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A little less than a year ago, I went to Paris. It really changed the way I look at beauty and awakened a sense of travel, as well as a new sense of self. It was my first time traveling so far from my Ohio home — alone, with a group of classmates who I barely knew. It was amazing to me how fast these near-strangers became forever friends. As cliché and overused this phrase is, I truly had the time of my life. I’ll never forget it. I don’t think I have memories any more vivid than those of Paris. I proved a lot to myself during that trip: even with my disability, I could wander and travel and fly over oceans upon oceans. I could wander the streets and…thrive. It wasn’t just a luxurious trip…it was an adventure.
So here I am, waxing nostalgic; missing the markets, the mussels, that random time we went to see The Hunger Games hours before our friends in the United States were able to. I’m remembering the Louvre, the metro, the first real train ride I’ve ever taken. The perfect timing of my 21st birthday right before the trip. Hence the wine. The photography. The croissants and Nutella for breakfast. My odd obsession with photographing every Starbucks I came across. Versailles. The cherry blossoms and the tulips. How much my French improved during the course of the trip. And the walking. All the walking. The bizarre walk through the Catacombs. The scarves. The people. Kissing the tomb of Oscar Wilde for good luck in love. The language barrier. Climbing to the top of the Arc de Triomphe and The Notre Dame. The gargoyles. And even more walking. And coffee. Coffee. Coffee. How cold it was at the top of the Eiffel Tour at night. The most laughing I’ve ever done. And a few tears here and there. I soaked up every minute of it. It was so much more than I expected.
For the first time in my life, I was an adventurer; I was an explorer. Two roles I never thought I’d be able to play. Sure, my feet hurt worse than they ever had before and sometimes I was crippled with pain, but it was a satisfying pain. I’d never experienced that before. I imagine it’s the same sense of pain that a laboring mother goes through — I was laboring a new sense of self; a new sense of independence. I am forever grateful to Paris and its people. In honor of the approaching anniversary of my Paris trip, I’ve chosen a few favorite photos from my time there.
Click the link below to have a look!