I just came back from a 10-day, 3-city European vacation with my girlfriends (did I just type that?!) It was ambitious of us to try to pack three cities into 10 days, and throughout the trip, I felt the crush of the question I often ask myself in day-to-day life: How will I get everything done that I want to?
By the end of the trip, I’d found the answer. But let me start from the beginning. Back in September, my friend Channing and I were wistfully whining about how we wished we had the money to spend New Year’s Eve in Paris. Finally, we got serious and asked ourselves Why can’t we? A few weeks and some extreme budgeting later, we booked a trip with two other girlfriends to London, Paris, and Barcelona.
Anticipation still reminds me of waiting for Santa as a kid: The night before feels like years, but opening presents is over in a flash. ‘Twas the same with our travels: Before I could blink, we’d ticked everything off our wish list and seen Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, the London Bridge, and Westminster Abbey. We ended the trip’s first leg on a swing ride in Hyde Park’s magical winter wonderland. It was all a gift I’d torn open too fast and now, looking back, I wish I could re-wrap it all, just to open it again slowly, with extra care.
After a quick train ride, we were in Paris, where we scrambled each day to find café crèmes and crispy croissants before hustling everywhere from the Louvre to Céline. On New Year’s Eve, we counted backwards on a bridge near the sparkling Eiffel Tower. At midnight, I felt a pang of longing for 2013—it’d flown past in a rush of planning and plotting. So the next morning, I decided to finally slow down from all the itineraries and to-do lists. A solo walk with a copy of Julian Green’s Paris led me to this gem: “Until you have wasted time in a city, you cannot pretend to know it well.” It was like Green was shouting to me from those pages: Slow down, girl. Wasting time is just as important as filling it.
So at our last stop in Barcelona, I took his advice. It was time to turn off my inner New Yorker and take a lesson from the leisurely-paced Europeans. So in between praying in Antoni Gaudi’s breathtaking Sagrada Familia and perusing the Picasso Museum, we indulged in long, relaxed meals full of sangria, tapas, and laughter. Our final Friday night of partying rolled late into the following morning, and I barely even noticed. Finally, we left Barcelona on Sunday at 10 AM to come back to the states—but, despite a nine-hour flight, somehow landed in New York at 1 PM. Time playing its tricks on me.
After being home in New York for a few days, I’m back to my original question: How will I find the time to do everything I want to do? The answer: I just will. Yes, between working late, the gym, and adult responsibilities, there isn’t much time left over. But somehow, during a 10-day trip to three cities, we made it everywhere we wanted to go. So whether it’s working my ass off or lounging in my PJs, with a lot of hustle and a little less sleep, I can make a lot happen in 24 hours. I will find the time to make it to all of my life’s destinations—just like I did during my travels. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got some time to go waste.