I have to constantly remind myself of the rich rewards that await us.
Because the truth is, this planning stage is a ROYAL PAIN.
Anxiety about what to pack, how to get to the airport,
booking the least-worst flight, finding the best
accommodations for the money .....
It's one big fat, monotonous hassle.
Annoying thoughts keep running through my head -
"What if we miss our connecting flight?"
"Why do I have to leave such a large security deposit?"
"How do we keep our roaming fees in check?"
This is dangerous work.
But Travel Hell will ultimately be Travel Paradise, I know that.
It eventually works itself out.
I can leave Oscar the Travel Grouch behind and
embody my Maria-von-Trapp-on-the-mountain-moment.
Patience and practice does not just apply to piano skills.
The Paris Payoff is worth the climb.
By now, you probably realize it's love of Paris
that makes us do this drill again and again.
“You know you're in love when you can't fall asleep
because reality is finally better than your dreams.”
I'm not referring to food -- although that pleasure will come soon
enough -- rather the first taste of the city, the a-ha moment
when you grasp the grand scheme of what this fair city offers.
Huge doses of attitude, architecture, food, wine,
historical perspective....Take your pick.
Love at first bite.
As our Paris blueprint continues to take shape, I realize even as
experienced travelers we should focus on fresh discoveries, continually
searching out unfamiliar places, new revelations, and untried tastes.
It's only natural to sometimes try to re-live some of our Paris favorites again.
We've spent the last year glued to our photo memories and journal, re-living it all.
But then travel wisdom sets in to remind me it's time to get out the map
and head to untrodden territory we've not yet had a chance to see.
Find an original viewpoint and look for the story behind the story.
Friends ask why we keep going to Paris.
"Haven't you seen just about everything?"
No, definitely not.
We only have one lifetime to to try.
It's my job to put the WOW in our trip.
I want it all of course.
Time and money, that all-too-familiar refrain, make for a frustrating puzzle.
And boo, hiss --- we can't do everything.
Every dreary detail counts when all I want to do
is to think about the cheese course.
Time spent planning is time well spent.
Detailing every little aspect of each day is absurd
but I know it's wise to have an overall master game plan.
Travel planning is a balancing act, a circus high-wire.
The tightrope you walk when you chart your course is not without a net.
Remember, if things don't work out as planned,
it's not the end of the world -- and you may, in fact,
unearth a new perspective you hadn't even thought of.
Boo-boos are a reason to laugh and learn.
We try to balance a wealth of options, looking for the full 360-degree view.
Intensely scrutinizing the surplus of entertainment opportunities, we
divide our time between museums, food markets, antique markets,
neighborhood walks, parks, and all things we feel passionate about.
Make sure you read about your options before you leave town.
And then prepare to swim against the tide if need be.
Blueprint Paris also includes the fight I have with myself
every year about what shoes to pack.
My favorite travel guru, Rick Steves, insists a good traveler
should only pack two pair -- comfort is key.
Rick, you've taught me everything I know about travel
and I sincerely appreciate your advice--- but no,
a girl's gotta have some swag on her feet.
"Give a girl the right shoes, and she can conquer the world."
And don't get me started on lotions and potions.
The TSA is not cooperating.
Think ahead about the basics and make it work.
Give your beauty regime a break and think sunscreen & simplicity.
After all, it's Paris.
You'll feel like Audrey Hepburn even if you don't look like her.
Travel writer Paul Theroux once famously said,
"Travel is glamorous only in retrospect."
Most importantly, picture yourself in Paris.
Expect sunny days but consider what you'll do when it rains.
Pull out your Ile de France map and choose a day-trip.
Even if you never get around to it, it's healthy to plan
a bit of time away from the city -- perhaps an easy RER
ride away to a suburb like Rambouillet or Saint-Germain-en-Laye.
Have faith that it will all work out.
"Believe you can and you're half way there."
And in the end, just make it FUN!
"I want to shake off the dust of this one-horse town.
I want to explore the world.
I want to watch tv in a different time zone.
I want to visit strange, exotic malls."
My nose always thinks our local grocery store smells funny.
Seriously, there's a readjustment period as soon as we unpack our suitcases.
Of course, it's great to catch up on what we've missed with
friends, family, tv, and a closet full of shoes,
but the pull of Paris still strikes deep in the heart.
Reading my journal helps as do all the photo memories,
but still, there's only one cure.
Start all over again with a new plan.
Blueprint Paris is the sure cure for all that ails.
READY, SET, GO!