When nothing and everything go according to plan: Winter travel and Big News!

notredame by expat edna

Yesterday morning I received this text from EasyJet:

Your flight tomorrow has been cancelled, because you live in a country with scheduled airport strikes. You may transfer your flight at no additional cost, but good luck finding one because in ten minutes all our Paris flights for the next three days will sell out, ha ha ha. 

(Not a direct quote.)

As I watched the flights indeed sell out in a matter of minutes, I started to panic — I had to be back in Paris; this was the weekend my friends chose to do Thanksgiving and there was no way I was missing turkey and stuffing and reunion time.

Long story short, after a frantic two hours of endless plane-train-bus searches, my old roomie came through to save the day and got me a flight via Zurich using his miles (bidness, too!).

The catch was that the flight was leaving in a few short hours, and I live allll the way out in the ‘burbs — it takes me nearly three hours to get to the airport, and the local train into the city only runs once an hour.

So I booked it home, threw some clothes into a backpack, ran to the train station, got on a train GOING THE WRONG DIRECTION, freaked out, luckily caught another train going to Milan, rushed to the airport express, and by the time I made it to Malpensa it finally hit me: I’ll be in Paris tonight! I get an extra day in Paris!

The strike actually worked out in my favor, in the end.

ile st louis by expat edna

And as crazy and frenetic as it all was, it perfectly represents how things have been going for me recently — and will continue to go.

Because lately, nothing has been going according to plan.

But then…everything turns out even better than expected.

For instance:

I’ve been struggling to adjust to life in Italy. 

I mean, seriously struggling. To the point where I hardly eat anymore. (ME. Not eating. The insanity.)

So exactly one week ago, my boss sat me down for a talk. We discussed the situation.

And just like that, WHAM, out of the blue, sweeping me off my feet, came the permission to move whenever I wanted. In fact, the sooner the better.

So, I’m leaving Italy next week.

I’m going to go back to working remotely for a couple months, before relocating after the New Year.

So here are my shiny new upcoming winter travel plans:


I head back to Italy on Monday, have four days to pack up my apartment and life there. I’ll spend Thanksgiving in Milan, then the next day head back to Paris to see my friends one last time.


After the weekend I’ll take the train to London, where I’ll be based for three weeks. I’ve always wanted to live in London — and while I was given the option, I can’t quite afford the cost of living there right now, but at least I’ll be able to get a taste. Plus, London at Christmastime! It’s going to be magical!

I’m also hoping to spend a week in Scotland, and possibly get to Wales and Liverpool or Manchester on one of the weekends as well.

From there I’ll hop on the ferry to Dublin, where I’ll be spending Christmas and St Stephen’s Day — my original thinking being that if I was going to spend Christmas alone, I may as well be alone in my favorite country.

But then I picked up a travel partner — who has never been to Ireland! — which makes it even better because now I get to introduce someone else to this ridiculously gorgeous favorite country of mine.

From Dublin I fly to Reykjavik (with an overnight layover in Copenhagen) where I’ll be based for almost a week. A friend sold me on Iceland for New Year’s — and those who know me, know I LOVE celebrating NYE with a big bash. I’m also hoping to roadtrip a bit and catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights.



I’m moving back to Asia.

I won’t say where specifically yet, because I’m still wrapping my head around the idea — I’m half expecting to wake up from this dream any minute now — and still need to confirm flights with work.

But yes. I’m finally going back.


I’ll have just enough time to get over the jet lag from the move when I fly to Russia for the XXII Olympic Winter Games. No, I don’t know what events I’ll be covering yet, but I am all too ecstatic about my second Olympics and first Winter Olympics.


So, there’s my news.

Very little of it has fully sunk in yet — all the changes came rushing in so fast, I haven’t had time to comprehend this is really happening. It doesn’t feel real. One week ago I was struggling to stay afloat in small town Italy — now I’m moving out in a week, living in some of my favorite European cities for a month, and I get to move back to the continent I consider my second home, and a new city which I’d always hoped to one day live in and explore.

Everything worked out in the end.

Sooo travel tips — I need them! What’s good to see/eat/drink/stay in London, Scotland, Wales, Dublin, Copenhagen, and Reykjavik? 

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  1. Wow this is some HUGE news!!!!!!! I’m so excited for you!

  2. Eee…. this is all so exciting I want to hug you right now!

    Good thing I can do so tomorrow.

  3. THRILLED for you lady :) Can’t wait to read all about it. I’ll be looking out for your Copenhagen recs – heading there for a few days in March!

  4. Holy crap! Talk about things working way better than planned! I know Italy has been a rough adjustment for you, but I did say over and over again that things have a way of working out… and now they have! I can’t wait to hear about your Asia plans—perhaps they will overlap with ours? (a definite possibility, since we don’t have any plans, but do seem incapable of leaving Asia!)—and of course, I can’t wait to hear about all the adventures you have heading your way in the coming weeks. So happy for you; everything’s coming up Edna!

  5. I would have had a heart attack from that text message!! I love your spin on a stressed out situation as well. I can’t wait to hear about your new Asia destination. (Fingers crossed for Thailand!!) :)

  6. Hello! I’ve been lurking for a few months since I discovered you via Adventurous Kate, but came out of hiding because I actually have some tips for you. I was in Iceland last year for only a few days on a layover to Norway. Don’t miss Jokulsarlon. I think the boat rides into the lagoon are closed for the winter, but you can’t miss seeing icebergs up close! The lagoon is amazing, but further down the beach, the icebergs wash ashore and you can touch them. And walk amongst them. On black sand beaches. I blogged it if you’re interested (not that it hasn’t been blogged extensively already).

    Haven’t gotten around to blogging about Tapas Barinn yet, but you must go and get the Icelandic tasting menu. It was 9 courses that included lobster, whale, puffin for around $50 USD. So delicious. And a great way to try a lot of dishes at once.

  7. Iceland has been by far my most favorite trip. If you can get a day trip out to the Glacier Lake, it’s worth it. Also, any of the waterfalls are amazing. The best “traditional” restaurant we ate at was 3 Frakkar (http://3frakkar.com/index.php?page=menus), and although it is slightly cheesy, the Blue Lagoon was actually fun. They have a swim up bar too. =)

  8. Wow so lucky! Good luck with everything. Hope you write about new years in iceland because I was planning to go in August but I could be persuaded otherwise!

  9. Wow, what a whirlwind next few months you have in store! Despite living so close to Ireland (nor Wales), I myself have never been there and I really, really want to go! When you go to Copenhagen, one of my favourite places was Cafe Gavlen which is in Norrebro, they do great smorrebrod – open sandwiches (the gravlax one is delicious!) and the chips are the best ones ever – excluding my grandad’s.

  10. DUDE let me take you out in London when you’re here! December is an excellent time to visit, it is mulled wine and pubtastic.

  11. Chills from excitement for you, Edna! So happy you get to venture back to Ireland, your favorite, and that you got to determine your own fate and where you get to live. I’m so excited to hear where! And Iceland for NYE?! One of my best best friends here in Karlsruhe is Icelandic and will be there during that time. I’m sure she would love to show you the Icelandic ways if she has time. Let me know if you need a buddy there.

  12. So exciting!! I love it when life has a way of working the details out… I hope you get to enjoy each of these new gifts along the way. Excited to see how it all unfolds for you xx

  13. Look at you, how exciting! If you want to meet up whilst in London, you should let me know! So glad to hear everything is coming up Edna for you:) Life is funny, isn’t it?

  14. Yay! It’s amazing how quick everything turned around. Have an incredible time in Paris and London, and let’s skype soon about Asia!

  15. Exciting times Edna! So happy for you, hope you have a blast over the next few weeks and a great time in Ireland for Christmas and Iceland for New Year!

  16. Ah, Asia! This is all so exciting! (I hope you write about your time in Milan, specifically what you didn´t like! I´m curious!)

    When are you heading over to Dublin? I´ll be in Leeds from December 20th, but by that time you might be heading to Ireland!

  17. How exciting! That’s an awful lot of awesome travel. I’m going to Dublin in December too (although at the beginning of the month), so I’ll let you know if there’s anything extra-interesting I see.

    Plus, a second Olympics? That is so, so cool.

  18. heheheeeee i know where you’re moving. man, i love being in the know. working on my iceland post now, so stay tuned for those tips!

  19. Hey Edna!
    If you come to Manchester in December, you’ve got a sofa to stay on. I’d love to catch up with you again! It’s been years.

  20. Rachael C says:

    Reykjavik is fantastic and Iceland is a ton of fun. We went in May, so my tips probably won’t be very useful, but enjoy your time there!

  21. Wow! This is exciting! Thanks so much for sharing your adventures with us, Edna. Sounds like it will be a busy next few weeks; I’m so happy things are working out so well for you! Wishing you the best in your upcoming travels and move. Looking forward to hearing more about your trips!

  22. Wow, hun, a lot of changes! I’m so excited for you.

    Okay, I’m back in Wales so if you make it down to the south (Cardiff area), let me know. There’s not a heck of a lot to do but if you want to go out for food and have a load to drink, I’m your girl. Hahaha. The west coast of Wales is really beautiful but absolutely freeeeeeeeeezing this time of year so bear that in mind. A lot of people end up going to the north because … I actually don’t know why because I’m a southerner. :P Hahaha. But, yeah, maybe catch you around! :D Can’t wait to read about these adventures!

  23. SO excited for you, Edna! I studied abroad in Scotland, so I’ll send you some tips. Can’t wait to read more about your adventures!

  24. Enjoy your Thanksgiving in Paris, Edna! I’m looking forward to reading about your upcoming adventures (particularly Ireland… I’m a bit biased). :)

  25. Wow, so many changes, but exciting ones. Sometimes things have to fall apart in order to fall together :-)

  26. Hey there! First time I actually comment but I found your blog through Adventurous Kate way back and have been following you from time to time. Anyway, I’m from Iceland and living there at the moment so if you want to hang out with a local in Reykjavik I’m sure I can find the time :) You’re up for some real good stuff during the New Years! Make sure you go downtown for a party. And one thing I recommend is glacier walking. I tried it for the first time last weekend and it was a-hh-mazing! Also, if you like lobster you should go to a restaurant I used to work in, called At the seashore (in Stokkseyri village). Shoot me a mail if you have any questions :)

  27. Oh. My. God. I’m SO happy for you. I know we talked a lot about you not adapting to life in the ‘burbs when I came to visit, so I’m really glad that you move, and to an incredible destination that I think is a perfect fit for you.

    Also, OMG YOU’RE COMING TO THE UK?!?! We have to meet up while you’re here – let me know your itinerary once you know, and hopefully I’ll be able to see you :)

  28. I love it E!! Always knew things will work itself out. And Asia?!! Nice! If I were to guess, I’m going with Shanghai. Am I close? :P Congrats my friend. Very excited for you!!

  29. Hooray for Iceland! I’ll give you a list of some restaurants (one you might need reservations, but it was amazing).

    And maybe we’ll get to meet up somewhere in Asia. I need to plan more of my travels a bit more in advance.

  30. Amazing news! So happy for you that it all worked out in the end. And now maybe it will seem even sweeter because of the months that you were trapped in a quaint but not very happening suburb :)

  31. Sounds a fantastic plan. It is amazing how, just when things can look and feel completely wrong, something happens and the future looks even better than you imagined, isn’t it?

  32. I am so glad you’re able to move to make things better! And Asia! AND LONDON!! Let me know what dates you’re here and we’ll have to plan something. And if you need help with anything here, let me know.

  33. Glad to see you’re rolling with the punches! From the very first time we met, you waxed raphsodic for Asia. Seems like a natural next step to return! You’ll thrive no matter where you go!

  34. Wow, this sounds so exciting for you! Isn’t it great when your life takes a great turn all of a sudden?

  35. Congrats Edna! As you’d know, I’m ridiculously jealous of you going to the Olympics AGAIN :P … Pack me in your suitcase?

  36. I’m so happy to hear that things are working out and you have some fun travel plans in the work. I hope you have a BLAST and I really can’t wait to read more soon. :)

  37. Sometimes you just don’t mesh with a country- I hope your next move works out better for you. I am doing a London Month on my blog with lots of tips and advice. Feel free to check it out and hit me up if you need anything!!!

  38. Hey!! That’s so great about all your exciting upcoming travels…and your impending move! For Reykjavik – you have to eat at The Grill Market and go snowmobiling on a glacier. Both were amazing!!

  39. So happy for you! I think there’s a big misconception that living in Italy (or the Med in general) is all pasta and wine and fun times, bravo to you for being honest about it not always being easy. And congrats on the upcoming move!

    Enjoy Iceland! Totally one of my favourite places on earth. It will blow your socks off.

    On that note…pack extra socks. It’s freezing.

  40. so happy for you! it sounds like you are going to be having an amazing few months coming up. and Russia! ohmygosh, Russia is on the very top of my list of places to venture to. i look forward to your posts!

  41. AWESOME. Congrats.
    Another example of how everything always works out!
    Happy for you!

  42. Sounds like a whirlwind…but the good kind :)

  43. I leave China and move to Europe just as you up and move to Asia. Figures! :-) Congrats, though! Everything happens for a reason and this is sure to be an exciting new adventure for you.

  44. What a busy, but exciting, few months. Good luck and enjoy your travels.

  45. Luckily, my flight has never been cancelled, but such bad news would affect my travel plans enormously. Gladly you knew how to deal with it! Wishing you all the best for 2014 and more awesome travel adventures!