March 10th, 11th, 12th
“Not all those who wander are lost”– J. R. R. Tolkien
I would admit at the beginning that I’m not really good at traveling. I’m not good at planning my day ahead of time and I’m even worse at following my plan throughout the day. Also, I never have the best luck when I’m traveling: I would arrive at the bus stop to find that my bus has just left; if I decide to turn left at a crossroad, I would soon discover that Comédie Francaise (the place I’m looking for) is in the opposite direction; if I decide to not bring an umbrella today, it would definitely rain, but if I did bring one, it never rains; in the worst case scenario, I’ll finally arrive at a place I longed to visit to find it closed for the day or even the season. When I travel, there’s simply too many unexpected “accidents” and too little time to plan ahead for all of them. I will admit that many of these accidents happened because of my own fault: because I’m really bad at navigating, or because I forgot to check the museum website for open hours. Yet, there are times when nature plays tricks on me, like today when a heavy shower hit while I was enjoying the sun and the statues at Jardin Tuileries.
A statue at the Jardin Tuileries just before the storm
Yet, I would say, despite my lack of skill and general misfortune as a traveler, I do possess one important gift: making the best out of my situation. For example, when the sudden rain forced me to alter my plan to enjoy the Jardin Tuileries, I found myself not distressed, but glad that I could take some time to myself and enjoy a pot of tea at the small café in the garden. When I found that I have run out of time to visit another private museum today, I found myself happily wandering into churches that are not even on my original list of places to visit. To be honest, these impromptu visits often bring me the most joy and excitement.
The impressive dome at Église Notre-Dame de l’Assomption (the church I wandered into)
Interior of La Madeleine
My favorites at the Musée de l’Orangerie
I believe these accidents and wandering is the best part of traveling alone. Because I’m not afraid to be lost and to wander, I can travel to a broader horizon without getting afraid. I wonder and discover, knowing that I’ll find my way at the end. And perhaps, I will find a new part of me on the way.
Weekend adventure to Fontainebleau
Some Gallo-Romain artifacts at Château de Saint-Germain (Le Musée d’Archéologie nationale)
Alexandre Dumas père’s study
Exterior and interior of Alexandre Dumas père’s house Le château de Monte Cristo
I’m grateful to be in Paris, a city where I can wander aimlessly and still be awed. I’m even more thankful for having enough time to “waste” in such a breathtaking city!