“Being in an unfamiliar place can lead to personal change, renewal, and discoveries . . . It disrupts routine and day-to-day environmental cues that may be limiting or flat-out unhealthy. indeed, my aim wasn’t to master Paris. It was to master myself: to learn how a little alone time can change your life—in any city.” —Stephanie Rosenbloom, Alone Time: Four Seasons, Four Cities and the Pleasures of Solitude
Each journey we take whether it be to a foreign land or the journey of our everyday lives through this vast world of dynamic cultural change requires of us each to step forward, to engage. To become a player, a participant, someone who has the courage to be proactive which requires a bit of risk as the presence of the unknown is a permanent even though it may take different forms.
As I have been reading Stephanie Rosenbloom’s book I couldn’t help but appreciate the serendipity of its publication. It was in 2011 I put on my dream list to do something I will officially have the opportunity to partake in next week (stay tuned – Instagram will be the first place I share, but I will also share here on the blog), and it was two years ago that I knew it would be a reality I could officially begin to let my excitement build in anticipation.
Trips of any sort for the traveler offer the opportunity to experience amazing gifts – some we expect and some unexpected. Traveling alone offers its own gifts as Rosenbloom reminds – the opportunity to power down, provide restoration, to care for ourselves as only we know how, to explore and define who we are, to experiment, to attain self-actualization, to problem solve, to think deeply and independently and to find fulfillment.
The traveler who travels alone need not spend every minute alone; in fact, there are many moments with others – many times the strangers of the culture or fellow travelers who happen to cross our paths will share in moments, but when we meet up with friends we know who live in other countries or who now live in distant lands, we experience them in a different setting and they us.
It can be far simpler for a traveler contemplating a solo excursion to quail and pass up an opportunity to hop on a jet plane or train or rent that car to travel across the country when they know they will not have a permanent companion. But our fullest self, our best self, needs us to heed the voice that begins to do the “happy dance” when the mere mention of our favorite place in the world is uttered. Our being needs to see with our own eyes what we think we know, so that when we do come to know, we can process with more accuracy and reach a better understanding of what we have accepted as truth about the world and what we need to adjust.
In a similar vein, in order to be open to what we might discover, we need to while allowing ourselves to become exuberant about the upcoming journey also be flexible to what will be shared with us when we do choose to engage.
“To anticipate is to court joy, to fall in love with a place the way it is in a book or a movie or an Eartha Kitt song. But to stay open to the unexpected is to embrace anticipation —to know that it serves its purpose before the journey begins and must then be set aside for reality, for whatever beautiful, strange, unpredictable thing awaits when we step off the ferry.” —Stephanie Rosenbloom
So now after two years of planning and a total of six years of dreaming and anticipating, and I will be doing my best to remain open to “whatever is beautiful, strange, unpredictable thing awaits when” I step off the jet plane in Paris.
Join me during my travels by following along on Instagram or stopping by the blog regularly. Four things that I can guarantee will happen when it comes to posting and sharing: (1) there will be a new podcast episode each Monday (June 25th is the annual Ask Shannon episode!); (2) This & That will be brand new each Friday; (3) the weekly newsletter will be sent to subscribers each Friday morning (subscribe here); and (4) I will post daily on Instagram Stories.
And now to sleep and awake in France. À bientôt!
~View TSLL previous posts from her French travels here.
~View more TSLL Travel posts here