(That’s an inside joke.. we used to joke that Mum was a travel agent at this AAA Travel because of all of the holidays she planned over our time.) Just now though I felt a bit sad.. because now that we’re all adults, will we ever have a family holiday planned for us again? I hope so.. and Mum and her family went on their Asian holidays, so it’s definitely possible 🙂
I’ve spent this weekend playing travel agent.. well, I thought I’d done my time and sorted it all out, so I was off to see Amy’s brother the travel agent at Student Flights to see if he could work some magic. He could indeed: he got access to a cheaper flight than the ones I’d found, with a 5 star airline. Can’t beat that! Book me in, right? Except.. ‘So what are your plans?’ ‘I was gonna spend a week in Paris with my friend.. I should really be doing more travel than that but I don’t want to leave Australia too early..’ and THEN, the bombshell: ‘Have you thought about a tour?’
No! Why hadn’t I thought about a tour? I didn’t think I had enough time, I guess.. really, it just never crossed my mind! But as soon as it did, I was open to the idea. ‘Contiki is more partying, Topdeck is more sightseeing but still young people.’ I only got the Topdeck book, which I now see as a great thing because there were TOO many options with just the one company! It was narrowed down to trips under 10 days for logistical reasons (I’m not going to have too long back in Brisbane otherwise), and also to Western Europe because at the moment those countries get me excited. I’m sure that Eastern Europe and I will meet one day, but at the moment I feel a bit eh about it (I know I’ll read this one day and laugh!).
And so, my plans were uprooted, and I spent the next 30 hours researching, planning. It was quite interesting: during that time my favourite tour which I was just about certain on changed at least twice. Which is worrying.. when you’re expected to finalise something in that weekend, turncoating isn’t a good sign. I narrowed it down to two (my original favourite didn’t make the cut!): both 9 days, one starting in Paris, the other in Barcelona, then proceeding to the French Riviera, Swiss Alps, Florence and Rome. There are pros and cons to both: the first, I get to explore Paris with the group rather than wandering around confused by myself, but there’s no Spain. But, it’s not like two days in Barcelona would really be enough, so either way I know I’d be back (well, plus I study there second semester!).
My new housemate Dan (taking Paul’s place while he’s in America) normally stops and chats at my door when he comes in, and last night it was late so I was like ‘ugh don’t stop and talk’ but then we were talking about my travel plans for ages! He’s done a few years of backpacking in his time, and said he was glad that he stopped to chat because now he’s excited about travel again and looking forward to hearing my stories. He told me some of his favourite places (small backpackers towns) and how originally he wasn’t keen on the group tour idea that I mentioned, but now can see that it’s perfect for someone like me (on my own without much experience, and not quite at the ‘independent traveller’ stage).
After documenting all of the possibilities (including flight details, tour dates, and whether or not La Tomatina is involved), nothing seemed obvious. I’d tried to call Mum last night and today but she was camping or something and didn’t have reception. Some service, AAA! Called Teagan instead which was just as good of a decision. ‘Why would you pick a tour that goes to Paris, when you’ll practically live there?’ ‘Well it’s like the place I’m most excited about.. originally it was the only place I was going..’ ‘But you’ll be there every weekend with your uni friends!’ ‘okok I’ll pick the other one!’ But it depends on availability, you see.. Andy says there aren’t very many places available and so you have to contact them directly to see if there are any spots left; it could go either way. Perfect! I love it when the decision is out of my hands 😀 Whatever result comes back, I’ll be happy with! The tour that starts in Paris (/London if I want to catch the ferry with them) has enough places that it’s a guaranteed departure, and with guaranteed places leftover (so none of this ‘maybe’ booking).. I’d pick the one which finished up in Rome a few days before I was due at uni, so I could stay in Rome (I met an Italian at the EMA thing and he raved about his hometown), and/or spend some time in Paris. Man, how good would it be if my timetable gave me a long weekend!!! I could just go to Paris every weekend…! ahh!
So anyway, Andy has gone to America for the week but has requested the near-booked-out tour and is reserving a cheap flight he found. In the meantime we wait, and I try to decide whether I want to leave 5-6 days earlier so that I can go be involved in a food fight for an hour in Spain with Carly. I really hope I don’t make a habit of this, but: there’s always next year, right?