One. Sit at your desk day after day bellyaching to travel to Europe. Put it on all your bucket lists and pin pictures on Pinterest of what you want to see. Decide to do it before turning thirty but doubt that it’ll actually happen. Eventually feel like you’re going to burst at the seams if you don’t go right now, but know that there isn’t really anyone to go with you just now, so resign yourself to a few more years before anything happens.
Two. Say to your coworker/roommate, “All I’m really asking for is a week in Paris. If I had just a week, I could bear it until I can explore more places. Is that so much to ask?” Repeat above question multiple times until one day she says, “I would almost do that right now.” Realize you really can’t both take off work for a whole week, but check out ticket prices anyhow, because you’re impractical like that.
Three. Decide one day to bite the bullet and see if there’s any miraculous way you could get off work together. Ask, and spend the next few days biting your nails. When the boss says they’ll try to make it work, shut the office door and have a little dance party to celebrate. Promptly buy tickets, and pinch yourself to make sure it’s true. One day, decide to check your passport just because, and nearly have a heart attack when you realize you have to get it renewed right now if you want to make it to Paris. Spend weeks with a knot in the pit of your stomach while you await the government, and have a little praise session when you finally get that package back in the mail.
Four. Spend days researching all the places you dream of seeing and eating at. Decide to keep your trip a secret, mostly for the fun of it, and really, you know it will be a benefit to your friends to not have to listen to you gushing all the time about your countdown. Work as many innocent references to Paris into casual conversations as you can, and laugh into your sleeve all the while. The night before your trip, go to a baby shower with dozens of your friends and relations, and nearly pop with your secret while trying to look as innocent as possible.
Five. Hop on the biggest plane you’ve ever boarded and while the rest of the world is sleeping, fly over the Atlantic to the destination of your dreams. When you finally wend your way through the maze of an airport and train system and emerge onto the streets of Paris, grin like an idiot because “After years of waiting and hoping and praying, your dreams came true.” Send selfies to your friends and enjoy the shock waves. Spend the next week in a sunshiny haze of gardens and croissants and crooked cobblestone streets, and feel like the luckiest girl in the world, because you are.