I knew it would be Paris that would turn my shiny new virgin girl of a Passport into a woman.
Thousands of feet flung into the sky and staring out into utter endless blue, I am indulging in that fluttery excitement that lives at the base of my belly, anticipating another world on the other side of the pond that awaits me.
I love France. God, I do. I am hardly a seasoned world traveler to make comparisons, but nowhere have I ever felt more at ease when away from home as I do in France. No matter the pocket I nestle into, I adjust comfortably to the pace and nuances of each regional culture within–from the slower speaking southerners of the Rhone, the whimsical dreamy glamour of Cannes, the New York attitude of Parisians with a San Fran laid-back approach (complete with a cigarette), the rigid roles in Bordeaux or the Colorado-friendly Alpine hopitality in Pau, France is familiar, but somehow…different. There isn’t as much, I don’t know, plastic, mass-production and media always pressing upon my senses when I am there. Butter is served in a clay crock, not foil. Milk is always local. History and family is upheld and preserved with determined tenacity…yet somehow unconsciously. I feel as though I am allowed a to peek into a world where modernity somehow still embraces the archaic and proves that it can work.
Now, I am sure I am grating on a few people’s nerves who wonder how I can prattle on without regard to politics, economy and the like. Would my rose-colored painting include those details? To be clear, I come to France as a traveler. I come to see culture, eat food, drink wine, converse, breathe and be impressed. Sometimes life is too short to dwell on the shortcomings of culture–I leave that for the world’s politicians and to some extent my own self when it comes to my own country for which I vote.
No, when I travel, I just want to reset my mentality. I want to see how other societies get along and get through each day. What do they habitually serve at each meal? How do they greet a stranger? What topics do they discuss (and what do they avoid)? How do they hold a fork? Do their husbands and lovers fart in front of them? Do they wear white shoes before Memorial Day?
And so, what follows is a log of my observations on this short, sweet trip. I plan to take on a little Paris, a little Chantilly, a little Champagne and a grand century-plus old cycling race: Paris-Roubaix.
For now, all I can tell you is the sky is blue, I am loaded with Simply Sleep meds and the obese man next to me is coughing up a small child from his lung while the equally large man behind him is making us all apart of the event that is coming from his nose.
I love traveling.