Expedia has a series of short videos about how travel bloggers have “found their” meaningful travel moments. One of my favourites features Trish Friesen (aka TripStyler) talking about how an early travel experience to Mexico shaped her view of travel — and of life. This got me thinking about the key moments in my own travel experience. Over the last five years, travel has become a fundamental part of who I am — as a writer, yes, but also as a person.
My “find yours” destination would have to be Paris. It’s the place my husband I return to again and again. It’s where we got engaged. It’s where we went on our honeymoon. I’ve written about Paris for iloho and for The Globe and Mail.
More specifically, my “find yours” place, the place that means more to me than any other travel destination, is the Pont des Arts. This was where my not-yet husband surprised me with a tiny lock he’d purchased at a local market, so we could join the tradition of lovers marking the permanence of their love by securing a lock to the bridge and throwing the keys into the river — something we’d seen on many trips, including our first, to Prague, years before. It’s where we returned a year later to mark our engagement with another lock, this time engraved with words that captured how we felt about the new journey we were embarking on together. And a year after that, it’s where we returned again to look for our lock, only to find the entire panel we’d secured it to had been removed. We thought perhaps our connection to the bridge was gone, though we consoled ourselves knowing our keys were still at the bottom of the Seine. And later that trip, we found the bridge still had a hold on us when the Batobus we were riding crashed right into it — quite a feat given the flat-calm waters and utterly straight path the Batobus takes along the river. Youch — that left quite a bruise.
If I were to have a “find yours” video, it would surely be the story of that bridge, and how it has featured in my life. What did I find, exactly? I found connection. First, of course, with my husband — and then, quite literally, with the bridge itself. It’s a special place. A place to which we will certainly return.
And really, isn’t finding connections what travel is all about? With a place, with the people who live there, with the people who travel with you — connections make travel (and life) richer and more meaningful.
Ah, it’s surely time to return to Paris soon. I wonder what the Pont des Arts has in store for us next…