Ici. Hier. Here.

10 years ago I found myself standing at the pinnacle of the Eiffel Tower in Paris. It was a telling moment. My traveling companions, who were friends from college, were not compatible with me. My easy going personality and adventurousness clashed with their plan-every-moment-eat-every-2-hours-we’re-going-here-now-because-I-said-so-and-your-opinion-will-not-be-taken-into-account mode of travel.

It was also in that moment, on the highest deck of the tower, with a bird’s eye view of Paris that I knew I had to do something. I was a recent college grad working in a town that was nothing more than a dot on the map. I had been taking that year to get my life in order, to get out of the “do loop” of ex’s, sex, and the depression that ultimately followed. I learned to live on my own terms by myself; I got healthy physically, emotionally, and spiritually. As painful as it was at times, I grew strong. And so, it was then that I decided to leave everything I knew behind and find my beach. If I was going to live out my life alone, I at least wanted it to be somewhere beautiful. It also gave me a chance to start over, far away from the wreckage of high school and college.

I needed to move south, on the east coast, on the ocean.

This realization defined Paris for me. Within 4 months of returning, I had a job and moving company booked. And here I am.

With the attacks in Paris, my heart breaks for the beautiful city, its people, and its inspirational forces of art, life, and food. I cannot understand or even begin to grasp how anyone could cause so much devastation and loss of life on purpose. The terror and the tears of those who lost loved ones will echo in that city for years to come. My husband of 7 years hasn’t been to Paris yet – it’s on our list – and I feel the need to get there sooner than later before the EU becomes anymore unstable.

Hang in there, Paris. You’ve overcome so much in your history; this will only fuel your fire to make you stronger.

View of the mall from the Eiffel Tower.
View of the mall from the Eiffel Tower.

Writing Challenge Day 5: A Place You Would Live, But Have Never Visited.

This is an easy one: Europe. While I have travelled the Eurozone, there is still so much I have not experienced and have only scratched the surface of the lifetime total of five weeks I’ve spent there.

I’ve never been to Cornwall or Nice or anywhere in Italy and Greece; and yet, I believe I could live there with relative ease. What I love most about European lifestyles is their ability to live. They enjoy good company, good food, and have the ability to slow down and take in life, something us Americans usually skim over. Their cafes serve amazing coffee in porcelain cups, not paper. The close proximity of towns and transportation infrastructure makes having a car extraneous; walking somewhere is normal and encouraged, whereas most Americans would go off in a huff if you merely suggested they walk a half mile and not drive.

And high tea in England! How amazing would it be to stop your afternoon and sip a cup of fine tea with a small pastry creation and perhaps some conversation. That’s the stuff life is made of right there.