When I was preparing for my trip to France two years ago, agonizing over the decision of whether to go or not (way too extravagant, too self-indulgent, too expensive), my son said casually, “Mom, go. It’s so you. Go.”
I gave him all my reasons why I shouldn’t. He was saddened, I think, listening to me.
“You love Paris?” he asked.
“You’ve not been since you were 21?”
“YOLO,” he said with a big smile and blue-green eyes sparkling.
That’s Matt’s mantra and it pops up at him everywhere. When he was interning in NYC during college, he sent home a text with a photo attached of a license plate displaying his mantra. You only live once. He was planning his trip to California and saw a town on the map there named…YOLO. The trip must be fate!
I did take the trip to Paris. I’ll probably never go again, and that’s ok. My husband has no desire to go there; it’s a private pleasure for me. I made the trip everything my heart desired and cherished every moment there. I discovered the girl I was at 21 was still within me – fearless, adventurous, curious, happy. In my day-to-day life, sometimes I fear that girl is gone. It was so uplifting to see she’s not.
I set out alone on the streets of Paris speaking French with gusto and actually laughing out loud to myself, all alone, at the oddest times. Pinch me, I thought. Here I am at the Louvre, the Champs Elysee. Pinch me. Here I am on a bicycle zipping among crazy French drivers in the middle of the cité. I was immeasurably grateful for the indulgence and never want to forget the fulfillment it brought me.
Montana – the setting from “The Horse Whisperer,” a favorite movie of mine, partly due to the scenery. Jackson Hole, Wyoming. These are the places I want to go more than anywhere else.
I want to see that big sky and expansiveness. I want to see those glorious mountains, weathered split rail fences, and wide open spaces. My secret fantasy was always (is) to be a cowboy (or even Miss Kitty) – wearing cowboy boots and a cowboy hat, riding horses across mile-wide prairies. I want to line dance in a barn, wearing my boots…and laugh out loud with my kind of folks with a big old full moon lighting up the fields around us, stars everywhere. I want to sigh in awe of the bigness of it all.
Why is it we push aside what pleases us most to be responsible, sensible, frugal?
Montana, Wyoming – look out!
What our hearts desire may certainly not be mainstream or posh resorts or tourist attractions that we’re told we should want to see. We’re all different in what we desire, what jazzes and fulfills us.
For me, it’s a barn. A big old barn in a big wide American west.
If you could go anywhere….where would you go?
I’m laughing out loud for you thinking of the pure joy.