27 February 2017
Do you have a dream? I used to dream all the time as a little girl, my imagination was off the scale and nothing ever seemed too far fetched from reality for me! As I grew into a young adult, I experienced all the emotions from happy love to tearful heartbreak and my big dreams diminished into life goals instead. Teenage years consisted of trying to complete the next stage of my life and so I never was that person who looked ahead in their life, waiting for that day to come when your dream was a reality.

It wasn't until I had my heart broken for the first time when I needed to start focusing on my future and what I wanted for myself. My first dream was to be a designer, making it in London and living a life full of creativity and inspiration. I'm happy to say with a LOT of hard work and determination I made it through college and university into a company that ticks all those boxes and boy does it feel good. It's funny though, reaching and grabbing hold of what you thought was your life's dream sometimes makes you realise it's not, it actually just turned out to be a career goal of mine. 

During the years of reaching my "dream" me and my boyfriend (now fiancĂ©...WIN!!) went to Paris when I was 21 years old. It was our first trip together and what better than spending your birthday weekend with the love of your life in one of the most romantic cities in the world?? wrong! 
It was actually really stressful and tiring and we ended up spending most of our time oversleeping at the hotel as it had the comfiest bed I have ever slept in, still to this day! Don't get me wrong, it could have been everything I wish for but I didn't plan anything, I was moody for it and I felt we never got out of it what we were hoping. What it did do was unleash that dream of travel from inside me...that feeling of pure freedom where I was in a place where no one knew who I was or what I was about and I could just be me. Thing is, what I also learnt is that if I was truely going to create the dream I wanted then I needed to plan, gain knowledge and do all the leg work before hand so I could just go and soak it all in. 

So here are my top 3 tips that I now swear by every time I travel: 

1) Print out a map of the area you are going
Using letters or numbers, mark out places you want to visit on the map. I would recommend you categorise them by food, cool places, buildings, art, culture etc so you know exactly what they are (great time to whip out all that stationary you are holding). Mark them down and only write in vital information like times they are open, kind of food etc then on your travels you can wake up knowing there is plenty to do but without the fixated plans. This is the perfect way to travel organised but spontaneous at the same time! I have found that if everything is too planned it can be really stressful. You end up trying to hard to be here there and everywhere at certain dates and times which stops you from enjoying what is around you and at the very worst, from making your own discoveries. 

2) Use a BnB (now Air BnB)
This is the best way to experience life like a local. You will be in an area where they hangout and eat (always the best restaurants) plus staying in a house/apartment that oozes culture. When in Paris for the second time we were lucky to find a little apartment set into a French courtyard with French windows and beautul art on the walls. Also the host will give you all the local knowledge which is sometimes better than your own research! And you never know, you may make a friend or two.

3) Stray away from the tourist areas
I know it good to see all the main sites of a place but for me that's what I am least interested in as I have already seen it a hundred times over online, in magazines and through art. This is also a good tip for places to stay, plus it's cheaper too! Go for a walk or get on a train outside of the city centre and see what is around. Of course do a little research too but this is when you will really start having little adventures of your own. Speak to a blogger that lives in the area or find places for yourself, any way you like just do it! Trust me, these will be the memories you remember. 

The 'Love Lock' bridge has now been pulled down!

So thank you to my 21 year old moody unappreciative self and partner for taking me on this trip, because if I never had that first experience then I would have never enjoyed the amazing trips I did afterwards. I did actually end up going back a couple of years ago with my mum and with those tips we ended up having the most fun filled adventure ever and discovered some great local eats! I fell in love with the city after that and I can't wait to back again sometime.

For now though I need to start fulfilling that travel dream of mine by visiting as many new places as I can in my lifetime! I haven't been to many yet but I'm going to start with Europe as there is a lot of amazing places that I am yet to discover! Id advice giving GoEuro a look when booking your trip as they are great at finding the best prices and ways to travel, plus you can add in if you have a travel card and there is also an option to select Air BnB in the area your looking, which makes the hassle of booking a trip much easier!

Let me know if you have any travel tips that I can add onto my list as I'm sure there are lots I haven't discovered yet. Live the adventure! 

Khrissie x


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