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.