I approach the beginning of this Paris travel journal in a fog of self-doubt. After all, on my Facebook stream today, there are FIVE other online friends visiting Paris right now. How can I approach MY trip as “special” when international travel is as common today as a bunch of high school kids from New Jersey driving into “the city” to party on a Saturday night.
Is there anything new that I can offer to you, the reader? A fresh vision of an ancient city? Probably not. My instagram feed will be filled with the usual shots of cute-looking cafes and cliched views of the Eiffel Tower.
Who am I to write about a city that has already been glorified and praised by countless poets, artists, and philosophers? I’m a nobody. This week’s top box office movie, Warner Brother’s Prisoners, grossed $11,270,000. My blog’s first month profits from the banner ad in my sidebar — $2.16.
But what I lack in self-confident, I gain in self-delusion. Reality holds little sway in my universe. I don’t need to worry about the Paris of Hemingway, Voltaire, or my online friends already there on holiday. I can only tell the story that I can see, and in my tale, the city of Paris is already the least interesting character.
Paris will be beautiful, exhausting, fun, frustrating, and disappointing. But Paris is only a backdrop. It could just as easily be Boise. First and foremost, a story needs characters. That’s what is interesting to me.
And so we begin. The flight is Friday. Tomorrow I will start to pack. The plot — three characters, unlikely travel mates, each hurting emotionally and spiritually, looking for answers, but don’t yet know the questions.