The strangest thing happened on the plane to Paris. I realized that I was leaving one part of my life behind, like discarding a well worn, favorite dress when it is beyond the point of wearing. This can be either too small, too large, worn with holes, or simply not right anymore.
This dress, we’ll call it, has become that which I hold on to and use to define me. I am not sure where I can go without it, who I will be, or meet. But I do know that it has been 10 years since I have spent a month traveling in Europe. I am even using the same backpack I got in 2001. This trip is almost like the marker on a decade of my life. No. Exactly like that. What it will do to me? How it will change me? Or will it make me more the same?
Something else you should know is that I can’t sleep on planes. I can’t sleep in cars, or trains, or buses either. What this means is that I watched four movies over the span of 10 hours. It also means that when we experienced turbulence over the rocky mountains, I wept, exhausted and nervous, echoing the first trip I took to England when the plane almost fell from the sky in a lightening storm. I memorized French words, like nuit (night) and poupee (doll), and most Importantly I contemplated where I had been and where I was headed.
I promised myself I would write everyday of the trip. I decided to say all the words around me, read every French sign, and try to speak to people in their language. I promised myself I would visit my mother’s birthplace in Normandy.
As I sit writing in the very same Parisian hotel, hotel du nesle, that I stayed in 10 years before, up too early for the wine I drank last night, listening to the garbage truck outside and the subtle movements of A in the bed, I can honestly say that I am exactly where I want to be.