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Monday, May 14, 2012

World travel and the need to touch base

I was told by many people that once I visited another country it would "change me".
This I looked forward to with both anticipation and trepidation.
I headed off with some preconceptions, warnings and advise from fellow world travelers.
"Watch out for pick pockets, dog poo, and general rude people" and "Everything is so old you will be blown away", were a few of the things told to me. So with my pick-pocket proof, shoulder bag and money belt, I boarded a plane to be blown away by rude people and old stuff :)
I did not find the French to be rude, there are signs telling people to pick up their dog poo (but they don't always do it), I did not encounter a single pick pocket, although that might just be because I was holding my bags so tight.
Me holding my bags tight

The architecture is truly amazing. It made the boxes we live in seem even more like... well...boxes. Paris has gone to great lengths to preserve it's architectural history and am glad I got to see it for myself. However it is a big city with lots of buildings and I began to feel boxed in, like I was in a maze.
View from the Montpernasse tower

I longed for some open spaces like I am used to. I got home-sick a little bit, and had to remind myself to take it all in and that I'd be home to my trees and hills soon enough, to touch base.
This is the suburbs, believe it or not

After getting home a few things struck me. One thing in particular is that, I don't remember seeing many French Flags. Maybe I missed them, but I'd think I would have noticed them if they were there. Apparently we Americans love our flag and other countries equate the flag with the leadership or government and so they don't fly it like we do. So my perspective on our flag and our national pride has changed. We fly our flag because we love our land, our history (be it ever so short), our soldiers etc.
Not necessarily because we like our Government or leaders, we don't exactly equate our flag with them. Flying the flag shows support for those who fight, those who've died and those who came before with the vision that has become our home.

Leaving my country made me realize how much I love where I live, It's home, be it ever so humble. We might be less sophisticated, wear bright flashy colors , live in boxes, wave flags, eat too much bad food, and talk too loudly, but I don't care.
I love it here and being somewhere else helped me realize that.

Don't get me wrong, Paris was wonderful, and I will go back. I also look forward to going to more places that "I've only read about in books", but always coming home, to touch base in this wonderful, "open sky" country I call home.

So how have I changed:
I love my country even more (give me land lots of land under star-y skies above)
I appreciate French Architecture even more having seen it.
I'm not sure the big city is the place for dogs.
Public transport has it's place, but I love my car.
I'm glad that we have access to any toilet around so that we don't have to pee in the street, (not me, some guy I saw).
And now that I'm home, I'm glad to be able to hang my purse on the back of my chair at a restaurant.
It's good to be home, base touched... Now when is the next flight out????


Salmagundi said...

Thanks for reminding me of everything I also experienced on my first trip to Paris. I've been back, too, but it wasn't near as exciting as the first time. Sally

Shabby Vintage Junk said...

Oh Margo what a BRILLIANT post & one that I can totally identify with....!!

When I flew back to Oz on Australia Day in 1996 after living in Dallas for 6 months, Peter Allen's 'I still call Australia Home'' was playing on the PA....Fat tears of JOY rolled down my cheeks as I realised how very fortunate I was to live in 'the lucky country'....!!!!!

Having said that, whenever I leave Texas my heart aches & I wonder how I'll cope if I don't make it back for 'next time'....!!

I feel VERY fortunate to have been able to travel as I have....!!!!!

Here's to BOTH our 'next times' AND to one day, getting you 'Down Under' so you can experience our 'sweeping plains'....!!!!!

Cheers for now,
Tamarah :o)

trash talk said...

Good post Margo and an excellent example of "the grass is always greener".
I'm with you...I want to see the sky as far as the eye can see.

Shelley said...

As they say,there is no place like home :) Glad you had a safe trip! Thanks for sharing.


I wasn't born in Texas, but Texas is my home. Having said that, I would travel back to Europe in a heartbeat.

Paris was nice, but I preferred the small towns in Germany and was quite content in Belgium.


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