These past 5 months back in Paris have gone in a blur. After two relaxing weeks of holidays, wandering around in sunny Paris and reuniting with my friends and family, I started a new job and was forced to readapt to a 9 to 5-schedule and to a life full of responsibilities. Those careless days traveling around the Caribbean coast of Colombia were soon far behind. In many ways life in Paris is great. For starters, I am lucky to have a job that I like and an apartment that I love (none of these is a given here), and amazing friends to spend time with. I appreciate the everyday luxury of hot showers, real supermarkets, cleanliness and absence of mosquitos, as well as the possibility to walk around in (almost) any neighborhood without worries.
We don’t have a sea or beaches here but les quais de Seine are always as beautiful to stroll on. Yet to speak of the endless narrow cobble stone streets, parks and beautiful buildings, small cute boutiques one after another. The old city of Cartagena is a lot like a miniature Paris, and maybe that is why I liked it so much there. Moreover, being back I’ve noticed how much I enjoy the Parisian lifestyle and being a bon vivant. Going out, not only on weekends but on any day of the week, discovering the overwhelming choice of restaurants, bars and (roof top) terraces. Drinking wine and eating terrible amounts of bread and cheese. In the beginning I just let myself be free. I had missed it so much and I told myself that it was ok to enjoy the end of the summer and to go out almost every evening. Now I’m trying to control myself at bit more but sometimes I just don't care, I hear somebody even said that a glass of wine per day is good for health. This is the part of Paris that I love. There are so many different neighborhoods, so many different things to do, so many lovely places to see. In no amount of time could I ever get bored of Paris. I know this is the city where I am supposed to live.
For those who don't follow me on Facebook, yes I have arrived back to Paris. However, the return has not been as smooth as I expected (if I ever expected that the return to Paris could be smooth) but petit à petit, day by day, I'm getting used to it and starting to feel better and at home.
This is it then. I feel overwhelmed; strange but somehow happy. 199 days (200 when I land), 5 countries, 74 posts, 80 300 words, 1520 pictures. I want to thank you all for reading this blog and for following my travels. Your likes, comments, inquiries and support mean the world for me. Should you have any questions regarding the places I visited, volunteering, or anything else, keep contacting me, I'm happy to help. I hope you have enjoyed reading my stories as much as I have enjoyed writing them.
As authors often do, I wrote this last chapter long ago, when I was traveling in Cuba. Back then I promised myself that I would keep an open mind for changes and for other opportunities that would certainly come along. I reminded myself that I was free to do exactly what I wanted, that I wasn’t tied to anything or anyone. That if I wanted, I could keep traveling to exciting places, and I could find a job anywhere in the world.
But somehow I knew it all along, that I would not change my mind. And I haven’t. On this day 199 of my Caribbean life, there is really only one thing I want to say. As always, one picture tells more than thousand words, and I think this picture speaks for itself.
I'm going home.
Friday night, time to relax, in the mood for going out for a drink. But... where? In your home town or traveling to a new city, the problem is always the same. There are so many bars around, and yet there aren't. You read about nice places on your way to work, you pass by nice places on an evening run or when walking your dog. But when it's time to go out, you suddenly can't think of anything, even less of anything new or exciting (and that is exactly why I always end up in La Perle, no seriously I just like it too much). Well I'm about to make your life a lot easier, at least if you happen to be in one of the 7 cities that made it to my list.
I'm Emilia, Finnish-Parisian, a recent Master's graduate. I'm currently traveling around the Caribbean and on a volunteering mission in Colombia. I'm passionate about writing, music and different kinds of sports. I can't wait to discover new places and cultures - and share my adventures with you!