March 8, 2014

Have ONE Bag, Will Travel

Like I said before, the fact that this vacation was the consolation trip in exchange for Iberian Insanity...means that my life is pretty dang cool. I'm just happy to be here, there, and everywhere!

Roman ruins in Lyon.
Aside from my entirely free trip to Hawaii back in 2011, this cheapest two week trip of my life shook down like this:

New foods eaten: 8
Cities explored: 10
Nationalities met: 11
Trains ridden: 18
Money spent: 500 euros

Love me some Lyon Eiffel.
A full fifteen nights for around $700. And about half of my expenses were spent on Marc's and my 3 days in Lyon, just for the hotel, food, and transport.

Where's the difference? Five nights with a friend, five nights at a volunteer program, and only three nights at a budget hotel. I could have made it even cheaper by carpooling (see link below) and buying groceries.
Glad to have a book & water bag!
I took a medium-sized rolling backpack and a cloth shopping sack (Lindsay, I took the one you gave us bridesmaids! Thank you!) for luggage. I felt like I packed way too much this trip, just the same, because I had to cover my bases for winter weather, volleyball/working out, hotel hang out clothes, and one dressier outfit. This meant: FOUR pairs of shoes!?!?! This is a cardinal sin in my packing book, where 2 pairs of shoes are correct, and 3 pairs is living on the wild side. I took my long-dead tennis shoes and dying snow boots, worked them one last time, then tossed them before traveling onward. My Toms and flip-flops got me back to Paris just fine, especially in the pleasant sunshine.

But what if we want to swim good?
Which brings us to the next point: the weather was INCREDIBLE. Germany? In February? No chance for happiness! But this year was THE year to be there, as even the worst days of weather brought minimal showers and stayed in the 40s. It snowed overnight when I was up 3,000 feet in the Black Forest, but that was expected. I am very happy that I was able to experience these places with weather that was more akin to October or April. It was the best possible way to spend this February vacation!

So I didn't spend very much money, I packed light, and the weather was phenomenal. On top of this excellent foundation, the wide range of adventures and people this trip brought to my life was awesome! My Ba-Wu blog was so much fun to write because every paragraph was an entirely new and very different topic. Even more fun were the actual moments of jumping out of my comfort zone over and over again. Like, what the heck was I doing, playing 2-on-2 soccer during my free time?! My travel notebook will forever remind me of those wonderfully paradoxical experiences.

A beautiful day over Lyon!
This is how I am able to travel. I'm not rich, but I am smart. Maybe that means, someday, I will be rich? Either way, until then, I'll enjoy playing the in-the-know hobo, and gratefully soaking in all that this planet has to offer.

Here are the websites I used/have used/just learned about and will use in the future...

I always find the cheapest flights on... I don't always buy them on that website, but that's my starting point, and I compare from there.

Vieux Lyon, from the river SaƓne.
For transportation in France, and around Europe...
French Trains
ID Bus
Eurolines Buses 

For hotels, hostels, or sleepovers...
The Hospitality Club

The sweet language volunteer program...

For more on my #strasbawulyontrip...
My Sunniest Strasbourg
Down in the Ba-Wu
Say What You Want To Say...In English