Ailsa’s travel theme this week is the sensational concept of time. I am huge on reflection and when I thought of the subject of time, I brought myself back twenty years to where I was then and where I will be in a month’s time: Lovely Paris.
I spent a semester abroad in Paris during my junior year in 1993. It was a pivotal time in my life. A moment in time that changed me and made me who I am today. You see, I took a chance. I boarded a plane with nine months worth of stuff packed inside my suitcase and moved across the ocean, in a day well before the internet could keep you in touch with home.
It was one of the best experiences of my life. I have so many beautiful memories of spending Spring in Paris at the ripe, youthful age of 21. I will never forget my dad’s poignant words, “The world is your oyster“. Those words still are held deep within my heart, twenty years later, as I prepare for the passing of time and the future before me.
Following are some of the few photos taken during my life in Paris. Remember it was 1993, well before digital cameras and every picture I took I had to develop and carry around with me in my backpack. Sadly, I don’t have many photos but I do have memories and stories all written inside my journals.
The quotes I’m including below are all written down inside my 20-year-old travel journals. They were used to inspire me and one thing I’ve discovered is twenty years later, I’m still inspired by the very same words. I’ve grown older, matured and have come into understanding myself, yet my inspiration and joie de vivre still remain unchanged with time. Now that is encouraging! Let’s see where the next twenty or forty lead. Carpe Diem.
“Pass through the door when it opens. It is time to make your own dreams come true”. – Stephen Paul
“Refresh yourself continually by doing those things that you love”. – S.Paul
“The more spontaneous you become, the more alive you will feel”. -S. Paul
“To live your life with integrity requires that you never forget who you are”. – S. Paul
“Your laughter will bring joy back into the world”. -S. Paul
While paging through my journal dated Fall 1993, I found a copy of a poem written inside the cover. It was one of my favorite poems that I had taped up on my wall in my dorm room. It was there as a reminder to slow myself down and stop studying so darn hard trying to be an over-achiever. I used to stress out so much and didn’t take the time to stop and smell the roses or pick more daisies.
I am so thankful to say that twenty years later, I have no regrets and I don’t worry that I’d have to pick more daisies.
“I’d Pick More Daisies” – anonymous
If I had my life to live over, I’d try to make more mistakes next time. I would relax. I would limber up. I would be sillier than I have been this trip. I know very few things that I would take seriously. I would be crazier, I would be less hygienic. I would take more chances. I would take more trips. I would climb more mountains, swim more rivers, and watch more sunsets. I would burn more gasoline. I would eat more ice cream and fewer beans. I would have more actual troubles than imaginary ones.
You see, I am one of those people who lives prophetically and sensibly and sanely, hour after hour, day after day.
Oh, I have had my moments, and if I had to do it all again, I’d have more of them.
In fact, I’d try to have nothing else. Just moments, one after another, instead of living so many years ahead of each day.
I have been one of those people who never goes anywhere without a thermometer, hot water bottle, a raincoat and a parachute.
If I had to do it all over again, I’d start barefooted earlier in the spring and stay that way later in the fall. I would play hooky more. I wouldn’t get such good grades except by accident. I would ride on more merry-go-rounds. I’d pick more daisies….
Paris, I’ll see you in a month! Can hardly wait to revisit and remark on how my life has changed and grown over the last twenty years. Paris, j’arrive….
This post was inspired by Where’s my Backpack’s Travel Theme: Time. To read more entries, click here. Thanks Ailsa for the inspiration and reflection!