From the day we are born, we are urged to be wary of strangers. Don’t talk to them. Don’t accept food, lifts or anything, really. Avoid eye contact.
We raise our children to be afraid, because the world can be a dangerous place....
I’m so bad at doing what I’m told.
I’m a friendly person....talking to strangers is my favourite! I like to think that strangers are just friends we haven’t met yet. Some of my dearest friendships were borne out of this very notion.
Conversations struck up in bathrooms at nightclubs, random chats at hairdressing salons, giving a little extra service in my job....turning customers into mates. This is how I roll.
When I planned my trip overseas, I started to receive warnings from people who knew me well.... “Don’t go talking to randoms! You’ll get in trouble. People aren’t like that over there!”
I started to worry.... did I really need to quell my instinct for human interaction? Are we really so different, that we cannot smile at each other and discover common ground?
The answer is ‘No!’
Cyprus, England and France has been full of kind strangers! In fact, if it were not for the kindness of strangers, this holiday would have been a totally different experience....
Traveling with children is hard. We tried to romanticise the whole thing, but the truth is far from romantic. Adjustments need to be made constantly, because in reality, my one-year-old doesn’t care about the London Eye, the Eiffel Tower, or how much wine I want to drink.
He wants to run away from the awesomeness and eat mud out of a non-descript planter box! His lack of sophistication is frustrating, but entirely understandable.
It’s week three of this journey and we are all starting to feel the struggle.
Disneyland Paris was an amazing 48 hours! I literally cried my way through the park - flawed by the collision of my dreams and reality.
Despite the brilliance of this experience, 48 hours of non-stop rushing from ride to ride; desperate to fit it all in, had us completely destroyed by the end.
Now, if we’d been at home, we could have just relaxed after such an epic adventure, but we had to try to figure out the French Metropolitan system and find our way through the streets of Paris to our accommodation - once again, without my trusty mate Google, to guide us!
To say that we struggled, simply doesn’t do it justice....
Picture my emotional eight-year-old, my hungry one-year-old and two adults trying to wrangle 3 massive pieces of luggage, 2 little suitcases, a pram and a baby seat.
We were spoiled by the straight forward Underground system - god bless London and it’s literal signage.
The Metro is 70% guess work and we were not in the mood!
Add to this, a complete lack of disabled access and suddenly, we were attempting the ridiculous....climbing stairs!!
Enter the locals....
We had strangers offering us the use of their phones, to send messages to our accommodation. They were uploading addresses into their map apps. Missing trains, to drag our weighty possessions up and down far too many steps!
There was an obvious language barrier in most instances, but the universal language of human decency prevailed.
As we emerged from the Metro, my faith in humanity confirmed, we took a look around and felt renewed. Paris is stunning. It’s exactly as I imagined and I love it here!
Cheese and champagne, croissants and strangers....the ideal combination for a holiday we will never forget!