France on Fridays: C’est La Vie

Such is Life • Wednesday, May 31

The weeks leading up to le grand voyage were a whirlwind — the kind that comes with the anticipation of leaving one life behind in order to discover another. But the usual excitement of vacation’s adventure was buried somewhere under all of the preparation, and I couldn’t find it for the life of me.

“Shouldn’t I be more excited by now?” I wondered the night before I left. “Shouldn’t I be wide-eyed and ready to race out the door in the morning?”

This trip, it seemed, was pushing me hard out of the comfort zone I’d created for myself. You could see the psychological fingernail marks in the door if you looked carefully.

Slowly, though, as I hauled my suitcase into the trunk of my friend Martha’s car, nervously sipped coffee at the limo station, then quietly rode along I-95, the fear began to fade. My last thoughts of work and the house, and what I hadn’t gotten done wandered off somewhere in the Bronx, and I didn’t miss them.

It occurred to me, as I crossed the George Washington Bridge, that my life, for the next 24 hours or so, was completely in the hands of other people. The ballsy Latino woman who maneuvered the New York City traffic like a pro, the pilot who would fly us 35,000 feet above the Atlantic Ocean, the escort we are relying on to meet us at the airport in Paris — in the hands of other people and completely out of my control.

Apparently, the big life lesson of the year was “letting go” and this trip was just another practice exercise.

As I sat there in the back seat of the limo, I thought to myself…I am going to France. I know the Universe wants me to go. I wouldn’t have gotten this far if she didn’t. So I will just let her take me. I will sit back and let these strangers lead me to this experience.

And then I closed my eyes and breathed…

• • •

Les Deux Amis En France, ©2011 Jen Payne. All rights reserved.

See also:
• L’introduction

Photo Crossing the GWB ©AnthonyMendezVO. Some rights reserved. Please click here for details.

4 thoughts on “France on Fridays: C’est La Vie

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  1. My stomach always pinches right before I leave for a big trip. Like you said, the next 24 hours is controlled almost entirely by other people. Other drivers on the freeway, the guy who checks my luggage, security people, pilots, flight attendants, passport control people, etc. The list goes on and on. Sometimes I find myself wondering why put myself through all that, but then I see where I’ve landed and its totally worth it.

    1. I totally agree! You know, I debated about including this chapter because it’s just the leading up and not the trip, not “France.” But then, like you said, I think it talks about what we all go through – that anxiety of letting go, stepping out, taking a different path. But the rewards? When we travel – the rewards are phenomenal! Right? Just amazing! But the same can be said for the day to day. Think of the rewards when we let go, step out, take a different path in our every day? Just as worth it! Non?

  2. You are so right! Every day I wake up and wonder what I’m going to see and discover. Even if I’m traveling a path I’ve traveled a million times before – I’m still looking for something new. :-)

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