A couple of years ago I decided it was time to get my butt off this continent and finally go to Europe. Paris, specifically, had been on my mind for a long time. The desire was cemented during a conversation with my 89-year-old Grandmother who had always wanted to go and didn’t. Now she can’t because of health issues and age. Our conversation sparked this poem and I began planning.
The trip would be solo — my husband wasn’t interested in Europe and honestly, solo travel feels good now and then. Traveling alone to new places, I believe, makes us/me stronger permanently. It builds mind muscle and develops new synapses where there were once only ideas and dreams. Like art, cultural experience is life. Solo travel can feel like concentrated color or light — the focus is entirely different.
So I built a two-week trip around a three-day street photography workshop in Paris with amazing photographer Valerie Jardin. Meeting her was like meeting a hero and a celebrity crush all at once. In fact, one day while out shooting, a woman (I believe she was from Australia) recognized Valerie on the street and had a similar reaction. Learning from her and getting to know an incredible group of photographers from around the world was priceless. I’m so thankful for the experience that took me from my Portland, Oregon USA home to Seattle, WA to a four-day stopover in Iceland and on to Paris. The most expensive part of the trip was the flight and the workshop. I saved money by staying at a guesthouse in Iceland, a budget hotel in France & hunting down affordable food options like grocery store wine & cheese and the world’s best hot dogs at Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur, a little street stand in Reykjavik, Iceland. Travel is expensive, but good planning and putting a true cultural experience above “tourism” can help make it affordable.
Don’t wait. Just don’t.
A few images from the distant and “cobblestoned” roads…..