It’s funny how sometimes you have different conversations with friends and family which take you back to a certain time of your life. Last week, my friend and I were talking about our travels in our 20s, the freedom and adventures we had. I then got my travel diary and photos out from my year in France to see what I could remember and recommend to my parents whom are currently in Bordeaux.
This photo epitomises my life at 20, I was working and living in France as part of my degree and spent every weekend travelling, it really was a year of care free fun. I worked as an assistant and had a free apartment on the school site so my wage allowed me the freedom to travel. My other friends from uni were also in France so I visited them in places such as Strasbourg, Tours and Bordeaux during school breaks and then on weekends the foreign language assistants in our small town would travel together. The three of us would share a cheap hotel room, buying food from a supermarket and the obligatory bottle of Malibu for a pre night out aperitif. Although we were on a student budget, I’m mighty impressed when I look back in my book, we were away nearly every weekend, there’s pictures of us sipping champagne in Epernay, sitting in the parks of Dijon or just relaxing in a bar, but the best memories are of Paris. We went there often, staying in a cheap hotel, 10f each sharing a triple room and exploring the city by day and night. We did all the tourist spots and more off beat attractions, like the Père Lachaise cemetery to see the graves of the famous dead, Jim Morrison, Oscar Wilde, Edith Piaf among others. We embraced the culture, getting the cheap seats for high brow theatre (one friend was studying French lit) and visiting many art galleries. It was a very special time and I think we recognised and embraced that it was our time to enjoy our age and freedoms before we started careers and an adult life. I am so pleased that we did what we did, the memories have lasted a lifetime and that year helped give me the confidence and focus to be who I wanted to be.
I have travelled lots all over the world since my year in France but never lived abroad again. However, as I start to plan for the future I think there’s more travelling in me still to be done, I would love to do a teacher exchange when my children are grown up, I reckon I could just squeeze it in before I retire. Travel does broaden the mind and offer new opportunities and whilst I don’t need to relive the days of my youth, I’m keen to have the buzz of travelling and living abroad again.