Two years ago, I was frantically trying to pack for my month in Nice with Abbey Road. I was beyond excited to get out there and go explore the world free from my parents. But the main problem I face before I flew off to the French Riviera was dealing with what to pack. This was a complicated process. I had to indulge in my own needs as well as fulfill the wants and desires of my parents. Let me give you an example, I wanted to pack an extra pair of sandals, but my parents wanted me to pack two new bottles of 90 sunscreens. Needless to say, we clashed on many things. Looking back, there are a few things I wish I had known.
1. Pack a towel to go to the beach. Abbey provided me one, but after weeks of laying out in the sun and sweating off my sunscreen on the SAME towel- it became nothing short of absolutely disgusting.
2. Multiple pairs of sunglasses. Maybe this was a problem just facing my trip. But we collectively went through at least a dozen sunglasses. I don’t know what it was exactly that made my sunglasses so breakable in France, but it happened multiple times.
3. Do not underestimate the amount of money you will spend on ice cream. At home, I eat ice cream a reasonable amount of about once every two weeks. Did I stick to that in France? No. I would sometimes indulge in ice cream up to three times a day. Why? Because it is really that good. And when you get over-heated, which is often in the hot sun, all you want is some ice cream.
4. Tell my friends at home to not contact me. This sounds rude, but let me explain. While there, you meet such amazing people that all you want to do is spend every second of your time with them. This got hard when friends from home demanded me to Skype them like I had promised to do before I left. That was silly.
5. Set up a weekly time to call home. I didn’t establish this before I left, and therefore my parents expected a phone call every night. Sometimes you just plain forget to call home, and then they get worried. Going into college- I told my parents that I will call every Sunday. I put it in my calendar and I do it. It is a lot easier, and you save yourself the angry phone calls when you forget to call home for what feels like the millionth time that week.
6. Leave the summer reading at home. I don’t know why I thought I could balance school work on top of my schoolwork. And secondly, I don’t know why I thought that while tanning on the beach and eating macaroons, I would actually want to read and annotate my summer reading. It just plain made me feel bad to have that book staring me in the face every night when I was trying to fall asleep. I would have been better off waiting to do that once I got home and my life was a little bit less exciting.
7. Comfortable shoes. They tell you to bring them. Did I? No. And that was not smart. My feet were sweaty, blistered messes before I finally sucked it up and put on shoes that didn’t make my feet want to walk themselves off of a cliff. There is a lot of walking, so also don’t forget to bring shoes that you don’t mind wearing out.
8. Remember that you can buy things in France. For some reason, I felt like there would be absolutely no place to buy shampoo if I were to run out. Naturally, I packed enough shampoo to last me if my plane were to crash and my life turned into Lost. I didn’t realize that they actually have places where you can buy shampoo, toothpaste, and sunscreen. Not only that, but it is French. So if you run out of your American shampoo, buying French shampoo actually seems really cool.
9. I didn’t buy enough souvenirs. That is probably the phrase your parents do not want to hear. But I was so focused on not being a tourist that I forgot to be a tourist and buy some memorabilia. This is a great trip, and you want things you can remember it by.
10. This is a serious one. So serious, that I am paraphrasing something Maya Angelou once said, people will not always remember what you did- but they will always remember how you made them feel. There will be times when you are going to butt heads over what thing to go see or what to eat for dinner. Just keep in mind that the people you are spending time with are more important than the actual things that you will do.
Get ready and excited about your upcoming trip. I am so very jealous of you, and I know you will have a great time. Bon Voyage!
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