My son surprised me with his declaration that one of the reasons he loves me is “… because you have such a passion for France. I wish I felt that passion for a place.” I think many of us have felt a certain envy of those who are immersed and enriched by their love of a place, an art form, a hobby … any of those interests that brighten our lives.
I realize that travel … and France specifically … has uplifted and transformed me and allowed me to leave behind some difficult days of youth, significant losses, career responsibilities and the never-ending challenge of raising children! With travel I could embrace a new world, entirely apart from all of that, a chance to escape the cage and fly. I believe that captures one of the most important reasons to travel – to immerse yourself in another place that draws you into its charming circle and allows you to emerge with new appreciation for the unique world around you.
I had enjoyed three trips to France, when I met my future husband in the States. After many years as a widow, I was blessed beyond imagination to find this phenomenal man who shared my love of travel. We honeymooned in Paris. We traveled for an entire summer in France. I wrote the following at the end of that lovely summer:
The calm after the tourist storm (on the road in August) is welcome. We stay again in our chosen Montmartre apartment, where Sacré-Cœur attracts legions of tourists; but the population has rapidly decreased with the end of vacations. Fewer families on the street, fewer shops closed, more locals about makes for the ‘normal’ rhythm of the city we enjoy.
I dashed ‘one more time’ to the fabric stores. How do you choose from all the incredible fabrics? I touch them. I look at their sheen in the light. The Louvre? Fantastic, but the fabrics and chocolates and people in phone booths are as interesting, though less historic.
Last night we climbed ‘the mountain’ (Montmartre) to have a simple dinner at a sidewalk café just at the base of Sacre Coeur. We enjoyed a delightful waitress with an appealingly mixed French-Italian accent. When we walked to the steps of the cathedral, as always there was a crowd gathered, a mix of tourists living out their last night of Paris vacation and locals taking advantage of enjoying this last warmth and freedom, before serious work and cold weather arrived.
Our timing was perfect to see the Eiffel Tower perform its light show, as it does for ten minutes at the top of every hour through midnight. We will ALWAYS relish this trip, this experience. Who would ever have dreamed it possible?
So there you have but one vignette that underscores the value and enrichment of travel. Within some realistic boundaries, set aside travel fears and budget constraints and allow yourself this freedom to discover. Whether you choose France or Colorado or any point in between, you will be refreshed and anxious to plan your next trip.
Don’t hesitate to contact S. Sheridan with questions or specific requests!
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