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Step One: Pick a Date

I'm trying to remember who it was who told us that planning a wedding and a year-plus long trip abroad simultaneously (one to happen very soon after the other) was a great idea... oh wait... NO ONE WOULD EVER SAY THAT. 

Including us. But here we are!

We know we've had a distinct lack of Internet presence in the last couple of weeks that have honestly been reflective of our lock of presence in our trip-planning, irl. Life happens quickly; finishing a contract at work for Andrew, parent-teacher conferences at school for me, and suddenly March is over... but mostly we've been pretty focused on wedding planning. Some items needed to be checked off the list, or else we were at risk of falling too far behind. It all sounds so simple in our heads: we'll have a nice ceremony, and then we'll have a party to celebrate how awesome love is. Easy right?

Nope. Even still, we got some little things done to make us feel on track, and we confirmed our officiant, which I didn't realize until it happened was what I needed to feel really grounded in the whole thing. It's so easy to get caught up in which chairs to rent and can we get drapes for the windows and how do we most effectively print our invitations... but getting ready to sit down with a person who has a special connection to us and our families and talk about why we're doing this has been a reminder for me to let myself--both of us--breathe.

Can you tell Andrew has plans..?
Now I know this isn't a wedding blog, so I won't write out all of the things, but it occurred to me last night as Andrew and I were getting ready for bed, after accomplishing both wedding-related and trip-related (which I'll get to) things this weekend, that the big crazy fall of 2018 we have coming up is a set of elaborate gestures from each of us to the other. We both want to get married, but I came into our engagement with more of a vision and more desires for our wedding than Andrew, and while we're making all of our decisions as a team, his investment and willingness to plan an event of this scale is something he is doing because he knows it matters to me. In the same vein, of course we both want to travel, but Andrew has had previous profound experiences traveling and therefore strong emotional ties to how the trip is executed, so I'm happy to let him take the lead on some of the trip's design and contribute my thoughts when necessary. We're taking important, deeply meaningful experiences that each of us values very highly, and making them happen in a way that honors both of us. I guess that's why, as crazy as it is, we're doing our wedding and our trip this way.

And don't worry, the trip hasn't fallen entirely to the wayside in the midst of coordinating bridal party outfits and picking up supplies for the arbor Andrew is building. In fact, we made a pretty major leap yesterday:

We bought our tickets to Paris!

We came to the conclusion that all of the possibilities and ideas we'd thrown out so far have merit and value, but we want to actually GO on the trip itself, and perseverating wasn't getting anywhere anymore. We want to start booking Workaways and other accommodations and figuring out something of an itinerary, which we can't do without a starting point. So we've given ourselves about a month post-wedding to tie up our loose ends and get the heck on our road trip, with some wiggle room. If we're on the road in early October, we've got just about two months to see some cool stuff, ditch our car, and get ourselves to JFK International Airport. Our plane leaves late at night on December 3rd, and we arrive at Charles de Gaulle in the afternoon on December 4th.

Champagne in a Parisian park... note the couple behind us
Our vision has been to spend a relaxing, romantic time in Paris for a bit before beginning our first Workaway. We're both fairly scrappy despite our love for electric blankets, and have no hesitation in trying some unusual or uncomfortable accommodations and experiences, but Paris. A city Andrew has been to many times before because he can't stop going back. A city I've barely begun to discover. And at any rate, we missed the train on a Paris proposal (haha) so a Paris "honeymoon" covers our #basicbitch bases. For a while, we sort of figured we'd end up spending more than we'd like on decent hotels and eating out, but it occurred to us to take a looksie on Airbnb for longer term rentals. 

Vioala. There are dozens of little flats to choose from, month-to-month, all over the city. We've booked one with a full size bed (not as easy to find as we thought), its own bathroom, and a decent kitchen we can cook in, and it's costing us a little less than what we pay to live in our current home. That's like... only 20% of the cost of staying in hotels for that long. 

So that's our first month abroad accounted for! Boom! Like magic! One step at a time!

There's so much left to think about still, but last night we fell asleep grinning at all the exciting things that are underway. Each tangible thing we do makes it feel more real, and helps us believe in our own abilities to pull it off. In the meantime, between massive steps, we remind ourselves while looking out the car window into endless Tacoma traffic that, soon, it will be Paris. 

- J


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