Planning My 2016 European Adventure
Wrapping up my articles was a stressful and tiring time for me-- on the one hand, I was dealing with all of the emotions that arise when I didn't receive a "hire back"; and on the other, I was beginning to reimagine my future as a young professional in this big city.
There is a lot that law school doesn't prepare you for ... specifically, how to survive articling or how to gracefully exit the work environment once you do not receive the "hire back" you so desired. These topics are overlooked in school and law students quickly learn how to navigate professional environments on their own.
After I received the news, many of my colleagues were supportive and told me to take some well deserved time off during the summer. This break was a chance to "enjoy my the last few months of freedom" before I entered back into the workforce! Taking a break was the best possible advice I could have received. Articling is a lengthy ten months, so I would advise any student, who is completing their articles, to take some time for yourself afterwards. Whether you choose to travel or have a staycation, do what's best for you to reenergize and recharge your battery.
For me, travel was the only option to restore my mind and spirit. I had never been one for travelling in the past, until I traveled to three different cities in three differenr countries back in 2014. Since that trip, I knew that I wanted to experience new cities and new adventures, but this time across Europe. A few weeks before the end of my articles I promised myself that a trip across Europe would be my present for completing law school, surviving articles, and being called to the Bar! Trust me, it wasn't hard to convince myself to take a break after years of hard work... I deserved it!
Because I made this decision very quickly-- deciding in June and planning to leave in July-- I didn't have much time to plan ... at all! I didn't know what I would do, where I would go, or what sites I would see. In my early-20s, I remember having a few friends who went on different Contiki Tours. I had often heard great things about the Contiki experience, so I was comfortable in choosing one of their European tours for my quick getaway! For those who don't know, Contiki is an AMAZING travel company that puts on all kinds tours, all over the world, for young adults between the ages of 18-35. When I say "all kinds" I mean it... They go everywhere imaginable. I went into a local travel agency and picked up a Contiki guide for Europe and started to go through it... I had an idea of where I wanted to go, but there were so many options that I couldn't decide on a single trip.
I picked out a few trips that looked interesting and were in my price range (because I was on a budget). I had my heart set on doing a tour of Italy, however, by the time I went to book that trip it was all sold out. Let's be honest, I just wanted to ride on a Gondola while the sun set in the background! One thing to remember if you are going to choose Contiki, you have to book early (or reasonably early)...Here's why... Each tour reserves about 35 spots, which means the tours are capped at the number of individuals who can attend. I was really bummed out that I couldn't go on my dream Italian tour, so I selected the second best option-- the European Magic Tour! This tour was a fast-pace, 10 day tour visiting 7 countries: UK, Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Italy, Switzerland and France! And just like their slogan states, I had #NoRegrets for choosing this trip!
Remember: if you're certain about a trip, it's best to book sooner rather than later.
BUDGET, BUDGET, BUDGET! You don't get through three years of law school without learning how to live on a strict budget! I knew that I was on a budget and I had no time to plan! These were my initial reasons for opting to choose Contiki. Another significant factor that played into my decision had to do with the fact that I was a solo traveler. As many of your know, co-ordinating my schedule with friends, who are also busy, young professionals, is nearly impossible. If I wanted to take this trip, it was something that I had to do by myself. I knew that I wouldn't be able to see as many sites as a solo traveler. So after to talking to a few friends, who had done various tours in the past, I opted for Contiki because it fit all of my travel needs.
Contiki offers a great brochure outlining all of their trips, accommodations, and pricing. Sticking within a budget was something that was very important to me, and part of my reason for selecting Contiki was based on the fact that meals and accommodations were included in the overall price. This doesn't mean that you should forget to budget a little extra for shopping, and emergencies ... of course!
Prior to sitting down with a travel agent, I was not aware of Contiki's "Me Time Options". These options are additional value adds designed to enhance your travel experience. Each stop on the tour had a Me Time Optional that you can choose to participate in for an additional cost. Whether it be a bike tour through the streets of Munich or witness a live sex show in Amsterdam, "Me Time" gives you the opportunity to customize your travel experience. It's important to remember that these options are not included in the price of the trip, so be sure to budget for them accordingly.
Another fact to note about Contiki is that their trips are broken down into various categories. The European Magic tour is categorized as a "Discovery" trip. Discovery trips are fast-paced and give you a taste of each city. It's important to keep this in mind when booking your Contiki tour. On average we spent approximately 1-2 days in each location, this is something you have to be mindful of when choosing Contiki. This tour gave me just a taste of each location. If you really want to spend a longer time in certain locations, I recommend selecting one of Contiki's other tour options, or doing an extended tour in 2-3 counties.
So now that you know why I chose Contiki, the next instalment in the "Life After Articles" series will outline all of the amazing things to do in London and Paris, plus of the beautiful sites in between!
Enjoy & thanks for traveling with me!