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Approaching the Dream - First Days in Paris
In any normal situation, stepping outside oneself in order to make things happen in the world is certainly difficult. Add language barrier, jet lag, navigating a foreign city, and it can be paralyzing. Makes you either want to sit down and cry, or spend a hundred dollars for a hotel room where you’ll wish you had a translator to tell you what’s for supper. Having stepped outside, from Oregon to France, we sucked it up and compromised with a cheap hostel so we could gather our wits.
We have all our basic needs strapped on our backs, 10,000 miles from home. Surprisingly we found the locals fascinated with our self-sufficiency. This is why we have been so fortunate to make friends who show us rare compassion. Everyone in the world has had trouble in their lives, and has been helpedand now when we needed it, people have been there to help us.
Our new met friends at the hostel approached us with shock & inspiration. Shocked that we were ‘living the dream’, and inspired to do it for themselves someday. Their reaction was motivation enough for us to keep on treckin’, to see how many more people in Europe we might shock and inspire. We had a rousing night of drunken music and culture comparison. Soon enough we were beginning to feel at home in our own skins.
paris is a trial, its so incredibly expensive here and my 300 cash was turned into 170 euros. we stayed in a hostel last night, tonight though, we just dont know. we’re about to go play music on the steps of a church, hopefully make some money. we estimated that between the two of us we have 700 euros, but we’re going to save at least 100 of it for during the september grape harvest in south france. (from email home)
We left the hostel in the morning, and after a hard day of rambling around trying and failing to figure out our existence in this state of confusion, we grudgingly came to terms with having to sleep next in an abandoned inner-city construction zone. We were prepared with tarps and sleeping bags, but not looking forward to it. Before we gave into our fate, we decided to relax on a ritzy sidewalk corner in Montmartre and try to make some money with our voices and guitar. Immediately we were befriended by the local street artists who regarded us as likeminded gypsies, and soon enough we had some euros in our hat.
casandra and i had a beautiful night last night playing music on the street of touristy montmartre, and made about 14 euros. all the street artists loved us and gave us more money than the actual tourists themselves, and we befriended an artist by the name of frederik, and he showed us a secret garden that we could sleep in. it rained, but we made a shanty of our tarps. (from email home)
As exotic and romantic as this may seem, it has been days of struggle to get this far. Traveling Europe with practically no budget is harder than hollywood makes it look. Really, it’s about social networkingbeing a good listener to good peoples’ good advice. Like our friend Heidi, who told us about a great spot where we could play music, Sacre Cœur. And at that spot we met Frederik, who showed us to a secret artist’s garden where we could sleep safely for the night without hassle. That, in our minds, was a much preferable squatting spot than an abandoned construction site. And in the morning, he even brought us fresh chocolate croissants!
this place isnt as scary as i presumed. most people speak english, and being a young american traveling girl that isnt the ritzy cliché tourist is making good impressions on these people. bagettes, avocados, beans and cheese is all we’ve eaten now for three days. frederik brought us fresh chocolate croissants this morning. its beautiful here. (from email home)
We have decided to boogy with the money we made last night, springing for french espresso rather than our dingy cold french press. Take away our 30lb packs and dirty appearances, and we could be any other American tourist. Except we’re traveling in style ... of Kerouac, Bukowski & Hunter Thompson.
At first our sitution seemed difficult and lonely, but as soon as we stepped outside of our selves and came to terms with uncertainty, we found that the kindness of others can be very motivating. There are like-minded people everywhere, you have only to seek them out and embrace the spirit of mutual aid.
We leave for Amsterdam in the morning.
Asia Kindred Moore lives in Salem, Oregon. She caught a flight to France late August. Asia can be reached at email@example.com. Friend Casandra, also of Salem, travels with.
Site updated Winter 08-09