Europe for One and a croissant to go
Im sitting at a cafe overlooking a canal in Paris sipping an espresso munching on a croissant and contemplating taking up smoking to complete this parisian lifestyle.(but my mother would kill me). Its my last morning here in the city of love and as i reminisce the past week of traveling which has felt like a month, I've got to hold back the little tears that are welling in my eyes at this feeling of wander and magic I have been living in.
I didn't embark on this solo travel as a means of salvation, soul searching or putting my pieces back together. It was not an escape nor did I feel lost. I did that when I was 21 and I've had moments in my days where I remember the overwhelming realizations I had that trip and the experiences that helped me find my way back to my true self and can't help but smile for that lost little girl. But this trip hasn't had those moments, and I questioned should I be, whats wrong ?! And then I realized I am not having those moments because this is the first time in my life I feel so completely and utterly sure of myself and my life. I am not lost, I am exploring. This trip has simply been a celebration of how peaceful, independent and strong I feel within. A celebration of the hard months I have worked at my identity and my knee. Ive spent entire days in silence in my own mind and contemplating the wonders I am seeing, getting lost in books, being transported through music, and being completely present in my time apart from a quick instagram post because god knows I love a photo ( I do not know what any of you are up to as I have not checked my news feed and i love it) .
Some of my favorite moments have been
- a day of adventure with my best friend in London- starting with Pimms at Camden markets, onto a bike ride to Shoreditch, Sweating in the basement of Old Street records dancing our lives away, a stranger buying us tickets to an event which ended as one of the greatest nights I've had out and returning home with the sun at 5 am
- a morning adventure to Notting Hill and being swept up in the Portobello Road markets
- Sipping on an Aperol Spritz ( the best I have had ) in a cafe in the streets of Montmartre as a boy losses himself in his acoustic guitar tunes... I closed my eyes let my head hang back and couldn't believe the bliss I was feeling
- Devouring raclette and escargot for the first time with a carafe of rose and meeting a beautiful Columbian solo traveller and conversing in Spanish for over an hour
- Hiring a Velib bike like a local ( well not exactly as it took me 5 attempts and 5 french speakers until i Found someone who understood english to help me understand the damn thing. I rode for hours through winding streets, getting lost, and losing my breath at the sites and cafes and of course the gorgeous men
_ Sunset picnics both at the Siene and the tour eiffel. Complete silence and my book, shoes off and connecting eyes with lovely strangers
Moments every single day where my mouth is open in awe, my smile turns goofy and i feel like a child seeing the world for the first time, talking and laughing to myself and feeling every kind of emotion. Its only just begun and I already don't want it to end.
Eye contact is such a beautiful thing isn't it. Connecting eyes with someone and a small smile make something so wonderful happen down in your soul so I committed and did this as much as often. Sometimes it followed with entire sentences in french even when I said " Je ne parle pas francais" (I don't speak french) So i just listened to their gibberish and imagined the lovely things they were saying to me. Surely they were saying "mademoiselle , you are magnifique" and not "madame, you have chocolate and your face and you must stop eating those pain au chocolats ". Im Probably going to write a one of "those travel blogs" about Paris because Im actually patting myself on the back for the experiences I had and how much I saw in 3 days!
Ive had some wonderful signs from the Universe on this trip so far, but ill get them and their magic to myself. Ive still got two more weeks of traveling around Europe left to go, I can't wait to see where they take me to and what other stories I will add to my journal. A journal which I found the night I was packing that had my 21 year olds European adventures and secrets, New Zealand sister trip and now this one. Im reading a novel at the moment where a girl uncovers her Grandmothers journals from her Paris experience in the 1920's (which was perfect as i sat in some of the exact neighborhoods) , I guess maybe One day I hope my child or theirs can read and be lost in my words also . With that, I should get going to catch my train back to London. Until next time ....