That’s the thing about adventures and journeys…we never really know where they’re going to take us. With the Philippine peso’s recent depreciation and the rising cost of commodities, Ito and I were planning on holding off taking an overseas trip this year. But an impulsive visit to the Travel Fair to look for a last-minute deal on local resorts for summer led us (through a few twists and turns of fate and an irresistible promo fare) south–to Paris and the South of France.
Unlike our previous trips which we usually take in the fall, the dates we randomly chose fell closer to Ito’s birthday and our anniversary, and while we initially didn’t have a single plan much less a vacation itinerary, the open nature of it suited us just fine. When we got home with our tickets and began visualising our trip, it dawned on us that in all of our 21 years together, our life had taken on the characteristics of a lifelong journey, one that stubbornly took its own path and oftentimes deviated from where we initially thought we were headed. What’s more, taking this road-less-traveled often had a funny way of turning things on its head, transforming seemingly irrational decisions based solely on some intuitive impulse into amazing experiences and, sometimes, life-changing events.
But that’s definitely not saying that our life journey, or our travels, are always smooth. In fact, it is more often than not fraught with uncertainty–from career-shifting leaps of faith, to smaller challenges, like finding out after we booked our train tickets and accommodation that we would be traveling from Paris to the Cote d’Azur and back by TGV train on transport strike days!–and we have discovered that it is in our ability to remain flexible and open to whatever happens, and embrace whatever unfolds, that allow us to enjoy the unpredictable journey as much as the destination. This way has also allowed surprises to fill our days, and during our trip we managed to see and experience a lot more things than we ever would have thought possible had we meticulously scheduled every step.
So through thunderstorms and hailstorms, transport strikes and flight delays, we found ourselves immeasurably blessed every step of the way with bright blue skies and perfect weather when we prepared for rain, hassle-free train travel when we were ready for cancellations and delays, and a welcome respite in a beautiful, newly-opened lounge during an unexpected flight delay. And as we headed home at the end of our trip we realised, a journey going south doesn’t mean things going wrong–in fact, it ended up meaning things going very, very right 🙂
*Photos by Ito Ocampo
Everything light and bright–we arrived to perfectly balmy spring weather in Paris
Welcoming the blue skies and gorgeous blooms as we walked around the Jardin de Luxembourg in our quartier
Chancing it–headed to the Roland Garros grounds and, luckily, managed to get tickets on site (it was the last time it would be available if you didn’t book online) to watch the games and enjoy the festive atmosphere
Our train travel days inadvertently landed on the French transport strike days–but, thankfully, we headed off to the Cote d’Azur without a hitch 🙂 🙂
We felt the thunder! The atmosphere was electric and we could feel the earth rumble all around us with the F1 cars at the Monaco Grand Prix
Late sunsets–supposedly at 9:30 pm, but it was still bright out–allowed us more hours to explore the pretty, pastel-coloured alleyways of the Old Town in Nice
Another day, another journey. Venturing off to discover the trés, trés picturesque medieval town of Éze.
A sudden breeze would pick up in the little streets and blow in through windows offering the most amazing views
The nose knows! Following the scent to its source 🙂
I wouldn’t mind doing this everyday! The most enjoyable, picturesque bus ride with absolutely stunning views!
Unexpectedly found ourselves in beautiful Beaulieu-sur-Mer to take a swim, and found out that it was the fictitious town “Beaumont-sur-Mer” in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels 🙂
Waking up to a beautiful morning walk along a breathtaking coast to the weekend market being set up
Wandering is our favourite activity. We always allow ourselves the luxury of exploring without a map.
By plane, by train, by bus or by foot…we always try to remember to enjoy the journey
In Paris for our last few days, we were caught in an unexpected thunderstorm that found us running in the rain on a warm, wet night (and reminded us of home)
A surprise thunderstorm–and hailstorm!–early on in our trip led us to a dance, music and centre for performance arts tucked away in Le Marais
Exploring the unexpected, hidden gems of Paris like the little known vineyard of Montmartre
Journeying into the mind of Gustav Klimt at his exhibit at the newly opened Atelier des Lumières
Homeward bound and enjoying a mini-break in transit at the new Muscat International Airport
A welcome respite during an unexpected flight delay. Dinner, drinks and a spa-like shower at the newly opened Oman Air Lounge made the journey home that much more pleasurable 🙂 🙂