I, the Queen of Fleeing the Country, recently moved into my first apartment and got a full time job and am giving the elusive ~stability~ thing a try. It's my greatest challenge yet.

To make matters worse, my best friend and the Queen of Stability, (In my mind, that is. In reality she is probably completely average but I have a fear of stability so to me she is extraordinary) Stephanie just quit her job to travel for the summer. 

So essentially, yes, we have traded places. We are a quirky teen drama about two friends who get struck by lightning and then get to wear each others clothes and kiss each other's boyfriends for a week. Ironically, similar to our teenage years, currently neither me or Stephanie have a boyfriend for the other to kiss so we have decided to start this blog series instead. Its purpose: to help us stay in touch during the summer and as a way to exchange insider information whilst we are busy living each others lives. 

xx

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Dear Stephanie,

I am having a hard time believing it is actually time for you to go on your trip. I am having an even harder time believing I am not there to help you pack and to have anxious pre-flight brunch with you. But you are ready for this, you have been seeing me off for years and now it is finally your turn!

Now I don't really know what my authority is on this matter, lots of people have traveled, yourself included, but I like to think my speciality is in being overly poetic and attaching a bunch of meaning to travel that may or may not actually be there. So, while you have traveled before, I have attached the extra meaning that ~this time is different~ and that you are about to embark on a great adventure. Let me start by saying, it is okay if you feel like you are going to throw up. It's only important to understand that what you are feeling is anxiety, not a flu that you happened to catch exactly one day before leaving. You might feel lightheaded at the airport, that is also normal. All part of the fun! When I went to London- my first long-term trip abroad- I too thought I was dying. Here are a few tips: 1) Pick the stupidest movie to watch on the plane and don't even think about buying the wifi. Nothing ruins a good flight like being connected with people. 2) Know that your anxiety is normal and be proud of yourself that you got on the plane. There's no turning back now. 3) If you are still anxious, just get ready for sunrise at 30,000 feet. It was my grandpa's favorite time to fly and the reason my mom's name is Dawn. Every time I am on a plane at sunrise it puts me at peace. You are one person and you might feel alone in this moment but know that the universe is big and powerful and you are apart of that story. 

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See?! I told you I am an expert in romanticizing travel. I literally just described a boring nine hour flight as something far greater. You're probably not even anxious, I am definitely projecting anxiety. Moving on. TIME FOR THE FUN! GET A PINT OF CIDER! YOU'RE IN LONDON! I am so glad your adventure is also starting in London. It's a damn good place to begin. Soak it all in. If you want to spend an hour sitting on a bench, do it. Don't feel rushed or tied down by your to-see list (except getting a bagel on Brick Lane, that is a requirement), do whatever inspires you, even if that is staying in the hotel for an extra hour sleeping off the jetlag. And definitely do not order dinner to go. When I went to Melbourne in Australia I had a few days alone before I met up with a friend. My first night I went to dinner and the bartender asked me if I was eating there or taking away. I said to go before imagining myself eating in my hostel bunkbed then changed my mind and said I'd eat there. My waiter was good looking and there was a candle on the table and I had a great time. I didn't go home with the waiter and launch into a love affair, but the experience of dining alone in a country where you know no one is still a memory I won't forget.

I am going to wrap this up. I can't use up all of wisdom on one post but I will leave you with some parting advice (but don't worry, I have plenty more).

1. Make playlists. Without you realizing, songs you listen to while traveling will permanently become attached to the cities visited and provide a memory to revisit whenever you are missing the road. 

2. Always say yes (within reason). Now while I don't want you doing anything I wouldn't do, say yes. As you know, one of my greatest regrets in life is when my future husband (and bunk mate) in Australia asked me to go get drinks in the hostel bar with him and I told him I had to go to bed for my tour in the morning. Be tired. Be hungover. Just do it.

3. Speaking of the hostel bar, go there. Frequent it. Love it. 

4. Kiss European guys. 

5. Don't overthink it. At the end of this melodramatic post, I leave you with this... travel doesn't have to be #studyabroadlife #lifechanging maybe it is just a fun couple of weeks. Maybe parts will suck. It's fine. Travel isn't always romantic (though that is one of the things that makes it so romantic!!!) and that's totally fine if you aren't as psycho about it as me. But it would be really great if you were because I think we should move to New Zealand on work holiday visas in the next year or so... but more on that later. 

I LOVE YOU!!!! WRITE OFTEN!!!! 

ps how great are these shitty photos of London I found from when I moved?! I edited them and now they're grungy in a good way.

xxx

Lauren