Eh bien, ce n’est pas vraiment une chose à dire, sauf pour ceux qui parlent bien français. L’autre jour (en janvier), j’ai fait une petite visite à Paris. Cela n’a que duré une journée. J’avais promis à ma gosse que je l’emmènerais à Paris un jour – car je luis en ai tant parlé, et qu’elle apprend le français. On m’avait demandé (au boulot) d’enseigner deux classes en Espagne pendant la troisième semaine du mois. Etant de plus en plus partant pour tout sorte d’aventure, j’ai réservé le vol pour Barcelone avec une escale assez longue à Paris.
C’était fatigant de traverser l’Atlantique pour une deuxième fois (j’avais fait une première visite à Prague, et je vais vous parler de la troisième ailleurs) et ça l’était. Nous avons visité plusieurs endroits célèbres de Paris (ca se voit sur les photos ci-jointes).
Walking along this bridge and to a place that everyone had told me to visit (Charles Bridge), I drew some conclusions about why I thrive when I travel and why it feels so different.
Initially, I thought that I was justifying a hobby or a feel-good and expensive hobby or childhood wish to be in moving things (I do enjoy the landing of aircraft every time). But I think that I found out why; and you do not have to spend lots of money to find this thing, I get the same effect by taking cold showers.
Traveling outside my area of comfort and auto-pilot existence creates a healthy rush that requires all the capacities of the brain to be awakened as everything in a new place is new and useful. When I landed in Prague, I did not know (and still don’t) how to even say Hello. I was not staying at a Hotel or some template experience that is predictable. I was being picked from the airport by “Martin” in a black VW Passat; who would show up 3 minutes after I texted him. It now feels more adventurous than it did at the time. I got to my AirBnB, later left to find a supermarket to do food shopping, and then returned home to prepare and go dance some salsa for the evening. I did not even have any local currency (I thought they used Euros until 2 days prior to my arrival).
So being in such situations, the body must take-in, understand, and integrate everything it sees. Nothing is assured around the corner and you do not even know how to smile. This is like when the freezing 0-degree water hits your head and shoulders in the morning, you want to run but you master the reaction and focus on the mission. Once you are beyond the sensory shock, your body’s systems are open and ready for business. At such times, any thoughts you have are privileged to be using a clear and ready brain. For those who work with computers, it is just like shocking a server by asking for information that it does not have in the edge-cache, not in memory, and does not even have a database view or query-plan for. It has to fire-up all the systems to build and serve the information. Now, once that system is warmed-up end-to-end, anything you tasked it with in the immediate is sure to get processed with the best possible resources.
So, when I travel to new places, my heuristics are not applicable anywhere, and so I must have an open mind even just for my won survival. This is what Flo used to call ‘an exposed person’. Someone who has seen his/her paradigms challenged, or who has seen contradictory facts apply. Someone operating at a higher level of thinking and ability.
Pero bien, que dices ahora? That might sound like the wrong language for this, but before Strasbourg was Barcelona. And that is where the thoughts really came back to me. I was going back to Strasbourg, but I was also a very different person. Not only had it been 20 years, but all my insecurities of a 19 year old unsure if he would take off, taking the doubts of his math teacher too seriously were gone. All I had to do was to find my old hood and really reflect. Much like Charles Aznavour’s mes vingt ans!
Unlike Aznavour that is looking back treasuring his 20s, I was not. To be honest, this was partly a victory lap. Ironically, the thing that brought me back to Europe and Strasbourg this time is very close to the thing that brought the most doubt in my life 20 years prior. This time, I am a proven success in the field that many doubted that I would get close to, let alone excel at!
I am going to find and add pictures of myself in these same places 20 years prior…
Cela me fait à nouveau penser à Aznavour et à sa chanson dans laquelle il raconte son arrivée à Paris. Pour moi, ce n’était pas la première fois, mais un retour après 20 ans.
I spent the night in a boat… not that way. I was at this AirBnB in Paris and I could not wait for the next morning so that I could set my target on Strasbourg. That is a place that gave me chills years ago!
So, I almost opted out of this trip. It was at the beginning of the year and I was not too eager to get anything squeezed too tight into my schedule. Additionally, I had no dreams of visiting Spain as is was probably some version of France with the difference that I did not know more than 15 words in the language.
The stone that the builder refused, shall be the head corner-stone! This trip seems to have set-off a whole lot of marginally related events that have brought me to new ground. There was so much to experience, eat, see, and a day before we were to take the train to France, I found myself in the hotel-room watching TV in Spanish and actively listening to lessons on Youtube… that has not stopped even after 12+ months