So much can happen in a year. This time 12 months ago I was wandering around Paris with two jet-lagged children and horrendous nausea from a tiny soul growing inside me. My husband and I were lost. Struggling to balance our need for freedom with the demands of modern life. So we just left. We realised we could do that. Just leave. We pulled the kids out of school and found ourselves wandering around Paris in the middle of winter. Not all who wander are lost, but we were. This picture captures that moment perfectly.
Paris didn't fix our problems, we didn't think it would, but it helped remind us that we are not trees. We can move, change, shift and adjust. We are socially and economically bound to imaginary tethers. This seems to magnify with children. Home loans, school, friends, family, work, timelines, schedules, it never ends. It was too much, I desperately wanted change, but I was scared. I had fallen into the trap of watching life happen around me. As John Lennon sang, "Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans". Unfortunately none of my other plans were igniting my soul, they were actually slowly extinguishing the little spark I had left.
Einstein said, "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results". This quote has always resonated with me. Paris was definately not the same thing. We left an Aussie summer and flew to a European winter, no plan, no timeline. Initially it was very bad. We were tired, confused and homesick, I thought I had made a terrible mistake. But slowly I realised it was actually strengthening us. With no routine and no noisy distractions, (this was partly because we had no cable and our French isn't great), we had to communicate. We couldn't ignore fights, mostly through sheer necessity, we only had each other.
Walking the Seine at 4am (jet lag), huddling in a tiny cafe to avoid the rain and drinking hot chocolate. Our comfort zone was non existent. Our routine was obliterated. It was a whole new ball game and no one knew the rules. We had to get over problems, we had to forgive and forget. Everything was magnified, there was no escaping each other.
Anyone that travels knows the struggle to remain patient with your travel buddies. This is somewhat magnified with a 7-year-old boy who has just done the long haul in economy. The rules, however, are always the same: stay kind, stay patient and stay respectful. Not always easy when you are also exhausted. So if all else fails, remember there is always chocolate!
Eventually we found ourselves in Scotland surrounded by family and friends, but that is another story. This one is just to remind anyone who is stuck, you are not a tree. Change is scary, that's why travel explodes the soul. Perhaps Paris was a bit extreme, but you get the idea...x