This morning a few swift clicks changed my mood from grumpy to upbeat. Booking a trip to Paris was the last thing on my to-do list but suddenly I knew it was just what the doctor ordered. Seeing a confirmation number pop up to a fun, hip destination in the near future seriously repaired my spirit. I had to contemplate it for a few days now as my financial situation is bordering dire. I mentally justified all the ways I could make this trip possible. I would write about the journey. I would take a hostel instead of a hotel. I would cook in the shared kitchens. I would live on 5 euros a day. I would cut out lattes and magazines until the flight date. And so on and so forth. There are people in my life who think I travel too much. Can you travel too much? I love traveling. I even love airports and flying. I even love waiting for delayed planes or having to waste time while waiting for a 3pm hotel check-in. This particular journey will be to Paris, to wander around the streets of Montmartre, to grab coffee in the Marais, to window shop in the Latin Quarter.
Traveling seems to wake me up. Is travel essential to the soul? To mine it seems to be. As soon as the train pulls away from my town and I stow my suitcase under the chair, a little smile comes to my face and stays there the entire journey. I wonder about the people around me. I dwell on how I will spend my first few hours at my destination. I read, I prepare, I dream. I have been to Paris before, in fact I lived there once, years ago, for a month. Aside from that I have been there several times. Which is why I made a special agenda. With thanks to the internet and guide books, I am going to go to places I have not yet discovered in Paris, from an all night american diner in the 12th arrondissement, to a cafe where you can sew your own garment whilst sipping tea, which has just opened last year and is the latest trendy thing to do in the Marais on a weekend.
Leaving familiarity behind and heading off for an adventure is under-rated. For me, each and every time traveling helps me see the bigger picture of life and takes me out of my day to day thoughts and struggles. It has a way of waking me up and bringing forward into my consciousness the potential of my future and goals. It gives me the freedom to explore who I am, to remember who I want to be. Sometimes I get stuck at home, thinking of small things that don’t really matter and dealing with things on auto-pilot and without enthusiasm. When I go somewhere else, I forget the ”small stuff” and I open my eyes and really look around at the world, the people and the beauty of life. I am not leaving for Paris until the weekend after next, but in my mind I am already schlepping my suitcase up the stairs of Montmartre, looking enthusiastically for my hostel and taking in the atmosphere of the city of lights.