Next weekend I'll be on my way to Paris for a few days, including an overnight flight, with an early morning stopover in Ireland. I went to Paris, about ten years ago, and my experience was primarily touristy: (you know Eiffel tower, Moulin Rouge, etc.) it was fun but this time I'm hoping to get a lot more of a local experience, which is going to be very easy because instead of a hotel it's an apartment that I'm renting for a few days, via Air BNB. I speak basic, intermediate French, and I'm kind of rusty but I'm not only travelling with someone, but I'm travelling with someone that knows as much French as I do; we can fake our way through it, and make similar mistakes, together!
Every since I started writing for Lokafy, and became emotionally invested in their work, I've yearned to not only travel more, but get the local experience, whenever I travel. For some reason my identity as someone in their twenties, makes people who are no longer in their twenties either impose their judgements and values, or encourage me to travel as much as I possibly can. Even people who are currently in their twenties are saying the same thing!
My first introduction to travel happened really young. I saw a lot of Canada by a really young age, and I had my first solo airplane trip by age 16. Those travel experiences profoundly influenced not only my love of writing, and my writing overall, but my love of reading. It made me a lot more curious about the world around me, and most importantly it made me want to go outside the comfort zone of my introverted bubble, and meet people, diverse people, as many of them as I possibly could.
A lot of the writers that have influenced my writing, over the long term, were either born and raised in France, or lived in France, at some point in their careers. As a result I recall a jokey conversation between my boyfriend and I about how there will likely be an entire section in my memoir one day, about the "Paris Phase" of my work. Honestly he's probably right! Both of us are now really into French pop of the 1960s, and we're going to visit the Serge Gainsbourg memorial site, that Serge's daughter Charlotte set-up,as a celebration of Serge's legacy.
I've always been deeply fascinated by French culture, from the moment I first learned about the French revolution, and saw some of Francois Truffaut's movies. I've read about, seen movies, listened to songs, etc that talk about the good and the bad of French culture. I guess it's a culture I just get cause it's got a reputation of being pretty Liberal overall, and their approach to everything from sexuality, to art is definitely an approach that I deeply respect.
As I get ready for the approaching trip to Paris I hope to not only get a pretty good, cultural impression of France, despite the language barrier, but to take some time, to remind myself of the things that got me into writing in the first place. Lately I've been deeply immersed in the business side, and that's okay, but I want to set aside some time for the more creative side of writing. In Paris I'll spend a couple days immersed in a culture that influenced many of my favourite writers and intellectuals, and I'm hopeful that it will positively influence my work. I'm staying in an apartment, in the artsy, gay district of Paris, so if not at least there will be lots to do, that will most likely be appealing and affordable, without being too touristy. On a related note here's a great video on what not to do in France, that I found today: