Everyone remembers the first time they flew outside the country as an adult....
So it finally happened…I finally traveled outside of the United States! My brother was heading to France for work and so kindly invited me to come with. Of course, I couldn’t say no to the opportunity to go on my first international trip with the comfort and safety of my big brother! So I said absolutely and bought my plane ticket!
Afer I bought my plane ticke, I quickly realized it was time to sign up for the Open when I realized and I was going to be in Paris for 17.3....I had dropped in at gyms plenty of times before on many different vacations in different places…but there was something significantly different this time around. I was going to have to drop in at a gym in a different country where I didn’t speak the language. Talk about scary....
I started looking online at what gyms were close to our Airbnb and I came across CrossFit Grande Arche Station. It was a convenient 5 minute walk from where we would be staying and had great reviews online. So I sent a terribly translated message to them on Facebook and luck would have it….they responded in English! Talk about a relief for me! We planned that I would drop in twice during the week and do the open on that Friday.
The big day came and we boarded our flight to France! As expected, we did lots of sight seeing and ate amazing food that did not fit into my usual diet AT ALL (so Worth It). Then came my first day to drop in at the gym. I have to say, I was a little nervous. I didn’t know exactly where I was going and I don’t speak French, so my nerves kicked up a notch. I made my way over to the train station seeing as though the gym was located conveniently inside. A group of crossfitters waited outside for the coach to come and unlock the door. Immediately everyone turned to me with smiles on their faces and a friendly “Bonjour.” Just like that, the nerves were gone. The coach showed up, welcomed me, and told me where I could put my bag. Class started and it was just like being at home. It didn’t matter that I didn’t speak the language or was on the other side of the Atlantic. All that mattered was that I was with my CrossFit community and also making myself feel better about all the bread and wine I was consuming on vacation! haha.
Both of my drop ins to regular classes were a blast! Everyone was super friendly and the programming was great! I didn’t quite know how much I was lifting as everything was in kilograms, but I made it work. At the end of the second day I talked with the coach about the open. They do their big open party on Saturdays. During the week you are not allowed to drop the bar in their gym as there is a business underneath them that is open. Unfortunately, we would be traveling on Saturday so the only time I could do the open would be on Friday. Both coaches came in just for me on Friday so I could do 17.3. I got the honor of being the first person in their gym to attack the workout.
17.3 was brutal, remember?
Anyways, I had an extremely wonderful experience with the coaches and all of their athletes. There is something amazing about being welcomed into another gym’s family. To get a sense of familiarity and home in a place you’ve never been, is just another reason why the CrossFit community means so much to me.
It was an exciting and wonderful experience to travel to Europe and I am so happy I was able to go off on my own to make friends at the gym. This entire experience makes me that much more excited for this August’s VoyEdge RX trip to Italy and Switzerland! It’s time to experience the world through the universal language of exercise.
For more information, shoot me a message on Facebook - and hopefully I'll see you on the Northern Italy + Switzerland. Can't wait to see more box communities, go hiking and of course, partaking in all that amazing Swiss and Italian food.
See ya there!