Currently: June 2024

I can’t believe it’s the end of the June. I felt like summer was never going to get here, and of course, it’s going at warp speed. In some ways, I really love that we started traveling during summer because I feel like I get the best of both worlds. I get to wake up early, do things I love, and then log on to do work for a few hours before closing out the day. Does work + travel make me more productive? I dare say it does because I get a few extra hours in my day. Summer travel is even better because the days are long in Europe, so I don’t feel like I’m missing out. If anything, I feel like I get more time. I think I should do a Day in the Life post because I’m sure this makes sense to no one but me right now.

Disclosure:  This post contains affiliate links for tours and products I love at no additional cost to you.  You can read my full disclosure policy here.

Things I Do in Europe that I Don’t Do at Home

While I was riding my bike to Mont St Michel last week, I asking myself why I don’t ride bikes at home. I then started thinking about all the things that I do in Europe that I don’t do at home, and I thought that would be fun to include this month.

Journey of Doing - things I do in Europe that I don't do at home

Ride Bikes

It’s too hot and Dallas is not bike friendly. I don’t live close enough to anything where this would feel like a real possibility. When I first graduated from college, a friend’s brother lived with me for the summer, and we would ride bikes… but it never felt that safe, and I feel like it’s just gotten worse. Between Dallas not being bike friendly, general concerns over safety (hello US gun culture, I do not miss you), and the heat, I cannot be convinced to buy a bike. And, though I do try to Peleton… it’s not quite the same as riding outside.

Eat Vegetables

Okay, so maybe I eat some vegetables in the US… but it’s nothing compared to what I eat in Europe. I am far more adventurous with my veggies in Europe. In fact, I’ve had these mushrooms the last two times we’ve been to Sacree Fleur, and I think about them regularly. Because the restaurants we go to in Europe are focused on seasonal menus, it’s easy to find and enjoy tasty veggies. (Frozen and canned veggies in the US don’t do it for me.) I should really learn to make some of these vegetable dishes. It would significantly improve my meals at home.

Journey of Doing - things I do in Europe that I don't do at home
Not the most appetizing photo of these life-changing mushrooms, but an excellent memory nonetheless.

Order Wine at Restaurants

Part of this is because we don’t usually go out to dinner in the US. Overall, one of our travel budget strategies is to eat at home and save the money for traveling. While there are a couple of restaurants in Dallas that we really love and will go to for celebrating special occasions, for the most part, we don’t love going out to dinner. When we do go out, we’re always amazed at how high the mark up is on wine. I also don’t love US wines. They are a lot harder on my system than European wines. The wine team at Castiglion del Bosco helped me understand some of the differences between Italian and California wine production, so I better understand why now. But, because of that, we’re always looking at imported wine – and imported wine is even more expensive.

Our travels have allowed us to build a great wine collection at home (at fair prices), so it’s hard to want to pay the premium at a restaurant. We did find that one of our favorite restaurants in Dallas does allow you to bring your own wine with a $20 corking fee, so we’re excited about that.

When we travel, we’re more likely to order wine when dining out. Restaurants in Europe have taught us so much about food and wine pairing, and it’s really enhanced our dining experiences. (It’s also been transformative for our travel experiences!) We’ve encountered so many passionate people who have been excited for us to try their favorite things and helped expand our knowledge.

Journey of Doing - things I do in Europe that I don't do at home
Sacree Fleur gave us a bottle of Clos du Roy for Christmas last year. We took it home, enjoyed it, and on this trip, we visited the winery near Bordeaux. (Yes, we’re bringing more home!)

Wearing:

So far, I’ve been very happy with my wardrobe choices for our France trip. Obviously, I brought several things I already own. However, I’ve also worn many of the things that I purchased for this trip. It’s been a little warmer than expected, so I’m happy with my choices. With my new blog format, I’m trying to figure out how to share what’s in my suitcase, but I’ve put together a Summer 2024 collection here and a few links below.

And, because we all know I love getting a great deal, I’ve included some sale codes for some of these things below:

Journey of Doing - Hill House Home Daphne Dress

Hill House Home

Daphne Dress

Journey of Doing - Lilly Pulitzer Breah Sleeveless Button-Down Shirt

Lilly Pulitzer

Breah Shirt

Journey of Doing - what I wore in Paris in summer
I am obsessed with this Three Graces London dress and my Sarah Flint block heels. They have served me well on so many travels!
Journey of Doing - what I wore in Bordeaux in summer
We experienced a heat wave in Bordeaux this summer, and I was so grateful for this Lilly Pulitzer dress I bought last summer! It always keeps me cool!

Summer Sales

Sarah Flint is offering an extra 40% off sale with code REDHOT. (After 7/9, use my Sarah Flint discount code for 15% off your order: SF-SARA-15!) I’ve been living in her block sandals this summer.

Hill House Home is offering an extra 20% off sale with code 20HAPPY4TH. I brought 2 Daphne dresses and two Ellie nap dresses on this trip. Several Ellie dresses are included in the sale!

Talbots is offering 40% off everything, including my favorite linen shorts. No code required.

Writing:

While going through a lot of stuff at my mom’s before we left, I found a lot of postcards that I sent my parents and grandparents during study abroad. I swiped all of them and I’ve dubbed 2024 the return of the postcard. I’m sending postcards from our travels in hopes of re-inspiring snail mail.

Travel Planning:

I feel like I’ve been doing a great job of keeping my feet where they are – on this epic road trip in France. When we get back home, we’ll make a trip to northern California for family. My work travel will ramp up a bit with trips to Saint Louis, two trips to southern California in September, and a trip to Minnesota in October.

As far as leisure travel goes, once this trip wraps up, we’ll start thinking about our anniversary trip. Tom is desperate to make (another) trip to Montalcino soon. And, we’re planning to spend Thanksgiving with my mom and sister – most likely in France.

Journey of Doing - summer in France
I am living for exploring all the small towns of France this summer. How magical is this?!

Photo Editing:

I’ve done a relatively good job keeping up with my France posts in “real” time. After our most recent visit, I updated my guide to Bordeaux and my review of the FirstName Hotel. We had a lovely stay and enjoyed some new tours and wine tastings. I blogged exclusively about our vacation rental in Mont St Michel that we’ve booked for the last two years. I just love it. And, I blogged a review of Hotel de Seze in Paris, a great new-to-us hotel near Hotel Dress Code and the Park Hyatt Paris, but at a very different price point!

I finished up a post that I had been working on about our itinerary for Piedmont. I had posted our our stays at the Palas Cerequio wine resort and the Park Hyatt Milan previously, but the itinerary post includes details for Torino, too!

Journey of Doing - four star hotel in Paris
New hotel in Paris for us! Check out my review on Hotel de Seze in the 9eme!
Journey of Doing - where to go in Piedmont

I wrote a post about why you shouldn’t take day trips if you want to improve your travel experience. (I have a draft on why the beaten path can improve your travels that I’m working on, too.)

I also finished a post about our trip to Carcassonne in southwest France. Carcassonne has been on our places to visit list for awhile, and I’m excited we could make it work this summer! It was absolutely magical, and I’m so glad that we were able to spend a few days there! I wrapped up a post on our 4 day trip to Avignon.

Looking forward, I’ll be working on posts about our visits to Annecy, Beaune, and Reims. I’m also drafting a post on wine tastings in France, in the same spirit of my post on wine tastings in Italy.

Journey of Doing - Carcassonne France
Carcassonne is truly a sight to see and deserves a few nights on your France itinerary!

Follow along with Sara!

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