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It’s Monday morning and like most of you (except for the lucky buggers on summer vacation over in the UK and USA) I have work to do, so this will be short. August 6 rings an important bell in my world though. A bitter sweet, happy ringing sound: so-called because it marks the beginning of an experience I wish had never ended; happy, because last August was the MOST fun I’ve ever had in my life.

Cooper and I chose to book a new 26-day tour of Europe with Expat Explore, and this experience was nothing short of life-changing. We booked this ‘Ultimate Europe’ trip because in all honesty, a ‘tour’ turned out to be better value than booking each of these countries independently – accommodation, food, transport. We wanted a big ‘taste-test’ of Europe, and this itinerary ticked all the boxes, including economical price! Turned out too, it wasn’t all ‘hostels’ – this tour housed us mainly at very comfy hotel stops (and the hostels we stayed at were actually really cool!).

Expat Explore in Europe
An added – and extremely unexpected bonus, for the uninitiated, was the friends we made – aged between 23 and 70, mind you! On this date last year, we met people who are still friends today (and thank God, especially on this note, for Facebook). It is because of an extraordinarily cool, lovely, friendly, interesting group of like-minded travellers that August 2011 is (and always will be) especially memorable for me. We were all sad to leave each other on August 31, 2011, but fondly remember each other today.

In the meantime, I know each and every one of our coach (see, I remembered, Steve) mates would agree, if you want to explore Europe, the UK, and (as of this year) South Africa, we’d urge you to book with Expat Explore. While those travelling Europe simultaneously were camping and ‘roughing it’ (from my perspective), we were enjoying finer accommodation, experienced and intelligent guides (ie. Ali A), and an all-round superior experience – for a LOWER cost. Beat that!

Basically, if you’re not going to go with Expat Explore, in my view, you’re missing out. Meanwhile, bringing the post back to my own experience – thanks to all of you for the amazing memories – from silent discos in Rome to splashing around in the pool in Florence after a VERY hot day, drinking (many) cocktails in Berlin, and karaoke in Paris; and let’s not forget all the beautiful cities we visited (first time for me!), dined in, explored and learned from: big hugs to you all today. I hope we get to meet – if not tour together – again one day.

Read all about our adventure, or simply search TravelLiveLearn.com for ‘Expat Explore‘ (the live blog from our 2011 trip).

Indulge in a few fun memories …

Farewell in Paris:

‘silent disco’ in Rome:


More memories? How about a little La Bamba on the coach somewhere in the middle of Italy (scroll to the bottom of the page for video)! And the story on our trip that appeared in The Australian Times, London newspaper + online.

Please do share your memories too (in the comments below). Have a great week, wherever in the world you may be.

Oh, and PS – a HUGE congrats to the lovely Tash J from our group who just scored Rodeo Queen at one of Australia’s biggest and most important regional events, the Mt Isa Rodeo!! *awesome* effort x



By Sarah Blinco | View our travel galleries on Flickr