SURPRISE! We went to Europe…and the kids had no idea!

“Of all the books in the world, the best stories are found between the pages of a passport.”

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We did something completely unique, something we normally do together as a whole family but felt would lack the wonder and amazement if we shared this secret with our children. We surprised our children with a family adventure to Europe…again. Only this time we stretched whatever truth we had and led them to believe they were going to visit family in New Zealand, when in fact they would be visiting family in England instead. We talked about all the adventures we would have in NZ, explored cost and locations, looked at pictures and vloggers, and we weren’t being entirely untruthful. After all, we were going to do these things – but not for a few more months when we actually did go to NZ – so really we weren’t lying at all…maybe only by omission.

It was a tough prank to pull, particularly when the climate difference is so enormous, and I had to leave room in my suitcase (and wallet) for the extra clothing they both may need. My travel agent was in on the surprise, as were my family, friends, and colleagues…only a few of whom needed a gentle nudge in the ribs to remind them to prevent their foot from entering their mouths. It almost killed me keeping this quiet and I was close to internal combustion I am sure. Never the less, we arrived at the morning of our departure with complete composure and not one hint of what was about to occur.

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Arriving at the airport we got ourselves a bite to eat and my much-loved peppermint tea, and gave the girls their surprise packages. Included were some metro maps, Eurostar confirmations, Paris accommodation confirmation, euros and pounds, and an oyster card for travel. Whilst my little one took a long time to figure it out, my teenager burst into long sobs of gratefulness and genuine surprise lasting a good 5 minutes, and not without many puzzled onlookers. “Are we really?….I cant believe this!….Oh my goodness…I DIDN’T PACK MY MAKEUP!!!” were just some of the comments that escaped her. It really was a priceless go-pro moment (that’s if I actually owned a go pro).

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The flight was much more uneventful that the last and oh…my sister in law actually didn’t know we were coming! We had kept that as a surprise too with the help of her best friend. That surprise was amazing – walking into the restaurant and being greeted with looks of shock was amazing! My poor sister in law had mostly one thought “how am I going to say goodbye when they leave” bless her soul.

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We had an amazing 3 weeks exploring England: Stonehenge, Pluckly (Darling Buds of May), Chatham Dockyards (Call The Midwife – including seeing some of the shooting of the series and meeting cast), and many other places. We did a couple of days in Paris again, because of course that is my favourite place, and stayed near the Sacre Couer. Did I mention we love Paris? And on our way home to Australia after a very sad goodbye with our family, we spent our 24hr layover in Abu Dhabi in a very lovely hotel. I must say that all in all, my stay in the AUE was eye opening and reminded us of the scare tactics media use to try to breed hate and fear. Our time there was lovely and customer service far exceeded anything I have ever experienced here in Australia, and we were treated with complete respect and care – I have decided that we don’t spend time watching, the news anymore and any website, company, or program that has an outcome of fear and hate, will no longer be watched, read, or supported by our family anymore. Life is too short for that rot!!!

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So, I know that I haven’t gone into great detail about our trip and I have much more to share, so head over to Intrepid Nurse on Facebook and Instagram, where you can see live video, photos, and more – like and share so we can grow our life and adventure stories, and so I can connect with yours. Intrepid Nurse will soon grow to be my main travel and nursing hub and this will remain my more personal family things. Intrepid Nurse will soon follow up with a fully functional website with reviews, videos, and more.

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Big question if you will – what have you learnt by travelling to new places?

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LEAVING ON A JET PLANE

“Leaving On A Jet Plane” – I bet you are singing that song now aren’t you? You’re welcome! Lots to catch up on and lots happening so read through and find out what our next adventure is!!!

Tolkien has a few pretty great quotes that resonate with me but one that currently stands out with me is “not all who wander are lost“. I have been somewhat lost over the past few months (about 5 to be pedantic, since I last wrote), and I have felt every second of it, my soul longing to write but unable to drag the words needed to the surface and out onto the keyboard. You may remember that I had resigned from aged care nursing and jumped ever so boldly back into acute nursing in the hospital system, and it was from that point that my writing took a bit of a vacation. Despite me feeling a little lost at the time, I know now that it was merely a case of me wandering from writing, and writing wandering from me – nothing is ever truly lost.

My wandering from everything I knew previously has taken me on such an adventure that seems almost too amazing to be real. Lets be honest though, it’s not all been sweet dreams, some of it has been really tough. As a family we have faced some difficult decisions. My husband and I went through a really rocky time and had some time apart so to speak (although in the same house we slept in separate rooms to get some space and clarity). Mostly it was related to unresolved issues with family members that has been simmering and bubbling for quite some time, but the time each doing our own thing allowed us the space to grow individually and allowed my husband to find the man he is without trying to be everything for everyone else. I do believe everyone deserves the right to be heard and not shot down for having feelings. He had finally found his voice, and although it was great for him to finally stand his own ground, I certain there were a few shocked people at the receiving end. Now our relationship is far stronger than ever and I love my husband even more for having his own voice. He has even decided to do a reiki course!

My new job has been fantastic and I’ve really grown there both personally and professionally, the transition has been far less scary than I had thought and I have now begun my Renal Nursing Training and loving it. I never thought that renal nursing could teach me so much about every other area of nursing! I’ve also faced and over come some bullying – one of my biggest emotional issues over the past little while too which has empowered me to continue breaking through and facing those yucky emotional hurdles that rear their ugly little heads in our lives. I’ve really been looking after my own emotional and spiritual wellbeing so my physical wellbeing has taken a backseat due to sheer overwhelm, but I do believe that if you don’t deal with the internal stuff, the external stuff suffers. I’m taking one step at a time.

The two girls are doing pretty well despite the few challenges we’ve had with them. Miss Teen Rebel is a champion at managing her cardiac stuff , and Little Miss Macca has started the program to help with her CAPD. We are enjoying living near the beach after moving into a house just one street away. We do have a bit of exciting news though.

In a mere 26 days, the Pluck family are off on a European Vay-Cay!!! Hubby has retired (still works one day a week as allowed), and we are taking the opportunity to travel and make memories whilst we have the time and hubby’s health is still okay. We only have today, no one is guaranteed a tomorrow so live now.

So stay tuned for our European travel blogs…lots of interesting stuff. Videos. Photos. Wellness. And my attempt at homeschooling two very different kids whilst we are away!

Tell me…where are you in the world and if you could go anywhere where would it be and why?