Paris, France. Part I: The Local
I had one “simple” goal when arriving in Paris: to simulate being a wealthy, unemployed local who is writing a novel. Yes, everyone has their fantasy. I will just come right out and admit, mine is to be an unstarving artist who lives (not vacations) around the world. I’m off to a good start with my Indian and British experiences, but I do have a day job. So with Paris, for now, I’d have to fake living there. The first step in doing this was simply making the choice of staying longer than the usual weekend, or even the standard week. I chose two weeks; which is actually a lot of time for someone who has already seen the major tourist sites, is very familiar with the city streets, and has already accumulated a list of favorite neighborhoods and cafes. It would be two weeks of unemployed living, not touring.
Edinburgh, Scotland. Part 1: “Summer Surprise”
When I woke up on the morning of July 28, 2011, I had no clue or warning about the magical portal that would soon be opening before my eyes. I had just returned to London from a very relaxing vacation in Barcelona, and was looking forward to spending the next few days lounging and writing at home. Well you can call it procrastination if you want, but I prefer to see it as listening to the repeating inner voice that kept screaming, “Jeff, dude, you really need to check out Edinburgh.” I didn’t feel like seeing a doctor about this voice-thing, and thankfully still had four more days before prison security would be making me return to my work desk, Monday morning. And so just a few short hours later, I found myself standing in London’s, Euston Station, buying a train ticket to a city I’ve never even thought of before. In the past, spontaneously following intuition has led to some of my life’s most joyous moments. I can now happily say, choosing to listen on that day has given similar results. It led me to a place on this planet that, for some reason, makes me feel like there is nothing wrong with anything, anywhere. For me, Edinburgh, Scotland has definitely become that kind of place. Continue Reading