3:30 a.m. I probably shouldn’t read travel journals before bed. The excitement (and an aching shoulder) keep me awake. The journey. Paris. The details. How will I get to my apartment? My apartment!! I will live in Paris for just over a week. Rue Cler market near my new home. The little details swirl through my head. Can you drink the water? How will I avoid pickpockets? Bus or taxi? Will the drivers speak English?
I see myself rolling my suitcase through the cobblestone streets. Lost or exploring? If I take the Air France bus, my stop will be the Arc de Triomphe. How perfect! It must be done. The grand adventure, awaited a lifetime, coming so quickly. Too soon? No. It is time.
The “before” details. Hair appointment. Pedicure. The right bag. A new journal. Shall I take my favorite pen? Absolutement! I need another camera card. A money pouch. Xerox my documents. Print out instructions. Contact Tess.
What will I plan and what will I simply allow to happen? The surprise. Oh my goodness!! The surprise and adventure of it all. My French is inadequate, but it will be fine. Little movies run through my head. I am encouraged by Alice Steinbach—another woman traveling alone. Shall I take my scissors & glue? Absolutement! French magazines and maps will become my journal. A visual of the time.
What will I do that first day? Walk. Stroll. Wash my face from the all night journey. See the neighborhood. The Arc de Triomphe. The Eiffel Tower. Mona Lisa. (Yes, I have heard she will disappoint and still I need to see her for myself, but not the first day.) Ice cream on the Ile de la Cite. Where will me by favorite café? My favorite patisserie? Will I brave going to dinner alone? Will I make friends? Shall I take tours or do it solo?
That is the fun. I do not have to decide. It is my trip. My journey. Without reservations…or at least with only the necessary ones…the plane and the lodging confirmed. I have two weeks now to prepare. Whew!! I need to get to sleep!