After 31 years of dreaming, I finally took the trip I have been preparing for my entire life. From a very young age I loved everything about the idea of Paris and London. Kings, queens, princesses, castles, art, music, architecture and language; every aspect of the two cultures filled my mind and was the overarching theme of any book, TV show or movie I obsessed over. I was very fortunate to travel greatly while growing up, but our family travels never took us to my ideal destinations.
Starting in middle school, I got more serious about my interests and ended up taking 10 years of French classes. I also picked up a minor in Western Art & Architectural History while finishing college and enjoyed those classes more than any others. Suddenly, it was time to consider studying or working abroad and there was also some reason not to – summer school, being a camp counselor, an internship, a boyfriend, a job … the list goes on. Something kept me from going until the reasons why I couldn’t go started to be more like a wedding, a marriage, a house, babies – you understand.
In my second pregnancy (age 27, in 2019), I saw Notre Dame Cathedral on fire on the news, and thought after all my studies and dreaming, I was never going to get to see it in person. I decided, in that moment, for my 30th birthday which would be in 2021 – I was going on my trip, and I would save a little bit of every paycheck so that when I went – it would be fabulous.
We planned, we booked, I was over the moon… then COVID.
After a longer than desired delay, in March of 2022 – for my almost 31st birthday, dreams came true! And it was magical.
How was it magical? Well, I had some help. I’m a mom of 2 toddlers, I have 2 businesses, and as much as I’d planned this trip for years, I really had absolutely 0 minutes to dedicate to planning/actually booking everything. Enter Hutton B Luxury Travel Advisor. I found Hutton on Instagram after she impressed me with tags and photos from a few honeymoons she arranged for people I admired. Her content is beautiful and she clearly knows what she is doing when it comes to luxurious travel accommodations and meals. I asked her, and paid her a small fee, to plan my dream trip and to make sure I did not waste one minute of the precious few days that I felt that I could be comfortable being away from my 2 daughters.
Speaking of my children – Who was I going on my trip with? Who is keeping my girls while I was away? I rarely have left my 2 and almost 4 year old alone for one night much less 8. How would I feel comfortable throwing them off their daily routines to fulfill my own selfish desires?
Well ladies, there is no such thing as a perfect husband (or person), but my husband really shined brightly in this particular season of life. He wasn’t super excited about the attractions in Paris/London and neither of us were thrilled about the idea of leaving both girls without any sense of familiarity for what would really be 9 whole days. We decided that I would go with my mom, my little sister and my aunts who were familiar with both cities. Brody would keep the girls at home and champion the school week and 2 weekends without me. Was I so scared to leave them? Yes. Ultimately though, the only person who cried about my absence was me. The girls thrived in their normal schedules (plus some additional iPad time and candy I’ve come to find out) and I was told by so many that Brody seemed cool, calm, and collected at pick up and drop off each day. I will forever be so grateful that he gave me the opportunity to grow as an individual for 9 whole days.
Paris was perfect. London was perfect. I can truly say I enjoyed every single aspect. Every part of my itinerary (provided below!) was the best, so asking me for the highlights really is listing out everything we did. All totaled for both cities, I walked 44 miles (always dressed in an outfit & shoes that I spent 2 years planning). Every step, on every day was magical.
One of the parts of this adventure that I didn’t anticipate loving so much was sharing my trip through photos and videos on social media. The amassed 500+ daily story followers either knew me well and had heard me talk about going for years, or didn’t know me well at all and still got to see a special piece of who I am and will forever be. Thanks to the videos and photos I recorded on Instagram, I now get to rewatch and relive my trip by myself, with friends and with my daughters especially. Stella (almost 4) told me recently that it’s now her dream to go to Paris and be an artist. My Mama heart skipped a beat!
You do not stop dreaming when you become a mom. You should not stop growing once you become a mom either. I fully recognize that our lives are already so busy in every other category that it seems impossible to add anything else. However, I truly believe that whether it is a new hobby, skill, education or maybe a trip – it is so important to always make time to continue to grow as an individual. You, and everyone who learns from you, will be better for it in the end!
So because I am have been asked 100 times, I encourage you to use my trip itinerary below to plan and dream, and maybe one day – take the trip!