Life is short. We all roll our eyes when we're reminded that tomorrow isn't promised but it's true. We spend so much time planning our lives, saving our money and working our asses off to ensure a safe and secure tomorrow and we miss opportunities to make the most of what we have today. I waited until I was 26 years old to go to Europe. My excuses always had to do with money and though I don't regret waiting as long as I did, I still wonder what could have been.
When I found out that I had the opportunity to go to Germany to run the Berlin Marathon with Adidas miCoach, I knew I had to jump at the opportunity to see Europe and I didn't want to do it alone. I invited a handful of my best friends, assuming that no one would be able to go, and to my pure and utter astonishment, five said yes! Joining me on this European leg of the #TouristOlympics was...
My sister Samantha.
My first best friends of over 20 years Emma and Catie.
My best friend from college Lowam.
And my best friend from New York (who now lives in Alabama) Heather.
When I travel I love to live like a local and act like a tourist! Traveling outside of the country for the first time is overwhelming. I was TERRIFIED. We decided to stay in Airbnb's instead of hotels so we could stay in an ideal location, have the incredible insight from our Airbnb hosts (where to eat, how to use public transportation and what to actually try and see), have a washer and dryer (so we could pack light) and so we could all stay together in the same apartment.
I love Airbnb! If you haven't used it before, you need to start. Being able to be together under one roof instead of separating to different hotel rooms was the best part of the trip. This wasn't just my first time to Europe, this was a chance to be with my best friends who I only get to see once or twice a year. And being a runner, it was really helpful to have our hosts help me plan safe routes where I could get a good 3-6 miles before we arrived. (When you eat your way through Europe, it helps to start your day off with a run.) Having an Airbnb host is like having the world's best hotel concierge at your fingertips! From where to eat, how to get around town to where to run, our London and Paris hosts made exploring a foreign country infinitely less intimidating.
But let's get to the good stuff, THE TOURISTING! We started the #TouristOlympics off in London! We stayed in a very posh part of town (cough cough thank you Samantha) called Kensington and our apartment was adorable. We were only in London for a short amount of time so once we landed, we wanted to cover as much ground as possible which meant...
Spice Girls double decker bus tour time! There's nothing more touristy than getting a guided tour in a foreign land but these bus tours not only give you a really great lay of the land, but they are an amazing way to cover a lot of ground really quickly.
The hardest part about being in a different country is not being able to hop on your phone to Google something or text one another. I was captain struggles of the S.S. No Wifi throughout the entire #TouristOlympics. My attachment to my iPhone is BAD you guys. I was a mess.
The next day I woke up early so I could get a very short 3 mile run in with my partner in crime (and bad ass ultra marathoner) Susie Chan. Susie is one of those people that I fell instantly in love with because she's funny, inspiring, easy going and totally and effortlessly real. After coming off of Berlin, we were both STRUGGLING through this run. Watching us try to go down and back up the flight of stairs to my flat was HILARIOUS. But Susie is a champion and I really wish we didn't live an ocean apart. What a gem of a human being.
After I got back to the apartment, it was HARRY POTTER TIME! It was Emma's idea to adventure out to the middle of London so we could go on the Warner Brothers Studio Tour and I'm SO GLAD WE DID. I love Harry Potter and getting to explore the sets and sound stages was even more incredible than I ever imagined. If you have a day in London and you want to go on a mission to the middle of nowhere, go do this. It was worth every penny.
(If you're looking to go from London out to the Warner Brothers Studio Tour, take the train! We took an Uber there and the train back and the train was EFFORTLESS and so much cheaper. The uber took about 30-40 minutes and the train took about 45.)
After inhaling the world's biggest chocolate frog, Emma and I ventured back to London so we could meet up with a friend for dinner. I made it an early night so I could wake up early before we left for Paris and run. Because I chose to go on the tour, there was so much of London that I still wanted to see! I woke up a few hours earlier than everyone else so I could take the tube over to the Big Ben and run along the river for some last minute sight seeing!
Then it was off to the train station to catch our high speed train to Paris! London was amazing. We had perfect weather while we were there (and every Brit we met reminded us that it wasn't normal) but I fell in love with that city. I feel like we only got the smallest taste of what London has to offer. The London Marathon is on my top 5 list of races I want to run in the next 2 years so fingers crossed that I get back to London soon!
Next up, PARIS!
Until next time, #RunSelfieRepeat.