Sunday, July 1, 2012

An American in Paris (On Her Way to Edinburgh)

This first blog post comes to you for the Paris-deGaul Airport; my layover stop before I take another two hour flight to Edinburgh. It seems like a strangely appropriate place to write the first entry to this blog. I've always felt that airports exist outside of any sort of defined space or territory; they are a land of the in between, a place where a mass of seemingly disconnected people are brought together by one single purpose; to get somewhere else. There is something fleeting about airports; no matter how beautiful or grand they are (and I assure you the Paris airport is beautiful) a traveler's time there is utterly temporary. But that's also what I love best about them. For a habitual wanderer like myself, I draw a sense of community and excitement from my time in airports. It is the anticipation of having to be somewhere else, that immense pulse of energy "to get" or "to go" that warms a wanderer's heart. 

I was in this airport once before. Many, many years ago (almost I decade now if memory serves) I came to Paris with my Mother and Uncle. I feel a strange sense of comfort in having my layover in this airport. It's kind of like running into an old flame in the street on your way to a blind date; it's only for a moment, this interaction between you and your old love, but it's an amicable instant and it reminds you that all the awkwardness of first date and etc. are worth it to find someone, to get to where you need to go. Maybe it's a silly metaphor but I think it captures the spirit of what I'm feeling. I loved visiting Paris and my time in France holds a special place in my heart as one of my earliest adventures abroad. And it's lovely to sit in this airport for a moment giving into my feelings of nostalgia. But even better than that are the feelings of anticipation that this place encourages in me. Paris gave me one great adventure; now it's its turn to usher in a brand new one. 

 I cannot even begin to express how excited I am to get to Edinburgh. Truthfully excitement doesn't even begin to cover it, it's something more akin to that moment in Rocky Horror Picture Show when Tim Curry says "Make you shudder with antici--(cue this obscenely long and intense pause)---pation." I haven't even gotten on the plane to get there and I can already feel myself falling in love with Edinburgh, without ever having set foot there. I suppose it's foolish to fall in love with a place before I've even been there but what can I say? We are all fools in love. And I love to wander, to travel, to throw myself head long into the unknown, and to be utterly and blissfully consumed by it. It's my travel Modus Oprendi. It's the attitude that guided me  on my family trip to Paris, on my high school summer abroad in Beijing, and now it's how I'll approach my time in Edinburgh. Unabashed participation and culture immersion, it's the only way to wander, it's the only way to live. 

One final thought before I board. As I sit here in the lobby area waiting for my connecting flight I hear my first Scottish accent from a man sitting two seats to my right. While I'm sure that gentleman hasn't noticed or given it a second thought if he has, little does he know that it's because of him that I can't stop grinning. 


  1. “Travel is like love, mostly because it’s a heightened state of awareness, in which we are mindful, receptive, undimmed by familiarity and ready to be transformed. That is why the best trips, like the best love affairs, never really end.” — Pico Iyer