Sunday, October 2, 2016

5 Useful Travel Hacks from Wanderlusters

This is a guest post from Currency UK, a team of great individuals ready to help expats and travelers with foreign exchange and overseas payments.  A special thank you to Alex for all the work he did to make this post possible.  Enjoy! 

Travelling is an amazing experience. But let’s be honest, it can also be stressful. No one likes to be battling their suitcase to get the lid to close, but it always seems to end up that way!
Check out these five travel hacks that every Wonderluster needs to know. From saving luggage space, handy budgeting tips and exploring the best areas of a country, these tips will help make your travels stress-free.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Facing My Fears

The past few weeks I have been thinking a lot about fear.  What is fear?  Why do we experience it?  How can we overcome it?  I'm sure most of you have heard the infamous quote by Franklin D. Roosevelt saying "the only thing we have to fear is fear itself," and although I love this quote I'm starting to think that maybe the quote should be rewritten to say "the only things we have to fear are fear and ourselves".  Over this past year as I've taken risks and tackled many new life changes I've come to realize that my biggest enemy in everything has been, and continues to be, myself.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

French Love Lessons

With my one year wedding anniversary being this week I've been doing a lot of reflecting lately on this past year of marriage.  It's incredible to think about how much I have learned and grown as a person, and as a wife, over these past 365 days.  Being married to a foreigner is no easy task, but it is by far the best and most beautiful thing that has ever happened to me.  Being married to Florian has opened me up to a whole new world that I never thought possible.  I have truly been blessed beyond belief and I thank God, and Florian, every day for the lessons I've learned and the amazing adventures this first year of marriage has brought me.  So, in honor of my wedding anniversary here are 5 things I've learned being married to Frenchman:

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Love from the Lozere

I still remember the first time Florian told me about the Lozere.  We had been dating for about two months when one night out of the blue he said to me "there is somewhere that I want to take you, somewhere that is really special to me, somewhere that I have never taken anyone before... the Lozere."  Although I had studied French geography in high school and college I had no idea where this seemingly "magical place" could be.  I remember Googling the Lozere that night and learning that it was a small department located in the Languedoc-Roussillon region in southeastern France.  Although the pictures on Google looked beautiful, I couldn't quite understand at the time why Florian wanted to take me there of all places.  It wasn't until later when he told me, "in order to understand who I am, I need you to see where I come from" that I understood the importance of visiting this little department that Florian often referred to as le paradis.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

"Folle" en France

Most of the time I am quite content with my life in France.  I have a loving husband, a wonderful family-in-law, amazing new girlfriends, and a city that never ceases to amaze me with its beauty.  In fact, the transition to France has been so much easier than I ever thought it would be, and I am so grateful for that.  However, there are some days that living in France drives me folle- crazy!  There are so many things that I love about this country, but there are also so many things that I just don't understand.  Although I promised myself shortly after moving here that I would stop comparing France to the United States, I also realized that sometimes it's just downright therapeutic to share my frustrations.  So, without further ado, here is my list of 5 things about living in France that drive me crazy:

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Que Syrah, Syrah!

About 45 minutes east of Bordeaux, nestled between miles of lush green fields and rolling vineyards is the fairytale-esque town of Saint-Emilion.  Saint-Emilion has everything a French village should: cobblestone streets, narrow back alleys, tiny cafes, and Romanesque churches.  The town looks like something straight out of a child's fairy tale book.  In addition to being one of my favorite French villages, Saint-Emilion also holds a very special place in my heart because in some ways it was Saint-Emilion that brought me to Florian.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Liebster Award + Interview

It's funny how life works.  I have now been blogging for six months and just when I was starting to feel discouraged I received word from a fellow blogger that I had been nominated for a Liebster Award.  A Liebster Award is essentially an award given by other bloggers to honor new and upcoming blogs.  Although it's not much I was really touched by this nomination.  It's never easy to start a blog and put yourself "out there" not knowing what you will get in return.  This award was the reminder that I needed to keep going and not give up.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Mauritius Memories

When I was younger I thought I had my life all planned out: I was going to marry a nice guy from the midwest, settle in the Twin Cities, and honeymoon in the Caribbean after our wedding.  This only seemed logical for a girl from Minnesota, so when I ended up marrying a French guy, settling in Bordeaux, and honeymooning in French speaking Africa you can only imagine my surprise.  They say if you want to make God laugh tell him your plans.  If there is anything that I have learned over these past five years it's that you cannot plan your life.  My life has turned out so differently than I ever imagined, but I have to say that I love every minute of this new chaotic, beautiful, life.  Being with Florian has not only pushed me outside my comfort zone, but has also opened me up to places of the world I never knew existed.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Flying Bells and Other Easter Shenanigans

I often get asked by friends and family what holidays the French celebrate and most people are shocked to learn that they celebrate most of the same holidays that we do: New Years, Christmas, Easter, Labor Day, a National Holiday in July- even typically "American" holidays such as Halloween and Valentine's Day are starting to trickle their way into French culture.  One of my favorite parts about living in France is being able to celebrate these holidays and compare and contrast typical French traditions with typical American traditions.  This year marks my second time celebrating Easter in France and here are 5 fun facts that I have learned about French Easter:

Monday, March 14, 2016

Asian Adventures

I don't know how or when it happened, but for about the past ten years I have been consumed by wanderlust.  The desire, or rather the need, to travel courses through my veins and keeps me awake at night dreaming of my next adventure.  There is something about traveling the world, experiencing new cultures, and hearing new languages that excites me.  Maybe it's my inner "world language teacher" talking, but I truly believe that each travel experience allows me to better understand the world in which I live.  Therefore, when my dad invited me on a two week whirlwind trip to Asia I jumped at the idea.  Apart from a month long stint teaching English in India in 2011, I had never been to Asia.  Asia had always remained for me a continent that I knew little about.  The idea of traveling there and experiencing the various cultures was exhilarating, therefore I packed my bags, kissed my husband goodbye, and boarded a plane to Tokyo.

Monday, February 29, 2016

Paris is Always a Good Idea

In the famous words of Audrey Hepburn, "Paris is always a good idea."  I first visited Paris when I was in high school and immediately fell in love with the city.  The architecture, the lights, the cafes, the history... everything about Paris made my heart sing.  Last year as I was sorting through some of my old mementos I found my travel journal from my first trip to Paris.  As I read the entry describing the first time I saw the Eiffel Tower I actually teared up.  I remember that magical moment so vividly and it was fun to remember what Paris looked like through my teenage eyes.  During the semester that I studied abroad and the year I taught abroad I made countless trips to Paris where I visited the same sites over and over with friends and family members.  By time I returned to the United States in the spring of 2012 I was "sick of Paris."  Instead of seeing the beauty of the city that once captured my heart, all I could see was the trash on the streets, the homeless people in the metro, and the frustrated looks of the Parisians as yet another tourist demanded to be seen and heard.  Needless to say, in my mind, Paris was no longer a "good idea."

Monday, February 15, 2016

Dining with the Stars

When most people think of Michelin they probably think of the big puffy white guy that tries to sell tires.  At least that’s what I always thought of until a few years ago when Florian introduced me to the world of Michelin Restaurants. Michelin is a company that was started in France by the Michelin brothers in the late 1800s.  The company started by selling tires and then like any successful company quickly tried to find a sneaky way to get car owners to wear out their tires more quickly so they would have to come back for more.  The company then started making road maps complete with hotels and gas stations to entice French drivers to travel more.  The Michelin brothers added restaurants to their travel guide after World War I and started awarding stars to the best restaurants shortly after.  

Monday, January 18, 2016

My Double Life

When I was a teenager I loved the movie "The Princess Diaries." I found the idea fascinating that a dorky girl from San Francisco could wake up one day and discover that she was a princess and had a whole other life that awaited her on the other side of the world.  The idea of living a double life seemed so cool and foreign to me that I could never imagine that one day something similar could happen to me.  Now I'm certainly no princess, but I can't help but feel like Mia Thermopolis somedays as I try to balance between two completely different worlds.