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With the release of the Adventures Abroad series TOMORROW (SQUEE!!), I thought I’d dig back into my memories for a nostalgic post about the trip that, over a decade after I took it, sparked the idea for the series.

Edited for spelling (GAWD, I was a sloppy writer in college!), here’s the email I sent out to my friends and family after my first solo day in Paris in 2004.

Hello, again, and welcome to today’s installment of “Jen’s Wonderful Life”. I’m in Paris!!!! I’ve also been awake for, oh, 29 hours and counting? hehehe. My flight here was uneventful, I spent most of it chatting with my neighbor, a very cool grad student on her way to Africa to do field
work…and then we landed in Paris, when my body thought it was 2 am and Paris thought it was 8 am…hehe. I successfully (after trying to KILL the ticket machine, it was very stubborn; claimed it took credit cards, but
didn’t seem to believe itself) guessed which train to take to get me downtown, and actually got off at the closest station to my hostel…as soon as I stepped out of the underground cavern—er, metro, I was absolutely breathless and starry eyed, looking the total tourist, turning in a circle
trying to take everything in.

The buildings here are so totally beautiful, I just can’t stop staring and taking pictures, lots of pictures! After dropping the backpack at the Young and Happy Hostel
(just saying it makes me happy) I proceeded to wander…falling into the pantheon, which is like a block away from me, and from which, once I turned
slowly around (I know, it’s becoming a trend) I could just see the top of  the Eiffel tower, through mist, a ways off…wow!!! for the second (and nowhere near last) time today I lost my breath.

It’s been raining off and on all day, and I keep vacillating between amazingly happy, and amazingly wet and cranky. After a full day of adventures, I wandered, wearily trying to work my way “home”, getting caught in rain, scampering into a cafe and ordering just a cup of coffee, using no English at all! (ha, I bet my French didn’t even count as French, though) and finally I was able to flag down a taxi (I gave up on the walking thing, I’ve been walking FAST all day) and found myself back on the awesome, eclectic street that I will call home the next four days…I had the taxi drop me halfway to the hostel, and I’ve been wandering in and out of all kinds of funky shops ever since…until I found my friend, the internet bar…and here I am, looking out the window at a sign in French for a Chinese restaurant (hehe), relaxing, and trying not to gloat too much about how much I love it here!! I can’t believe how much I’ve already fit into this one day!! and it ain’t over yet! it probably will be, soon, but you never can tell with me! (by the by, here it’s 6:15 pm on Friday, so it’s noon for you all).

So please, write me emails, since at least for the next three days, a relatively inexpensive net bar is right down the street from me! I miss everyone, and you all have crossed my mind at random moments today, between the rain
and the wonder.  I really do love traveling alone…it’s what works for me, I think. Admittedly, right now, now that I’m relaxing and done hiking around for the day, it wouldn’t be bad to have someone to chat with, or a room all of my own to return to, but I’m perfectly happy without such things…I may be a wuss, grab dinner, and go to bed, the way my head’s drooping right now…I’ve written a novel, and I’m sorry, but I just wanted to share every moment of this first day with the ones I love! You all take care of each other till I’m home (mom, sorry I haven’t called, but I still haven’t come across any kind of reasonable international phone card) and keep me posted on all the goings on back your way!!!!

I miss and love you all!!!

You might already know that when I started writing the series, I started with Camie’s adventures in Paris, and even though that novella ultimately became the second title in the series, it’s still where the idea started (and OMG, Camie is a character who’s close to my heart. All the girls are, really, with little pieces of me in each of them, but reading that email made me realize that I really borrowed my own voice for Camie’s enthusiastic narration.)

Are you ready to spend the summer dreaming and bopping around Europe with Sarah, Camie, and Joelle? Start with London and work your way to Abroad. I hope you’ll enjoy this series as much as I enjoyed writing it!

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The Adventures Abroad series from Bloomsbury Spark

 Four countries.
Three girls.
Three loves.
One adventure abroad they’ll never forget.


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