“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go…”
― Dr. Seuss,
Welcome to #TBT Travel – a new weekly series looking back at all the places I’ve been as we start to look forward to all the places we’ll go. As I plan upcoming family travel, I thought it’d be nice to revisit a few favorites from the past.
I’ve been looking through boxes that were packed more than 14 years ago before my husband and I moved back to the United States. I have a treasure trove of travel photos hidden in my basement. My husband and I lived in Paris, France and Geneva, Switzerland from 1999-2002, working as international attorneys. From Paris to London, Madrid to Venice, Rome to Tel Aviv, my life once was all about travel.
Then I had kids. 😉
I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to take my kids to all the places my husband and I have been, and one day we will. Until then, we can take advantage of #TBT Travel to share some memories from all the places I hope we all one day go.
Let’s Start at the Beginning
Appropriately enough I decided to start where my love of travel all began.
Family Travel – Over Forty Years Ago!
Ok, maybe not that long ago. Although, growing up, my parents took my four sisters and I everywhere. We went north up through New York City, Boston, Niagra Falls, Quebec City, Montreal and Toronto. We went west, on a road trip, for over three weeks, through Texas, to the Grand Canyon, up the California coast, and back through St. Louis to Louisville, KY. These are the types of trips I want my kids to experience – to see not just the big cities of the United States, but the little ones also along the road. Who knows, maybe we’ll rent an RV one day and just head out on a road trip adventure.
Where it Really All Began: 5, Place des Ternes
This is where it really all began – 5, Place des Ternes, Paris, France. For three years my husband and I traveled far and wide across France and beyond, for work and as part of our own adventures.
I was a second year associate at a large law firm in Chicago when I was asked to move to the firm’s Paris office. An international client needed an English-speaking attorney overseas. I had never been to Paris (in fact, I had never been out of the United States), knew no one who lived in Paris, but I accepted the position on the spot and never looked back.
I visited Paris only once before packing up everything I own, sending all my belongings over on a boat, and moving to Paris. I was living in Paris for 8 months before my husband moved over. A realtor helped me find this apartment – you can hardly tell from looking at this photo that behind that facade is a lush green courtyard and yet another building of apartments. Our apartment was across the courtyard on the interior, facing the courtyard. Walking through the door into the courtyard was like walking through a portal into a completely other world. The hustle and bustle of all that Paris is on the one side, and the quiet, serene green grass of the courtyard on the other.
The apartment buildings were on a “place” (hence, 5, Place des Ternes). “Place” in French means square, as in village square. We technically did not live on the village square, but I would call it a square nonetheless. I wish I could display these pictures in panoramic next to each other to illustrate the full effect of these regal building surrounding the place. It was truly amazing.
Perched in the center of the place was this very typical Parisian flower stand. I purchased a garden full or more of flowers from this stand over our two years here.
But the crown jewel of this location on the place? Every morning, as I walked to work, this was my view. I crossed the street heading west from the place, and walked up Avenue de Wagram, towards the Arc de Triomphe. Every day, no fail, I passed a piece of history. As I walked past the Arc de Triomphe, on my way to Avenue Victor Hugo, I could glance through the Arc de Triomphe, and down the Avenue des Champs-Élysées out into central Paris.
So Get on Your Way!
This is why one agrees to move to Paris having never traveled overseas. Why someone would head to Paris and happily sleep on the floor for a month until a boat shows up with furniture. And why someone would brave a new country as a complete stranger, needing to make all new friends from all over the world.
This is what travel is all about. The incredible experiences that, for just a while, were the every day part of my life. The sights, the sounds, the people, the culture, the food and wine, the history, the education, and most of all, the experiences that come from travel. Our lives are all enriched by traveling just a bit beyond our back yard. It doesn’t have to be far. It could be just to the town next door. But adventure is out there. I for one can’t wait to see all the places we’ll go in the next year or so as a family. But until then, it’s nice to look back and remember where it all began.
“You’re off to Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting,
So… get on your way!”
― Dr. Seuss,