What Americans can learn from Emily in Paris

*Potential spoilers ahead, do not continue reading if you don’t want to know what happens*

Emily in Paris has taken women’s hearts by storm! Netflix’s recent show has been a hit, especially since so many people miss the experience of traveling and, for some, Paris the most.

While the show itself has become viral for the beautiful aesthetics and the crazy ideal life of moving to Paris and all of its beauty, there seems to be a disconnect from on-screen to reality for most people.

Paris is gorgeous- don’t get me wrong! But there is plenty of rustic scenes that make Paris beautiful that aren’t shown in the show.

1. You need to know basic French words

Just like if you were to enter a store in your home country and someone speaks to you and you ignore them, it will be perceived as rude as Emily had done to the Baker in Episode 1. It’s okay to not be fluent in French! Just know basics like “hello”, “goodbye”, “please” and “thank you” to be polite. Also, know how to say “I don’t speak French” aka “Je ne parle pas le français“. These small things will change your entire experience in France, as French people like to know that you are trying to understand their language and not arrive in their country expecting them to know your language (or English if your native language is another language).

2. Do French people really hate American coworkers?

Emily in Paris showcases several instances of office cliques and rudeness towards Emily and shows an overall hate of her from Emily’s boss, Clara. From what I saw, the main point of issue with Emily is that she arrived to Paris with no working knowledge of French and is forcing American practices on the French workplace. In terms of adding American practices, this is not inherently bad but the way Emily goes about her ideology on American ways is very ignorant (ex: when Emily tries returning the steak before trying it!). Neither way is better or worse, but it’s about the mindset of the person which is the main issue for some of the tension at the office.

I will say though, I have an Irish friend that worked in Lyon, France who had a terrible experience with her French coworkers. That being said, people will either have a good or bad experience being a native English speaker in a French workplace. It doesn’t mean that everyone will have the same experience and it’s unfair to assume all French people hate Americans (though sometimes it can seem warranted).

3. Parisians are rude – well yes and no

I have heard mixed reviews from people all over the world and in France. Most have said that Parisians are rude, it seems mainly to those who live outside of Paris in France. Others have said that they experienced very nice Parisians and never had a poor experience. To increase the likelihood to have a nice experience with Parisians, you should probably go back to #1.

4. Do not bring your American culture expectations to Europe, you will be disappointed

I think this is one of the toughest things for Americans to get over. Our schools and government have taught us that the US is the best and essentially everything revolves around us. If you bring this mindset to Europe and expect to be treated the same customer service as you would in the US, you will be sadly disappointed. As Emily learned the hard way several times, it is usually best to try the food first than send it back because it doesn’t look like what you expected. Also, research the menu and what are in the dishes beforehand so you don’t order something that you actually didn’t want or are allergic to.

5. College is High School and University is College

What I loved about Emily in Paris is it provided Americans a level of French cultural immersion without leaving your home! While Americans definitely would find the education structure of France confusing (trust me when I was first learning French I was definitely confused for a bit), it is not backwards or wrong, it is just how they name their institutions.

6. No, parents do not want to know about their children’s sex lives

I’m pretty sure the majority of parents are not interested in learning whether their children are “good lovers”, including French people. It’s frankly invasive and unsettling, and the show adds to the trope of French people being very focused on sex.

7. French people are not that casual about affairs

All of my French friends have discussed this part in particular, because their culture is just as monogamous as many other cultures. Although, some have mentioned that when you are single, there isn’t as much stigma of casually sleeping with many partners compared to other cultures. Either way, don’t assume those in committed relationships are okay with their partner cheating on them in France.

8. Learning new French words and culture

I know it may seem that I’m critical of Americans and their perceptions of France on Emily in Paris, and many people from all over the world were not impressed with the show either, but the show itself was a great way to highlight the many amazing aspects of French culture. From beautiful architecture to the very real struggle of climbing up six flights of stairs to one’s apartment (I can attest to this), and the overall experience of being and (generally) living in France. Now when viewers visit France they will know what Merde means when they hear it in the streets of Paris, thanks to Emily in Paris!

You can now watch Season 1 of Emily in Paris on Netflix.

Top Items You Need in Your Personal Bag!

If you’ve ever taken a last minute flight on a discount airline, you know that bringing a carry on bag is a cheapest option to go. You can’t beat paying only $30 in comparison with $70 per checked bag (unless you’re even more lucky and don’t have to pay at all for a carry on!). But let’s not forget the

As someone who has taken many flights with just a backpack as a personal bag, I’ve included everything that I take and use when I’m traveling light. Some of these may not be allowed everywhere, so do keep in mind what your local authority allows you to bring in a personal item or carry on.

***Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. If you purchase through them, I earn a small commission at no extra charge to you.

Items to Bring in Your Personal Bag (TSA Approved!):

  1. A book or magazine to read on the flight: No matter how long the flight is, it is always a good idea to bring some reading material while you are waiting at the gate or are in the air. I’m currently reading The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker and I highly recommend it!
  2. Portable Charger: We both know that you will likely be sing your phone while you wait for your flight, maybe even downloading a few episodes of your favorite show before boarding your flight! Either way, you will need a portable charger to keep up with your charging needs. The one that I am currently using has over 30,000 mAhs, which lets me charge my phone for over week without having to recharge it. I am so happy I invested a little bit more for something that lasts so long! You can buy it here.
  3. Sleeping Mask: Personally I like to have a sleeping mask whenever I travel – especially on a long flight or on an early morning flight. I tend to nap a lot while flying so this is very useful for me in order to get a decent rest. Buy a sleeping mask here.
  4. Theft Proof Backpack: While this may not exactly be something you pack while traveling, it is very important to bring along with you whenever you travel. I recently bought my Anti Theft/Theft Proof backpack before my trip to Colombia and it has really come in handy, especially when I travel around my own city! You can find my backpack here or a similar one here.
  5. iPad or Kindle: I know I already mentioned bringing a book, but having an iPad or Kindle is perfect if you want to switch between reading an e-book to watching your favorite show on Netflix that you downloaded. Having either of these is also convenient as you can easily toggle between reading a book and watching TV whenever you want without having to bother your seatmate(s) to get something from the overhead bin or under your seat. This is also a good idea for introverts who occasionally need time to themselves, as mentioned in my earlier blog post.
  6. Reusable Water Bottle: If you don’t already have a reusable bottle I highly recommend getting one and placing in your personal bag. This is incredibly useful in the airport so yo don’y pay $8 for a bottle of water, but also convenient for when you are exploring a new city!
  7. Toiletries: Here is where you need to be really careful as to what you pack. I make sure that whatever liquid products I bring (face wash, moisturizer, etc.) is at or below 3 oz./100mL. I don’t bring a razor with me whenever I travel only with a carry-on or personal bag as it’s not allowed to be brought into the airport (but you can purchase a razor in the airport if you desperately need one). Although, I do bring mini dry shampoos for those days when I’m too busy (let’s be honest – lazy!) to wash my hair while traveling.
  8. Hat: This one greatly depends on the time of year and the location of where you are traveling to. For example, when I went to Switzerland around Christmas time, I wore my winter beanie hat. But when I was in the UK during the spring and summer time, I wore my baseball hat so that the rain wouldn’t get my face (I’d even recommend a baseball hat during winter time and make sure to have your coat’s hood over it too).
  9. Shawl or Blanket: I have had several people swearing by bringing an extra large shawl or a blanket to cover themselves during the chilly flight. I have only recently done this, and now I see why they swear by it! You can honestly use any extra scarf, shawl, or blanket as a way to keep warm during a flight, or you can always use it as a pillow by rolling it up (if you don’t already have a neck pillow).
  10. Extra Purse: I always bring an extra, smaller purse with me for whenever I go on day trips or explore the city. I’ll have this in my personal bag when going through the airport, but once I’m at my destination I will only be carrying the purse around with the bare necessities.

These are all the items you need in your carry-on! As I briefly mentioned, some items may vary depending on where you are going and the time of year. Overall, I think this is a solid basic list of things you need whenever you travel and should always bring on a plane.




6 Ways To Make Friends As An Introverted Solo Traveler

Travelling solo can already be a little nerve-racking, especially when doing it the first time, but it can be even more scary when you are an introvert. While you are excited to see a new place and have these new experiences, it can also be pretty nerve-racking and makes you second guess yourself. Once you arrive to your new destination you feel much better about your decision, but then you come to a new realization – I want to do these things but I feel unsure because I don’t have anyone to go with, now what do I do?

While you may see plenty of people travelling with their friends, that doesn’t mean there aren’t people travelling alone and also looking to meet other people. Most of the time, your best memories may be with someone you met on your travels. Now how to meet and make friends with a random traveler is the important part, and is outlined below.

6 Ways to Make Friends as an Introverted Solo Traveler:

1. Stay in a hostel: by staying at a hostel you will meet other likeminded people who are open to travel and adventures, whether that’s going to museums or hiking on a trail. Most hostels have activities during the week where you can meet other hostel goers and make friends! It can feel scary and nerve racking at first, but usually a friendly extrovert will come up to you and chat. Or if you see someone look nervous too then feel free to go up to them and start some small talk. You never know who you’ll meet on your travels if you don’t try to make yourself get out of your comfort zone.

2. Go on a free walking tour: This is probably one of the best ways to meet new people! Many solo travelers go on walking tours to get the feel of a new place and experience the culture. What is nice about the tours is that you can meet others who are from a bunch of different hostels that you otherwise may not have met. Once I went on a tour in Dublin when I was solo traveling, and I saw another girl sitting very isolated from the group and I debated for 10 minutes on whether to go up to her or not. Eventually I did introduce myself to her and we started chatting and exchanged numbers so we could hang out during our stay in the city. I’m so glad that I did end up going up and talking to her because I think that otherwise both of our trips may not have been as fun, and it eased both of us to meet another introverted person.

3. Sit in the communal area in your hostel: Several times I sat in the communal area in my hostel and met several people who I needed up having a blast with. My typical move is to sit and read a book at a table, and usually someone might come up to me and chat about the book or I might overhear some one speaking English and I would interject asking where they were from. Usually this has ended up with me grabbing a drink or two with some of my new friends at a local pub, and generally having a good time!

4. Join a Facebook travel group: Since I moved abroad, I found it a little difficult to make friends outside of my school program, especially since I can be very introverted and shy. One of my friends who also moved abroad (to Madrid, as mentioned in my previous post here) told me about Girl Gone International, which is primarily for women who are expats but have been used by women who enjoy travelling and travel a lot. The group also has “sub-groups” based in different major cities, like the Berlin GGI group. If that doesn’t interest you, then there are other groups from “Travel Bucket List” (both genders welcome), “Girls Who Travel”, and “Travel Meet Ups” (sub group of The Solo Female Traveler Network). These can be great resources to meet others (as an introvert or not!), or even to ask your main questions with some primary sources!

5. Go on a bus tour: Now I don’t mean going on those city bus tours that just drive you around a major city. I mean a tour that takes you out to another part of the country and exploring a different side of the country. On a bus tour from Dublin, I sat next to a girl from Quebec and we chatted a bit. I never would have thought to talk to my seat neighbor until she started the conversation with me and we casually talked for a bit. I discovered that she was traveling with a friend, but they decided that this day each of them would do their own thing as the friend had already visited the Cliffs of Moher before and didn’t want to see it again. Our conversations never lasted long as I believe that both of us were introverts and it was pretty early in the morning and both of us were pretty tired all day. While we didn’t exchange numbers or anything, it was nice to talk to someone for a bit so it didn’t feel so lonely.

6. Go on a bar/pub crawl: This may seem counter-intuitive as going to a bar alone is more or less a society faux pas, but if you can muster the courage to go to the bar crawl that your hostel is hosting or a part of, then you can meet so many people that are in the same situation as you! When I went to a pub crawl in Dublin when I traveled solo, I was really nervous that I wouldn’t meet anyone that I connected with or even find people who were there for the pub crawl. It was so nerve-racking showing up alone, not knowing anyone and not knowing who was part of the tour. It wasn’t until I started walking towards the bar when a group of friends went up to me and said “Wow going to a pub crawl alone, very ballsy!”. While this may not have been a big deal for an extrovert, it felt like this was the right move for me after hearing that. I am a bold, independent introvert, and just because I can be shy due to being introverted, does not mean that I can’t take risks and be strong.

These are just a few recommendations, and everyone is different so feel free to try one or two of these to see how comfortable you are. The main point is to try to push yourself out of your comfort zone and possibly make a few new friends, whether you’re an introvert or not. You may meet someone similar to you that you wouldn’t have gotten to know until you put yourself out there!

Top 10 Tips for Introvert Solo Travelers

Tapas restaurant in Spain

I found that whenever I traveled solo as an introvert, I tended to repeat the same behaviors each time. The more self reflection I did and when discussing with my other introverted traveler friends, I discovered that we had similar reactions. When I first started traveling solo, I had no idea how to speak to random people and start an engaging conversation. I’ve worked in retail before so I was comfortable in that setting and knew how to be a social butterfly then, but being in a completely different setting and trying to find ways to entertain myself was not my forte. Therefore, I decided to make a list of all the things that I have done that can help you feel more comfortable and make memorable experiences.

This is a simple list of things that any introvert can do to feel more comfortable on their trip and even to assist in meeting new friends!

***Some of the links in this posts are affiliate links. If you purchase from them, I earn a small commission at no extra charge to you.

  1. Bring a (physical) book: There is something about having an actual book in your hands can feel so therapeutic. I personally recommend a physical book due to some travelers’ concerns about their electronics (phone, Kindle, etc.) being stolen while abroad, and the potential of damaging one’s eyes due to the screen light. Most likely there will be a bookstore or even a second-hand store that sell books – even English books if you’re in a non-English speaking country! These tend to be the most affordable option, especially if your hostel doesn’t have a book exchange area.
  2. Listen to a Podcast: One of my favorite things to do while in a new location is to listen to my favorite podcast Missed in History‘s episode about said location. This worked out perfectly when I traveled to Dublin and went to see the Book of Kells at Trinity College while listening to an episode of the podcast by the same name. It provided a lot of context to the artifacts that were not fully discussed during the tour.
  3. Do Something That Scares You: I know that everyone knows this and it has become cliche, but pushing yourself out of your comfort zone does not always mean going to the extreme like bungee jumping. It could simply be walking up to a stranger and striking a conversation may be enough or going to a restaurant on your own and having dinner by yourself (which I did during my trip in Switzerland and it was definitely nerve-racking, albeit worthwhile on expanding my comfort zone so I know its okay to do things on my own).
  4. Talk to the Front Desk: No matter how much research you do on things to see and do in whichever place you are going to, you will likely not know where to find a great affordable cup of coffee but the hostel’s front desk workers might! They are there to help you enjoy their city and are happy to help you find the hidden secrets that only the locals know about. So to my introvert friends – take a deep breath and talk to the front desk!
  5. Parks: There are practically parks everywhere in each city that I have been to during my travels. While in Madrid, I visited the Plaza de Oriente in front of the Palacio Real de Madrid where everyone, especially tourists, went to lay out in the sun and enjoy the beautiful weather. These places can be great ways to meet others, like when you hear others speaking your language or a language you know, then you have a reason to start a conversation with them. If chatting to strangers is not your thing, then parks can be nice places to relax and read that book you brought along!
  6. Drinking: It will likely be common knowledge to some of you but new for others – be aware of how much you drink if you are going out with people you just met or on your own. This can simply be so you do not lose important items (phone, passport, money, etc.) or even get taken advantage of while intoxicated. I am not saying that you should not drink – alone or in a group, only to be careful when drinking with people you have recently met.
  7. Find Group activities: I know this may sound counter-intuitive for Introverts, but joining an activity that includes solo travelers and pairs can make a new adventure feel less daunting (if this is their first time traveling alone and they are nervous) or to assist in meeting new people who are in the new boat. Personally, I like joining guided history tours like Sandeman’s New Europe Tours – especially because they are FREE.
  8. Transportation: You would not believe how many times I have taken a bus or train and overheard someone speak English only to start chatting it up with them on where they are from or what they plan on seeing. For me, this was a way to begin feeling more comfortable to start conversations with strangers, and it especially felt more comforting to chat to someone who I knew I had something in common with. Similarly, when my dad lived in Germany and traveled around Europe, he would sit in the Coach section of the train to meet new people and at least hear some fun stories or chat with others. Some of his crazy stories started with meeting someone on the train and then doing an activity with them later on!
  9. Museums: It is always a smart idea to research what museums are near where you will be visiting – if you are someone that enjoys museums, whether about art or history, then you likely already do this. I found out the hard way that not doing some prior research, I was in Zurich for a two days and was unaware that the FIFA Museum was there until two hours before I had to catch my train. As an avid soccer fan this was especially upsetting that I had not done any previous research and discovered information on the museum.
  10. Google Maps: I’m sure many of you do this already, but download the map of the city you are visiting so you know where you are going at all times (especially if you only use WiFi). This can be additionally beneficial if someone comes up to you and asks for directions! I like doing this for when I wander around to get the vibe of a new city and explore great hidden shops, but do not know how to get back to my hostel.

Is there anything that you can think of that I may have missed? Or is there anything that you specifically do as an introvert to make new friends on your trips? I’d love to know more so feel free to leave a comment below!