I’ll always have Paris… 

“I need to move around a bit. To shuffle my surroundings. To wake up in cities I don’t know my way around and have conversations in languages I cannot entirely comprehend. There is always this tremendous longing in my heart to be lost, to be someplace else, to be far far away from all of this.”

My life had its share of ups and downs. It has seen a lot of heartaches and disappoitments. After my son’s relapse with cancer, life hasn’t exactly gone back to normal. Life at home is just as stressful as it was. Besides tending to my younger son’s medical and everyday needs, my husband has been suffering  from anxiety attacks. I used to think it was just a once-every-few-months occurrence but lately the attacks have  been occurring with increasing frequency. They often strike out of the blue without any warning even when the atmosphere is relaxed. I also worry about my older son. He recently came out and it was revealed to us in his blog that he’d been bullied in high school. Since this revelation, I’ve been worried sick about him. I’ve been concerned about his happiness and finding love, as I’ve been made aware by my gay friends that a homosexual lifestyle can be very lonely. I think about him a lot and sometimes I make myself sick by overly agonizing about his well-being. And as for me, I believe I still have PTSD. I’ve had countless of sleepless nights drowning  in sorrow. I have done everything to help alleviate the loneliness. I walked. I hiked. I wrote. I read. But no matter what I did, there’s always that feeling that something was still missing.

Perhaps I needed to take time away for myself to recharge my batteries and travel somewhere I’d always wanted to go. In a city where I could do as I wished without regard to what a traveling companion wanted to do. Where I was entirely alone and free. And to be far away from all of this.

I’ve always had this fantasy of being in Paris alone. To wander in the city, without any destination in mind. To go where the moment takes me. To stop rushing from place to place. I want to experience Paris. I want to take chances and have adventures. To learn the art of talking less. To take my time and savor each Parisian minute. To stay at a cafe and survey the scene. Take pictures of anything and everything that catches my eye. To contemplate. To have Paris all by myself, my way.

And I did just that….and more.

I also got to do some of the (touristy) things I missed out on in my previous visits. I have stood in front of the Eiffel Tower many times before  but never got the chance to climb it (that’s because none of my companions wanted to).
And so it was the very first thing I did on this trip.

I didn’t only climb the Eiffel Tower but treated myself to a wonderful lunch at the 58 Tour Eiffel.  For about $50, I had a three course lunch with wine and tea. Was the food good? It wasn’t spectacular. Was it worth it? Absolutely!

I also learned to use a tripod, and taught myself to be self-indulgent by taking a lot of pictures of me. I loved it for a change!

Like the Eiffel Tower, I have never made it on top of the Arc de Triomphe in my previous visits.

And so once again, I climbed another famous structure! The benefits of solo travel!

I took a million pictures of the Eiffel Tower in various filters. Regardless of how many times I have seen this tower, I can’t get tired of it. It never gets old. Paris never gets old.

I wanted to get lost in the moment, to go anywhere without a destination in mind, to walk around aimlessly, and…I did! My wish, granted: I wandered, got lost, but found my way back. Now I know what it means when people say do not be afraid to get lost!

But once again, I got lost…this time in the company of books at Shakespeare And Company,

Someday I’ll remind myself these words by Hafiz: I wish I could show you when you are lonely or in darkness the astonishing light of your own being.

And to also remember that little things can instantly bring a ray of sunshine such as a free bench.

I went for a walk at Jardin du Tuileries, to contemplate life…

and to admire the beauty of the autumn leaves.

Reminding myself once again that no matter what life brings, it is still beautiful just like those flowers in bloom…

To always stop and appreciate the moment. To look around me in awe and be grateful at how lucky I am to be surrounded by such beauty.

One of the great pleasures of being in Paris, that is truly très magnifique, is the art of cafe-sitting. And no one can deny that this city is a gastronomical dream!

I had tea at Mariage Fréres.

I indulged on a cup of rich hot thick chocolat at Angelina.

They say, “To err is human. To loaf is a Parisian.” My daily petit dejeuner were croissants and baguettes.

I drank wine. Every. Single. Day.

But I also ate light on some nights and had this fantastic Salade Nicoise with tuna at a bistro near my hotel. It was so good I went back twice.

I looked up at every building and swooned over the architecture,

and took pictures of whatever that caught my eyes.

I declared that my most favorite metro station is the Abbesses,

and spent a whole afternoon in the Bohemian and artsy Montmartre.

And there, in Montmartre, I found the wall. No, not Donald Trump’s wall, but a wall where love comes together in every language: Le mur des Je t’aime,

I love you wall.

Although Paris is the city of love, it is the perfect place to be alone. It is perfect for strolling by yourself without the constraints of pleasing somebody. Since I usually travel with my family I didn’t realize that this adventure gave me the opportunity to be completely selfish–something I don’t normally get to be when I’m at home. I almost forgot what it felt like to not have to worry about anyone but myself.  It took a lot for me to finally take a step and just go. I left feeling lost, lonely, and wanting to escape life. I was hopeful that during my alone time, I would find myself in the mystery of a new place.

I pondered each night on how much I learned about myself on this trip. I wrote journals with pensive thoughts: what had happened, I wrote, to the woman who loved spontaneity and great adventures? Had she disappeared?

Somehow, when I disconnected myself from the usual habits, I reconnected with myself. Perhaps this is what traveling alone usually does: you rediscover and reconnect with yourself.


Oh, but then again, I wasn’t completely alone. Paris was there with me the entire time–to accompany me on my journey of self discovery. And whenever I start to feel lonely again, or feel that life is passing me by, I will remind myself that I’ll always have Paris.

 

Author: Boots

I'm Boots, a former flight attendant, a wannabe fashionista mom, who lived in Manila, Los Angeles, New York, Tokyo and now currently living in the wonderful suburbs of Dallas! I have always wanted a lifestyle of constant traveling, eating well, and shopping but my "new reality" went from holding designer bags to grocery bags, from a sports car to a minivan, and from a jetsetter to a stay-at-home mom.

36 thoughts on “I’ll always have Paris… ”

    1. Beautiful blog of the Philippines! I was going to write a comment but I didn’t see where I could leave one. I have never been to Zambales but I’ve been to some of the destinations you wrote about. I really need to explore the Philippines a lot more.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Hi it’s been awhile… I hope you are fine. Life always have ups and down and even myself experienced it all and I can relate to having panic attack that comes out of the blue! I don’t have it before… I wonder if it’s because of getting old (haha!) OR coz of the place and missing my hometown in Auckland NZ. RE: Paris… I wish that the 2nd time I go I should be with my hubby though his hectic scheds I am not sure if possible… plus have our son to take care of. Good to know that you finally get there and enjoyed being a solo traveller. I wish you all well with your family especially your sick son.

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    1. Do you feel like you’re out of breath of like you can’t breathe when you get the panic attack? My hubby and some of my friends who experienced it told me the feeling is like you’re going to die. Hope yours doesn’t become too frequent. Loneliness and stress sometimes trigger it so yeah perhaps when you’re longing for NZ you get the attack.

      I hope you get to go with your hubby to Paris. It’s so romantic. The time I went with my husband, we had our kids with us in tow. But one night we left them at our hotel room and had a nice romantic dinner at the restaurant of our hotel. 😊

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes Boots it feels like that, I was also shaking so much that I thought I was dying the first time it hit me at night just woke up like that all of a sudden I can’t breathe! Hubby needs to hug me and you know what’s funny? I have to google my body reactions though I already have an idea so yes it all fits the descriptions. True it only triggers when lonely or stress for some reason. Stressing is not only physically but emotionally or mentally. But hey, there’s hope… you can control it by telling yourself to fight it and be CALM. Tell that to your hubby. It is a horrible feeling but it can be managed by trying to be calm from the moment he/she feel something odd. I don’t have it often thanks. Take care too Boots!

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  2. I can’t imagine how upsetting it must be to see your son so unhappy. I wish both of you all the best. I’m glad you enjoyed your time in Paris. Wonderful photos and I am in love with your blog.

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    1. Thanks Aixa! You are sweet! My son is now getting more settled and is happy at Stanford.

      Paris sure was a dream. It really never gets old. I can keep going there and will never get tired of it.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Loved it! What a journey. This is what makes blogging magic. I’m sitting on my rump and yet there I am along with the ride, experiencing Paris through your eyes and enjoying the fact that you are feeling free and relaxed and have unhunched your shoulders somewhat.

    You have a lot on your plate, had no idea your boy had relapsed (did I miss a post?) – and it appears that you are shouldering everything at the moment, so it’s good to get away and be ‘selfish’ every now and then. Especially when it gives you back the energy to get back on the saddle you warrior woman.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey thanks so much Ms Ed! My son relapsed more than two years ago. He was first diagnosed in 2010, and when I blogged about his condition, that was the relapse, after almost 5 years of being cancer free. He is doing well now (still under meds but so much stronger and happier).

      In the past week, my husband is finally recognizing he has a problem and is seeking help. He is also doing a lot of self-help activities (yoga, exercise,etc) to lessen his panic attacks.

      All is good. Things could be better but c’est la vie. 😊

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  4. Hi Boots, still no computer on my end so my time to write is sporadic at best. I knew about a lot of the bits and pieces you’re dealing with, and I know that sometimes things can get overwhelming and when that happens getting away may be a bit of an escape, but it’s also tonic for the soul (my recent trip was very much like that).

    It sounds like it was amazing, being able to just go where you wanted when you wanted.

    Hopefully it allowed you to recharge a bit, and makes the return to “regular life” a bit easier.

    All the best!!!

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    1. Hi Drew! What happened to your computer?

      Thanks for reading, and yes, the trip had definitely recharged my batteries! I was ready to go home towards the end but once I came home I was already thinking of another adventure lol! Things are going well as of now. Hubby is finally doing something about his panic attacks. I’m glad he’s starting to recognize that there is a problem and must be dealt with ASAP.

      So happy we both had a trip to escape from life a bit and it sure was “tonic for the soul.”

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ah, my laptop died a few months back. That’s where I did most of my writing, and I have no other computer at home. So things have slowed to a crawl – just what I can get done over lunches at work sometimes.

        Good to hear your husband is addressing panic attacks. I know from second hand experience how bad they can be, and how they can start to impact larger things.

        As for the next adventure – me too. Lots of things in mind, just need to see what I can make happen!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. That’s too bad! Any chance of buying a new laptop? Are you close to any US state/city? Have you heard of Black Friday shopping? After the US thanksgiving in November, the whole country goes into shopping spree because of all the great deals. People started buying online too. Anyway, I know it’s too late but Christmas time is also a good deal to shop. You might want to go to a US city and see what deals they have. My cousins from Vancouver go to seattle to shop so I know it’s cheaper in the US than there.

        Hope you can start your adventures as well, Drew! Getting away really did me a lot of good.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I have a number of options, and we do black Friday now too (have for quite a few years). Lots of little expenses though. And if you saw my post this morning, it looks like a new(ish) car had just been added to the list 🙄

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      4. Can you get compensation from the truck who hit you? You may get them to pay for a new car. Hopefully.

        Just wrote on your post! Sorry again about the accident but glad you’re not hurt badly.

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  5. oops.. i meant to say i wonder if King Edward ever stood on the balcony with Wallis Simpson.. it really would have been a royal scandal if King George was there with Wallis Simpson!

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  6. So much of your desire to travel is familiar to me Boots. I have had the good fortune of being able to travel to France, both with my family, and alone, several times over the years. My first trip to Paris was as a tourist going to the Louvre and riding a tourist bus. Later, I would fly to London or Brussels week after week for work, sometimes staying over weekends and taking the TGV to Paris. I would fly from Chicago or New York to Europe. I have this fleeting memory that makes me wonder if you helped me find my seat on one of those flights!

    Paris is a place of magic. I had a friend at the time who worked at the Prince de Galles hotel. The hotel had been designed and built for the Princes of Wales, who became King Edward VIII. My friend was able to place me in the suite designed especially for the prince’s visit to Paris. You will remember the story of this prince. He was the king who abdicated the British throne in order to marry the American socialite, Wallis Simpson. The brother who took his place on the throne was King George VI who was the subject of the movie, ‘The King’s Speech’. I was told that Winston Churchill had stayed in the same suite. I was alone on this trip and yet I felt surrounded by these great ghosts. I had this sense of melancholy as I stood alone on the balcony looking at the street below. I wondered if King George ever stood there with Wallis Simpson, pondering, as they looked down on the streets of Paris.

    There was another time when my wife and daughter traveled to France during Thanksgiving with my daughter’s eighth grade class. I wasn’t able to join their group as a chaperone, but I was able to be in France at the same time. So, I arranged my itinerary so that I could meet them at some of their destinations. The kids in my daughter’s class thought it was pretty hilarious that her dad just seemed to randomly appear at these landmarks in France! I had a great time alternating between being with my family and being on my own. I had a chance during this trip to stay, albeit alone again, in a magnificent hotel called the Trianon Palace Versailles. This is a Waldorf Astoria property which is located adjacent to the summer home of Napoleon’s wife Josephine on the grounds of the Palace of Versailles.

    Life is filled with much that is unexpected and can be painful and seemingly arbitrary. You have certainly lived this reality. Perhaps it’s the travel that lets us step outside of our own lives for just a moment and to look at the world from a different perspective. Travel can certainly help one shape a narrative of their own place in life. It is truly great fortune to have a family and home, and yet still be able to travel and see this wonderful world.

    Thanks for your great pictures and stories of Paris!

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    1. What an interesting story Larry! The closest we’ve experienced to this is when we were in New York with the kids years ago and checked in to Waldorf Astoria. We were delayed for hours and when we got there, they didn’t have the room we requested and put us in a really small room with only one bed. But the next day, they upgraded us to a mini suite, free buffet breakfasts, and the manager gave us a tour to the suites where JFK stayed. The kids even sat on the rocking chair he sat on. The other suite was where Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie stayed (not quite as interesting as the JFK suite though).

      Traveling is something that I need in my life. Without it, I’m not sure if I can survive at all. When I came back from my last trip, I felt different—much more relaxed and happier.

      Please don’t forget to blog often. Really enjoyed reading your last post!

      Thanks, Larry!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Sometimes those experiences that are a little disappointing at first turn into some of the best memories. I always like the ‘JFK or Brad & Angelina’ kind of stories. They give some historical context to places that you visit! That room upgrade at the Waldorf must have been really fun and exciting for you and your family!

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  7. This post touched me deeply. I’m sorry to hear about the many challenges in your life right now but am inspired by how you have risen to the occasion. Keep marching forward!

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    1. Thank you so much Seun! You don’t know how much you’ve inspired me when I saw your movie with James Chippendale. You didn’t let the cancer drag you down instead you kept going and instead showed all of us how life should be lived. You are a role model and an inspiration! Thank you again!

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