2 more days to go until i fly…

Suitcase is kinda packed..still changing stuff around to make it lighter. I booked my flight from Germany to Paris yesterday, for my return trip to the USA in April. The latest flight to Paris was 10pm :-/ but my flight to the USA isn’t until 7:40am, so i have been checking out if Paris airport is safe to stay overnight in. From all that i have read, it appears it is, but people recommend you go to Terminal 2E. This terminal is newer with more police patrols and less homeless people in. I fly out of Terminal 2F which is opposite, so staying for 9 hrs in Terminal 2E will be really convenient. I’m excited about the trip. Read today that Airbnb (a website for accommodation and the people i have booked my studio with) also have people who run activities that aren’t that expensive, ie come and learn to cook the Parisian way for $29 – pretty cheap! 🙂 so i may do some of their activities. Also discovered the app Tripomatic, great app with maps of the places to go and sightsee etc (from the most popular to the lesser known). Next post will be from either the airport (flying KLM (aka Delta for this route)) or from France. Will let you all know what the airline and route was like 🙂

Everything is booked:

Studio is booked in Montmartre, Paris. Flights all booked, saved myself $800 by going to France instead of Costa Rica…which surprised me!! Always worth checking different countries to see if you can get a better deal. This has been an answer to prayer: a safe place for me to stay in.

I have started stricter training sessions, to prepare me for travelling alone. Intense boxing bag routines etc…relearning my self defence moves. Why you may ask? Well, only a few people know this (and now it will be a lot more people) but i was raped, as a young woman, by someone i was dating. A few years ago i started training in a self defence called Krav Maga and i found that the more i trained the more my internal strength came back. I KNOW i can protect myself now, or at least go out fighting hard lol. i also used to train my female students in self defence and I would encourage every woman to learn it. But, training has taught me even more than defence; it has taught me about stricter discipline, the knowledge that i have more internal strength than i thought as well as physical strength and it has fine tuned my focus

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And so the search continues…

Having finally settled on Costa Rica as the place for me to stay while i wait to go to Germany, i went to book the flights and was shocked to see that in just 2 days the cost of them has gone up over $500 wow!!! Note to self: stop procrastinating and book the cheap flights when you see them :-/ So, after much prayer, i started reassessing my destination and came up with Paris. Hmmm you may be thinking…isn’t that an expensive place to go? Well, not in winter it seems. Flights there are a lot cheaper than Costa Rica, so i discovered, and accommodation is the same price (and it will mean i am only 1 1/2 hrs flight from my final destination of Germany, and my son and his family).

With iPad in hand, and my high school rusty French, i started my search of accommodations. All rather nice but…hold on…what’s that??? Kitchens and bathrooms aren’t necessarily INSIDE the apartment ummmmm huh??? Have i read that right…ok so time to revert to google translator and research, instead of guessing what the french says :-/ lol. On investigation it is quite common to not have the kitchen and bathroom in the apartment. So another note to self…check the place has these INSIDE the apartment lol. After a few emails to different places i have found a place near the centre. Looks like Paris is a go 😉

Some interesting things i have learnt so far about Paris: the central districts of Paris are divided into 12 Arrondissements, or ‘areas’ which are positioned in a circle around the centre of Paris. Some of these are safe, some arent. From my research it seems that Arrondissements 1-7, 9 and 12 are safe. 18 is more quaint, but also is next to the red light district, so you have to be careful to pick accommodation away from that section.

The first blog of many…I hope lol

Travelling from Australia to the USA after the death of my mum, the admittance of my dad into a dementia home and the break down of my marriage was in a way a new start, a chance to think and regroup. During this time I hoped I would spend more time with God, reconnecting to him after finding that I wasn’t speaking to him as much as I had been before.  Why hadn’t I been speaking to him? Well in honesty because it hurt, I found that I felt like a child sitting at his feet not wanting to look up at him because, I knew that when I did, I would start to cry over all the things that were happening and I wasn’t sure I would stop crying if I started.  So I kept my face looking down and didn’t speak to God much.  I knew he was always there, loving me and holding me close, but it was hard to look up.  To the world I kept a typical ‘stiff upper lip’ of my British culture, smiling and trying to help those around me, few knew what was happening in my life, I didn’t want to burden people and also because we Brits don’t cry in front of people, we are private people.  So, after all was packed away in Australia I came to a remote farm in Washington state, a beautiful, peaceful farm with no tv (my initial reaction to that was ahhhhhhh!!!!) and silence.  I have always been a busy person, mentally and physically.  Loved learning and also challenging myself, so to just ‘be’ was a new experience for me.  To sit with no music/tv/anything but nature and God was something that I thought would be too hard at times.  But, as the last 5 1/2 months have slipped by, I have found that I crave the silence.  My aim was to start writing a book about ministry; what really happens in ministry and how can we help ministers and their families thrive and not die in it.  Instead God has spent this time talking to me and teaching me.  I started looking up again at his face and yes the tears came, but with it came the healing of the pain of all that had happened.

During my time here I also found a best friend, someone who means so much to me and now knows me better than anyone in the world. Someone who let me cry on their shoulder and encouraged me to look up to God again. I will miss them terribly when I leave.  Thankfully there is always the Line app so I can keep in contact 🙂

So, why this blog.  Well the aim of it is to share with you my travels, what God teaches me, reflections on ministry, advice on travelling alone as a woman and the fun times I encounter.

My tentative itinerary is as follows: head to Costa Rica on 10 Feb, stay there till 11 Mar then head to see my son and his family in Germany and their new baby.  Then head to UK to see my dad and sister, head over to Amsterdam to see one of my students and then back to my son’s place, and do all this with minimal cost, because I am not working at the moment :-/ By the time I am back in Germany in April I hope to have an idea what I will do from then on lol. So, please follow me on this adventure into the unknown.