By Holly Small
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It’s been two weeks since my trip of a life time and I am well and truly back to reality, but the month I spent in Europe was everything that I had imagined and much more.

A few weeks ago I posted a blog about going out and getting what you want. I have always been a huge advocate of setting grand goals and chasing dreams fearlessly. I set daily goals, monthly goals, yearly goals and lifetime goals and I thrive on the feeling of the accomplishment I get when I achieve the goals I set for myself. The excuses we make are only putting up barriers between us and our happiness and if we want something, it is up to us to go out and get it.

Europe was at the top of my bucket list and while it took me a number of years to achieve this travel goal, it was well worth the wait. Paris, Rome and Santorini were my top three ‘must do’ destinations before 30…a milestone which is fast approaching. It’s a holiday that I simply had to do before ‘growing up’ and settling down with kids and serious responsibility. I also wanted to be in a position to eat, drink and explore these cities in style, without having to watch every penny…this was made a little more difficult when the Australian dollar took a massive dive a week into our trip. This could have seriously interfered with how we approached our spending and overall experience, but we made the decision to make the most of it, enjoy every moment to the fullest, and simply curb our spending when we returned home…no lavish nights out for us for a while.

Europe_GreeceQuadBike2We kicked off our Euro adventure in Greece, with a hilarious day out on a Quad Bike in Mykonos – a 50cc bike being driven by a 110+kg Rugby player, with me perched on the back hanging on for dear life as the poor little bike struggled up the steep hills and windy roads
made for an interesting sight. We enjoyed the most divine vine leaves and stuffed vegetables we have ever tasted at an authentic little taverna and watched the first of many perfect sunsets from our idyllic accommodation overlooking the ocean.

Santorini was our next stop and it was even more beautiful than I had imagined. The highlight was a quaint little restaurant in Imerovigli called Mezzo, recommended to us by a girlfriend. We had prime position to watch the sun set over the Caldera, and enjoyed a romantic walk back to Fira where we stayed. The lights of Santorini were spectacular and were the perfect backdrop to the most perfect moment of our trip. My love, the 110kg+ Rugby player dropped to one knee, pulled out a little box housing a sparkly piece of jewellery, and asked me to marry him. Of course I said yes – the rest of the month could’ve been very awkward if the response had been any different 😉

We spent days walking the streets of Rome, stumbling on ancient ruins and immersing ourselves in centuries of history. Our visit to the Colosseum was one of the most overwhelming, awe inspiring experiences of my life. The only city that rivalled Rome for the number one place in my heart was Florence – it is just superb and I would return in a heart beat. The city, to me, has a beautiful energy. I felt completely at ease and at peace as I walked through the cobble stone streets and sipped on rose with my lunch daily (it’s kind of hard returning home and being expected to remain sober all day).


Then there was Cinque Terre; if we thought we had done a lot of walking and tackled a lot of steps in the early part of the trip, we had another thing coming. The hikes between the 5 towns is challenging but absolutely worth it, and if you need some motivation there is really good gelati to greet you at the end…there’s gelati shops every 500m in Italy. If you have a friend, boyfriend or fiancé that sings “I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream” for the entire hike though, you may feel the urge to jump…until you look down.

Venice was gorgeous, the Marano glass making factories are a must see, and here I devoured the best mussels I have ever tasted.

The Champagne region is exquisite and kind of like heaven for those who enjoy their bubbles as much as I do. We did underground cellar tours at Le Mercier, Tattinger, Mumm and Veuve Cliquot and had the pleasure of tasting premium vintages that areEurope_LouvreBB yet to be released.

Then there was Paris! This magical city did not disappoint…well I lie, it did disappoint because it rained the entire time except for the 4 hours we spent in the Louvre, but other than that, it was pretty incredible. Many tourists are not aware that the Louvre is open in the evenings two nights a week. We had the privilege of viewing the paintings by the French masters including Renoir with next to no one around. We had entire rooms within the museum to ourselves. Booty Barre and Pilates poses in the Louvre – why not??

We did the Eiffel Tower, of course, and watched it light up and sparkle at night (smashing this bucket list) and visited the Palace of Versailles. WOW! Then we turned things upside down, donned our Dreidel and Lederhosen and hit up Oktoberfest in Munich. Not quite as much fun for a Coeliac but the Rugby player was in element and 5 steins of Lowenbrau beer later (that’s 5 litres of beer folks) he had knocked one off his bucket list.


So now that we are back on home soil, well and truly back to reality after a month of creating experiences that we will never forget, it’s time to set some new goals. Perhaps the next holiday will be the next goal. This travel bug is a real thing. It’s an exciting time for me and my new fiancé – that still sounds very strange – and we are grabbing life by the proverbials and I am urging you all to do the same.

Smashing your goals feels amazing. At risk of sounding cliché, we are the masters of our own destiny. This is your life and it is time to take control of it. If you want if bad enough there is no reason that you cannot achieve it. It doesn’t need to be a material goal, it can be anything, but if you want it, please go out and get it!!!!

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