ride gets me there in no time. After another full day enjoying the sun it was time to wind down, get some tapas and prepare to get back to work.

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A Day of Firsts in Barcelona

Sipping the best cappuccino ever outside a café across the street from apartment in Barcelona, I’m proud of myself to finally be up before 10am. It’s taken almost a week to get on track with this new timezone, and I’m happy to say I’m almost there!  It’s been an exciting beginning to this three month journey abroad, and what would a solo trip be without something huge going wrong at the start.

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My flight from ATL to Barcelona was scheduled to leave at 5:30pm, so I planned to head to the airport around 2pm. Earlier that afternoon, all packed and ready to go, I decided to check in on my phone for my Air France flight. I got to the last step of the checkin process after entering my confirmation code and my passport information, but wasn’t allowed to check in because my trip apparently required a visa for the over 90day stay. I thought, okay well since I won’t be in Barcelona for the entire 90 days it’ll be fine, Im basically switching each country after a month if not sooner. Obviously I just needed to clear up this misunderstanding since I would only be in Spain for 30 days. After speaking with the embassy I in fact learned that as a US citizen you’re not allowed to be in Europe as a WHOLE for over 90 days (not just per country), and my flight reservation was for 95 days. They basically weren’t going to let me on the plane that day! To make matters worse I had booked my ticket through an external flight savings site, not the actual airline, so when I called to move up my return flight I was told they could not. About an hour or so later of playing cat and mouse between the two companies (each saying they were unable to change my reservation), I was finally able to change my ticket home to a week earlier.

Lesson learned… as a U.S. citizen don’t book a trip over 90 days to Europe, and don’t book your flight through an external site. I may have saved a few hundred in the beginning not booking directly with the airline, but I paid that right back to alter my flight.

I’ve been told with Southwest you can change your reservation for free, but you don’t always get to choose your preferred airline everywhere you go. Anyways, I was finally able to check in to my flight, and that rush of stress and panic slowly started to fade away. After a few glasses of Sauvignon Blanc at the airport, I was stress-free and excited to travel across the Atlantic. 9 hours, 2 cheesy chick flicks and an attempt at sleeping later, we touched down in Barcelona, Spain at 8:30am. Customs was a breeze at the airport, since it was my first time in Europe all I had to compare it to was traveling to Central America… which requires paperwork and scanning all your luggage. After just a quick stamp of my passport, I grabbed my backpack at baggage claim and jumped in a taxi to go to my new home for the month. Luckily I had written the address on a slip of paper so there was so issue communicating to them where I needed to go. I seriously should have worked more on my Spanish before coming…

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We arrived to the Gràcia neighborhood in Barcelona and I was dropped off on this little pedestrian only street where my apartment was. The driver told me #20 was just right over there, so I started walking down the street. After then being chased down by the driver, he told me it was literally right on that corner and I had walked right passed it. Thank God for him because I probably would have walked the whole block, half awake after barely any sleep, and loaded up with luggage looking for this place. As I looked at the options to dial in my host lady on the buzzer, none of the names matched hers. I looked back at my info and saw her apartment was #1…. all the names had a 1 next to them. I started to just push all the buttons on the list, and after a few tries my host lady answered and let me in the building.

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The entry area and beginning of the stairwell is marble and colored tiles, so pretty and so old. I made my way up the tiny stairs which turned into terra-cotta tiled stairs, tightly winding up until I reached the third floor. Quite a hike I must say when you’re loaded down with all your belongings, but I was thankful I had decided on the backpack as opposed to a rolling suitcase. THAT would have been hell to carry up those little stairs. Maria was very sweet, brought me to my room, showed me all around her adorable, very traditional style apartment, made me a coffee (or cafe as I should say!), and walked me through the map of where we are located  and how to use the metro in Barcelona. After unpacking my luggage and settling into my room I set out to wander the streets of my new home for the month.

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Being that it was my first time in Spain, and Europe in general, I was entranced by the city as a whole– the architecture, all the tiny streets, balconies everywhere with people, plants and flags hanging from them (no hanging people, just hanging flags FYI). It was so beautiful and I wandered around for hours taking in the constant views of this vibrant city. The only thing I could compare it to at the time was being in NYC, but this was way more beautiful, cleaner and slower paced. People just strolling around, hanging out on benches everywhere, chatting away and sipping on their drink of choice.  I started with just my neighborhood of Gràcia, and ended up walking all the way down through the gothic quarter to the marina. The water here in Barcelona is so blue I decided I had to see the beach before returning home. After making my way through the crowds of Port Vall, I reached Barceloneta Beach where crowds of people were enjoying the sun and ocean views. I spent my first euros on some tapas for an early dinner, and after an exhausting first day I was ready to get back home to rest.

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Another amateur move of mine– I left that afternoon to explore wearing little sandals with absolutely no support, thinking “o well I’ll just be around the neighborhood”. Hours later my feet were definitely hurting so it was time for another first of mine– taking the Barcelona metro to my stop in Gràcia. With a little help of an elderly couple in the station I figured out which direction I was supposed to be heading and piled in that cramped train for the first time, exiting at my stop (called Fontana which funny enough is the city in California where I was born).  With the exception of a few hiccups along the way I was finally here, ready to really begin this journey of mine alone in a foreign country.

Top 5 Questions About My Eurotrip Answered

The time is finally here! I arrived in Barcelona, Spain early this morning and have spent my first day settling in and exploring this new beautiful city. It’s such a nice feeling to know I’ll be here for a few weeks, so instead of rushing into touristy things I can take my time and really get to know the city at my own pace. Since letting friends and family know about my plans to travel around Europe for a few months I’ve been approached with a lot of the same questions. Before I start posting all about my soon to be had experiences, I wanted to take the time to openly answer some of these questions. You never know, some of them could potentially help you take a similar leap in the future if your heart desires.

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#1- How can you afford to travel around Europe for 3 months, PLUS Australia and beyond?

Let me start by saying something that may make me look like a total crazy person. I am not traveling off of a savings account, or a lump sum I’ve been putting away. I knew if I were to wait until I had a big stash to travel off of it most likely wouldn’t happen. With what seems like never-ending student loan debt, plus other monthly obligations and debts that have compiled over the years, I could always find a place for that little extra money to go (plus a girl’s gotta have a few nights out here and there!). I’m sure most of us have experienced this… the cycle of excuses for why its just not the right time or we can’t afford it, and before we know it, it’s 5 years later. Since letting go of my apartment at the end of March, I am now traveling off of my monthly income, working remotely from my laptop, and using what used to be rent and utility money to pay for my lodging in each country. Plus  occasionally staying with friends in certain places to give myself a little break. Since I am staying in apartments and homes instead of a hotel or a hostel, the access to a kitchen means I don’t have to eat out every meal, which helps keep eating costs lower.  I LOVED having my own apartment and still miss it, but at the end of the day you can’t always have it all (actually you can pretty much never have it all so just get used to it), and right now I am choosing travel over having a home of my own. Now if I can just avoid the shopping then I should be in good shape 😉

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SauvignonBlue-Barcelona-4#2- What are you doing for work?

This past March I register my LLC and in April finalized my business bank account, making me an official business owner! My company is called Savvy Chic and I offer graphic design, marketing, social media maintenance and beyond to small-medium size companies. I have kept my past full-time employer on as a client which has helped with the transition, and have acquired a few other steady clients as well, so far solely through referrals. I may be in a completely different country from them working, but at the end of the day my clients come first, before any European fun. Because without them I wouldn’t be here today, checking my emails in a little cafe in Barcelona right by my apartment. The recent past has shown me if you work your ass off, are loyal and earn people’s trust, so many doors and possibilities could open for you.

Now let me just tell you, it’s freaking terrifying taking the leap to go on your own, especially being an independent, non-married woman. It’s much easier having that same paycheck come in every month, not having to worry and make things happen on your own all the time. But those safety jobs don’t always let you live in Spain, France, London, Amsterdam, Italy or Croatia now do they? Some may, but most office jobs don’t. Risky? Definitely. But big, crazy, exciting things like this don’t happen sitting in the same office 9-5.

 

#3- Where are you staying?

Out of the 3 months I will be here I will be staying on my own in airbnb’s most of  the time, with friends in London and Amsterdam for just a week each, and then with my boyfriend in an airbnb apartment we rented in Biarritz, France the week he comes to visit. I know a lot of people have stayed in hostels to save money, but since I am working this entire time and have expensive technology with me I really needed the personal space and security. There are so many options on airbnb as far as price points, locations, types of properties, and if you choose to stay in a room in someone’s place or rent the entire place to yourself. I am very happy with my decision to rent a room in a Colombian woman’s apartment for June. Since it is my first time in Europe all together I like the idea of starting off the trip with someone knowing if I come home each night. It makes me feel safer and not totally alone. Plus you really get to experience what it might be like to LIVE in a place like this. I’m sure you’ve seen all those airbnb commercials recently saying things like “don’t just GO to Paris, LIVE in Paris”. Might be slightly cheesy, but it’s true. It’s fun having my own keys to a old little 3 story walkup above a bakery. And don’t forget about the financial savings! My lodging with her for an entire month, in a wonderful area of Barcelona, was only $767… less than what I used to pay for rent in Atlanta, GA. Try getting that at a decent hotel anywhere.

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#4- How does your boyfriend feel about you leaving the country?

Have I said before that 2016 has been a crazy year? If someone were to have told me January 1st of this year that a few weeks later I’d be dating an amazing guy who is totally supportive of me traveling around the world, I would have told you you’re out of your mind. In fact, I think maybe 2 weeks before we met I wrote a blog post about being happily single… funny how that happens isn’t it?

Anyways, the conversation of me traveling abroad for an extended time came up early on in the relationship, and luckily he couldn’t be more supportive. After his years of living in London, traveling all around the globe, and since he isn’t even from the US to begin with (yep I snagged an Aussie, hehe), he totally understands my uncontrollable wanderlust and desire to see the world. I don’t know many men who would want to continue pursuing seeing someone who after just a few weeks tells them they’re wanting to leave the country for months. I just happened to find one that did! Neither of us wanted to go the ENTIRE time without seeing each other, long distance is never easy, so he’s meeting me for a week long stay in France. I know he’s secretly hoping, well more like openly hoping, that after the 3 months in Europe I’ll trade in some solo travel for trips with him. I’m fine admitting I’m totally okay with that idea, and it’s already coming true with our trip back to Australia in September 🙂

 

#5- How are you packing for 3 months worth of travel?

Last but not least! I’ve been getting this question a lot recently leading up to my leave yesterday. Believe it or not I packed all clothes, shoes, and toiletries into a 45L  backpacking backpack, plus a messenger bag to hold my laptop and electronics. Obviously for over 3 months I’ll be doing laundry here and there as needed, but since my trip is open ended in a lot of ways I didn’t want to deal with lugging a huge rolling suitcase around some cobblestone streets, or wherever else the journey is going to take me. The mobility of a backpack when traveling by airplane, bus, train, and on-foot is completely worth the sacrifice of traveling with less overall, and I like the security of it being totally strapped to me. So far so good!

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I would love to answer any more questions you guys may have about the trip, about remote jobs, and/or about taking the leap to work for yourself! Feel free to comment below or email me at sauvignonblue@gmail.com. And don’t forget to check back soon to see how my first experience in Barcelona has been going, with plenty of pictures to go along with the story.

Eurotripping & Down Under

I was hoping to share these plans sooner but the past month has been a whirlwind of out-of-town weekends, selling and giving away most of my things, packing up the important ones, saying goodbye to the first apartment I’ve rented on my own without a roommate, and becoming homeless. O, not to mention I’ve officially started my own business during this crazy time so needless to say… I’ve been a little slow getting back to the blog! I am SO excited to share with you my rough itinerary for the next few months, and even more excited to be leaving for Europe in less than 60 days. Is this real life?!

JUNE– Barcelona, Spain- entire month

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JUNE– Lisbon, Portugalweekend away

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JULY– Biarritz, France- week long vaca (with a real cute Aussie)

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JULY– London, England- week long stay

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JULY– Amsterdam, Netherlands- week long stay

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AUGUST– Rome, Italy- entire month

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AUGUST– Venice, Italy- weekend away

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AUGUST– Split, Croatia- weekend away

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SEPTEMBER– Australia– 2 weeks

So I have something to admit… I do in fact have a return ticket. I know I know… last blog post I mentioned not having one, but now I do and couldn’t be more happy about it. Turns out this Aussie guy is taking me home with him to Australia in September, so I will be returning to the States for maybe a week before flying to the completely other side of the globe. Goal #1- explore this beautiful place my boyfriend is from and meet some pretty important people in his life. Goal #2- See a baby Joey in a pouch.

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OCTOBER– Undecided

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NOVEMBERUndecided

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I need your help!

After Australia I will be back in Europe for 2 months to wrap up 2016, and I need your help deciding where to go! Do I want to soak up the culture of my O’Grady side in Ireland, sip wine in cafes in France, or wander the streets of Prague? The possibilities are endless and I’d love to hear about some of your favorite place around Europe.

Leave a comment and let’s figure this out!

 

I’m Outta Here

Well, it’s official. I have my first month booked living in Barcelona, Spain and I will be leaving in June! I can’t believe it’s around the corner, but even more so I can’t believe I’ve decided to leave the security of a full-time job, sell most of my things, and travel around the world on my own, open-endedly. Friends of mine have called it adventurous, I’m sure others think I’m totally insane… but either way this lady is heading to Europe in less than 3 months without a return plane ticket. I’m sure you’re wondering how in the world I ended up here, so let’s do a little recap!

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I have always dreamt of traveling anywhere and everywhere, soaking up the different cultures and scenary. To me, that is a huge part of what life is all about. The world is way too vast to stay in this western hemisphere bubble and not go experience all the places I’ve heard about and seen pictures of. Unfortunately this thing we call REAL LIFE has gotten in the way of those dreams for far too long– putting myself through college, never taking more than maybe 4 days in a row off work since I was 16, and you know… pretending I actually have a savings account for years. I’ve spent most of my adult life just trying to hold it all together on my own, and the idea of spending thousands of dollars (plus taking extended vacation time away from work) to travel abroad simply wasn’t a realistic thing in my mind to do. I’ve taken a decent amount of long weekend getaways back to California, NYC, Colorado, other places around the US and then Costa Rica last December in an attempt to fulfill my wanderlust, but that little travel bug inside me just wasn’t quite satisfied.

I know so many of us feel this same way, but few actually do something about it. We get stuck in the day-to-day routine and before we know it, years have flown by.

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Photo: Sauvignon Blue Instagram

I came across a travel group that selects 75 people to travel around the world together working remotely. You spend a month in each of the 12 countries throughout Europe, Asia and South America, totaling a whole year of travel. You are required to have your own remote job to support yourself, the program does not provide this for you, but given that I’m in the design/marketing field I knew somehow there was a way I could make that happen. Without hesitation I applied, not thinking anything would come of it. About a month later I had made it through to the final round Skype interview. At this point I was fully picturing myself gallivanting around the world, immersing myself in the different cultures and making new connections. Then in February of this year I received the news… I was accepted as one of the 75 people to leave in June, out of over 50,000 applicants!

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Photo: Style Me Pretty

I was ecstatic and almost couldn’t believe I was about to be going on this adventure. I was given 2 weeks to make my decision and give my down payment to hold my place for the trip. After making a budget and lists of everything I needed to cover before the trip (huge down payment, travel insurance, plane ticket to first location, visas, passport renewal, etc) plus the monthly dues paid to the group to cover all our transportation and accommodations, I was feeling totally overwhelmed with the overall costs compared to the reality of my finances. Not to mention I hadn’t fully secured my 100% remote work income yet. What if after a few months the remote job wasn’t working out and I had to leave the trip? All of these fears were flying through my head while under pressure to make a decision by my deadline. I wanted to be smart with my money and use it wisely, instead of completely draining myself and going into more debt.

Guess what? I declined the offer… but for something WAY better.

I started researching how much it would cost for me to do a similar idea totally on my own- the cost to stay an entire month in some countries through airbnb, transportation costs between countries, etc. I found I could literally pay for 3 months of Europe travel with just the down payment money alone this group was asking for. Not only would I be able to travel abroad while working remotely on my own for less than HALF the monthly cost of going with that program, but I would be able to select the countries I really wanted instead of having to stick with their itinerary. The choice was quite obvious to me, and the next day I officially declined the offer and set out to plan my own world travel adventures.

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I’ve decided to focus on Europe for the remainder of 2016 and begin my solo travels in Barcelona, Spain. There are SO many places on my list to explore in Europe, and there is no way I will ever make it to all of them this year! Be sure to check back for future blog posts about other locations I’ve chosen and more travel plan details. Not only will June be the start of this crazy experience, but I am also utilizing this time to jumpstart this blog, Sauvignon Blue, into a travel focused blog. You’ll be able to keep up with me through the ups and downs of life on the road- being on my own in places I don’t speak the language or know a single person. I’m fortunate enough to have some friends and connections around the globe to meet up with along the way, but this journey is not only about discovering new places but new people too. And of course you know there will be countless pictures included 🙂 Be sure to follow me on Instagram @SauvignonBlue for daily snapshots, and let the journey begin!

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