La vie en Suède, c’est comment ? | Expat’Interview #4

portrait Marie suède

Salut Marie ! Alors dis-nous en un peu plus sur toi : où es-tu expatriée et depuis quand ?

Je suis expatriée à Göteborg en Suède, depuis 3 mois !

D’accord, ça ne fait pas très longtemps ! Tu t’y es installée ?

Oui, mon mari et moi souhaitions changer de vie, pour être en accord avec nous-même, dans un pays qui nous permettait de vivre pleinement nos aspirations.

Comment ça ?

Avec mon mari nous avons un van pour voyager, mon rêve était de faire un road trip en Suède et Norvège, ce que nous avons fait. Ce n’était pas la première fois que l’on partait avec le van, mais là ça a été comme une évidence. On s’est sentis libres, un sentiment de bien-être. On s’est rappelés l’importance de prendre le temps de vivre, de faire ce qui nous fait vibrer.

On a décidé de retourner en Suède, cette fois-ci en hiver et dans une ville, pour voir comment on vivait la situation. Une fois de plus on a adoré, la culture, l’ouverture d’esprit, le slow life, l’importance donnée au temps pour soi, au temps avec sa famille, tout ce qui nous manquait dans nos vies frénétiques en France.

Alors on a pris le pari de venir vivre ici. On a décidé de chercher du travail pour voir ce que ça donnerait, mon mari en un trouvé un et on a décidé de tout quitter pour partir vivre là-bas. Ça n’a pas été simple de tout quitter mais le bonheur de refaire sa vie en accord avec nos envies a pris le dessus.

Waouh, c’est vraiment inspirant ce que tu dis Marie ! Et alors quel a été le point de non-retour pour vous deux ?

Quand on a comparé notre vie maintenant et comment on pourrait vivre en Suède ! Quand on s’est rendu compte que finalement ce n’était pas si compliqué, qu’il fallait juste prendre le temps de le faire, de se faire confiance et de faire confiance en l’avenir.

Et ça t’a fait quoi de sauter le pas ?

J’ai ressenti beaucoup d’excitation !

Qu’est-ce-qui t’a fait choisir cet endroit dans le monde en particulier ?

La nature, l’espace, des villes à taille humaine, les lacs, les forêts, l’ouverture d’esprit, la place de la femme, la place à la différence, le slow life. On vit dans une ville magnifique, Göteborg, qui bouge mais en même temps qui n’étouffe pas. On est au bord de l’océan, près de la Norvège pays magnifique également.

Tu parles combien de langues ?

Anglais, espagnol, français (et un tout petit peu suédois)

Du coup tu ne connais pas véritablement le Suédois ?

Non, mais je l’apprends !

Tu penses que c’est mieux d’apprendre la langue avant de venir ou bien tu ne rencontres pas spécialement de difficultés ?

Ici tout le monde parle anglais, mais il est certain que c’est un plus de parler suédois. Ce n’est pas nécessaire de l’apprendre avant de venir.

Quelle a été la partie la plus difficile de ton expatriation ?

L’administratif en France ! (impôt, sécurité sociale, pôle emploi, …) Mais aussi tout quitter sans se retourner, laisser les amis, la famille, son confort.

Qu’est-ce-que tu aurais fait différemment pendant ta préparation à l’expatriation ?

Je suis hyper organisée ! Alors à part partir plus tôt dans ma vie c’est la seule chose que j’aurais fait différemment ! Si, peut-être apprendre plus tôt la langue pour être moins perdue.

Qu’est-ce-que tu aurais fait différemment à ton arrivée sur place ?

On est partis assez vite, donc sur place ça s’est bien passé, on a eu le temps de faire tout ce dont on avait besoin. J’aurais plutôt préféré prendre un peu plus de temps en France pour régler tout ce qu’il y avait à faire, car une fois partis c’est plus compliqué !

Où as-tu trouvé le plus d’infos et les meilleures infos sur la Suède ?

Il est difficile de trouver des informations, donc il y a pas un endroit en particulier mais plein ! Des blogs, forums, site de l’ambassade, site du gouvernement.

Le jour où tu es arrivée, est-ce-que tu t’es sentie perdue ?

Non, mais être à deux je pense que ça aide. Ici c’est très clair ce qu’il faut faire administrativement parlant, cela prend du temps mais on sait ce qu’il faut faire. Après ce qui peut perturber c’est le fonctionnement en général, pour le logement, le numéro d’identification suédois, le pays fonctionne différemment et parfois on a du mal à savoir si on va y arriver !

Est-ce-que tu as réussi à te faire facilement des amis ?

Je viens d’arriver, mais on a déjà un cercle d’expatriés français parce que c’est le plus simple pour commencer, mais on espère tisser des liens avec des locaux.

Est-ce-que tu dirais qu’il est facile de se fondre dans la masse en Suède ?

Oui et non ! Oui parce que c’est une grande ville cosmopolite, on est loin d’être les seuls ! Après je pense que pour rencontrer des locaux et tisser des liens c’est plus compliqué mais ce n’est pas propre au pays, je pense que c’est général.

Quels conseils tu donnerais à quiconque voudrait venir vivre en tant qu’expatrié là où tu es ?

Se donner les conditions de réussite, prendre le temps de réfléchir à ce que l’on est prêt à sacrifier et ce que l’on ne veut pas sacrifier ! En fonction de ça prendre le temps de s’organiser pour que le départ se passe le mieux possible.

Est-ce-que tu as dû t’ajuster à la nourriture ?

Non au contraire, nous sommes vegan et ici c’est beaucoup plus simple, il y a des options vegan partout, et même dans une petite supérette de centre ville il y a un rayon vegan, ils sont plus ouverts qu’en France sur ce point.

Est-ce-que tu as dû t’ajuster aux gens ?

Forcément un peu, les français sont des latins, les suédois des nordiques, nous n’avons pas le même savoir vivre, l’un n’est pas mieux que l’autre c’est juste assez différent. Ici il faut savoir respecter la zone d’intimité des autres, ne pas exclamer son point de vue, tout doit se faire dans la mesure, dans le respect des autres. Moi qui suit très expressive, j’ai du apprendre à me mesurer ! Mais je trouve que cela m’a beaucoup appris sur moi et sur les autres.

Est-ce-que tu as dû t’ajuster à la législation ?

Etant un pays de l’Union européenne, de ce point de vue là ça reste raisonnable. Il faut juste un numéro d’identification, le personumer, c’est le saint graal ici, une fois que tu as ça toutes les portes s’ouvrent !

Est-ce-que tu as dû t’ajuster au climat ?

C’est certain… surtout où je suis, c’est la côte ouest donc en gros c’est le climat de la Bretagne avec plus de pluie, de la neige et des températures plus basses ! D’ailleurs les locaux sont assez surpris de voir des gens comme nous qui ont choisi de venir vivre ici, on a pas été mutés c’est un choix en toute conscience !

Est-ce-que tu as dû t’ajuster à l’habillement ?

J’aime beaucoup une citation du pays qui dit : “il n’y a pas de mauvais temps, il n’y a que des mauvais vêtements !” Alors oui un peu c’est sûr, je me suis équipée en parka, vêtements chauds, chaussures de pluie, sac imperméable, mais pas de gros investissements.

Est-ce-que tu as dû t’ajuster aux coutumes ?

Pas vraiment, ici c’est très cosmopolites, mais il y a quelques règles du quotidien ; on ne fait pas la bise et on ne serre pas la main, on dit juste bonjour et si l’on est vraiment proche on fait un câlin. Noël n’est pas à la même période. Ici le “fika” est très important, une vraie institution, c’est la pause café, et si on t’invite à un fika c’est très mal vu de refuser ! Rien de très violent 🙂

Est-ce-que tu as dû t’ajuster à la façon de vivre ?

Oui, dans le sens positif ! Ici on est investi dans son travail, mais personne n’attend que tu fasses des heures supplémentaires, tu as du temps pour te consacrer à tes activités personnelles. En général, ici on est proche de la nature, le weekend tu pars te balader. Il y a le fika comme j’en ai déjà parlé mais aussi les after work qui sont très appréciés. De manière général ici c’est : bien être, sport, slow life, donc l’adaptation n’était pas difficile !

Est-ce-que tu as dû t’ajuster à la façon de travailler ?

Je ne travaille pas encore, mais mon mari oui et j’ai eu pas mal d’entretiens donc je peux dire que c’est assez différent de la France. Ici c’est en mode flat management, pas beaucoup de hiérarchie et quand il y en a on ne la sent pas, tu peux aller frapper au bureau de CEO, cela ne choque pas ! C’est beaucoup dans le consensus, alors les décisions prennent du temps à être actées, mais une fois que c’est fait pas de retour en arrière. Pas de compétition entre les gens, tout le monde a à peu près le même statut, et c’est poussé par le fait que les impôts sur le revenus sont très élevés donc parfois une augmentation ne vaut vraiment pas le coup !

Est-ce que tu as dû t’ajuster à quoi que ce soit d’autre ?

La patience en général ! Le slow life a du bon, parfois on a du mal, on aurait envie que ça aille plus vite : l’administratif, les décisions au travail, cela va jusque dans les files d’attentes ou tu dois prendre un ticket avec un numéro même dans certains magasins pour payer à la caisse ! Il faut être patient ici.

Le mot de la fin ? 🙂

Je n’ai aucun regret, c’est une expérience fabuleuse, même si finalement on se serait dit que ce pays n’était pas fait pour nous j’aurais été heureuse de l’avoir fait !


Marie partage au quotidien son expérience de la vie d’expatriée en Suède sur son blog, sa chaîne YouTube et son compte Instagram ! N’hésites pas à aller la suivre dès maintenant :

Son blog : Affrenchie

Sa chaîne YouTube : Affrenchie blog

Son compte Instagram : @affrenchie

Son compte Pinterest : Affrenchie


Si toi aussi tu es expat’ ou que tu l’as été, participe à mon projet et raconte ton histoire en remplissant le questionnaire qui se trouve sur cet article pour avoir l’opportunité d’être publié sur mon blog !


*© Photos : Marie, Affrenchie.

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Testimony Call | Appel à témoignages

1280px-Flag_of_the_United_States.svg ONE GOAL: EXPATRIATION! 41NWAuoUChL._SL500_AC_SS350_

Hey everyone!

I’m very happy to tell you I’m currently actively looking for people who would like to answer a questionnaire I’ve created revolving around expatriation, interview-like, all around the world, that I will then publish on this website in my expatriation folder.

What is project “One Goal: Expatriation!” about?

From the interviews I’m conducting, I would like to gather as much material as I can on expatriate life in general, and expatriation in specific countries in particular.

You currently live as an expat’ in Southeast Asia? You recently arrived in Australia, New Zealand or Canada under your first Working Holiday Visa (WHV)? You’re getting ready to expatriate yourself from Europe to the United States or Africa for an internship in the next few months? You HAVE TO answer my questionnaire!

After you’ve answered it, I will contact you by email or WhatsApp to review your answers with you and maybe ask you some more specific and unique questions, according to your situation.

I will then draft the blog post relating your interview, and let you review it to make sure I’ve perfectly re-transcribed everything you wanted to share!

Why Would It Interest Anyone?

Because I’ve already expatriated myself from France to Ireland for 2 years, and am now getting ready to expatriate myself again, this time in Asia, and I cannot find any platform gathering enough valuable information on expatriation, for anywhere in the world for that matter!

Of course you can find practical information, on official governmental websites, and vlogs from expats everywhere on the globe, but not necessarily what matters most to all who wish to expatriate themselves: REAL INSIGHTS.

How does it really feel to live in Sweden? How are Chinese people like? Is living in Singapore that much different from London? Would a British find food s/he likes in Australia? Is it easy to make friends in Colombia? Do black people easily get around in Japan? How hard is it to get a place in France? Do you really need to speak the local language to find a job in Korea?

Your answers would be extremely valuable to others who desperately need insights on the place you currently live in as an expat’ or are getting ready to expatriate yourself to! I can assure you there will be readers from all around the world!

What Would You Get In It?

You mean apart from the fact that you will for sure be helping and educating others? 😉

You will of course be featured on my blog and my social media (unless you want to stay anonymous), as I will link your website and/or your social media right under the re-transcription of your interview and in my tweets!

If this project goes well, my ultimate goal would be to come and interview my collaborators in person (yes, you!), and publish the videos on my YouTube channel, without monetization.

You will then get questions from my readers who will contact you directly if they need more answers about the place you talked about in your interview: it’s a win-win situation.

What Would I Get In It?

Just knowing I’ve created a place on internet where people can find as much information as they want on expatriation would be a big deal to me: I want my readers to be able to get answers to their most profound interrogations, not ready-made answers that don’t tell anything concrete.

If You Have Any More Questions

Contact me at this email address created for the occasion: contact.frenchhat@gmail.com


ANSWER MY INTERVIEW IN ENGLISH

It only takes 30 minutes to complete 🙂


1200px-Flag_of_France.svg UN SEUL BUT : L’EXPATRIATION ! 1200px-Flag_of_France.svg

Salut salut!

Je suis super contente de vous annoncer qu’en ce moment je recherche activement des personnes souhaitant répondre à un questionnaire que j’ai mis en place, sous forme d’interview, centré sur l’expatriation, partout dans le monde, que je publierai ensuite sur ce site web dans mon onglet expatriation.

Le projet “Un seul but : l’expatriation !”, qu’est-ce-que c’est ?

A partir des interviews que je conduis, j’aimerais rassembler autant de contenu que possible sur la vie d’expatrié en général, et l’expatriation dans des pays spécifiques en particulier.

Tu vis actuellement en temps qu’expatrié en Asie du sud-est ? Tu es tout fraichement arrivé en Australie, en Nouvelle-Zélande ou au Canada avec ton premier visa Vacances-Travail ? Tu te prépares à t’expatrier depuis l’Europe aux États-Unis ou l’Afrique pour y faire un stage dans les prochains moins ? Tu DOIS répondre à mon questionnaire !

Une fois que tu y auras répondu, je te contacterai par email ou WhatsApp pour qu’on revoie ensemble tes réponses et que je puisse peut-être compléter l’interview par des questions plus spécifiques et uniques à ta situation.

Ensuite je ferai le brouillon de l’article de blog qui retranscrira ton interview, je te le ferai relire pour être sûre que j’ai parfaitement retranscrit tout ce que tu voulais partager !

En quoi ça intéresserait les gens ?

Parce que je me suis déjà expatriée depuis la France pour l’Irlande durant 2 ans, et me prépare en ce moment à m’expatrier à nouveau, cette fois-ci en Asia, et que je ne trouve aucune plateforme rassemblant assez d’information intéressantes sur l’expatriation, pour n’importe où dans le monde d’ailleurs !

Bien sûr qu’on trouve des informations pratiques, sur les sites gouvernementaux, et des vlogs d’expatriés partout dans le monde, mais pas forcément ce qui importe le plus pour tous ceux qui souhaitent s’expatrier : UNE VRAIE IDEE.

Comment c’est vraiment de vivre en Suède ? Comment sont les chinois ? Est-ce que vivre à Singapour est vraiment différent de la vie londonienne ? Est-ce qu’un(e) britannique trouvera de la nourriture à son goût en Australie ? Est-ce que c’est facile de se faire des amis en Colombie ? Est-ce que c’est facile pour les personnes de couleur au Japon ? A quel point est-ce difficile de trouver un appart’ en France ? Est-ce qu’on a vraiment besoin de parler coréen pour trouver un boulot en Corée ?

Tes réponses seraient extrêmement précieuses pour d’autres qui sont désespérément à la recherche d’une vision depuis l’intérieur de personnes déjà expatriées ou bien se préparant à le devenir ! Je peux t’assurer qu’on aura des lecteurs de partout dans le monde !

Qu’est-ce que tu en tirerais ?

Tu veux dire au-delà du fait que tu aiderais les autres et que tu les informerais ? 😉

Tu seras bien évidemment cité sur mon blog et mes réseaux sociaux (sauf si tu veux rester anonyme), puisque je mettrai un lien vers ton site et/ou tes réseaux sociaux juste en-dessous de la retranscription de ton interview et dans mes tweets !

Si ce projet prend de l’ampleur, mon but ultime serait de venir interviewer en personne mes collaborateurs (oui oui, toi !), filmer, et publier tout cela sur ma chaine YouTube, sans monétisation.

Tu auras ensuite des questions provenant de mes lecteurs qui te contacteront directement s’ils ont besoin de plus de réponses à propos de l’endroit dont tu parles dans ton interview : tout le monde est gagnant dans l’histoire.

Qu’est-ce que moi j’en tirerais ?

Le simple fait de savoir que j’aurais créé un endroit sur internet où les gens pourront trouver un maximum d’information sur l’expatriation serait exceptionnel pour moi : je veux que mes lecteurs aient des réponses à leurs plus profondes interrogations, pas des réponses toutes faites qui ne disent rien de concret.

Si tu as encore la moindre question

Contacte-moi à cette adresse e-mail que j’ai créée pour l’occasion : contact.frenchhat@gmail.com


REPONDS A MON QUESTIONNAIRE EN FRANÇAIS !

Il prend seulement 30 minutes à compléter 🙂


 

What 30+ Hours Spent On Planes Have Taught Me | Tips & Tricks #1

You see, I have social anxiety, always had, and it’s pretty bad, enough to be a real pain in my life. It manifests itself even more during holidays, because my confidence always reaches a low point.

So when I had to leave home for the World Tour I did this summer 2018 – which I talk to you about here – with my parents and then only my dad, I knew I would have to be stronger than usual, at least to survive on long-haul flights.

To give you a bit of a context, before that, I had never been on a long-haul flight. Now  I shall say I’ve become an expert, as I’ve successfully survived through 7 (out of 9 flights in total) in only 1 month.

keep_calm_and_travel_on_poster-r16ddfc74a0bf4670a3ca14e018493477_wvg_8byvr_540Our first flight from Paris to New York was more than 8 hours long, which at the time seemed to go on forever. For me it rhymed with hell on earth (well actually hell in the air): 8 hours, stuck in a confined area, 10,000 feet up, in a uncomfortable seat, without any space nor air to breathe properly, surrounded by strangers mostly nervous and uncomfortable too… To be honest, it does sound like the beginning of a horror movie.

And of course, my anxiety levels were up to the roof for this first flight. But I managed to find things to keep me calm throughout all the 9 flights, and here are 5 of my most efficient tips, real tips that actually helped me survive this month of travel!

1. Bring Your Own Stuff

20180801_144105

This is by far my most efficient tip. If you suffer from social anxiety like me, you would need to bring:

  • your own pillow and neck-pillow,
  • your own blanket,
  • your own comfortable socks,
  • your own headphones,
  • your own games, books, magazines or anything else that will keep you occupied as usual.

I cannot stress enough the ‘as usual‘ part as this is what makes this tip so efficient: you need to trick your brain into thinking you’re home, or in a place you know, in order to tackle anxiety and make the hours go faster and more smoothly.

Of course I know most of the stuff I’ve listed is provided by most companies, but trust me when I say you’re better off with your own, and not only because some companies actually re-use the same stuff already used by other passengers, sometimes without even washing it, presenting it to you in a closed plastic bag. Yes. And the same goes with the seats, the armrests, and headrests, which hardly get washed. But I’ll talk about hygiene in another tip: for now the point is to bring your own, washed, clean, stuff.

Pillow-tip: Also, if you’re wondering how to bring your own pillow without being too encumbered at the airport, just bring a folded pillowcase with you, which DSC_1633you can then load with clothes (thereby reducing the weight of your luggage at the same time). But really you can make it out of anything: my own pillow was made of my big Sostrene Grene black linen tote bag, filled with the stuff I wanted to have with me on the plane, wrapped up in my hoodie, which I then closed by tying the loops together!

2. Don’t Stress Over Your Seat Too Much

The number 1 tip some people give is to choose your seat carefully. I’d say okay, but following which criteria? There’s as much criteria as there are people, and I would say the best place on a plane really much depends on yourself, and your preferences!

EF-seat-map-2

  • If you know you will be most anxious about being in a confined area, like me, I’d suggest to get a window seat, to be able to see what’s going on outside! Definitely do not get a aisle seat, and on bigger planes that have rows like ones above, avoid sitting in the middle area D/E/G/H because you won’t be able to see anything and it will for sure make you anxious, especially during take-off and landing!
  • Avoiding the middle seats also goes if you don’t like being stuck between people: I would suggest avoiding the B, E, G, and K seats. Be aware that sometimes airplanes only have 3 seats in the middle, or none at all, depending on the type of flight: don’t go too fast on the website when you’re choosing your seats, as every plane has its own specifications!
  • If your main concern is space, then also get an aisle seat to be able to stretch your legs, or even better, a seat at the front row, right after a dividing wall: just know that those seats do have a retractable table in the armrests, but don’t necessarily have a screen. Their main plus is that there is nothing in front of them so you have a lot of space to stretch your legs!
  • If you’re most anxious about being able to go to the restrooms quite a lot (because you know you will be anxious, because you know you just pee a lot, or simply because you’re pregnant!), then definitely get a aisle seat, whether on C, D, H or J: this way you’ll be able to stand up and go without disturbing anyone! Obviously, if you can, get a seat that is closer to the restrooms. There usually are at the front and the end of the aircraft, and on big planes there are also restrooms in the middle, on each side.
  • If you would like to sleep without being disturbed, then get those seats in the middle, or window seats.
  • If you would like to incline your seat as much as possible without disturbing the person behind you, then get a seat in the last row before a dividing wall, at the end of the aircraft or just at the end of an area (first, economy, quiet area etc…) on big planes.
  • If your main concern is the noise, you should avoid seats directly behind reactors, and prefer seats right at the front or at the back of the plane: those areas are usually quieter. On some flights, there can be ‘quiet areas‘ which you have to pay a bit extra for, but they are worth it. This is like a in-between first class and economy class. They are closed by curtains and dividing walls, and usually empty.

20180801_144630If you really want to get the best seats, go over to Seat Guru* after you’ve paid your plane tickets: this website allows you to know which seats are the best ones on your specific plane. Then go over to your registration site online, and simply book those magic seats!

I know you’re probably thinking ‘Well, you’ve entitled this ‘Do not stress over your seat’ but you’ve actually been saying the opposite!‘ and I would say you’re perfectly right, but here’s my conclusion (and my real tip):

 

All of what I’ve just said before doesn’t matter, because whatever seat you get on the plane, it will be uncomfortable, and there isn’t one seat or row that can be called ‘the best’. Why? Because the definition of good entirely depends on your preferences, which may even vary from one flight to another!

For example, if you know you’ll be tired on the plane because it is a night flight, then make sure you get a seat where you won’t be disturbed for the whole duration of the flight. But if your flight starts on early afternoon, make sure you get an aisle seat to be able to stretch your legs and go to the bathroom as you like!

Also, if you know your plane is going to be huge (Boeing 747 or Airbus A380) do not worry about anything I’ve said before, because those planes are so comfortable and spacious that you won’t even realize you’re on an aircraft.

airbus-a380-1
Emirates Airbus A380 – we took 2 of them when we got back from Singapore!

So the best place you can get depends entirely on you! Just be aware of all the possibilities you have and you’ll be fine!

3. Bring Water And Food

A 10-hour flight is long, very long. Especially if you anxiously wait for food.

cathering-thai

Usually you get 3 meals in a 10-hour flight. I don’t know the rule for sure but the company usually respects normal hours to eat.

For example, even if you cross on another time zone, flight attendants will bring you food when it lunch/dinner time in the place you’ve left. Same goes with breakfast and a small snack in the middle of the afternoon.

You could be thinking that’s more than alberto-ignacio-ardila-conoce-la-comida-de-avic3b3n-sin-tener-que-probarlaenough to stay fulfilled, but it actually isn’t: even for me the portions were too small. To give you a bit of a background, I’m french, therefore not used to big portions as in America for example, and I don’t eat that much anyway. But the portions were so small I always had to purchase food at the airport, after the security check, to bring on the plane with me!

The same goes with water: you usually get 4 or 5 drinks during a 10-hour flight, and you can ask a glass of water each time, but this cannot be enough under any circumstances. You need to double the amount of water you would normally drink: so for every 8 hours, you should drink up to 2 L of water to stay hydrated! This is due to the air-recycling inside the cabin, which is creating an extremely dry environment (see more details below).

Water tips: bring your bottle with you. I would suggest bringing a 1,5 L bottle. To pass the security check, present it empty: the security won’t say anything to you even if you see signs everywhere telling you to get rid of your bottles! What they don’t want are fluids, because you can have explosives in them. So if you have an empty bottle, that doesn’t interest them! Then, you can refill your bottle in any bathroom, or with any source you find, especially for that purpose!

On the plane, you can actually ask the flight attendants to refill your bottle for you when they pass between seats offering drinks! Not a lot of people know this, so there actually always is enough water for everyone because they have extra.

4. Always Go To The Restrooms When You Have The Chance

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This is a small but efficient tip.

Go to the bathroom right before boarding the plane, right after take-off, and more generally, don’t wait to go: at the second you start to get cramps, because if you wait, you’re likely to get stuck for a long time in a queue that never seems to end..

People usually tend to go all at once an hour or two after take-off, and the line can go on forever! Imagine all 300 passengers or more all sharing 4 or 6 bathrooms at the same time?! And usually, the toilet paper is lacking after 2 hours in the air. So make sure you go before all that frenzy!

5. Stay Focused On Your Well-Being

Who said spending long hours on airplanes should equal to landing in a poor physical condition? In fact, if you follow the basic recommendations, not one spot is likely to appear on your face, nor your nose is going to be runny or your throat sore. It all depends on how much effort you put in your well-being during the flight.

travel-size-skincare-for-your-carry-on-luggage
(c) Beautygeeks

Firstly, be prepared, and bring your skincare and eye-care stuff: as long as you respect the size requirements for liquids, you can bring whatever you need/want:

  • hand cream,
  • face cream,
  • lip balm,
  • hand sanitizer,
  • eye drops,
  • eye masks,
  • face masks…

whatever will help your skin stay hydrated and your eyes not feel sore and be red. Because of course, the biggest enemy inside the plane cabin is dehydration.

Why is it that the inside of an aircraft cabin is so dry? It is due to the cabin pressurization, which is a process in which conditioned air is pumped into the cabin of an aircraft or spacecraft, in order to create a safe and comfortable environment for passengers and crew flying at high altitudes. For aircraft, this air is usually bled off from the gas turbine engines at the compressor stage.

Be careful though as the pressure will make your creams literally escape from their container as soon as you open them!

Secondly, drink the water you’ve taken with you! Nothing replaces water to be really hydrated, so drink as much as you can, even if it means you’ll go to the bathroom a lot: the choice is yours to make.


I hope those tips were useful to you, please make sure to like this article or leave me a comment if you’ve learned something or if you know you’ll be using one of my tips on your next flight! I’d be delighted to hear from you 🙂

Take care and have a good one,

Lilly, aka The French Hat


*Not sponsored

San Francisco, Or The Fog City | World Tour #6

Around nine hours after leaving New York City on July 18th, we arrived in California and I set foot on the west coast of the United States for the first time in my life.


8 long hours on the plane helped me realize I wasn’t in New York anymore. The 7 magic days there were over. But I didn’t feel sad. A very different and beautiful place was awaiting me: San Francisco.

After a long-awaited dinner in a renowned Japanese sushi restaurant the night we arrived, here is what we discovered on our first day in San Francisco.

Getting Our City Passes

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This isn’t sponsored by City Pass® but I thought I would talk to you about them.

At first we were a bit worried those passes were just a rip-off for tourists, so we didn’t get any in New York. But we decided to get one each in San Francisco, as advised in my Lonely Planet® guide. What a wonderful choice we made: it allowed us to get around so easily and go on so many more adventures, not having to pay for it each time!

In short: we paid a rather small price each ($82) to get 4 tickets available in the listed attractions + 3 days of free MUNI public transportation as well as rides in the famous Cable cars! What more could we ask for? The price for the attractions were discounted at more than 40%, and they were:

  • The California Academy of Sciences
  • The Blue & Gold Fleet Bay Cruise Adventure
  • The Aquarium of the Bay
  • The Exploratorium or The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA)

We did each and every one of these attractions and had the best time ever 🙂

To get our passes, we went to the San Francisco Visitor Information Center, located on 900 Market St, Lower Hallidie Plaza, near the Powell BART Station, but you can also buy them online, or before each of the attractions listed above!

Morning At Pier 39

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After getting our passes, we took the MUNI streetcar to Pier 39, one of the main spots of San Francisco. And it was everything we wished it would be.

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The sights were so typical, and to me it looked as if I had directly been taken to a movie set.

I mean there were just so many things to look at! So many cool-looking signs, shops, buildings, colours! This was definitely the hip spot, and I took great photos there.

Every single time I looked around I discovered something I hadn’t seen the first time.

Of course there were lots of people there, as this is definitely a must-see, and even though it was pretty early in the day, it was difficult to take pictures without anyone on them!

One of the main reasons I wanted to come to the Pier was to see the famous sea lions! The bay is notorious for being the habitat of many sea lions, that come and rest right next to the Pier!

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We looked at them for quite some time as they were so funny to listen to and observe! Very playful creatures 🙂

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Bay Cruise Adventure

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We couldn’t come to San Francisco without going on a boat trip to see the Golden Gate Bridge up close. So that’s what we did, with the Blue & Gold Fleet Bay Cruise Adventure!

We hop on a big boat, which took us right below the famous bright orange bridge, and back around Alcatraz Island, all of this while telling us a bit about the history of San Francisco and those two sights specifically.

Although it was a bit cold, we had the best time, and you know I LOVE BOAT TRIPS!

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Alcatraz Prison

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Even seeing it now of the picture I took gives me chills. To think that people were actually imprisoned there, even Al Capone, feels very disturbing. Also, seeing it in person after having heard all those escape stories is really strange: how on earth could inmates have gone past those sharp rocks, and jumped into the ice-cold water without dying?

Also, it was funny to see how so many shops were DEDICATED to Alcatraz goodies and clothes! I loved it!

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Lunch At The Crab House

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You see those two huge crabs? Well they ended up in our stomachs, and I even wiped the melted butter off the pan (sorry, not sorry)! It was the most delicious meal EVER.

As neither of us had had to shell whole crabs before, we just had a few moments we’re not exactly proud of, as we couldn’t understand how we were supposed to do it! But then the waiter-in-charge came, cracked every part down, and we ate the whole thing(s)!

Afternoon At The Aquarium Of The Bay

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I don’t have much to tell about this aquarium apart from this:

  • There is a freaking underwater tunnel with actual SHARKS inside the water. YES. They swim directly above your head.
  • You can TOUCH small sharks, ray mantas, starfishes and anemones. YES.
  • If you ever come to San Francisco, you have to visit it. YES.

That’s all I need to say! We had a great time!

Quick Visit To Chinatown

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After leaving the Aquarium, we took the streetcar again, and then the bus, heading out to Chinatown.

This district is only 3 streets large per 5 blocks long, but it was like we landed it China: I much preferred this Chinatown, compared to the NYC Chinatown: the colours were beautiful, it was well maintained, and there were actual Chinese people walking around!

As a matter of fact, when we arrived we were stopped in the middle of the street because a shooting was going on! That was a funny thing to watch for a while 🙂

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Evening At The ExplOratorium

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At first we weren’t sure what it was: a museum? A science institution? Well, we found out that it was actually both of those things.

Our love of science was fulfilled as we had the best time walking along those corridors, experimenting every science installation that seemed fun!!! Hundreds and hundreds of installations, designed to make you learn more about scientific facts and phenomena, gathered on 3 levels! This was HUGE, and full of people!

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After almost 3 hours spent there and LOTS of scientific experiments and discoveries made, we decided it was time to leave, because we clearly didn’t have time to see everything… So, we went outside, and had a breathtaking view of the Bay Bridge

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That day we had dinner at the Fog Harbour Fish House, the first restaurant located on Pier 39. My mother and I had a clam chowder in bread bowl, specialty of San Francisco, which was absolutely delicious and looked like this:

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And then it was time to head back to our hotel!


Yes, we did A LOT of things that first day, as our first day in New York City, just because we were so excited to be here, and frankly we had the BEST time ever.

Hope this post made you wish you’d come with us!

Signing off,

Lilly, aka The French Hat