Time to Be A Tourist

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts and on my Instagram. I spent almost three weeks in Europe with my family to celebrate my sister’s graduation. My mom, sister, and I started off in Barcelona, flew to Paris where my dad joined us a day later, then he left from Paris and the rest of us took the train to London.

I loved this trip because when we do the rare family vacation, it’s usually to Hawaii so we can enjoy their beaches. This was the first time we all went to Europe together and the first time for my mom and sister at all! Last year, I was in Europe for almost a MONTH on a Contiki tour where we hit up a new place every few days and I was able to see so many places and do A TON of things in a relatively short amount of time. Being in each place this trip for about 5-6 days each was nice in it’s own way because it gave us more time to explore and more days for sightseeing.

At home, my sister also likes to sleep in as much as she can (to 4pm sometimes) and her and my mom aren’t the most adventurous type. Having so long in each place allowed us to book some tours in the late morning (so she could sleep in) and not feel rushed going from place to place. I enjoyed this because I knew that any other way would be too much for them and they wouldn’t be super happy about it, but it was so different from my jam packed days last year.

Where I began to struggle on this trip were on the multiple days we spent shopping, not at cute and unique stores, but at stores that we have at home. I did plan a lot of free time and don’t mind taking one of our days and calling it our lazy shopping day, but it felt like a waste to me. In my opinion, we spent THOUSANDS of dollars to fly out to Europe to see their monuments, appreciate their culture, and eat some of their food, not sleep in, do what we can do at home, and want only McDonald’s in Paris.

While I had to understand that the purpose of this trip was for my sister and that I came along to “be a tour guide”, it sucked just waiting around for them to WANT to do something that I didn’t book way in advance. I am still very grateful for this trip, I enjoyed being in Europe again and this time with my family, but it made me realize what kind of traveller I am and who I should travel with next time.

My family is great for those chill beachy vacations which are fun too, but I love taking the opportunity of being in a new place to really explore and just wander around seeing cool things. I now know that next time I want to plan a trip like that, I need to find like-minded friends to go with. Realizing what kind of traveller I am and traveling with different people has made me see both the good and bad qualities in myself and others and made me think of what I would want in a future relationship. I think a good marker to know if I should be with someone (although let’s get me a someone first, lol) would be to take a trip and see if they can roll with the punches. Travel can really bring out the best and worst in people and as a big planner, I like planning way in advance and sticking to a (loose) itinerary.

Where I was extremely proud of my mom was our first day in London where the hotel we checked into was disgusting and had dead and alive bugs everywhere! She freaked out and experienced her first anxiety attack and we ran out of the room after being in there for only a couple minutes. The three of us walked down the street with our massive luggage to a cafe with Wi-Fi. Once we found a place, I sat down with my laptop and I tried to find any hotel or AirBnb that could take the three of us at that moment and for six nights WITHOUT costing a fortune. A pretty tough job. After looking around and contacting a bunch of hosts, we found a place and took a cab there. Long story short, it was Hell part two! By the time we realized we needed to leave this second place, it was close to midnight and there was nothing we could do. We were all exhausted and my mom was crying and just wanted to go home (although switching our flight would’ve been so costly) and my dad was still flying home with no Wi-Fi on the plane. I felt horrible for booking the first place and it being horrible and trying to solve the issue but that ending up just as bad but I had to stay strong for my mom who was going through so much. She was also crying about how much she hated London already which hurt me so much because it’s a place I fell so in love with last year and would like to live for a year in the near-ish future. Around 5 am our time, my dad was home and booked us a new hotel and we got ready for our reservation at Sketch, packed up, dropped off our bags at the new place, and went to lunch.

That issue ended up being resolved, our bank got us our money back for Hell and Hell part 2, and my mom ended up loving London after the next five days of exploring there. While it was so hard in the moment, I’m proud of her for making it through that experience and being able to move past that, and now, we have a great story to tell but she reminded me that next time I plan a place, I can feel free to splurge a bit on luxury.

For me, that moment was disgusting and rough, but freaking out also gets you nowhere. Travel is hard and has so many unexpected events and traveling with my family is just a bit harder too. While I love them so much, our differences in mindset really became apparent.

In the next few weeks, I’ll be compiling everything we did and saw in Barcelona, Paris, and London (minus the Hell parts) and have posts and videos to share with you here and on my YouTube! If you have any advice on how you like to travel with people who have a different travel style, let me know in the comments. And if you have any similar hotel from hell stories too, I’d love to hear them!

xo, Lo

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