I have arrived in Paris. It has been a day of ease and travel magic – confirmation of why it is worth my pre-travel efforts and nerves. For me, it was finding my Self in amongst the crowds of London and Paris, and remembering that I can take things one step at a time, that I can get where I want to go. And remembering how much I love people.
Actually, the day is one I’ll never forget. Yes, things went smoothly and there was even a sweet miracle at St Pancras when a Eurostar agent motioned me out of the checkin queue and ushered me straight in to security ahead of everyone else. Those little things are like having sparkles sprinkled into a journey. But then the day got even better.
I had been looking forward to the train journey, to having some time for a bit of introspection and then a deep dive into a good book, but what ensued was one of those meant-to-be encounters that leave us changed. When my seat mate got up to let me out so I could go in search of my first cup of good French coffee (my Eurostar ritual), he decided to follow along. And we started to talk, that deep kind of soul talk that can sometimes happen between strangers who know their paths may never cross again. I saw a truth in his eyes when he answered a casual question with a brutal honesty – and suddenly we were in deep and sacred conversational waters. Two hours flew by and suddenly we were saying goodbye in the bustle of Gare du Nord.
We may have said goodbye, but our words are still with me.
I impressed myself by buying a train ticket to get down to the Latin Quarter where I rendezvoused with my friend – does that count as a miracle when two people find each other on a busy street corner in the middle of Paris after travelling from two different countries? I think it does… how is it possible for something like that to happen? Happy to be here, we walked miles, talked endlessly, and then lingered over moules marinières and Sancerre at a small bistro where the waiters were charming. I didn’t remember to take pictures of anything except this one photo of La Samaritaine. I promise I’ll do better from here on out.