Monday, January 21, 2013

Paris: Picture It Gorgeous

I went to Paris in October and it was everything I expected and beyond. It is truly a beautiful city. There are many things to love about Paris-the food, the language, the art, the sophistication-and I loved all those things; however, it was Paris's antique beauty and architecture that drew me in so deeply. Take a look at these pictures. None of these are typical tourist sites and still they're beautiful.

The street where my hotel was located. Paris is full of balconies

No clue where we were, but I loved the buildings.

I loved the trees lining this busy street and building full of patios. Patios are my weakness.

Strolling through Marais and just took  a snap of this gorgeous church.

A fun looking street in Marais.

After you take your eyes off my friend, Melody look at the beautiful street she's standing on!
Caught a side street glimpse of the Eiffel Tower. Amazing.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Dreams of Paris-Possible Cure for Job Loss

My 35th birthday was approaching and I decided that the perfect way to spend it was in Paris, France. I had been falling more and more in love with the idea of Paris as I watched French films. I also talked to a few people who visited and I was so ready go for myself. I figured what better time to enjoy Paris than for my birthday. My first international trip! However, there was a major problem: I was unemployed. 
 I had been laid off from my teaching position since July 2011 and it was now December. I was jobless with bills to pay, but strangely nonchalant about being unemployed. The fact is that the job had become an emotional burden. So, instead of fear and depression I chose to be optimistic and almost irrationally certain that I would be fine.
Anyway, I put together a vision board and glued a picture of a suitcase and the words "Paris" on it. I also went to Costco and bought educational software to learn French. I told people that I was going to France; I started doing research on what to do, where to stay, and what to see while in Paris. I read, borrowed books at the library, and scoured the web.
I look back and I really think that my determination to go to Paris was a great motivator. The idea of taking a trip to Paris gave me something else to focus on besides finding work or being out of work.  Many times when something seemingly negative and frightening happens in life, we become consumed by it.  I've learned that it helps to visualize what we desire during these dark periods. By choosing to think not only of a job, but also of traveling to Paris-a dream trip- I think I avoided a negative spiral of obsessive worries about the future. 
I got a great job in March 2012. I paid for my trip in July 2012.  I turned 35 October 19th in Paris. 

Yours truly in Paris

Monday, January 14, 2013

Movies That Make You Want to Buy A Plane Ticket

A few of these might be debatable for you and I'm completely open to that. Share your thoughts with me, but don't deny me my rhapsodizing about a few of my favorite movies that make me want to book a vacation immediately.

Midnight In Paris

The opening is a sequence of shots of Paris streets and locales so lush that I immediately wished I was a train ride away. You can tell that Woody Allen loves Paris just by the way he conveys the city's easy beauty and nonchalant sophistication. It also doesn't hurt that this movie shut up the critics that thought Woody had finally capped out on great stories. Not at all. It's a real treat.

Under The Tuscan Sun

This movie sealed it for me. I'm going to Italy. There's nothing more to say.

Vickie Christina Barcelona

I'm not trying to show any bias to Woody Allen, but the man is very good at getting the best shots of a film's locale.Plus, this is a really good movie.

Midnight In the Garden of Good and Evil

Whatever you think of this movie you have to admit that Savannah, Georgia's Southern charm is on full display. Maybe it's the movie, but it also seems to have a dark, eerie mystique, right? I need to make my way there to see.


I have to mention this one again as inspiration and please don't kill me if you're sick of hearing about it, but this is truly a great movie, and it captures Paris's beauty and spirit so well. Actress Audrey Tautou jumps off the screen. If you've never seen it, then please do so. Notice the fabulous use of color in the film which is pure genius.

Have any recommendations for me? Please leave a comment. I love a good movie especially if it will add to my list of places that I must visit.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Three Advantages of Solo Travel

I never considered traveling alone until I actually did it. I was so driven to visit New York that I took a leap of faith and went by myself. If you haven’t already taken a trip alone, then maybe if I tell you the three things I learned from my solo trip I can convince you.

You Might Get Special Treatment

During my solo trip to NYC, I think I received a few perks because of my solitary status. Well, and my ability to handle cold weather. A Garment District shopping tour that I purchased was refunded in full because everyone else cancelled because it was “too cold.” The tour company was wonderful and offered me my money back AND scheduled two private appointments for me with Linda Richards, a coat designer, and Elizabeth Gillette, an accessories designer known for her beautiful scarves. Everyone was so gracious and sweet to me. I felt like The Duchess with all the personal attention. 

Later I got a great seat on Broadway to see Mama Mia.  I just popped into the theater one day and the ticket agent asked me twice if I was alone and when I said yes, he said, “Oh, well, I can get you a good seat for little money.” And, that’s what he did. I sat smack dab in the center with a great view for only $60. I could see the cast members’ pores from my seat.  It’s easier to give special accommodations to one person rather than a few.
"My" theater on Broadway

It Gives You Freedom to Do What You Want

One evening I was trying to go to the Metropolitan Museum of Art which unfortunately was closed, but I kept walking and somehow landed at the Museum of Arts and Design. I figured why not, so I went in. The exhibits were so creative, so imaginative that I couldn’t believe some of it was real. I actually saw a dress knitted out of money. I saw another sculpture made out of wire racks.  I don’t know if there was anyone in my life at the time that would have been as thrilled as I was at finding such an unexpected treat. The good thing is that it didn’t matter. I was free to explore.

 It Can Be a Revelation

I almost missed going to New York because my friends weren’t on board.  When the opportunity arose everything about it was ideal except that they didn’t want to go. The flight was affordable, the hotel was a steal, and I had the vacation time.  Yet without my friends, I started to second guess myself: "maybe it isn't that big of a deal to go to New York."  "Will New York really be fun alone?" But the more I reflected on it, eventually the truth emerged: I didn’t want to wait. I wanted to take advantage at that moment.  That trip was one of the best life experiences I’ve ever had.  While I was there I realized how much I relied on my friends for approval. That trip was the catalyst toward building my confidence and identity separate from my friends.  I began to need them less for validation, less for contentment, and less for acceptance.

Have you taken a trip alone? Tell me about it. Are you thinking of taking a solo trip, but on the fence? Talk to me about. Or, read this great article on traveling solo.