So, my summer trip has almost been firmed up, and it is going to be – not to brag – the best! I am super excited about it, and also kind of glad that it’s firm because if I added any more I’d have to sell a kidney…#LOC
But honestly, the trip looks like this:
St. John’s – Halifax (Nova Scotia is home) – London – Munich – Berlin – Copenhagen – Oslo – Voss – Gerianger Fjord – Gjovik – Stockholm – Helsinki – Tokyo – Hakone – Takayama – Hiroshima – Kyoto – Wakayama – Osaka – Toronto (also home) – St. John’s and the duration overseas is July 7th-August 13th.
The trip got kind of out of hand, but my rationale (or rationalization 😉 ) was that this trip is kind of my last hurrah, my last summer for traveling, so I might was well go big.
The trip includes 2 Contiki’s: Scandinavia (Berlin – Copenhagen – Oslo – Voss – Gerianger Fjord – Gjovik – Stockholm – Helsinki) and Japan Unlimited (Tokyo – Hakone – Takayama – Hiroshima – Kyoto – Wakayama – Osaka). I really do like the advantages that Contiki gives to single (especially female) travellers (safety in a group, group tours/rates, guides for cities but still free time, etc.).
The specific trips were picked because I’ve always wanted to see Scandinavia and Japan, and also I wanted to do something different than Europe this summer, which I feel like these 2 trips will be. Also, I’ll have a week on my own in London, Munich and Berlin, which I think will be a really good balance for me on the whole ‘independence vs. guided trip’ thing.
I’ve been to London twice before and although I love it, I might not have gone there again if not for the Harry Potter and the Cursed Child ticket I got (still super jazzed about that!!), and so I figured I’d make a little thing of it with 4 days in London. The three things I’m booked to do in London are: a day trip to stand in the inner circle of Stonehenge, visit Bath, and Lacock, which apparently is a town where they filmed Harry Potter (that one was an accident, I promise!), the play, and the Warner Brother’s Harry Potter Studio Tour which are three things I am super pumped for 🙂
If you’ve noticed a theme yet, fear not, it gets more Potter filled 😉
Then, I go to Munich for 2 days – one for exploring the city and one for doing a day trip to Neuschwanstein Castle, which apparently is the castle that Walt Disney based the Disney castle on.
Also, there is apparently an additional opportunity to tandem paraglide over the castle, and fingers crossed I will be able to do that, because that would so make not being able to parasail in Corfu worth it (wind gods, help me out 😉 )!
Then I’ve got 2 days in Berlin before the trip starts, and then I’ve got all the highlights of the tour to look forward to, and there are a ton! I’m honestly looking forward to all this trip – the fjords, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Oslo, Helsinki, the works – Scandinavia is just a place I’ve always wanted to visit 🙂
Then from Helsinki I go to Tokyo (with a stop over that is causing my dad some anxiety in Moscow) and I’ve got 5 whole days in Tokyo to explore, which I cannot wait for because everything I’ve seen of Japan just looks amazing!
Being a huge geek, The Pokemon Centre and Akihabara – the pop culture, electronic and geek capital of Tokyo so I’ve read – are on top on my list, but the touristy Tokyo Tower and Tokyo Skytree (which will definitely help my slight distrust of heights) and so much more are on my list. The Contiki tour starts after my 3rd day in Tokyo, and then we’re off to other places I can’t wait to see like Kyoto, Hiroshima and Osaka with so much more planned 🙂
We finally end our Japan trip in Osaka, and I booked an extra 2 nights in the city to make sure I had a day for this:
Universal Studios Japan is in Osaka, Japan, and they have a huge Harry Potter world that, as you can see, looks fantastic, so yeah, this girl wasn’t going to pass up a chance to go there 😉 Finally, from Osaka I head – with a Hong Kong stopover – back to Toronto, to catch up with my dad and sister – and to wind the heck down – because then it’s back to St. John’s to begin clerkship.
Rest it for the weak 😉
But yes, I cannot wait for this trip: not just because I know it’s going to be amazing, but because I know now how important it is to just get away from medical school, to get out into the world and let your mind get as far away from the stress that medical school can mean (35 days until I’m on a plane to Brussels but whose counting…). And I’m also both grateful to have the opportunity to do this trip, as well as a bit wary at the cost. I joke about my LOC, but I do really understand the weight and responsibility of paying the money back.
I think my decision to take this trip then ultimately comes down to something that my dad has said to me and my sister since we were little children:
Life isn’t a dress rehearsal for the real show.
I’ve got one life, and I’d rather work to pay off an amazing trip I had when I was young and could see all the things I wanted to see then work to save for some future trip I might not ever take (though there will be future trips 😉 ). I like my little splurges on material goods (the Doctor Who ice tray I bought this week was a necessity I tell you 😉 ), but I’m one of those people who is happy with my little one bedroom apartment with my little kitchen, my sewing machine and my dollar store christmas lights on my bed.
Now, I just have to make sure I take enough Tylenol Cold and Sinus so as not to get the Contiki cough like last summer…