As I get ready to leave for France, there are so many things to do. In preparation for my trip, of course, I have to pack. All the advice I’ve been given is to pack lightly and take only the essentials. So I’m doing my best: minimal amounts of clothing to get me through the week, few accessories, my laptop, some notebooks, and of course gifts for the host family. I don’t want to have to lug anything around that I won’t use while I’m there. And I want to keep space for anything I may bring back.
I have so many things to bring with me: my itinerary, my tickets, the address of my host family, a map to make sure I don’t get lost, and never forget the passport. And there is all this extra advice bumping around in my head, from all of the people who have traveled to Paris before me: restaurant suggestions, places that I absolutely have to visit, and tips on how to make the most of the next six weeks.
I’m getting ready for the experience of a lifetime. A time where I’ll try to speak all the French I can and soak in all of the culture. A time where I’ll try to fit into a Parisian lifestyle and enjoy living with the wonderful people around me, even if it is brief. I need to make memories that will last me forever, so I can’t waste a minute.
Still, before I leave, I spend one last day hanging out with my best friends. Since I’m leaving for Paris on my birthday, my best friend threw me a little surprise birthday party. She was so thoughtful, even giving me a travel notebook to write in so I have ideas for my blog each week! Saying goodbye to friends is one of the most important and scariest things to do. Scary because they are the people that are usually there whenever I start a new journey. But this one, I begin alone.