I hopped on a late train to Paris from Netherlands, got to the main train station Paris Nord around 11pm, then realized that the additional ticket I needed to get to the airport could not be purchased at the cashier seeing that they were all gone. Nor could I attain one from the automated machine because they only took coin currency not the paper euro bills that I had. Great! So as it was looking like I had to spend the night at the train station with my luggage and some Parisien rodents, a small bodied and to be honest, homeless looking old man approached me while I was at the ticket machine. I was a bit weary of him at first, there I was in the middle of the night being approached by this man who spoke no English really, while he is sort of gesturing that I can give him the money. I felt unbelievably uncomfortable with that arrangement and tried unsuccessfully to find passersby who could change the money for me. I then decided I might be wrongfully judging a book by its cover and this man could have been sent to help me. He noticed my apprehension and then decided to buy some tickets then handed me one of them. I thankfully pay him for it and off I go to the airport…sorta!
So then I find out that the train to the airport doesn’t really run at that hour and I must get off at a different stop and then take a bus to the airport. Hmmm, Paris is not giving me an easy exit. I take this journey with a lady also traveling to the airport who had a similar departure time and we keep each others company for the next few hours. Once at the airport I hung out for about another 6 to 7 hours before being able to check in and then another 2 hours at the gate. At this point most of the agents now know me by name, some alarmed that I was still in Pars. When I realized that I was actually going to make it on the flight this time a rush of emotions ran through and saturated my body, almost liquifying my limbs and confining me to the cushioned bench below. I was so happy, I pulled out my journal and begin to write. One thing I must say though is that despite the travel turmoil I experienced when trying to leave initially, the people of Paris surprised me. I went having heard terrible stories of their lack of hospitality and kindness and was mostly met with the opposite. I was always offered help by a smiling face, some going above and beyond to give me accurate information.
One day I would love to return, just not too soon lol. Although what I went through had nothing to do with the country itself. I originally tried flying out on a buddy pass when 3 things were happening, a holiday had begun in France, Air France was on strike and Hurricane Sandy. Now with all that finally over, I boarded a plane to my next location…HOME!
For those wondering if the travels are over, the answer is a simple Not Even Close! As some of you know, while traveling I was the victim of identity theft and needed to go back to take care of that unfortunately, but I am also happy to see family and friends. I can’t wait to take you guys there with me especially those experiencing the winter chills, because home just happens to be South Florida. I will basically get to ditch my boots and don a bikini in the space of a few hours. No tear shedding for that wardrobe change I can tell you that much, but it is bittersweet as the almost 6 months spent in Europe were beyond amazing and definitely deserves a post of its own! Plus now I have so many tips to share, look out for those too. Until then, see you guys in Florida!