...Don't let nearly 30 years go by before returning to France.
2010 was an anomaly. Post-corporate layoff, I decided to sell my home in NY and move South.
I found a wonderful place and I'm all settled in, ahead of the 'schedule' that I'd envisioned. Before the holiday hoo ha and hubbub, and before fully embarking on the jobhunt, I took a trip to France. I bookended a previously planned cooking class, and so my vacation became the perfect 19 day getaway. Brittany, the Loire Valley, then Paris. Indulgent--yes, but I am so much more aware of TIME now, and that it can't be bought back.
27 years ago, I flung my 21 year old self to Iceland and Turkey, with 16 countries in between, for as long as $4000 would last me. A bit over 5 months. I had a backpack, money belt with cash and traveler's checks, passport, Eurailpass, my camera and lots of film, a fat orange copy of Let's Go Europe, and some onion skin airmail stationery for letters home. I told my family when I thought I'd be in a certain city, and lo and behold there'd be MAIL waiting for me at the American Express office! I called home from the Post Office in Istanbul, on the 4th Thursday in November and said, "I'm in Turkey for Thanksgiving, get it?!" That night I had a shish kebab and yogurt soup, for about $1.
After 19 days in France, I was happy to return to North Carolina. The airport, with it's ficus trees and big rocking chairs, is easy to navigate. The Fall leaves were still blazing orange, the roads are lined with pine trees, not strip malls and litter. I didn't miss New York, and when the cab pulled up in front of my new house, I knew I was HOME!