Paris, Je t'aime
I had dreamt of going to Paris since college -- experienced such massive French wanderlust that I even became semi fluent in French over the course of those four years. I'm not sure if I was Parisian in a former life but there was something that really intrigued me about France. I pictured myself living a' Paris, having that quintessentially French way of life. Well, I never made the move... But I did finally get to Paris, fifteen years post-college. After a several months of refresher courses in French, a great deal of planning and restaurant research and I was on my way.
It was my first solo trip ever and It was the perfect country to conquer on my own. I wanted to see and do so much and I didn't want anyone holding me back. I could walk fifteen miles in a day if I wanted to. Or have dinner reservations set most every night. I didn't have to sacrifice my own needs for someone else's, a reality of traveling with anyone. This was MY trip. A well travelled colleague of mine gave me an article about traveling alone upon my return from France. I really love one particular paragraph and wanted to share it: "Let me dispel a few myths. You will be lonely. No: you won't. My solo travels in Paris have brought many perfect hours of being alone but not a moment of loneliness. People who depend on other people are often in hiding from themselves. Two and a quarter million people live in the City of Light: you will see many of them and you will pass them in the street, but when you see Notre Dam in the dark and walk home and perhaps stop to have a drink in the Marais, you can feel that the only thing that is missing from your experience is the common dependency on someone to distract your attention. You are living without it. You are on vacation." I cannot imagine a more perfect way of articulating how I felt as I floated around Paris. And I truly felt like I was floating on my dream-cloud.
I've had two framed posters of Paris that have moved with me between different homes and work places over the years. They now hang on the wall in front of me at work. Little did I know that I would capture almost exactly the same two places on my journey, they are the two photos you see here. And they are taken in almost the exact same places the photographer had captured. I didn't plan this. I guess the photos are so ingrained in my mind that they overtook my hands and my camera. But as I stare at the photos now, they mean something so completely different: they are symbolic of a very transformational experience for me. They are reminders of what it means to realize a dream.