Why the summer of 2018 was a special one for me

The warm weather we had this October has not made it easy to get into the “autumn spirit”, but I’m not complaining. Autumn and winter are still my favourite seasons, but the summer of 2018 was a very special one for me for several reasons, so I’m not quite ready to let that go yet. For the first time in my university career, I passed all of my exams so I had three longs months of vacation. In other words: plenty of time to travel! And that is exactly what this post is all about: my travels of July, August, and September 2018.

I finished my exams at the end of June and started my summer holiday in the best way possible (at least in my opinion): by taking a short trip to Paris! For some reason it has become a tradition for me to go to Paris for a few days at the end of my exams, as this is the third time in a row that I’m doing this. But since this trip was very last minute, I didn’t have time to think about whom to go with, so I decided to go on my own. I knew that my parents would also be in Paris for their work, so I could travel with them by car, and spend the last day together with my mom. For the first two days, though, I was on my own. I looked for a hostel in the heart of le Marais, my absolute favourite neighbourhood in Paris. I didn’t really mind being on my own, as I spent a lot of time just strolling through the streets, looking for old bookshops (and, as usual, buying more books than my suitcase can handle) and stopping for a cappuccino now and then. Being back in this beautiful city and having the freedom to do exactly what I wanted felt great, and was just what I needed after a stressful month.

Although it was a short one, this trip to Paris gave me enough energy to get going again, so in July I spent my days working at Clouds of Fashion, a clothing store in Ghent. The days went by very quickly, since I always enjoy working at this place and I had something to looking forward to. I promised myself that if I would pass all my exams, I would go solo traveling in England! And so, in between working days, I started to plan this trip.

But before I left for England, I went on another “smaller trip”; a city trip to Venice and Verona with Elena and Ayla, two of my besties. The three of us had a lot of other things planned this summer, but for some reason we managed to find some days on which we were all available. Deciding where to go didn’t take us a long time, as Venice happens to be Elena’s favourite city and Ayla and me hadn’t been there before. We spent two days in Venice, and two days in Verona: a perfect combination! I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect from Venice, as some people seem to be disappointed by it, while others really love it. Personally I was amazed by the beauty of this city (I can assure you that it is as beautiful as in the movies!) and I’m so, sooo glad I’ve seen it! We had a really great time admiring the beautiful architecture and enjoying the good food and wine. Since we were there in the middle of the summer holiday it was of course incredibly busy, so I was glad to leave the buzz of this city behind after two and a half days to go to Verona. Although not as beautiful and luxurious as Venice, Verona felt more like “the real Italy” to me, so I’m really glad we decided to combine this two. The atmosphere of these two places made me wonder why I hadn’t been in Italy for such a long time. I definitely want to see more of this region in the future!

After I came back from Italy, I worked for the rest of July and the first half of August. When I wasn’t working, I was planning the trip that I had been looking forward to for such a long time: my solo trip to England! This was the first time that I would be traveling alone (except for my Erasmus, of course), and I was very excited about doing this. I wanted this to be a very spontaneous trip, so I only booked a hotel and hostel for the first three nights in London. After this short stay in London, I headed to Kent, where I stayed at the home of a colleague of my parents in Herne Bay, a seaside town. The plan, of course, was to spend as much time as possible in Canterbury, the city where I studied for three months last Autumn and where I lost my heart. Being back in Canterbury was amazing, but I mostly enjoyed the second part of my England trip: a few days in Bath, a beautiful city in the county of Somerset, southeast England. I could write a lot about this city and the other places that I visited, as well as why I decided to go solo traveling, but I’ll save that story for another blog post.

Last but not least: Bali! Where do I even start? Bali has surprised me in so many ways and I can’t keep thinking about the amazing time I had there. I was in Bali for two weeks with my parents and sister, because this year is my parents’ wedding anniversary and they wanted to go somewhere special. This was an unforgettable trip, not only because Bali might just be the most beautiful place I’ve ever seen, but also because it doesn’t happen that often anymore that we travel with the four of us. Mostly me and my sister go on trips with our friends nowadays so I felt like I really had to cherish these moments. I definitely want to write a blog post about the things we visited and did in Bali, and share some of the many, many pictures I took while we were there. Stay tuned!

Please don’t think that with this blog post I want to brag about what I did this summer. Usually I don’t travel this much, but since it was the first time I didn’t have any exams in August I had this “now or never” feeling. Besides, when I wasn’t traveling, I was working at a clothing boutique and sometimes I helped my parents out with their work, to save money so that I would be able to pay for these trips. I didn’t go to any festivals this summer (I’ve never even been to any!), so I basically spent all the money I earned at my job on these travels. I managed to find affordable hostels, hotels, and airbnb’s and looked for the cheapest way to get to my destination (thanks, Flixbus!).

Keep an eye on my Instagram, because I am working on some other blog posts and will definitely keep you updated on social media.

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