Feelings about Paris


I get tongue-tied every time people ask me about our trip. The last day in Paris stands out because it contained both my least favorite thing that happened in Paris and favorite thing that happened in Paris. Maybe I’ll tell you about that later. Ashley asked me how the trip was and what I just told you was what I told her.

With some help from Ashley’s questions, I was able to tell her more specifically about my feelings about Paris. Mostly that it was amazing. I know my travel experiences are still so very limited, but Paris is the most beautiful city I’ve ever had the pleasure of exploring. I’ve seen the sights through blogs and photographs but it just didn’t prepare me for how breathtaking it would be in person. I could people watch and architecture watch all day everywhere in the city. I already want to go back so I can feel small around churches that are centuries old and eat ice cream while walking along the Seine and admiring the twinkle and the sparkle of Paris at night.

While we were there, Kim said, “Everything in Paris is so small except for the crepes!” And it’s true. Especially the apartments! Tiny living area and no storage are popular complaints you see on housing websites about apartments, but it’s something I actually really admire. The people are minimalists and I wish Americans were less consumed with things that take up so much space in our homes. I’ve been really drawn lately to minimalism and what I’ve seen in Paris really embodies that philosophy.

There were a lot of singular amazing experiences that happened in Paris and Amsterdam. We saw the Mona Lisa, we peered at Paris from the Eiffel Tower, I rode a bike for the first time in twenty years, we ate at our first Michelin rated restaurant, we set foot in three different countries in one day, we visited Anne Frank’s house, and more. All of these individual experiences were monumental, but it’s really the sum of these experiences that really changed me. I am now feeling quite restless and a little sad. I told Ashley that I really want to take more long vacations abroad and this compulsion can only be indulged so often with how much it costs in PTO and money to get myself abroad. What she said in response rang so true. “That’s the most annoying thing about travel. You think it’s going to satisfy your wanderlust and it only makes it worse.”

So here I am. It’s a little over a week since I’ve been back in Texas and I have been feeling nostalgic for Paris ever since. I am mulling over what to devote my energy towards now and what trips I want to dream up and plan for next. In the short term, I have a $17,000 student loan debt I’m focusing on and a long weekend planned for Portland, Oregon in a month. In the long term, I’m considering what I need to change about my current life to afford myself more travel. And for the rest of my days, I will think fondly of my first trip to Paris.

  • Ashley J

    Now you know why I moved abroad, because the wanderlust has been bad for a long time. Moving overseas has definitely helped. But I am REALLY AFRAID for moving back home. I hope I don’t get restless after 3 months! I guess I will find out.

    Oh, and what you say about Paris is true. It probably is the most beautiful city, architecture wise.

    • This is probably why Europeans are more well traveled than the average American! You guys have a lovely proximity advantage being in Europe and in between the Americas and Asia. I have a feeling you will find a way to travel when you return home. It’s in your veins.

  • Jessilyn

    Loved this post. I have been wanting to go to Paris for so long how (tentatively scheduled for summer 2014!) and you just reaffirmed all the reasons why. So glad you experienced this and had fun :)

    • I can’t wait for you to go! You’ll love love love it.

  • Aww, I love this. I always feel the same way when I come back from a cruise. It’s just SO hard to go back to normal life and I just want to book my next one ASAP. There’s just something about being on vacation and seeing places you’ve never seen before that fulfills all the wanderlust. Only problem is that it always leaves us wanting more!

    Paris, Paris, Paris. I must get over there soon!

    • Paris = Goal for 2014? :)

  • I can’t help but wonder about your least favorite part of the trip. I love hearing about all the good & that’s the most important, but I think that the other not so great things are part of the experience as well. Maybe you’ll share one day…

    • Danielle! I have planned on it, I just need to carve out the time but a long story short, we were bullied by teenagers who were pickpockets with clipboards and faux petitions. They were pretty aggressive and stalkerish.

      • That’s really scary! Glad you two are ok.

  • adelnye

    Pony and I were surrounded by a group similar (Africans, I think they were?). They took hold of our arms each and started braiding some sort of friendship band. Like it or not, we had to give them some money just to get them off our backs… strangely I still keep those bands. :)

    Nice to have you back gal! xx

    • Nice to be back, GURL.

      Yeah they did a lot of grabbing and pushing. We knew they just wanted a chance to grab things so we kept one hand on our belongings. It was scary to be outnumbered and surrounded for so long.

  • Woot! <–Thoughtful comment.

    • #thoughtfulcomment

  • i am playing a game that explores paris and thought of you =)
    and yes, that is how i felt about my excursion last year – so much more to see, but constrained by time and money. try some weekend excursions! they are pretty refreshing

    • Yeah gurl! Can’t wait to do some exploring of Portland.Making better use of my weekends is in my travel game plan. I almost typed out game plane.

  • Anita Cheung

    I love this! I love your truthfulness. I’m glad you had such a life-impacting experience! PORTLAND. And if you ever need a travel buddy after Portland…

    • We’ve only been to Vegas together but I already know you’d make a great traveling buddy!

  • I remember these feelings SO well- the post-trip blues for sure, girl! I felt very much like this when it came to Greece, because that had been one of my DREAM destinations for just so long and it took me a loooong time for my heart to not ACHE every time I just thought about it. It gets easier, I promise!

    • Ug! Girl. How long did it take you? I’ve been feeling meh about everything!

      • It took me MONTHS. From August-October I was sooooo depressed. It took my nephew’s birth to snap me out of my funk, and only then did I feel that weird travel haze start to lift. I wrote about it a lot during that time, but now that I understand what happened, I had written this about it, if you’re interested. It’s called reverse culture shock: http://www.melissalivinglife.com/2012/08/08/reverse-culture-shock/

  • Probably the best almost-sad post you’ve ever written.

    • I haven’t been the same yet! #funk

  • KYM PHAM

    I loved this post Solemate. I am very intimate with the feelings you have about Paris. I’m so glad we shared that experience even if a few days apart. I’ll ache with you until we find ourselves there again. :)

    • <3 Yes. Glad we got to hash it out during our once a year phone call.

  • lisasyarns

    I love this post and can totally relate. I had a major case of the blues when I got back from Paris in 2011. I can’t believe it’s already been over 2 years since I’ve been there. I was hoping to go back next spring but now that I am trying to move back to the midwest in a year, that trip isn’t looking like it will happen. :( Traveling really does fill a person with wanderlust, doesn’t it? I can’t wait to see where you end up going next! I think this coming year will be a year of smaller, domestic trips, but hopefully I can get back to Paris in late 2014 or early 2015 (which seems so far off, but I know it will come fast).

    • Gurl, 2014 is AROUND THE CORNER. Like 6 months away!

      And congrats on the decision on moving back to the Midwest. :) Glad you had a chance this past weekend to explore your new town without having to study!

  • Mary Makes Dinner

    I always feel sad on the last day of a long trip for the same reasons. Before I go, I take some time to make mental photographs in my head. Looking at a favorite spot I say “click” and try to embed it in my memory forever, just in case I never make it back again. It’s frustrating that life is so short, while the world is so big.

    • I just imagined you doing the Google glasses take a picture blink. :) I do love this philosophy though. Soaking in the moment. Kim was good about reminding me to do this on both our trips to Europe and to Marfa. She would literally tell me to slow down and look up or “take in the moment.” Haha.

  • :-) I always have a hard time with vacation recaps. It’s like… how can I summarize it into paragraphs and words? I definitely wish for more PTO all the time!

    • Haha. Well I didn’t want to do the usual, DAY 1 we did this. Day 2 we did this. Day 3 we did this. I saved that for my paper journal. Which left me with NO words.

  • k

    i miss it already. itching for more travel.

  • Wendy

    I feel the same way about traveling. After returning from every trip, I’m whipping out my map in an attempt to decide where I will go next, even if the money and/or vacation time may not yet be there.

    And also, I’m terribly saddened by the fact that I won’t be living in Portland yet when you visit. Major sadface.

    • Wendy, we must really get our act together and finally have a cup of coffee or something. It’s getting ridiculous. ;)

  • Aww, I felt the same way after I visited Paris for the first time/took my first trip abroad. It happens to many people, I’ve found. Ashley hit it spot on!

    Regardless, I’m so happy to hear you had an amazing time. I can’t wait to see where your international travels take you next!

    • I remember you writing about it when you came back from Korea. You probably had an even harder time adjusting as you LIVED in Korea.

  • breethethingsweread

    sounds like you had a great trip. Hope you enjoy Portland I took a long trip there this month as well. Its very fun and funky.I can’t wait to move there next year.

  • Michael

    The wanderlust itch is untameable!

    • You are so right!

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