It Changed My Life: Travels Abroad

It changed my life: travels abroad. We just returned from a four-week foreign adventure, our longest vacation in over 20 years. We stayed in Edinburgh, London, and Paris, with a few side trips to the countryside. When I’m asked how the trip turned out I say wonderful, and exhausting, and life-changing.

The wonderful and exhausting parts are self-explanatory for most vacations. But how did four weeks abroad change my life?

  • I got intense lessons in detaching. In letting it go, the serenity prayer times 100. Whether in airport security lines, crowded museums, or 94 degree heat in London: if I can’t change it, the only route to sanity is to accept, even embrace it. Travel will offer these learning opportunities at every turn.
  • You don’t need much stuff. Really just a few things get the job done and bring joy. What I did and did not miss: I didn’t miss our library of paper books, my crowded makeup drawer, my husband’s French horn lessons, or choosing from ten different diet colas. I missed baseball; apparently Europe does not care for American baseball. I missed my best friends, and my big computer monitor/real keyboard. Yes, I’m a spoiled brat, I missed that big honkin’ screen.
My handsome guy outside the Edinburgh Castle.
  • Wear whatever the heck you want. Nobody notices. NOBODY notices. I wore the same wool dress (gray, merino, from Athleta via PoshMark, similar) in Scotland for eight days straight, then a wash, then two more days. Really, no odors – and i am a fussy-clean woman. I varied the under-layers depending on the temperatures but trust me, nobody noticed. Such freedom! I wore one loose cotton tent dress (similar) in London for three days straight. (purchased at H & M, I am sad to say, but the London heat surprised me and I wasn’t ready. That’ll be my H & M for the year!) It’s freeing to repeat outfits, and it declutters all the phases of packing/unpacking. Next trip I might bring two dresses and five washable undies, and the world’s most comfortable sneakers.
Here’s the ten-day dress, working hard. This was our AirBnB street in Edinburgh.
  • Ask for help. People want to help you. Even in Paris, where the locals’ reputation is stereotypically aloof, we were treated kindly everywhere. Every native Parisien answered my stumbling French questions in English, to be sure, to remind me I am Americaine. Community, and human kindness, however, is real, and it matters everywhere you go.
  • Be grateful for good health. We both got head-colds halfway through the trip and that made me treasure those taken-for-granted days of feeling good. I’m thankful that we’ve recovered, with just the slightest hangover in the form of a stuffy nose.
We’re having head colds here, but still enjoyed the Tower Bridge in London.
  • Bring Imodium with you. That’s all I need to say on this topic.
  • I don’t need to weigh myself every day. We didn’t have access to scales. My weight changed about one pound from the start day of our trip until the end. Why bother my mind every day with a number that never brings real happiness? Once a week is enough for me; many have stopped weighing altogether.
  • Accept change as it evolves around you. Travel means something different for dinner every day, fresh faces, unfamiliar accents, new music and odd sleep patterns. I want to bring this lesson home to my familiar surroundings. I want to NOT be in a rut, to try a new way of dressing or eating, or a picnic at the beach across the street.
Ah oui, my favorite shot from the trip. Paris, we shall return.

Have you had a recent experience about which you can say, “It changed my life”? I’d love to hear from you.

Stay fabulous, xo

Wear what you love, always. Here are some goodies to browse:


Please be aware that links to vendors may be affiliate links. I may benefit from your purchases through the links on the blog. Header photo by Kazuo ota on Unsplash.

(Visited 5,497 times, 4 visits today)



  1. Your blog is a breath of fresh air in the often stagnant world of online content. Your thoughtful analysis and insightful commentary never fail to leave a lasting impression. Thank you for sharing your wisdom with us.

  2. I got intense lessons in detaching. In letting it go, the serenity prayer times 100. Whether in airport security lines, crowded museums, or 94 degree heat in London: if I can’t change it, the only route to sanity is to accept, even embrace it. Travel will offer these learning opportunities at every turn.

  3. I am glad you are able to travel. You broaden your horizon, making the days last much longer than when you do the same old routine stuff (like I do haha).
    And you are both still healthy and can do this.
    Good to see you enjoying yourself.

  4. Hi Patti,
    I also live in Melbourne Beach and have been reading your blog for some time. So nice to see a new post from you. I agree my first trip to Paris in 2003 changed my life. I realized I didn’t need a big car or a big house to be happy. I just needed to be able to travel as much as possible. I have been to Paris 13 times. My favorite place in the world. Welcome home.

    • Hi Debbie and thanks for your comments! Thirteen trips to Paris sounds like heaven, and I hope you’re planning the next. xo

  5. So nice to hear from you, it has been a while. You certainly covered a lot of ground on your European adventure and it sounds like you had a very enjoyable time. Interesting thoughts on your wardrobe choices, we really do need so much less than we normally take on holiday, as you have proven. Very freeing, I must give it a go, I will practice at home first…..

  6. How lovely to see a blog post from you! I’m happy that you enjoyed a wonderful 4 week vacation to Europe and all went well. Your dresses are lovely and I did a bit of armchair travel through your pics!

  7. Loved reading about your travels both here in the UK and Paris. We have had unseasonably hot weather in Europe and not the usual “soggy summer”, here, in the UK anyway. You both look chilled and happy in the photos. We visited Edinburgh for a few nights last year and had a great time (only a few hours travelling for us). Here’s to more adventures. We love your area of the world – there’s so much to see, maybe soon!

  8. Hello Patti,
    It’s been such a long time since I’ve commented, but I always enjoy your posts. In 2003, I took a 10 day, 180 mile rafting & hiking trip through the Grand Canyon, on the Colorado River. No cellphones, laptops, or tablets because there is no coverage in the Grand Canyon. Our guide had a satellite phone in case of emergency. This trip changed my life. Without all of the electronic distractions, I was left with plenty of time to think, and focus only on the experience at hand. Shortly after coming home, I went back to college and completely changed my career. My change in career ended up changing my life for the better, not just financially, but a better life/work balance. I moved out of my hometown of Miami to Central Florida and have never looked back. Kind Regards, Mariann

    • Hello Mariann and thank you for sharing your life-changing story. How thrilling to change your course, and to land in beautiful Central Florida. Stay well, xo.

  9. Well, this was lovely to have pop into my reader! Hi!
    I loved reading this. I just got back from Mexico and I only took carryon luggage – a first for me – and I am SO proud of myself!
    I stopped weighing myself in August 2020, and I don’t know if my weight has changed at all, but my clothes still fit, so I guess it’s fine.

    • Good morning Nicole, so good to see you. I agree, carry-on is the way to go, and there were still things I didn’t wear. : > Have a wonderful weekend, xo.

  10. Missed you! Love the 10 day dress and the caftan! You and hubby look happy and great! My last Europe trip was Paris and London with 2 sisters way back in 2003! Internet cafes to call my husband back home and see how the Red Sox were wupping the Yankees in the playoffs. You are right, less is more with packing! My new scale habit is Weigh Wonce a Week on Wednesday! Better than my previous every day or not until the doctors appointment looms! Hope your trip was fabulous!

    • Hi Ramona! thanks for coming by. Yeah, internet cafes were HOT back then, and I remember the Red Sox that year, of course! Stay fabulous, xo.

  11. Great to hear from you again Patti. Your trip sounds wonderful. I like your style, as they say, and I mean that in more ways than one.

  12. I’ve missed your posts, Patti but your adventure sounds marvellous. What a great way to frame it; what you missed vs what you loved. I understand about baseball! Great tips on the minimal outfits, too, especially with only carryon is essential now! Welcome home.

  13. It is great to hear from you again! Thank you for the post, and for the wonderful pictures. It was very cheering. I have not been able to travel this summer unfortunately, but I still hope to get in a short autumn trip, though, even if it is not overseas! Thank you for the outfit tips! They will be good anywhere.

  14. Such a blessing to see your post .I am so happy for you and your husband that you enjoyed such a lovely vacation.Your post encouraged me to say yes to planning a future return trip to my favorite city ,Paris..I just so Love the museums there.What changes my enjoyment of life on a regular basis is going to an Art museum. I have read that “Art enhances one’s feelings of well-being” and find it true your post did that for me as well thank you. -PS looking forward to your future goodie suggestions for Fall

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.