Clive and I depart in about a month for our next trip to Paris, England, and the U.S. We’ll be spending seventy-three nights away from our home in Sydney.
Fourteen of them will be in Paris.
Only fourteen will be in Paris. How can this be? How can we be away for seventy-three nights and only spend fourteen in Paris?
There are Others to Consider
The short answer is: Clive and I have family we want to see, in both the U.S. and England. We’re not spending more time away because we also have family here in Australia.
Clive’s father is in his 89th year in England, and my parents are approaching their mid-80’s in the U.S. We also want to see my son, who is now an independent adult in Washington, D.C.
All of them, along with additional family and friends in both countries, want to see us. As all ex-pats know, it’s impossible to keep everyone happy when you visit, but we try our best to see as many people as time and schedules permit.
We also both love to travel, and try to explore at least one new place on each trip. This time we’re going to Wales. I’m excited to see a new country, walk in the Snowdonia region, and visit Hay-on-Wye, a book town I first heard about via Sam’s comment (thank you, Sam!) on my post ‘Travel and Books, Part 5: Where We Find Them’.
And always, always, I wish we had more time in Paris.
A Hungry Heart
According to Bruce Springsteen, everybody’s got one, and my heart is hungry for Paris.
Two weeks in Paris is nothing less than wonderful. So what’s my problem?
I’ve had a lifelong love affair with Paris, so much so that ten years ago, I spent my life savings to buy a small apartment there, even though my parents and others told me it was crazy.
The way we have allocated our priorities for this trip feels to me like:
As I always do, I said to Clive, “We have no time in Paris.” He pointed out nearly twenty per cent of our trip will be spent there. Our trip in reality looks like:
My feelings may not match reality, but I think, and hope, my fellow bloggers and others who read here understand. Many of you are either living in Paris and loving it, or dreaming, as I do, of someday living there for an extended period.
I Have, I Have Not
Early last year, a group of my close women friends in Sydney did the following exercise: for ten minutes, write down a list of what you have and have not done in your life.
Write everything that comes to mind, with no editing.
The outcome is said to be insight into your life’s most important concerns, dreams, and patterns.
For me there were two big ‘I have nots’:
1. I hadn’t figured out what to do about my mother’s deteriorating health and need for additional medical care. Some of this was addressed a few months later, somewhat unexpectedly, with her hospitalisation and move to assisted living, but I still want to see her often.
2. I have not lived in Paris for any significant period of time. Only once have I visited there for more than ten days, and that was seventeen years ago.
I’m Working on It
Last year I left the corporate fast track that for many years tied me to limited vacation days and demanded near-24/7 availability, even when on holidays.
Since then, Clive and I have planned our travel so — despite my constant refrain, “we have no time in Paris” — we have actually increased the number of days we spend there each trip. We’re going in the right direction.
I adore Sydney, too, and have always envisioned some kind of ‘follow the sun’ ideal, spending half the year at our home in Sydney and the other half at the apartment in Paris, enabling us to more easily visit the U.S. and England from our base in Europe.
What is life, if not work in progress? As all families do, we juggle responsibilities, expectations of ourselves and others, and our dreams.
I am thankful to be in a position to spend fourteen days in Paris, and can’t wait to get there.