Guest Post: Anne from Prêt à Voyager

We’ve asked a few friends and fellow-bloggers to drop-in and share while we take some time to get to know this amazing little person, Hudson, whom we’ve just welcomed to the world. We’ll no doubt be dropping in here and on from time to time, but we’re so grateful for these wonderful guest posts and hope you enjoy them as well.

Anne’s Prêt à Voyager, will fill you with wanderlust (if you’re not already full): I devoured the Boarding Pass interviews, a regular feature, upon first discovering the site and then was thrilled when Anne invited Aron and I to contribute. And then there’s the fact that she lives in Paris (in a much tinier apartment even than ours)! It’s so nice to have Anne over here, reminiscing and sharing some thoughts on travel…

As part of a well-traveled family, I was lucky enough to visit vast majority of the US by the time I was in high school (you get a lot of states when you move across country – twice!). But it wasn’t until between my sophomore and junior year of high school that we ventured abroad the first time. The trip was something like 10 days and split between London and Paris. As a “first time” it was necessary to hit all the main spots (something I tend to rebel against now, but even when I visited the Louvre again a few years later it was as an art history student studying abroad, giving it added meaning). Of all the things that could have stuck out in my head from that trip, it’s really the most mundane things that stay with me today, and continue to influence the way I travel (and the reason I live in Paris today).

It was August 2007, sunny, hot, and all the Parisians had already fled town for the month, making it an open road for our taxi driver to live his Nascar dreams. Perhaps he is one of the earliest encounters I had which help explain why I am not a fan of taxis today. He dropped us off at a friends’ apartment. Charles was a former co-worker of my dad’s over 40 years ago, and the two have remained great friends (and train aficionados) to this day, and he and Agnès have become one of my adoptive families away from home. We were lucky enough to stay with them – a French couple, in a real French home. I can’t help but think this experience also shaped how I travel, greatly influenced by the location of my friends as incentive to visit a particular place (nothing beats a local “tour guide” who knows you well). This was nearly 15 years ago now, and I still remember the wine glasses on the table etched with words in French in cursive, and the cherry flavored syrup Agnès would add to my water for me. Just around the corner of their apartment was a boulangerie, something I had never seen in the US. Food definitely caught my eye this trip. I guess there are plenty of things I could have remembered from the Musée D’Orsay too, but I remember the “yaourt à boire” (yogurt you can drink) the clearest. What crazy foods (and written in French!) they had. Now times have changed and this no longer seems so novel, but at the time, place and context even the simplest things reminded me I was in a foreign land!
Congrats Ashley and Aron! Thanks so much for letting me share today! –Anne

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