Y’all. I just booked a ticket to France for three weeks. THREE. Alone.
My French is high school level French (ça veut dire “not good at all”). I’ve only been to France once and just followed my friend around as she made a full on itinerary for me weeks before I got to her. I haven’t booked a single accomodation. I didn’t save any money for this trip. And I’ve never traveled abroad alone.
So. We’ll see what happens. I’m not going to go into planning mode, because that doesn’t jive with me. But I am curious to see how (and if) this all works itself out.
My method for exploring cities, my own or otherwise, has always been to just walk out the door and see what happens and it's lead to some of my most memorable and formative experiences in life so far (like that album cover I ended up on, or the time it lead to a chance meeting of a new mentor).
Leaving my house at 8am, wandering aimlessly and getting lost was what solidified my love of the rich character and people of my hometown of Austin, Tx. And it's what's granted me experiences in cities like New York, Seattle and New Orleans that make me feel at home no matter how many people I knew upon landing (I'm talking going to dinner parties, serendipitous next-level career opportunities, forming solid friendships with someone down the block because I liked a jacket they were wearing).
The thought of exploring a foreign country in which I have no friends and have to speak my third, and absolute weakest language is terrifying. I mean, there are an unthinkable number of things that can go wrong- what if I have to go to the hospital but don't know how to say "ovarian cyst" and "ruptured" in French? What if every single one of my lodging arrangements somehow falls through, my wallet is stolen and I have to learn how to beat box to busk my way back to the U.S.? What if I ask a stranger for a recommendation for an evening out and I end up in a jazz club??? The horror!
Tragedy and the unplanned can take place anywhere. It's a fact of life. And while it would certainly be much more controlled if I booked every single one of my accommodations, planned my sight-seeing and stuck to restaurants that had at least 3.5 star reviews on Yelp, I believe with my whole heart that I'd miss out on the opportunity to let life happen to me and guide me to the great, unexpected beauties of Lyon. And, by extension, the wonderful and serendipitous nature of life.