There are times I find myself staring at a map, just lost in the possibilities of the world and all of its wonders.

Then, the wanderlust begins to bubble up … to slowly seduce me into a world where backpacks, trains, hostels, waking up in a new city are the norm. Are romantic. These little tendrils of travel creep into my mind and plant their roots. They whisper to me at night, “Diana … book a flight … Diana … come to me.”

Like a hangover, I shake these thoughts away because, let’s face it, the beginning of 2014 saw me barely making it to Chiang Mai Gate, let alone across town … how in the world am I going to leave the country?

backpacking

It’s been years since I booked a longer trip totally for me. Yes, I’ve bopped down to Bali and Koh Samui, but those don’t really count as trips, just tiny intermissions in my expat life. They aren’t adventures, or even real traveling in my mind. They just park me in a gorgeous location with a lounge chair and a cocktail and tell me to chill out. Then, poof, I’m back on a plane and back in the jungle.

Sure, there was the trip to Israel and then my trips back to the States twice, but it hasn’t been that unplanned, world-is-my-oyster type of travel.

And, truth be told, I miss it. I miss that air of waking up and anything is possible. I miss shlepping my bag up a bajillion flights of stairs and meeting my bunk buddies for the night. I miss late nights dining on fresh local cuisine and washing it down with the town’s alcoholic specialty. I miss being out in the world and not knowing what the day brings.

For months, hell, years, I’ve been putting money aside and not touching it. My rainy day/travel fund. But, what’s the use of having that fund if it just sits there, motionless?

For months, I have been telling friends of my desire to get back out into the world beyond Southeast Asia, to be mesmerized and enchanted by the cobblestone streets of Europe, to sip tiny cups of coffee at tiny cafes on tiny backstreets surrounded by medieval history, to rock up to a new city with no plan other than being there.

Yup. It’s time to travel.

Well, the endorphins have been flowing the past couple of months (thanks to The Comfort Zone Project and  a healthy serving of the gym and a revamped lifestyle) and I finally have put my money where my mouth is.

No more whimsical day dreams of sidewalk cafes and coffee. No more fantasizing about the idea of sitting on the Mediterranean drinking good wine and dipping fresh baked bread into homemade olive oil.

I booked a flight. Hell, I booked heaps of flights.

In less than one month, I am off on a 30-day journey to Europe.

So … where am I going?

Well, I’ve been to Prague twice already, but I’ve got a dear friend I knew in Thailand who is living there, so I’m stopping there for a few days to do some off-the-beaten-path exploration. Then, I’m heading back to Israel, this time to explore the political side of things. After that, I’m planting my feet in Ljubljana and the Lake Bled area of Slovenia for a week of solo travel, then over to Venice where I will meet my mom and together we will head to hike around Cinque Terre. After that, it is more me time in Paris, Belgium and then back to Prague.

It’s time to step out of the comfort zone even further and allow my heart to lead the way as I navigate multiple foreign countries, currencies, schedules and goodness knows what else.

Time for an adventure!

Do you have any must-see/cool places to suggest? Be sure to leave a comment and share your tips!

Special thanks to the following partners on my upcoming 2014 European Adventure: HostelsClub, Tourist Israel, Abraham Tours, Walks of Italy and FitWeek.

16 comments

  1. I’m currently totally in love with the Balkans, having just come back from Macedonia. You should absolutely go to Bosnia and Serbia too. The best thing is that they’re cheap. Like, Thailand cheap 🙂

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    1. I LOVE the Balkans!!! I spent some time in Bosnia, but haven’t had a chance to be in Serbia (other than being at the train station for hours on end). They are cheap. So are Bulgaria and Romania!

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  2. I’m so glad that’ll getting the chance to stretch your wings a little and come to Europe.

    We spent a few days in Ljubljana last September and it’s truly a stunning place, and it’s somewhere that both Franca and I could have settled down for a little while due to it’s small, but exciting, alternative community and the incredible scenery that surrounds the city.

    If you’re heading towards the south of Italy, let us know!

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    1. I LOVE Europe!! I cannot wait to get back there. Europe has always had my heart and it has been far too long since I have been there. I am super excited to head to Ljubljana and the entire country. I have heard so many wonderful things about it. I wish I had time to head to southern Italy. Next time!

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  3. Yay! I am excited for you. I have the same feeling you have about Europe about Southeast Asia, and sometimes I literally count down the days until I am back there. Too bad we aren’t overlapping, though 🙂

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    1. I am excited, too!! I love that you feel the same way about SE Asia. I guess living here, it doesn’t hold the some romantic ideas that Europe holds. So glad we will cross paths in Thailand!!

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  4. Congrats! When you make it to the Cinque Terre try Micky’s – amazing sea bass for dinner. I loved hiking around that area when we were there… If you’re in the Piedmont area in August let me know. We’ll be out there for a few weeks.

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  5. I bet you’re excited! There is so much beauty lurking around every corner in Europe, both man made and natural. Just try to be too shocked at the higher prices on the tags there 😛

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    1. I am SO excited, David!! Europe mesmerizes me, intoxicates me, wakes me up … I SO LOVE it there. It is going to be hard to adjust to the price tag after being in Thailand for almost two years!

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