First Class & a Metro Pass: How I Like to Voyage

Bonjour mes amies!

Over on IG*, I asked mes amies to provide blog and video ideas so I could batch write in preparation for the birth of “Babiccina.”

Carmen Sandiego is one of the names former coworkers would call me.  

Every Friday, as I would leave the office, someone would ask: 

“Where are you heading to this weekend, Carmen? Morocco?”

“You’re actually tres, tres close. Egypt. Ciao for now!” I’d reply.

Oui mes amies, long before the blog and social media, I bid adieu:

“Ciao for now.” 

Traveling has been my entire adult life. Actually, it began before I was an adult. At dix-sept, I packed my Anne Klien houndstooth luggage and headed to Seattle, alone. I had never visited the city, and I didn’t know anyone there.  

I did know that I wanted a condo facing the Space Needle, just as the condo Fraiser had. True to Jessie form, less than six months after arriving in Seattle, I had an apartment cinq blocks from the Space Needle.  

Weekends in Vancouver became the usual while living in Seattle. But soon enough, I had my eyes set on Italy. It didn’t take long for me to follow my heart. I moved to Milan, Italy to study Art History and Design, and I fell in love. 

I fell in love with the language, the people, the architecture, the style, and so much more.   

After returning to the States, it wasn’t easy to readjust. I let a few months pass, and eventually, I knew it was time to set sail again.  

After a few random series of events, I found myself living in Istanbul, Turkey. I had experienced nothing like it before. The religion, the history, the textiles, and the food were the epitome of old-world decadence.  

For many years there wasn’t a rhyme or reason to the countries I chose to live in or visit. I’d read a book or meet someone and decide that’s where I wanted to go. 

There was always one exception to the laissez-faire rule, and that was Paris. Perhaps I should write an entire post about my beaucoup voyagés dans la ville of lights?  

In my late vingtaine, most of my travels were always to French-speaking cities—Brussels, Montreal, repeatedly Paris, Fort-de-France, and Luxemburg.    

Though French speaking countries are my comfort, I’ve always sprinkled “random” trips outside of my visits to Francophile countries, but usually for specific reasons. 

For example, as much as I utterly detest the sun, sand, beaches, and pina coladas, I had to visit Cuba. I could write an entire post on the amazing experiences we had in Havana. Another random non-francophile trip was Denmark. One day I read an article about a chair museum in Elle Decor. I texted The Husband, (well he was a suitor then) and asked could we go to Copenhagen for the weekend; because I really wanted to check out a museum. That next weekend, we made a random excursion to Copenhagen.  

Since I actively run from the sun, so much of my travel is contingent on the weather as well.  

In the summer months, I strategically travel to the southern hemisphere because it’s winter there, or Iceland. My desire to beat the heat one July is how I fell in love and eventually packed #jujuthecamerakid and myself up to move to South Africa.

Because I am such a last-minute traveler and practice the extreme art of laissez-faire, I prefer to travel alone. 

Metro. Berlin, Germany

I sit in Parisian cafes for hours at a time, enjoying the same café. I sat in one spot at the Palazzo delle Esposizioni in Rome for quatre hours, looking at David LaChapelle’s Aristocracy #3. In Berlin, I rode the u-bahn from beginning to end, repeatedly while reading French Vogue simply because it’s what I wanted to do. Versus waiting in line at the Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam, I purchased the second series of “Vincent Van Gogh, The Letters” and sat on a bench by the Herengracht canal.  

Not too many people will find my anti-itinerary travel approach to their liking. 

But I do, however, enjoy trips with #jujuthecamerakid because he is his mother’s child. #jujuthecamerakid prefers to spend his day of birth in Paris, and who am I to stop him? I remember the external pressure I felt to create a complete kid-friendly Paris itinerary the first time we traveled to Paris together, and so I did. 

After the first day filled with “Let’s go; we’re going to be late,” when we returned to our flat, #jujuthecamera said, “is this schedule making you happy?” 

I couldn’t lie; I told him how awful I thought it was.  

He said, “tomorrow, let’s do things our way.” And that we did.  

#jujuthecamerakid. Jardin du Luxembourg

We stopped at a fromagerie and a wine shop. #jujuthecamera kid wanted to run through le Jardin du Luxemburg and eat une baguette. I took in the sites, read and he ran around to his hearts content.   

When I travel, solo or avec ma famille I always rent a flat. Since I tend to stare clear of most touristy attractions, I always stay in “unconventional” neighborhoods. I want to actually see, feel and embrace the country I’m visiting. And there’s no better way to do so than by taking public transportation, staying in working class neighborhoods, and visiting shops/cafes that are off the beaten path.

Since taking my last international trip in Feb 2020, to date, this is the longest I have remained stateside. Once the world is “safe” again, I am looking forward to resuming my Carmen Sandiego lifestyle. Both with and without #jujuthecamerakid and now Babbiccina.

How do you plan your voyages?

Ciao for now!

*I neglected to make the blog call on my actual blog (I give IG so much attention.) If you have a special blog request feel free to email or comment below

2 Comments

  1. Thank you for this awesome post. It really gives us a view into your world and how you travel. Also, I love Carmen San Diego. I was obsessed with the Chief when I was klein mädchen. I binged the Netflix cartoon version – it’s very good. Anyway, tangent! I travel similarly where I rent a property so I can live like a local. You get a true sense of the city. I haven’t traveled solo but this post gives me more comfort that I can do it. And do it with style! Thank you for answering my request. Can’t wait for outside to be clean again because I would love to meetup overseas. Take care & sanitized hugs!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Merci beaucoup ma chérie for such an amazing post idea. I had so much writing it and going down memory lane with the photos. I think every woman…married, single, etc. should take at least one solo trip. It’s life changing.

      Like

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