the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Paris Journal – Prologue #1

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.


  1. Kim

    Looking forward to this story…

  2. V-Grrrl @ Compost Studios

    From the moment you booked this trip, it has not been about you or Paris but Elaine and Laura, two friends going on an adventure : )

  3. erykah

    I ll be looking fwd to seeing Paris thru your eyes. Facebook is great for vicarious experiences 🙂

  4. Laurel (Dawn Storey)

    I can only tell the story that I can see… and that, right there, is blogging in a nutshell. There is nothing new… except the story we see. And that’s worth exploring.

  5. Sarah Piazza

    et voila!

  6. The Honourable Husband

    Pain need not always accompany the profound. The whole ten days could be profoundly fun! Be prepared for the fact that perhaps none of the three of you need be hurting emotionally and spiritually 24/7. I understand that there is an exhibition of nude male art on at the Musee d’Orsay. That could give your mother and her pal a bit of a chuckle; a relief from the relentless downpour of melancholy which exquisite food, beautiful architecture and the sight of a legion of uninhibited lovers in passionate embrace can provoke. Me, I only go to France for the French Fries. Or maybe that was Belgium. I forget.

  7. Ruth

    Oh, I have so many responses to this–and I’m going to withhold 90% of them.

    I won’t tell you that I was SO jealous of your time in NZ and Aus, and I won’t tell you that Paris is crowded and the beer there sucks (because you don’t strike me as a beer drinker). Furthermore, I will abstain from some lame metaphor like telling you you’re the unique snowflake that’s not yet drifted down upon any of the marble cherubs’ curls on that angel infested bridge over the Seine. Which is to say, I’ll resist the temptation to assure you that Paris through your eyes will be fresh alchemy.

    I’ll avoid making any of these responses even though I sort feel entitled to say anything because I THINK I might be one of those five nasty online friends who beat you to Paris, whom you indirectly compared to a NJ school kid. Less hairspray over here, Neil! Even those of us late to the party can savor the fromage et du pain. Profitez-en!

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