Bali Vlog (Part 1): Exploring Ubud!

MY THIRD VLOG: EXPLORING UBUD!

On my YouTube Channel Lilly Out And About!

Don’t forget to go and subscribe to it to support me 🙂


MON TROISIEME VLOG : J’EXPLORE UBUD !

Sur ma chaîne YouTube Lilly Out And About !

N’oubliez pas d’aller vous abonner pour me soutenir 🙂

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On Top Of The Californian Hills | World Tour #7

Our second day in San Francisco started with a huge Starbucks latte in hand, which was fortunate in light of the day we had ahead of us.


Coffee At Alamo Square Park

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Ahhhh, the Painted Ladies. What a beautiful sight! I’ve taken many more pictures of them than those two, but I can’t overload this blog… I was finally being able to see them with my own eyes!

Their colors were indeed so vivid and each and every one of them was completely unique. To think that people actually live in them blows my mind as those may well be the most photographed inhabited houses of the world!

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We then went to take the bus that would take us west, to the Golden Gate Park where fun would never end!

A Morning At The California Academy Of Sciences

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© California Academy of Sciences / San Francisco

Although it was sunny until then, when we arrived at the huge building of the California Academy of Sciences it was almost raining. Ahhhhh the joys of being in a oceanside town…

Anyway, we rushed inside, to discover an ENORMOUS T-rex squeleton, welcoming us right at the entrance! We took some maps of the Academy and began the exploration.

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This wasn’t a museum, nor anything we’d ever visited: this truly was a temple for Science! There were so many things to see we didn’t know which one we would choose to start!

  • An Aquarium
  • a Planetarium
  • a Rain Forest
  • and a Natural History Museum !
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The Bio-Dome

We began the visit with the Rain Forest Dome, which was absolutely amazing: there were birds, fishes, turtles and butterflies everywhere inside !

About the Dome : Housed within a spectacular 90-foot-diameter glass dome, our rainforest exhibit is the largest of its kind in the world. With temperatures of 82–85°F and humidity at 75% or above, it will instantly transport you to some of the most biodiverse places on Earth. (source: California Academy of Sciences website)

It was a one-way path: you had to climb up a sort of sloped access ramp that was going all the way up to the top of the dome, and then you had to take a lift right at the middle to go down again.

So right after visiting the dome–and dodging hundreds of butterflies– we took the lift to go to the “Water Planet” area: it was still on the RainForest “journey” but focused more on species found in water.

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It was amazing, AGAIN. There were all sorts of fishes, turtles, insects, snakes, lizards, frogs and toads… likely to be found in a rainforest, such as the Amazon Rainforest or the Congo Rainforest.

To stay on the water side, we then pursued our visit at the Aquarium.

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The underwater way

And let me tell you, I had never seen so many species at once. Again, so many types of fishes, sharks, mollusks, shellfishes, corals, jellyfishes and so on!

Also, I really want to say that this aquarium was beautifully built: every fish tank was amazingly showcased, in a particular light for each one of them… A lot of work has gone into making this aquarium one of the most amazing I’ve ever seen.

We took some beautiful pictures in front of the fish tanks:

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And gazed at the huge, magnificent coral reef for a long time…

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And when we got out of the aquarium space, we came face to face with Claude, the Albino Alligator of the Academy!

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It was already midday by then, so we had lunch at the Academy’s restaurant, and we sat outside because the sun had made another appearance and we weren’t going to waste it!

And then we rushed the visit of the Natural History Museum, wanting to see the Planetarium as soon as the visit would open, but there were way too many people so gave up and didn’t end up seeing inside the Planetarium. Until next time!

Japan In California: The Japanese Tea Garden

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Right next to the California Academy of Sciences was a closed area that I wanted to see: the Japanese Tea Garden. The entrance fee was $9–for non-residents adults, and we stayed for over an hour.

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We enjoyed the calmness of the park despite the crowds of people, and took some of the coolest pictures of the whole trip!

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San Francisco Beach

Yes. We went to the beach. But it only had the name! Forget what you have in mind about Californian beaches… San Francisco rather looks like a French Normandy or Brittany beach!

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And we actually FROZE TO DEATH on this beach! haha That chilly wind though! The parents were muffled in their coats but I wasn’t feeling too good myself!

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After walking all the way to the ocean front, we went all the way back to the road to take the bus again.

The Golden Gate Bridge, Again

Yes, we went to see it again, but as the day before, it was literally wrapped up in fog, so we didn’t get to see it very well. But again, until next time!

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Lombard Street, Or The Crookedest Street In The World

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You can’t come to San Francisco without going to see Lombard Street: even on foot, we struggled to go up the hill right behind it (to arrive at the top of the street) and it was hard to climb down!

Yes, because there were many people, but also because the slope and the stairs were quite steep!

And I found the sign explaining a bit more about the street:

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And there were beautiful houses on that street, the blue one with the magenta flowers being my favorite one…

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The Cable Cars

To sum up this wonderful day of exploration and to come back downtown where our hotel was, we went to take a Cable Car (also because it was included in our CityPasses!).

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We waited for over an hour in a loooooong line outside, but it was worth the wait: the experience was amazing (I know I say this a lot, but really, it was!).

In fact I filmed the whole trip up and down the steep hill on the way downtown and will be posting that on my YouTube Channel as soon as I get the chance to edit the footage!

India In Our Plates

All in all, and from what I can tell, the best food of all the United States was in San Francisco!

The restaurant we went to to eat dinner was The New Delhi, and we very much enjoyed the food! It was delicious, and beautifully served.


Annnnnd that is a wrap for San Francisco! All in all, we didn’t stay very long, two full days and three nights in total.

The next day we went to the San Francisco International Airport: my mother took a flight to come back to France, and my father and I took a plane to Las Vegas. And our journey continued…

With love,

Lilly

aka The French Hat


Want to know what happened next during our summer trip around the world? Keep up with our adventures in my World Tour series!

The Next Chapter Of My Life | Thoughts On Expatriation #1

It’s all about opportunities” … or character. In a couple months I will turn 25, aka a ‘quarter of a century‘. Here are my thoughts on how I’ve always intended to live my life and how I’ve been able to fulfill my dream: living an expatriate life.


I’m that annoying person who’s always claimed:

If you want, you can

This French saying basically reminds you that if you really want something, you can get it, or do it. Nobody or nothing should ever stop you from reaching your goals. And I’m the living proof that that motto isn’t only motivational talk. So, when it comes to my love of travelling, I always knew where I was going.

Getting Out Of Your Comfort Zone Is The Hardest Part

As a kid, who did you find most inspiring? Astronauts? Scientists? F1 drivers? Firefighters? For me it was travelers. You know, real backpackers, wanderers, international reporters, professional translators travelling around the world… really anyone that could travel full time, either through their work or on savings, allowing them to discover new cultures, customs and languages.

This seemed like the dream life to me.

I don’t remember exactly when I first discovered it was actually possible not only to visit other countries but actually live there, as an expatriate. But it must have been when I was 7 or 8, through a movie or a book. What I do remember is what I thought to myself that day: I would give anything to live this kind of life.

Little did I know at that moment what my future life would be like.

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Me then, quietly enjoying the Irish landscapes – © Gilles Gautier

Pretty soon, life answered me.

Right after finishing high school, when I was only seventeen years-old, I got accepted into a very selective university program, allowing me to study law in Dublin, Ireland for two years.

Those two years were absolutely incredible, but to be honest, I didn’t enjoy them as much as I should have, because at the time, I struggled with my anxiety a lot: getting out of my comfort zone wasn’t easy at first, but I’ve learned then to enjoy and control it.

The Courage To Lose Sight Of The Shore

Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore. – André Gide

This perfectly sums up the most important lessons I’ve learned from life so far: you will never do anything in life, unless you make a leap of faith.

I’m not saying you should take such leaps every minute of every hour of every day of your life. What I’m saying is to take a leap from time to time, when you want and are able to take it. And this does not only apply to travelling: the same goes for everything in life.

Your life can radically change from one minute to the next, so why not control those changes as much as you can?

Why wait to experience new things when you don’t know how much time is on your hands?

Think about what you’ll say to your children and grandchildren: do you want to say “I’ve always wanted to do it, but I never found the time and the courage“? Or do you want them to know you’ve done everything in your power to live your dreams and always come up with new ones?

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Me now, living my best life in Japan.

We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us.

Defying All Odds

My main point here is this: I was not predetermined to live the life I’m currently living.

I’m a only child. My whole family is French and doesn’t speak any other language than French, except my father who speaks English in his work. I’m from a rather small city in Southeast France, Lyon. My father is an IT consultant, my mother’s an accountant. I didn’t learn any English before I was 11 years old, and even then it was only through school. I never went to any prep schools, or took international classes. I never traveled outside France during my childhood.

But: I doubled my efforts to learn English by myself. In high school, I worked much harder to get into a selective university program. Then I worked harder to stay in the university path I’d chosen. Then I worked even harder to pass the French bar exam. And for the last 4 years, I worked my a** off to be the best intern possible.

So today, I’m almost 25. I’ll be graduating as a lawyer in a month. I’ve lived in Ireland for 2 years and I’ve traveled to 3 continents and more than 10 countries. I’m learning Japanese, Chinese and Korean, and I’m getting ready to expatriate myself in Asia to work for a multinational company.

What were the chances? You tell me!

If I hadn’t doubled my efforts, I would not be where I am today in my life, but I was willing to put everything I had into it to follow my dream!

So stay tuned to my blog to follow me on my next adventures, because let me tell you right away: there will be a lot more!


This is one of the most personal blog posts I’ve written on this blog. This subject was not easy to write about. I’ve carefully chosen every single one of my words here, and I hope it inspires you to take a leap of faith, just like me!

Signing off,

Lilly, aka The French Hat

10 Incredible Destinations I Want To Hit Before I Kick It | Bucket List #1

Bucket Listnoun. informal. A number of experiences or achievements that a person hopes to have or accomplish during their lifetime.


Writing down this list, and choosing from my many dreams wasn’t as easy as I had thought, but here it is. This is my heart put on the table here, my highest dreams, as this summer I’ve been able to cross out going to New York and travelling to Japan.

1. Ascend Mount Fuji – 富士山

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There is a very old Japanese proverb saying that:

「富士山に一度も登らぬバカ、二度登るバカ」

“He who climbs Mt. Fuji is a wise man; he who climbs twice is a fool.”

This may well be my highest hope, and my oldest one at the same time, the one trip I shall never forget in my life. This may sound stupid to some people, but I intend to experience this almost religiously. To me, ascending Mount Fuji at daybreak, sleeping at the top, and waking up at 4 a.m. just to be able to witness the world’s earliest and most incredible sunrise will be a dream come true. Ephemeral yes, but that’s what makes it an absolutely unique experience, and most of the best things in life usually are ephemeral anyway.

I know this won’t be an easy ascension, I’ve read and heard so many people talk about how difficult it was, and how prepared you should be before doing it. But all of this seems little trouble compared to the amazing feeling I will have when at the top of the most famous volcano of the world, I’ll be able to watch the sunrise in the actual Country Of The Rising Sun.

I plan on doing it next time I go to Japan, hopefully with my best friend. Hopefully next year, during August.

2. Walk On The Great Wall Of China – 长城

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3 facts that should make you want to go and see it too:

It this still doesn’t interest you, let me tell you this fortification is 21,196 kilometers long (13,171 miles) and runs across China, from east to west. It stretches from Shanhaiguan, on the Bohai Sea, to Lop Lake in the Gobi Desert.

It was initially constructed at the command of the first Chinese Emperor, from 221 BC, and was a combination of the various protective walls that had been built by the smaller states which he had conquered and merged to form China.

This wall is a direct link with legend: it reflects on how powerful China’s emperors once were. Its beauty and “incredibleness” cannot seriously be grasped in only one trip, and I’m planning on experiencing it over at least 10 days of travel, going from one end to the other, staying at the numerous hotels alongside it – you can even sleep in a watchtower!

3. Enter The Pyramids Of Giza – اهرامات الجيزه

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Should I really introduce them to you?

Those pyramids are located on the outskirts of Cairo, Egypt, in the actual desert. The complex is more than 4,500 years old. It includes the three Great Pyramids (Cheops/Khufu, Khafre/Chephren and Menkaure), and of course the Great Sphinx. The Great Pyramid of Cheops or Khufu counts as one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.

Who hasn’t flipped through an atlas or an encyclopedia during childhood, and wished they had been able to see the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World invariably listed? Of all those amazing wonders, the Pyramid of Cheops is the only one still standing, which is absolutely incredible as it also is the oldest one. The Great Pyramid remained the tallest man-made structure in the world until the advent of modern skyscrapers.

Now, if that still doesn’t convince you to go and see it as well, I will tell you those pyramids still hold mysteries we haven’t been able to unveil these last 200 years. And you can actually visit the insides of the pyramids, although it requires some planning and a good amount of money.

4. See The Salar De Uyuni With My Own Eyes

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©National Geographic

When I first saw a picture of this site, I just couldn’t believe my own eyes.

This massive salt flat located in Bolivia, South America, formed by several ancient lakes, is the largest in the world with over 10,000 square kilometers (4,000 square miles). But this is not even what makes it incredible: during rainy season, this salt flat becomes so reflective that it is effectively the world’s largest mirror and is used to calibrate satellites!

For one breathtaking sight, it’s a pretty good one. I don’t even have anything else to say: I just want to see it for myself because this seems incredible!

5. See Inside The Taj Mahal – ताजमहल

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Most people don’t know two things:

  • It is actually very hard to get to the Taj Mahal,
  • And you can’t take any picture of what’s inside.

Of course you can find documentaries showing you the inside, but they are still rare. The Taj Mahal is an ivory-white marble mausoleum located Agra, India. In Hindi, it means “Crown of The Palace“, and was built by the Emperor Shah Jahan out of love, to contain the tumb of his wife Mumtaz Mahal. It is now part of the New Seven Wonders Of The World.

If I can go to India some day, I will for sure stop by Agra to see this breathtaking palace, symbol of the One Thousand And One Nights to me. What we couldn’t do for love…

6. Take A Boat Trip In Halong Bay – Vịnh Hạ Long

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As many places I’ve listed here, this bay is here because of the feeling I’m certain I will get while being there: peace.

Seeing the “Bay of the Descending Dragon” (“Ha Long” in Vietnamese) and the beautiful colours of its waters has always been a dream of mine, and can best be experienced on boat. The bay is officially part of Vietnam and is more than 330 square kilometers in size. It also has thousands of limestone karsts and more than 2,000 isles in various shapes and sizes!

Only mountains accept to be old, but Ha Long sea and wave are young forever” – Nguyễn Tuân

7. Travel To The Holy City Of Jerusalem – יְרוּשָׁלַיִם / القدس

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Jerusalem is the oldest city in the world, and is more than 6,000 years old. It has been destroyed at least twice, besieged 23 times, attacked 52 times, and captured and recaptured 44 times.

Surely this incredible history goes alongside its place in the holy world: it is considered holy to the three major Abrahamic religions – Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. In fact, both Israel and the Palestinian Authority claim Jerusalem as their capital.

According to the Bible, King David conquered the city from the Jebusites and established it as the capital of the united kingdom of Israel, and his son, King Solomon, commissioned the building of the First Temple. The Western Wall of Temple Mount still stands there.

According to the Quran, Muhammad made his Night Journey in Jerusalem, ascending to heaven where he spoke to God. Al-Aqsa Mosque now stands in Jerusalem to commemorate this event.

According to the New Testament, Jesus Christ was crucified there, on the Dome of the Rock, where the Church Of The Holy Sepulchre now stands.

Charged with history, this place is arguably the holiest point on Earth, and is also very difficult to reach: you would need a guide to travel inside its walls.

And for all those reasons, it is on my bucket list, because even though I am not a believer in either religion mentioned above, never going to Jerusalem would seem like a terrible fault.

8. Bathe In A Hot Spring While Watching Aurora Borealis

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Visible 8 months of the year in Iceland, Aurora Borealis are still a very rare atmospheric phenomenon that you would have to track down to be able to observe.

I’ve read you should go to Iceland for at least 5 days during the right season to maybe catch a glimpse of one during a Black Night. But it sure is worth the trouble: to be able to see one with my own eyes would be unbelievable.

And do it while bathing in a hot spring would be an absolute dream. Me? Too greedy? Don’t know what you’re talking about 😉

9. Ride A Camel To The Rose-Red Hidden City Of Petra – البتراء

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Maybe I’m desperate for real adventures or maybe I’ve watched Indiana Jones one time too many, but I’ve always wanted to see it. And if I do it, I’m going to do it right: riding there by camel seems like the perfect and sensible thing to do.

This incredible sight is again one of the New Seven Wonders Of The World, and is actually on the verge of becoming inaccessible because of the Jordan authorities.

Petra, or Raqmu, is a historical and archaeological city in southern Jordan. Petra lies on the slope of Jabal Al-Madbah in a basin among the mountains which form the eastern flank of Arabah valley that run from the Dead Sea to the Gulf of Aqaba. Petra is believed to have been settled as early as 9,000 BC, and it was possibly established in the 4th century BC as the capital city of the Nabataean Kingdom. – Wikipedia

You need another reason to go and see it as well? Well as you can see on the picture I’ve chosen, this city was directly carved into rose-red stone using a technique we still aren’t able to understand!

Take a moment to read this unbelievably beautiful poem by John William Burgon, on the hidden city of Petra and its colour:

It seems no work of Man’s creative hand,

by labour wrought as wavering fancy planned;

But from the rock as if by magic grown,

eternal, silent, beautiful, alone!

Not virgin-white like that old Doric shrine,

where erst Athena held her rites divine;

Not saintly-grey, like many a minster fane,

that crowns the hill and consecrates the plain;

But rose-red as if the blush of dawn,

that first beheld them were not yet withdrawn;

The hues of youth upon a brow of woe,

which Man deemed old two thousand years ago,

Match me such marvel save in Eastern clime,

a rose-red city half as old as time.”

John William Burgon

10. Walk The Golden Bridge Of Da Nang – Cầu Vàng

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This list cannot be in a right order and this site doesn’t deserve the 10th place here, but it is actually impossible to rank all those places.

This breathtaking bridge is located in Bà Nà Hills, Da Nang, Vietnam, above the clouds: it was built at 1,400 meters above sea level in Thien Thai Garden and opened in June 2018! It was only designed to provide a scenic overlook and be a tourist attraction, but it way too beautiful not to experience!

Bonus. Spend Time At Tianjin Binhai Library – 天津滨海新区文化中心图书馆

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I’m a bookworm, have always been. So when this absolutely incredible library opened in October 2017, I immediately put it on my mental Bucket List. Nicknamed The Eye, Tianjin Binhai Library is a located in Tianjin, China. It holds 1.2 million books, and features floor-to-ceiling, terraced bookshelves, as well as a large, luminous sphere in the center that serves as an auditorium with a capacity of 110 people. It is nicknamed The Eye because the sphere, which appears like an iris, can be seen from the park outside through an eye-shaped opening.

I’m hoping to go to China several times, because one time will definitely not be enough to see all the great places this country has to offer, holding arguably one of the oldest cultures of the world.


Collect memories, not things.

Maybe one day, I’ll have done all of these things. Will that make me happy? Not per se, but I’m a great believer into the richness of memories, not things. Having great experiences to share, and something to tell to the future generations, that’s something every single one of us should aspire to.

So go, don’t be afraid, make your own list, go crazy with it, who knows. Maybe writing it down will inspire destiny to give you what your heart truly wishes.

But remember: you can cheat destiny as well, by never forgetting your goals and work towards them, always.

I hope this post has inspired you and has made you dream with me…

Signing off for today,

Lilly, aka The French Hat

If These Quotes Don’t Inspire You To Travel Nothing Will

1.

The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.

Marcel Proust

2.

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

Lao Tzu

3.

Life is short and the world is wide.

4.

It’s not what you look at that matters. It’s what you see.

Henry David Thoreau

5.

The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page.

Saint Augustine

6.

I travel because it makes me realize how much I haven’t seen, how much I’m not going to see, and how much I still need to see.

Carew Papritz

7.

The best education I have ever received was through travel.

Lisa Ling

8.

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.

Mark Twain

9.

Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.

Mark Twain

10.

Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all of one’s lifetime.

Mark Twain

11.

Travel doesn’t become adventure until you leave yourself behind.

Marty Rubin

12.

People don’t take trips, trips take people.

John Steinbeck

13.

Traveling is a brutality. It forces you to trust strangers and to lose sight of all that familiar comfort of home and friends. You are constantly off balance. Nothing is yours except the essential things: air, sleep, dreams, sea, the sky – all things tending towards the eternal or what we imagine of it.

Cesare Pavese

14.

All travel has its advantages. If the passenger visits better countries, he may learn to improve his own. And if fortune carries him to worse, he may learn to enjoy it.

Samuel Johnson

15.

When overseas you learn more about your own country, than you do the place you’re visiting.

Clint Borgen

16.

Jobs fill your pocket, but adventures fill your soul.

Jamie Lyn Beatty

17.

We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us.”

18.

The life you have led doesn’t need to be the only life you have.”

Anna Quindlen

19.

Live your life by a compass not a clock.”

Stephen Covey

20.

If you think adventures are dangerous, try routine: It’s Lethal.”

Paul Coelho

21.

The gladdest moment in human life, me thinks, is a departure into unknown lands.

Sir Richard Burton

22.

Blessed are the curious for they shall have adventures.

Lovelle Drachman

23.

Traveling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.

Ibn Battuta

24.

For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move.

Robert Louis Stevenson

25.

It feels good to be lost in the right direction.

26.

Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.

Helen Keller

27.

I travel a lot; I hate having my life disrupted by routine.

Caskie Stinnett

28.

A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions.

Oliver Wendell Holmes

29.

Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.

Neale Donald Walsch

30.

Once in a while it really hits people that they don’t have to experience the world in the way they have been told to.”

Alan Keightley

31.

Live life with no excuses, travel with no regret.”

Oscar Wilde

32.

In the end, we only regret the chances we didn’t take.

33.

I haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on my list.

Susan Sontag

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

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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!

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  • 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.

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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.

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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.

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(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

One Long Weekend In Pornic | Excursion #1

Don’t be fooled by the title: Pornic is the name of a small seaside town in west France, not an onomatopoeia derived from a rude word: in fact, it is derived from ‘pornit‘ which means ‘pretty, flourishing harbour‘.

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Historically Pornic was part of Brittany, and the Duc de Bretagne even built a castle there in the 5th Century to protect the town from Vikings – although it is not there anymore, there’s still a beautiful castle right at the centre of the town!

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Anyway, I went to see one of my closest friends who has moved out there for work, and we spent five wonderful days sun bathing, seashore walking and cycling, watching theatre plays, eating ice creams, and just enjoying life at its fullest. Actually she also has a blog, about the cycling excursions she makes in the area, if you wanna check it out: Pornicavelo (in French).

Pornic City: Typical French Sight

My first thought when I arrived was that the scenery was absolutely incredible, the weather was perfect, and the vibe (end-of-summer like) truly amazing.

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The town is pretty small, even though it was coupled with two other nearby towns 40 years ago, Sainte-Marie-sur-mer and Clion-sur-mer, but it has everything you would need: a library, coffee shops, a great choice of restaurants, great places to eat ice creams, a hat shop (!!!), a casino, a cinema, and even a real castle, still inhabited by french noble descendants!

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All of this is gathered around a small harbour, the Vieux Port de Plaisance, which is lacking water most of the day due to the flow of the tide. From early morning, the ocean retires, only to come again rather late in the evening, each day.

Aside from going to various shops, and to purchase a delicious ice cream near the castle, we went to see a play, which was held outside in an amazing setting: right under the castle, in front of the harbour. The play was Scapin the Schemer (Molière), but not in a classic performance: it was played in a 60’s setting, with Elvis Presley music, big 60’s skirts for girls and leather jackets for boys!

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Pornic Scenery: A Must-See

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Aside from beautiful beaches and typical fishing huts on top of high stilts, you can actually see quite a lot of historical places in Pornic. In fact the town was a witness to the early Celtic culture, its first inhabitants being already settled there more than 100,000 years before our era… You can still see quite a lot of cairns and other megaliths, some of them being 5,000 years old!

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Cairns and megaliths are large stones, used to construct a structure or monument, either alone or together with other stones. The word megalithic describes structures made of such large stones without the use of mortar or concrete, representing periods of prehistory characterised by such constructions. For later periods, the word monolith, with an overlapping meaning, is more likely to be used.

The construction of these structures took place mainly in the Neolithic period (though earlier Mesolithic examples are known) and continued into the Chalcolithic period and the Bronze Age.

We spent one late afternoon on the beach, which was very nice, apart from the fact that I hurt myself pretty bad on one particular rock, hidden under the surface of the water… but one must see the glass half-full, so I should say that the water was extremely nice and hot (approximately 23°C, which is very hot for the ocean), and that I got to pick up about twenty gorgeous seashells on the beach!

Here are the other amazing pictures I took along the days:

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I’ll be for sure visiting my friend again in the next 5 years, Pornic was an absolute must-see! A big thank you to her for having welcomed me for 5 days!

Signing off for today,

Lilly, aka The French Hat