Lessons from Baguettes and Boulangeries

Yesterday, we shared the most recent city guide to add to our collection. Today, we’re choosing to pause. This week has been a difficult one for the city of Paris. Due to the time of our trip, we departed the city merely days before the fire happened at the spires of Notre Dame. It has only deepened the appreciation, gratitude, and perspective this trip has brought.

With every vacation, there’s the hustle to get on the plane. Scrambling around the week before, we see to it that we wrap up as many projects for clients and chose this month to not onboard any fresh projects upon our return. It was a simple choice and with the current jet lag + workflow one I’m beyond thankful for. I digress.

No 1. Live your life. Don’t wait for what should be happening or for things to be perfect. Just do it.

I know this one is filled with all the cliches. During my second year writing the blog, I spoke a lot about the topic of singleness, dating, and the faith based environments I’ve found myself in. Since then, I haven’t spoken much about it, but rather have still found myself single. Here’s the honest truth about this trip: I used to tell myself I would only travel to Europe with my husband on our honeymoon. We would travel the continent for 2 months, the first month taking off completely and the second month we would work remotely. ( I have literally no thoughts about my wedding, but clearly have this one thought through.)

Years have passed and I found myself waiting for a spouse to do the very things I’ve been dreaming of. Buying a house, traveling to Europe, and launching new businesses have topped the list. When this opportunity came around with a flight cost that was all too affordable. I couldn’t say no. It was a dream that was attainable with the opportunity to say, “Yes.” I’m beyond thankful I took this trip when I did and decided to share it with family. When I have a spouse will I probably go again? Yes. After this week, I’m more so convinced that my yes came at the perfect time.

No 2. There’s incredible value in being present.

Most of us are addicted to our phones. We start our morning scrolling through emails, notifications, and are woken up by these devices. For me, I feel that I can justify it. I manage social media accounts as one of my services afterall, right?!?. However, one day in the middle of the city my brother’s data had run out and my phone had died. We had to use downloaded maps on his phone and simply make do. We were on the streets of Paris, literally getting lost in the city. We had no choice but to enjoy where we were and what we were doing. I can’t tell you how many times I checked my dead phone during that day, strictly from habit. But more than any other day, I was beyond present. I took things in, not by capturing life, but rather experiencing it. I held hands with my oldest niece. We talked about impressionist art, skipped down sidewalks, talked about Madeline books, and played among the Tuileries. There were no distractions. Only one option remained, choosing connection, with others and my surroundings. It was wonderful.

No 3. Rest is priceless.

I’m a girl who loves to work hard. “Work hard, play harder,” I say. However, with this trip I did something different. Outside of pre-scheduled social media posts, I communicated to all my retainer clients that I was taking a week off. It was the first time I had done this in 3.5 years. Yes, Paris is a special occasion and I worked many weekends to get here. However, once slowing down- I found inspiration everywhere. From sidewalk cafes, to typography on street signs, even the ways graffiti takes different forms internationally. Then to stand in front of the art that I had studied for years under classical training. It was everything that my heart needed. When we rest, we find ourselves rejuvenated to complete tasks at hand again. Upon returning to the States, I’ve found myself with fresh perspective where things have gotten a bit hazy over the past few months. In attempting to scale and grow, there are parts of my voice that no longer come to the surface. Now that I’ve returned from the trip, I have a much stronger value for excellence and life’s work. It’s no longer one project or shoot for me, but speaks of a much larger significance and meaning.

No 3. We were made for play, surprise, and adventure.

The days with piggy back rides, dancing in front of the sparkly Eiffel Tower, and eating baguette overlooking the city were more than just experiences. Watching my nieces experience it all, brought forth a sense of childlikeness and wonder. Surprises along the way and desserts at every meal? Those were simply the cherries on top. We were made for adventure. Every year at the beginning of the year I set resolutions. 2 years ago the list was long and lofty. I had just liquidated a business and it was painful. I felt that I had a lot to prove and my list of goals for the year was long. 1 year ago, my list became shockingly short and clear. Relationship goals, revenue goals, and purchasing property. None of them happened. This year, I found myself writing down the same goals as last year and then a list of the impossible, God-sized dreams that could only happen outside of myself. One of them was to go on an adventure once a month. We’re made for it and can get a bit cranky when we don’t have it. Paris was the perfect reminder of my need for play.

No 4. When in doubt, always have dessert. And a double espresso.

Vacation mentality, am I right? However, I’m a huge advocate for eat the dessert, the cheese, AND clock in 10,000 steps after this trip. Yes, my jeans might be a bit tighter, but I’ve tried more flavor combinations to keep our recipes inspired for YEARS to come.

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