I enjoy traveling, most of the time. Rather, I enjoy being on vacation, most of the time. I enjoy experiencing new places. I love it, actually, and wish I did it a lot more often, and the older I get, the more I realize that I wasted a lot of time in my youth not going to other places.
The problem, of course, has to do with the transportation part of things. It’s a fairly complex problem in that it has many layers. But that’s a story about a dilemma for another day.
One thing I know is that I need to start seeing other places — places which are new to me — soon. For my birthday, I put on my wish list:
- a passport (because the last time I left the country, when I was in college, all you needed was a birth certificate)
- a trip to someplace where I could have an adventure
- an adventure worth taking pictures of
I’m making my summer plans now.
One place I will probably not get to this year — but which I would love love love to see — is France. Paris in particular. Since I was little, the place has always held a fascination for me, perhaps because my mother is part French. Le français was the first foreign language I ever had enough real working knowledge of to be practical and useful. I began learning it in earnest, starting with the ad copy on the backs of cereal boxes at breakfast — on a trip to a village near Montréal when I was twelve. Things bloomed from there, and by eleventh grade I was reading Les Misérables in its original and acting in a short French play for academic competitions.
I am aggrieved to say that after a couple of decade with little practice, I now need help to translate with any quick accuracy. Some days it feels I have wasted whole swaths of my life.
What places have inspired you? I’d love to know about them. Leave your thoughts — including a short poem about them, if you wish — in the comments below.
Tour Eiffel: Four Images, Six Lines (Paris, 2013)
A blackboned skeleton dreams of molten blood.
Demigod of a godless age.
Last great structure before reason’s decline.
Misappropriated alien beacon,
would skin warm your iconic form?
You expose your bones and leave us to conjure flesh.