I wish that I knew what I know now …

… when I was younger.

Studying the wine list at Flora, ParisAt some point on each trip (usually after a pichet of house wine at dinner) I get a wistful feeling and start the soliloquy Brian always hears before we head back home.

It goes like this:

“Don’t you just wish you could go back and tell your younger self about the amazing things you’re going to get to do when you grow up?”

Brian, used to this speech by now nods, pours some more wine, and settles in for my reminiscing and commentary on how unlikely my 13-year-old self would have found the probability that I would find myself 20 years later in a 1) Parisian bistro 2) Greek taverna or 3) Italian ristorante.

I most especially wish I could tell that 13-year-old self — the skinny pale one in the budget eyeglasses with the frizzy hair and bad skin — as she slips her free lunch ticket to the cafeteria lady about the fabulous experiences (dining and otherwise) to come later.

When I was eightI’d also like to tell the little me who dreamed of Heidi‘s Alps, The Prince and the Pauper‘s London, and all the other far-away places I read about that one day I would do the inconceivable and see those places.

A sad truth of travel for me is that after a few days of immersing myself in the treasures of the place I’m in, I lose some (ok, sometimes *much*) of the dazzled and gleeful feeling I start with. How long can architectural wonders and natural splendors hold their appeal when you’re surrounded by them constantly (and your feet hurt and you’re not getting enough sleep and you can’t find any !@%$#%@ non-carbonated water)?

Thankfully, soon after the loss of that spark, the kid I was comes back. This wide-eyed kid is unworldly, unjaded, and unconstrained in her delight. I guess it’s ok that I can’t go back and tell her what she has to look forward to, as long as she comes back to let me enjoy it like a kid.

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One response to “I wish that I knew what I know now …

  1. My experence was a little different than yours. When 7 and 8 years old we lived in England for a year and traveled on the mainland during school holidays. Then, when 17, my parents dragged me back to Europe for the summer. Both times I did not appreciate the experence. I wanted to stay home with friends. It wasn’t until much later in life that I appreciated the experence. For years in my adulthood I dreamed of going back and seeing things with different eyes. Last spring my wife and I spent 7 weeks in Western Europe, leasing a car and staying in B&B’s. We intend on returning again in the next couple of years, so unitl then I read blogs such as yours to get my weekly fix. If you care to, you can read about our trip in the archives on my blog.

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