Being Abroad: Travel on the Cheap


While I was writing my Au Pair 101 post, I was thinking about how, as an au pair, you have to make do with the funds you have to do the travelling you want.  Since I’ve managed to do a bit of travelling while on an au pair budget (which has fluctuated based on family), I figured I’d share how I managed what I did and hopefully that will help someone out there! I’ve found that a lot of Europeans already know most of what I’ve written below, since it is so easy to travel on the cheap here. However, for at least North Americans and possibly others who aren’t used to travel here, this should be very helpful. I wasn’t aware of most of this before I arrived, because it’s just not available in Canada and was definitely a bit of a learning curve. Once you get into it, however, it’s definitely very easy and becomes second nature.   Note that this is a general summary of what I’ve done, so as to be as useful as possible to people who might want to be travelling in various countries. I do have more specific information for both France and Spain, but all of this is definitely useable across the board, no matter where you end up staying.  Continue reading

Madrid, Spain

Summer in March


Madrid has been warm. And by ‘warm’ I do mean, “We hit 20° yesterday, today was 24° out and the weekend’s supposed to be sunny as all heck.” To which all my Canadian and American family and friends are going, “We still have five feet of snow,” and, “We don’t care about you and your stupid weather.” While the Madrileños have continued to sport thick winter jackets, scarves and toques, my friends and I have labelled ourselves as even more foreign with our t-shirts, sleeveless dresses and capris. (I had a small child point and giggle as I walked by today and I spent the rest of my walk wondering if  I had something on my face before I realized I was the only person not wearing pants and yup, that’d be it.) Which meant that, when I met Alex’s parents on Wednesday, we got to take advantage of the terrace on El Corte Inglés in Callao. It had been on my list of ‘places to go’ for what feels like ages, but I just never made it (which is just sad when a person considers how much time I actually spend around Callao) and I’m glad that the day I did finally get up there, it was on a brilliantly sunny day.

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Chartres, France

P.S.: There’s More


Posting has been all over the place lately, I know. Hopefully I’ll be getting back into some sort of routine soon. (I’ve found a new family, so that should be sooner rather than later!)

These are some of the last pictures I took before I left Chartres. Some of the little details that I absolutely adored about the house. That’s one of the things I really like: is the little things that people add (to anything, really. Houses, outfits, art.) that make them distinctly theirs. My favourites would have to be the dried hot peppers and the Banania sign. And possibly the chickens on the shelf above the fridge. Also: that’s my favourite scarf. For reasons I don’t understand, I have all these random photos of me wearing it. I think that could be a problem, but I like to think of it as one of those avant garde self portrait things that people do.

I’m here until next Friday, staying on this island and I can see this house from my bedroom window. Since it’s fall, it’s grey and overcast and raining, which I’m secretly kind of loving. (I do have pictures. I’ve just been procrastinating and haven’t uploaded them. I should win an award for how well I do that. Seriously.) I get to wear a yellow fisherman’s rain jacket and have these knee high rain boots and when I walked into Belz last night, everyone was looking at me funny because no one wears anything brighter than navy.

Things I’m Loving:

+ This list of cities to visit – (My list isn’t long enough already.)

+ This song – (I feel like it matches this tiny place very well.)

+ ALL OF THESE – (I’m pretty sure if I had an address to mail things to, I would have already bought this and this. Or else just signed up for the subscription. It’s officially on my Christmas wish list.)

+ This fascinating article – (Because learning languages just really interests me.)