Life & Love Pack the Suitcase & Go Wanderlust Adventures

5 “Ah-Ha” Moments I Learned in Paris

I love traveling.  I love seeing new places in the world and experiencing new cultures.   Typcially, I will return from a trip reeling with a new little gem to apply to my life, a new perspective or approach.  Now that we are back home from our week in Paris, and I am settling back into the UK I am finding myself reflecting on my first Paris experience.  And of course, I have a few life “ah-ha” moments that I can’t wait to share with you all.

1. Europe is on our doorstep: This is the first holiday we have taken outside of the UK since I have moved here.  Our flight from Manchester to Paris took (get this) just 1 hour.  I had a plan of watching Les Miserables  on my tablet but that didn’t happen.   I mean, one hour! I knew that Europe was at our doorstep, but taking such a quick and easy flight to an amazing city makes me excited for our adventures.  (Being 1 hour flight from Paris is a major bonus to being an expat!)

2. Sometimes You Order Two Soups:  I don’t speak French and neither does Neal.  This made it very interesting when we were trying to make our way through an all French menu, which happened to us on many occasions.  (A girl has got to eat after all.)   The apartment we stayed in was a hub of wonderful Asian restaurants (many of which had photos, which helped).  However, on one occasion I ordered two soups.  Whelp, so there you have it.  Two soups for dinner.  That’s when you smile, take a picture and a get a bit of a chuckle out of it.

Two Soups

Sometimes it’s just a two soup kind of day.  Right?

3. Shit Sometimes Hits the Fan:  No matter how hard I tried, things sometimes just were not perfect. On the third day of our trip, Neal and I decided to venture back to Notre Dame Cathedral for a baguette lunch as we had the other day.  The sun was shining,  I was munching on a lovely sandwich (with a Nutella crepe to follow) and then all of a sudden a bird pooped on me. In Paris!?! I know that this never, ever happened to Audrey Hepburn.  But what do you do? Shrug it off (pass on taking a pic, because who wants to see that?) and move along with your day.  And when you lose your metro pass less than 1 hour later, or are nearly pick pocketed you keep plugging along.  (Did I mention that I was battling a head cold for the whole trip?)

4. Having a Rockin’ Travel Buddy:  Past getting past the mistakes (like ordering two soups) or having a bird poop on you,  comes back to who you are traveling with.  Our Paris trip together was the first time Neal and I traveled to a new place, and I was slightly nervous that we would bicker or have a meltdown.  Thankfully, none of that happened.  Instead I discovered that Neal is an excellent travel buddy.  First off, he is really tall allowing him to scan over crowds and making him tough to lose. (Unless you are in the Louvre of course. Yeah, that happened.  Read about it here.)   Kidding aside,  Neal has a laid back personality that matches my Type-A crazy mode super well.  Neal is a problem solver, he loved figuring out GPS and metro lines, which I loved. Having a travel buddy that rolls with the punches makes a trip a million times more fun.

My awesome travel buddy Neal who made me laugh on the escalator.

My awesome travel buddy Neal who made me laugh on the escalator.

And finally…

5.  Get My Butt in Shape:   By the end of our first day in Paris, I was wiped.  We had walked all around the city and my feet were pissed off at me.   I was aching and exhausted.  (And so was Neal)  This is all because, until that moment, I could pretend that I am not as out of shape as I am.  But let’s face it, for a lover of travel, this is unacceptable.  I don’t want to pass on an amazing travel moment because I am too tired or not up for it.  No way, no how.  I want to climb towers of churches, walk castle walls, explore foreign cities all without thinking if I can make it or not.  I left Paris resolved to take another look at fitness with the goal of being in better shape to be a happier traveler.   Now that is a goal that I can visualize.

So there you have it, my five “ah-ha” travel and life moments that I gained from our six days in the magical city of Paris.

And before I leave you, I want to share with you one of my favorite snap shots from the past week in Paris:

Cherry Blossoms in Paris

The cherry blooms were just blooming, and I was able spy a very lovely Eiffel Tower!


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  • Fantastic photo, and having Europe on your doorstep it is totally the best thing about living in the UK. The UK is beautiful, but the temptations of Paris, Rome & Greece?
    Any future plans?

    • belinda

      Hi Emma!

      Always good to hear from another expat in the UK, thank you for outreaching to me. Being in the UK allows for so many travel opportunities, it’s fantastic. We haven’t decided on our next trip, but we are thinking Rome is on the immediate horizon.

      I will be sure to check out and follow your blog, to learn more about your expat story!



  • Casey

    Love this post! And that’s what travel is all about: learning new things and sometimes just going with it!

    • belinda

      Hi Casey!

      Although I have traveled on my own, so it was interesting to see how Neal and I would travel together. I learned so much about myself, him and us together… better than any museum tour! Hope your jet lag wears off soon, can’t wait to see your pics!


  • Your blog is so cute! I just found it through the bloglovin’ link up! Reading about the experiences of other expats is always so comforting for me. I’m still rather new to France and Europe, so hearing other people’s stories helps with the culture shock sometimes!


    The DIY Frenchie

    • belinda

      Hi Patricia,

      Thank you for leaving me a comment, I love hear from other expats throughout Europe. I will have to hop over to your blog to read all about your story. =) I have had an interesting roller coaster of adjusting to being an expat, even though I have been here for nearly 9 months.

      I had such a wonderful time in Paris, I can’t wait for our next trip to France.

  • Adrienne

    Ummm let’s just say I’m beyond jealous!!! If Paris were only a 1 hr plane ride from where I live, I would be broke!!! But totally in heaven!! Lol@ bird poop on everyone but Audrey Hepburn! The cherry blossom pic is beautiful! Now following you via bloglovin!

    • belinda

      Hi Adrienne,

      It is my first day back in work, and I am trying not to think about how close Paris is to me! Just 1 hour away makes it really inciting…. But now I am off to other sites, maybe Rome or Berlin?

      Thanks for the follow, I will have to do the same via Blog Lovin!



  • Love your two soup picture, something similar happened to me in Belgium and I could not stop laughing the wholemeal!

    • belinda

      It was such a funny moment that I had to share it. Now I understand why the waiter looked at me funny… 🙂

  • I live in Paris just a few minutes’ from the Eiffel Tower and I have yet to see the blossoms like that, what with this cold chill — what a lovely shot you got! I’ll have to get myself down to the Champs du Mars, stat…

    • belinda

      Hi Edna!

      Thanks for leaving me a comment, all the way from Paris! I had such a wonderful time exploring Paris and on our last day I was thrilled to spy the one lone cherry blossom tree. I was so lucky to capture that moment before we left the next day.

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  • Turkeywithstuffin

    That’s a beautiful photo of the Eiffel Tower and by the way, a bird pooping on you is supposed to be lucky!! I’d say you are indeed lucky if you have found the love of your life 😉

  • FoundLove_Blog

    Haha! I heard that about the good luck after the fact. And you are right, I have met the love of my life so I must be pretty lucky! =)

  • Belinda, i loved the “Get my Butt in Shape” aspect of the post 😛 It’s such a nice thing to get in a better physical condition & having fun tarveling at the same time. Usually you dont even notice how you exercise. (You just notice how tired you are every night 😛 )
    Oh and I’m SUCH a soup person, i would totally manage two soups, no biggie 😛
    Great post!

  • FoundLove_Blog

    Walking around a new city when traveling can be so exhausting, and you don’t even realize it until the end of the day…. like you said. Getting in better shape to enjoy travel more is a good incentive!! =)