When I was eight, my family spent a month and a 1/2 in France and England. It was the first international flight I could remember, drank my first orangina, learned my first French word – which was STOP (aggressive foreign speaking children + pool ) and slept in an overnight train berth.
My mother kept telling me to keep a journal so I could remember what we were doing, what we saw. I should have reminded her that I was just eight, about to be nine and had just learned sentence structure, forget spelling.
I found that journal a few years ago in my family home and it had one perfect entry. “In France…. went out for dinner. Goat ran by dinner place. Mom said to rite this down. ”
I do remember that day. We arrived to a gray summer dawn in Paris, proceeded to friend’s house where were staying for a few days. I took a nap and woke up thinking it was the next day and became incensed when told it was still Tuesday/whatever day of the week it was – declared I wanted to go home. (Hello, Jetlag – 10 years later we would meet again and again). My father’s friend took us out to a cafe in Montmarte for dinner – all kinds of staying up too late, exotic grilled cheese sandwiches with ham and tables on the sidewalk.
In the middle of dinner, a white goat ran up the street, chased by it’s owner. A goat, in the middle of the street, on a random summer evening in the city of light. Conversation paused and then we all returned to eating.
The next day, we went to the Louvre for eight hours…. but that’s a story for another day.
The trip was glorious… we were like gypsies – only staying where my parents had friends or family, drinking it all up, until it was time to return to real life. Even so, when I sat in the plane on the tarmac on the eve of my ninth birthday, I was thinking I can’t wait to go home.
I didn’t realize it then but that was the beginning of a life long love story of being somewhere else exotic and other , being enchanted and changed by being there and then coming home only to remember it over and over again.
That next March, all dismal and muddy, I would be able to close my eyes, and I’d be in Paris again, a white goat would run by, the summer sun would still be up at 10pm and I’d be tired and wide awake all over again, my skin shivery, my eyes wide. Moments like that can comfort me until I am able to see the brave snow drops that bloom first and spring really arrives – all electric green in her glory.
Many travel bloggers are really out there – years have been logged with no permanent address, true global citizens, could tell me hours and hours of stories. Oh how I deeply respect their journey and envy all of them. Maybe someday that could be me but right now, my life balance comes with a glorious gallivant to a far flung place (towards the top of my list…. the safe ‘stans of Central Asia) with a triumphant return to my green hills of New England, going to my local coffee spot and running into my neighbors.
Please read and share your own stories here and thank you joining me on my life’s adventure.
PS 1st international flight was taken when I was a toddler – father taught a semester in Italy – was 18 months – lots of me, Sante Croce and pigeons, beautifully made purple leather shoes.