Last weekend I had an opportunity to be in Europe on a small, guided expedition through some of Italy’s most spectacular off-the-beaten-path locales. I could have meandered through vineyards and eaten at the family table in a quaint agriturismo. It would have, undoubtedly, been amazing! But, I chose instead to journey to fabulous Amarillo, TX, to watch my daughter compete in the USAG State Tumbling & Trampoline Finals!! Though Italy would have been inspiring and enchanting as always, I simply wouldn’t have been anywhere other than with my family. I can’t think of any experience more meaningful on that particular day than to surround my kid with hugs and high-fives and you’ll do better next times. Ultimately, whether at home or abroad, sharing meaningful experiences with people we care for is really what life’s all about, right? This week’s article speaks to just that: experiences that are worth sharing!
My TOP 7 (on the 7th!) Shareable Experiences:
#7 Dance the night away.
Rule #1 in Spain: don’t plan on going to bed early. They eat on bizarre schedules (get the early-bird dinner special around 9pm) and party the night away with friends who quickly become family. In Sevilla, follow your late dinner with a walk to a local bar. By the time you’re ready to make your way to bed, the flamenco dancers will hit the floor and the room will explode!
Share with a group of friends! Spain is one of my favorite spots for a group of pleasure-seeking couples to travel together.
#6 Grocery Shop.
Well, not exactly. Just go where the Parisians do their grocery shopping—the Rue Cler street market—and sample handmade cheeses, fresh breads, fruits, and wines. On second thought, you’ve got the makings of the perfect picnic…so, grocery shop it is! Get just enough of what you’ll need—some cured meat, a couple of slivers of cheese (pick your poison: creamy, hard, runny, stinky, gooey), some strawberries and pears, perhaps a handful of pistachios to go with your chocolate, and a fresh-baked baguette—and you’ve got a lunch just waiting to be shared in the Champs de Mars. TIP: Add a bottle of sparkling wine, and you’ve also got the best date of your life.
Share with a lover. Or your kids. They will love to run and play while you people watch!
#5 Cruise the streets
….while you gaze at the Tuscan hills, that is. What’s better than test-driving a Ferrari? Driving a Ferrari through Italy, that’s what!
Share with the car lover in your life for his birthday!
#4 Discover new modes of transportation
We often think of Europe as a borderless land of planes, trains, and automobiles, but let me introduce you to the coolest (literally) way to cross those European borders: by gondola! In Chamonix (France), board the Aiguille du Midi and let her lift you 12,600 feet into the sky…then ride in the télécabines over the Alps and across the Italian border! How cool is that?!?
Share with your outdoorsy family or friends. This is an outstanding experience to tie in with a breathtaking hike to the Mer de Glace. Just make sure no one is afraid of heights (sorry, mom)!
#3 Go green—on a golf course.
Unlike your local country club that may not even let non-members secure a tee time, Europe is home to exquisite golf courses and stunning scenery that welcome golf lovers of all levels. Speak with your favorite pro— travel pro, not golf pro, that is—about securing a tee time at St. Andrews in Scotland. It can be done!!
Share with 3 (or 15!) of your favorite fellow golfers! This is an experience you can enjoy all day and brag about for the rest of your life.
#2 Sleep like a princess
This is one of my all-time favorite French experiences! What could be more awesome than sleeping in a castle???? Like an actual castle!! Live like royalty with butlers at your service, then tour the local wine regions or take a hot-air balloon ride! AMAZEBALLS!!!!
Share with the royal family in your life! Princesses will love feeling like Cinderella, young dukes will be intrigued and imaginative surrounded by knight motif and open grounds, and you will be as pampered as a King and Queen deserve.
#1 Experience the unexpected
Look. I am a master itinerary builder. I am a crazy-obsessive planner. I can pull once-in-a-lifetime experiences out of my back pocket and knock your socks off. BUT……..the best experiences you will have in a foreign country are going to be the ones that do not fit neatly in the folds of your travel documents or your tour schedule. I want to provide you with the perfect walking map of the city you visit…but I also desperately want you to get lost on the streets of Munich and have no choice but to forego your plans and spend the afternoon laughing with friends, sharing sausage with strangers, and guzzling Weisse at the Hofbrauhaus. I want you to be privately whisked away from the chaotic train station in Napoli, but if you don’t stop for a slice of pizza pie, you won’t fall out of your seat when the entire Piazza del Plebiscito is flooded with Senegalese immigrants celebrating their home team’s World Cup win. I’m not saying that you should throw your itinerary out the window (especially if I made it for you because that baby is gold!), just that you should be sure it has enough room in it for you to become part of the story that makes this such a great place to visit.
Share with your future, thankful, self.
I hope I’ve inspired you to dream up an enchanting experience of your own desires that is totally worth sharing with someone special. If you are lost in how to make certain your next trip to Europe (and beyond!) is packed full of memorable experiences, reach out to me because I would love to share my passion for travel experiences with you.