Lost Girl of the Week: Julie Falconer

Lost Girl of the Week — By on August 11, 2010 at 6:00 am

Julie Falconer, Lost Girl of the Week, writes the travel blog A Lady in London and runs a travel consultant business helping people plan trips all over the world. She has written for such publications as the National Geographic Intelligent Travel Blog and is a regular contributor to Lost Girls World. Julie is a California native who resides in London when she’s not busy traveling.

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I wasn’t always a traveler. I was thrown into it by accident. When I was 18 I got accepted to college, but my acceptance letter wasn’t the normal kind. It told me that if I wanted to matriculate, I would have to do so in the spring semester instead of the fall. I suddenly found myself with four empty months in front of me. I was devastated. All of my friends were going off to college, and I was left at home.

I tried to make the best of it. I decided that I wanted to go traveling in Europe, but I had no money and my mother refused to fund what she saw as a self-indulgent bit of wanderlust. As a compromise, she suggested I go to language school. Paying for an education was something she could rationalize.

I had taken Spanish classes all through school, but I had always wanted to learn French. I packed my bags, waved good-bye to my mother, and flew to Nice for three months. I had never been to France before. My host family spoke no English, and I no French. My roommate was from Norway, and my beginner’s class of eight people was filled with students from Mexico, Japan, Germany, and Colombia. Having lived in the same small California town my entire life, it was a huge change.

I loved it. I enjoyed meeting people from all over the world and learning about different cultures. As the self-appointed travel arranger of my group, I planned weekend trips to Munich, Barcelona, Prague, and other cities. I participated in every excursion my school offered, from afternoon trips to Monte Carlo to weekends in Corsica. During the three months I was in France I fell in love with traveling, learning languages, and exploring the world.

From Nice I went back to the US to attend Brown University, but returned to Europe every chance I got. I studied abroad in Prague my junior year, and spent the following two summers interning in Paris and Brussels. After graduation I moved back to San Francisco to work in finance for three years. But the draw of travel and the thrill of a new adventure eventually led me to quit my hedge fund job and move to London.

I’ve lived in the UK for almost three years now, and in that time I have traveled to over 60 countries all over the world. I have a blog in which I write about my travels, and I now run a travel business giving advice to fellow globetrotters and helping people plan their trips. You can see my blog at www.aladyinlondon.com and my travel website at www.visitingeu.com.

Looking back at the beginning of my traveling days, it’s hard to believe that when four wide open months were handed to me I saw them as a curse. The experience taught me to see life’s vicissitudes as opportunities, not obstacles, and sparked a passion for travel that has taken me from Myanmar to Madagascar and beyond.

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