One travels more usefully when alone, because he reflects more.
Last weekend I took a small little work-cation to Paris, France. Yes- I went to Paris for work. An opportunity came about to take a small interpreting job. Oh how I miss interpreting. I wish I had more opportunities to pick my hands up and communicate fluently in the language that I spent years learning.. years embracing. It motivates me to continue to develop my BSL skills so that just maybe I might be able to interpret here in the UK. I am sure more little jobs will come about here and there in the future and I will take what I can as I don't want to lose the skills that I have worked my entire life developing. It was kind of like riding a bike- getting back into it. As relatively well traveled as I am, I have actually never traveled alone. Sure in the states I have gone to conferences and such- usually meeting people upon arrival but I have never traveled solo to a country that I don't speak the language and don't really know how to fully get around. I was a bit of a bag of nerves but didn't want anyone to know! My dear friend Kyle connected me with these two fine people.
Meet Danni and Ben- the most adorable couple in Paris. Danni was so kind to pick me up from the Airport and lead me through to the city centre, find my flat, and then join me for dinner. We had an amazing sushi dinner and enjoyed getting to know each other. I know that I could have spent more time with them and I hope to reconnect on future trips. After I got settled, something of being alone kind of took over… I guess my introverted self began to thrive. Thank you Danni and Ben for a wonderful first night in Paris. Please keep in touch and if you make it to Edinburgh- I hope I can host you as well. You guys are just lovely people.
Tourists don't know where they've been, travelers don't know where they're going.
I can definitely say that I am a traveler because I never have any idea where I am going. Sure, I had some places in mind that I wanted to see (mostly revolving around food) but I typically am just one who liked to wander around. See what I could see, sit where I could sit, and just be. So that is exactly what I did. Every day I grabbed my bags and found a cafe so that I could get work done. My adventures were balanced between reading and writing. What a way to work. I would tell myself, "Stacey, if you focus for 3 hours on this then you can go sight seeing." After I would sight see and feel like I needed a rest, I would find another cafe, pull out the laptop and work until I was ready to move again. I read, wrote, thought, and of course glanced up for some people watching. I navigated the metro system and went all around the city. I walked through markets, in and out of shops, continued to look up and around while I walked. My favorite part was taking in the sunshine. The weather was amazing. Around 70 degrees and I was burning up. Last year I had gone on a visit trip to the UK and couldn't understand how people were in T shirt and shorts when it was a bit chilly. I get it now- I have acclimated to being cold so that when I got just a bit closer to the equator I was absolutely burning up! And I realized how white I am. I took this selfie and had to send it off to family and friends. Check out my arms! Hello white body. My face looks a bit pink cause of feeling super hot as I walked on a cloudy day- but my arms didn't go pink at all.
By the way- the above picture was taken at Luxembourg Gardens. I decided that this would be a great place to read. I read two articles- one was beneficial.. the other- not so much! The weather was a bit cloudy this particular day- but it was such a peaceful day!
Lets go for a quick walk through Luxembourg Gardens
“Without new experiences, something inside of us sleeps. The sleeper must awaken.”
I don't want my life to become stagnant and dull. I want to keep having adventures. Thats what this entire thing is about. I don't want to wake up one day and wonder if I missed out on something. I want it to be cultured and full of experiences that I can share with others. As I approach 30 I just think… what do I want the next 30 to be like? And I tell you- I want to be awake, I don't want to sleep through life and take things for granted. I thought a lot about that on this trip. I thought a lot about continuing to take it all in, to not miss out, but to not go go go to the point I can't enjoy it. There is a balance between doing too much and doing too little- I just hope I can find that balance.
This photo was taken on the best day I had in Paris. It was a day of productive work, coffee, chocolate, cheese, walking, sunshine and of course just hanging out with myself. As I walked through the city, without a jacket I felt really blessed. It was on this day that I was also reminded the importance of sunshine. The warmth on my skin, the sky so blue made me feel happy. Although I have been going through bouts of joy and bouts of sadness- sunshine…sunshine made my entire being happy.
“It is solved by walking.”
I am starting to really learn that when I need to sort things out- taking a walk helps. You get your blood flowing and some how things become more clear. If you read my past blog on happiness you would have learned that I have been struggling a bit. It isn't all sorted but I will say, that its on its way to be. I just need to keep taking walks because when I am walking I feel like I am moving forward. Sometimes feeling sad makes you feel stuck- When I was in Paris I tried my best to "unstick" myself. I made time to think about what had me down, what my fears were, who I am as a person and who I am wanting to become… I took a lot of walks in Paris. Here- take one with me:
We better get on.
Are you wondering where we are going? I got the bright idea to try to find the school for the deaf. I ended up taking like 4 too many metros to get there- I found it, I just took the long route! Oops. I guess I became very familiar with the metro situation that day! Anyway, what is so cool about finding this school is its one of the first things I learned about when I began studying American Sign Language. I walked the Rue de l Abbe de le Epee and I actually got chills. Yes- I mean, this is a name that we are taught from the very beginning. Here is some history if you are interested: CLICK HERE The only thing is I wish I had gone on Friday- maybe I would have seen some people wandering about. I will next time. I was also so surprised how when I was in Paris with my cousin Leah in November that we had walked by the school but were on the backside- I had no idea!
I always think its funny what you find as you walk around a city.
I thought I had heard a woman singing in the distance. Here is what I found.
“We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm and adventure. There is no end to the adventures we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open.”
I love that I went by myself. I love that I was able to accomplish it! I love that I am inspired to travel alone again. If you have not traveled alone you should totally do it. You meet new people, you face your fears and insecurities, you can take the needed time to reflect and take care of your self, you have so much freedom to do what you want, and its just such a unique experience that its worth adding to the list of things to do before you die- just saying :)
A girl on an adventure.
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