Anyone who has ever traveled with me before knows that I have a certain travel style. In short, I like to squeeze out as much from my days as possible. This is sometimes exhausting for anyone with me that wants to go at a slightly slower pace, but typically they (and I) adjust and find the right mutual travel groove together. Traveling fills me with inspiration at every turn. Every language, culture and blend of new experience lends me to just want more and more. I know however that you can’t rush travel at times, for part of what changes you about seeing the world takes actually absorbing it. For me, absorbing it is done best through sitting at a cafe with pen and paper in hand, or typing on my MacBook at night in the hotel room, reflecting upon all that I have seen, heard, tasted, and felt.
There is so much to see in this world. There is so much to see that you are not seeing that is right around you as well, in your own home town and among the people you already know. I have been to Paris well over a dozen times, having spent a solid month living in the city in 2003 during a study aboard program, and visiting the city on trips frequently ever since. Yet, as I write from Paris this morning, in just the five days that I have been in the city with my fiancé Brandon, I have seen things in the city that I never knew where there. Furthermore, it wasn’t me that discovered them, it was Brandon who showed me the city with new eyes. Please note, for those of you who don’t already know, that I am obsessed with Paris. The decor of my house is lavished in things from the City of Love. I own a shelf of guide books and I have taken 400-level French courses on the history of the city and even a literary course at a French University in Tours on the architectural history of the streets of Paris. I know a lot about Paris; yet, an American who has never visited France before still opened my eyes to new treasures that I had missed in my favorite city in the world.
For me, the lesson here lies two-fold: there is more inspiration around you than you realize, and sometimes it takes extra eyes and companionship to bring out the best in you and in the surroundings around you. Squeeze out as much of life as you can. You don’t have to wait for travel to do this, you can do it right now, right where you are and right with your current circumstances. Squeeze hard and soak it up, there is always more juice in the slice of life that you have been given, so don’t let it go to waste.
I’ve got one more day in Paris with Brandon before returning to Virginia, it’s time for a final juicy French squeeze.