Paris Day 3

Today walked for around 8-9km. It was a roller coaster of a day.

I say that because it was amazing at first… my uncle took me to the PΓ¨re Lachaise Cemetery to see Jim Morrison’s grave. While there, also visited Oscar Wilde’s and Edith Piaf’s. Jim’s had a fence before it which was annoying (hate how some people ruin things for others) but what was hilarious for me was that there were 2 people there drinking beer at like noon and smoking while listening to “This is the End” from their iPhone and crying. πŸ˜‚ Like, I get it. Nobody loves The Lizard King more than I do but that was just too dramatic for me. He’s been dead a while. πŸ˜„


Oscar Wilde’s grave (had to have a glass protector around it due to taggers – again, people ruining things for other people) but it had lipstick kiss marks all around it


Edith Piaf grave:


Then we took metro to some other places (I’m such a bad blogger! Lol. Way too tired to write down the exact names and honestly, don’t care that much. I’ll come back another day and memorize it all). 

The rough part happened at the end where some guy selling stuff in a touristy spot got up in my personal space, trying to sell me a bracelet or whatever And I said no a couple times and kept walking. He then GRABBED my arm tightly and wouldn’t let go until I kept walking even faster. Immediately, I started feeling a panic attack come on. 

Side note for context and trigger warning: 

Some know this, some don’t, but I was raped 3+ years ago and despite hiking 648ish miles on the Pacific Crest Trail months later, I gained a tremendous amount of weight (because, I’m sure this is why, I didn’t want any male attention whatsoever), got flashbacks and panic attacks and became suicidal which is when I entered therapy over a year ago. 

Back to Paris: my uncle and I then went on the metro immediately after and some dude with his kid on his lap was just ogling my boobs and staring aggressively at me. I felt like crying. I couldn’t help my body’s response to all this. I could feel a panic attack coming on. Thankfully I’m a part of an amazing Girl’s travel group on Facebook and was able to get some feedback and a girl offered to meet me tomorrow which will be nice.

I’m learning that women travelers have to deal with quite a bit more. We are taught to be nice and polite yet we get harassed a lot more. I’m going to just start being a bitch to people if they don’t respect my space. It’s not worth the Helplessness and feelings of rage after.

Tomorrow, I’m going to try to see the catacombs as soon as they open unless the line is ridiculously long. Then I meet up with this other female traveler who used to live here.

Paris is very hectic but amazing. Definitely coming back when my mind is a bit more settled and open to the crazy energy. I can absolutely see how this place inspires so many artists. 

And, oh my god, the homeless here drink wine, not beer!!! Hahahaha. I’ve never ever seen that before. At first; I saw 2 homeless old men talking, one had a bottle of RosΓ© that was nearly done and the other had a corkscrew and was opening another bottle, THEN, 2 blocks later, saw 2 younger homeless guys sitting on some throwaway couches sipping some Cab looking wine from plastic wine glasses, pinkies out and everything. Thought that was so funny (the wine drinking, not homelessness. That part is sad).

Ok here are some more pics of this magnificent city!

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Day 2 in Paris

Yesterday was a tired blur. I slept so much, my uncle had to wake me up at 11 this morning. Granted, I woke up quite a few times but still. I DEFINITELY needed sleep and probably could have slept all day since I’m still feeling exhausted from the 2 days of no sleep.

For me, I’m finding beauty in the quiet moments and simple things. Like breakfast – I’d forgotten how delicious the simple bread/cheese/cucumber and/or tomato sandwiches are. No matter how many times I’d make them in LA, they didn’t taste the same. Maybe it’s the bread or the cheese. In Europe, I think both are just better quality. And the coffee! Oh my, just that alone is much  better than most coffees I get in LA.


πŸ‘†πŸ»my delicious and simple breakfast. YUM!

I was skeptical of the whole Paris hype, to be completely honest. You hear people raving about the city and it just feels like everyone is jumping on some sort of “Paris is cool” bandwagon. But just walking through the streets with my uncle, his wife and my adorable little cousin today, I couldn’t help but be caught up in the energy of this beautiful city. 

There is something powerfully raw in its history and in its architecture and it enchants with its hustle and bustle with quiet corners and streets full of book kiosks and artists. Many of the stores and restaurants look like some sort of film set and, many times, it just feels surreal. 


πŸ‘†πŸ»Absolutely loving the buildingsπŸ‘†πŸ»

There’s too much to see here, I’ve already accepted that I’m not going to even see 1/30th of what this city has to offer. I do want to see the catacombs (bit worried about my claustrophobia but think I can power through it for the experience) and Jim Morrison’s grave (my dead man crush for life). Saw the Louvre, Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame and some other landmarks from the outside but, if I have any time, definitely want to explore them longer.

πŸ‘‡πŸ»some sights from today and museumπŸ‘‡πŸ»


I’m here in Paris at a pivotal moment in history. The voting is wrapping up and we will find out in 4 hours who’s won. There’s an anticipatory electric energy you can feel amongst the people. Having just been in the US for their election, It feels very similar although you see Le Pen posters scrawled on with words like “Paris will never accept you” and others with her face ripped off. 

In other non city related news: I’m a bit worried about my foot. It had swollen up yesterday from the flight and, having walked around a bit today in my shoes that were quite tight with my fat feet, the bunyon on the right foot is now aching quite badly. Hopefully the swelling subsides (elevating feet as I write this) and it won’t be an issue on the Camino. Fingers and toesies crossed! 🀞🏼🀞🏼🀞🏼🀞🏼🀞🏼

Paris

Just got here. Headed out first thing soon enough (my aunt keeps telling me to stop spreading my real time whereabouts so this is me trying to be cryptic so that all my many stalkers won’t be able to find me 😜. She has a point though – better safe than sorry and it’s nice to know someone cares). 

Booked my first alburgue since I’ll arrive later in the day to St Jean Pied de Port and it’d be too late to start the trek (since I want to see where I’m going and pick up my Pilgrim passport).

I have realized – and this dawned on me before but was affirmed by some quiet time with uncle and his family today – that I need to slow down. I can’t handle mellow time around people, even family, AT ALL. It makes me super uncomfortable and I feel the need to keep moving (mentally and/or physically) no matter what. I think this is a direct result of my unusual upbringing where I was basically left homeless after being discarded and having to be on survival mode and high alert constantly. 

To be fair, being in survival mode was useful for decades (the high alert and activity) as it kept me from being in too much mental pain and kept me distracted while also not allowing me to be on the streets as a bum. But I’ve realized that it no longer serves a purpose and I am spiritually exhausted and depleted of any energy. 
So my first lesson from this trip- and I haven’t actually even stepped foot on the Camino yet – is to start being mindful and slowing the fuck down.

Holy shit, this trip is going to be life changing if I can learn just how to do that alone. 

2 Days left until Camino trip!

I don’t have anything packed, think I have some sort of an infection since it feels like I’m fighting off sickness,  I’m exhausted and supposed to see people before I go, buy some last minute shit and still weigh gear and tweak it out.

Looks like I’m going to bring only one additional (lightweight) outfit for my trip which means for France, Finland and Corfu, I’m going to be in only 1 of 2 outfits which is different than the PCT since, there, id just be in the backcountry so couldn’t give two shits how stinky or stylish I was. Hahahaha

To be honest, I’ve been super depressed especially since a friend recently committed suicide and just one bad thing after another seems to just happen since to compound the tragic news. I don’t even really want to go but I know doing the Camino will be good for my soul. At this moment though, I doubt it’ll hit me until I’m taking my first couple of steps on the Camino or get my pilgrim passport. 

A little worried that this disassociated feeling will stay with me abroad and that I won’t feel the magic that will undoubtedly be all around me. If I don’t get any healing from this trip, I’m truly scared that my depression will get the better of me and that I’ll give up trying to live in this crazy world. Because if shocking your mind awake with new beautiful landscapes and meeting new people doesn’t do it, what will?

But one day at a time. Today, doctor and REI last minute shopping and starting of packing.

I was told that bringing a tent on the Camino is not necessary… and I do enjoy cowboy camping so thinking of leaving my tent. Can anyone vouch for this? It’s only slightly over 1 lb so still debating whether to bring it or not…

Thoughts

Thinking about life. Am I doing what’s right? People tend to give me advice about how working until able to retire is the best bet.

I don’t know if that line of logic is wrong but I can’t think like that if I tried 

I need to taste life directly. I want to drink the juice of life from wherever I go. Assimilate the culture and meet new people with new experiences.

People are what matter. Study them and their land. Learn. Grow.

Prep

So much shit has been dropped on my plans but flights have already been bought so there is definitely no turning back!

With trips like this, I’m wondering if I’m even prepared. I’m prepping (minus the resupply boxes) like I did on the PCT so relatively easy. I just have to wonder if I even have enough money and if this is even sustainable.
I’ll be alone again. Which is fine but I’m longing to experience all this with someone. It’s beautiful whether you’re alone or with a group but I want someone who I’m intimate with to experience this with me.
Is that too much to ask for?

Random Musings

I feel like anyone with a bunion is like 70+ years old but apparently I have one and it’s pretty painful. I have health insurance which would cover it but recovery is supposed to be a bitch and will take around a year. I can’t afford to not do anything for another year. I think I’ll go certifiably crazy and be institutionalized for massive stir-craziness.

I have several ideas as to my Euro-trip plans (which, just before, I’ll be doing the Trans Catalina Trail with some good friends for a shakedown backpacking/hiking trip) which I’ll just spout off here. If anyone has any ideas as to activities or people/places to see at any stage of my proposed itinerary, feel free to message me or comment! I love that, in this social media age, finding amazing (and cheap) places to stay, etc, is just a little bit of networking away.

So, I’ll fly into Paris, see uncle and fam and maybe tourist it up for a couple of days before catching the train and doing the Camino pilgrimage. From there, I’m thinking I’ll fly into Corfu, stay there for a few weeks and then fly to Helsinki and stay there for a few weeks and then fly back to LA, get my shit and my van and drive up to Yellowstone for a seasonal job in beginning of August (I got a job at Yellowstone!) to save up some money and gather my thoughts as to what I’ll be doing after that.

It’s a pretty packed itinerary. I’m now having issues with my car, have to change a flight (which is becoming an issue as they won’t refund or change dates without a huge $400 fee. Might be cheaper to just get a new flight altogether and then hope the original flight, which was to fly from Helsinki to LAX in September, gets cancelled and I get a refund then. That’s happened to me once before) and money is leaking out of my savings left and right but this has to be done.

Looking into possibly working in Corfu to pay for a room whilst also exploring but they require a whole season of work which I can’t afford to do. We shall see though. I did ask if I can just work to stay for 3 weeks and am waiting for a response.

These are at least all good problems, in the sense that I wasn’t decapitated or something more serious and that it’s for a trip that’s bound to be once-in-a-lifetime experience. Just need to put my head down and work and NOT go out to eat or buy additional things other than for the trip itself.