This photo was taken in November of 2007, on a dark mountain road somewhere between Geneva, Switzerland and Lyon, France. It’s one of only a few times in my life where I could not have pointed at a map to tell you where I was (and those are all stories I love to tell).
I had spent that day exploring Geneva with two ladies who, over the course of my life in France that year, became my dearest friends. Jess, Rachael, and I seemed to float through the ancient city that day; I remember it being very quiet. We climbed stony cathedral spires, tiptoed through museums, sipped sweet lattés to fend off the Alpine cold… and absolutely missed our train home.
(One of my first videos is from this trip: The Train to Geneva)
That was the first time I felt my travel survival instincts kick in. Kind conversation and persistent cleverness go a long way in that part of the world: I managed to exchange our train tickets for bus tickets that would get us home to France.
I remember how big & bright the moon was that night, making the little countryside villages glow as our bus slid through their dark streets. While I watched and journaled, Rachael snapped that picture of me.
When I get all introspective (which is often on my personal blog), that picture seems to fit so well: the tension of loving many people in many places feels like being divided, or like half of me is never really there. France gives me that feeling more than any other place.
I wish I had blogged through that year. I had slashed my online activity to a Skype call and just a few emails a week. I was too determined to be truly immersed, to be fully present. That resulted in many permanent friendships, so I’ll never regret it.
If you’d like to know more about my time in France, I still love talking about it. Feel free to ask anything!