I‘ve discussed the woes of overpacking in passing before, but here is a little tale of mishap and woe. Probably one of the most exhausting days in my life occurred when I was leaving Paris for Blois and Orleans.
The day started out nicely. I was finally recovered from my jet-lag induced semi-permanent stomach ache. I had a lovely little brunch at Mariage Freres, a tea brand I like. It was sunny, a weather I generally enjoy. Temperatures in Paris were reaching record high levels. This should have been ominous.
I went back to my Airbnb (check out my Airbnb Advice here) and got my suitcase. My host was not there to help me get this massive mistake down the stairs. I spent probably a half hour lugging my 60lb suitcase down 5 flights of stairs. Did I mention that nothing in Paris is air-conditioned? Yeah, no.
When I got the bottom I realized that I didn’t have any way of getting out of there. There were no taxis, the one number I had the taxi driver was too far away….Uber wasn’t working. It was a mess, the building landlady helped me find a taxi. I was so freaked out my language abilities left me at the absolute worst time. Thank god for the landlady.
I stumbled my way to the taxi annnnd….went to the wrong Gare. Now here, ladies and gentlemen, is where I could have made my life a whole lot easier if I hadn’t been determined to cheap out. I should have just gotten another taxi. However, I didn’t have any more cash on me. And the ATMs weren’t working. So it wasn’t entirely my fault. I then had to lug that 60lb suitcase up and down stairs trying to find a metro which turned out not to run to the other Gare. So I walked across the bridge. In the heat. With my suitcase. To say I was perfectly miserable would be a massive understatement. Make sure you always have cash on you, like 10 euros.
Also make sure you have a Sim card. Because of this day I now no longer care how much it costs, I will save up for a Sim card. In fact, I refuse to leave an airport until I have picked one up. They’re all, by and large, cheaper than the US in this sector anyways. When I finally got to my train to Orleans I thought my worries were behind me. I’d taken out cash from a working ATM, and I was prepared to buy a SIM as soon as possible upon arrival. Haha.
Well, it turns out that most smaller French towns don’t really have a taxi line that consistently circles – you have to call for one. This makes sense, but in my defense it was not really what I’d been told. Oxford, for instance, has a constantly circling taxi line and isn’t much bigger than Blois. Thank goodness, thank goodness, thank goodness there were two wonderful guys who – of all places – working in Wichita Kansas and spoke English. My language speaking facilities were still not on-board. They not only were willing to call me a taxi – they let me take the taxi they had already called. This was one of many lovely experiences I had in Blois and it’s why it’s still definitely my favorite part of my France trip (and I totally chose to go there by closing my eyes and pointing).
I finally got to my Airbnb, where I was late because I didn’t have my Sim to warn my host. I lied and said the trains were late – the excuse in France. His confusion immediately lifted after I said this. So, alls well that ends well but dear God I will never do this to myself again. Except I will. Because I’m moving to South Korea and that’s going to involve bringing a lot of nonsense. I’m looking forward to it so much *sarcasm*
I hope this can convince some of you to just save up a little more to have a better experience (Sim card) to have some cash on hand at all times, and to try not to overpack. I now travel with a backpack and the smallest rolling suitcase I could find to put my skates it. My life has been soooo much the better for it. Sim card handiness aside, the main cause of my misery was the heavy bag. Don’t do it to yourself.