When Caden was 1, Nick and I had a chance to travel overseas for a friend’s wedding. One of those “it only happens once” moments that if you can scrounge the money together you can justify it. She wasn’t getting married in France, but close enough that I knew we could start our trip there and visit the place I had dreamt about for years. I hadn’t been feeling like myself lately and it was increasingly getting worse each day. I didn’t even know you could get post partum when your baby wasn’t really a baby anymore, but turns out the hormones in the first 2 years can cause it. So here I was, experiencing post partum anxiety for the first time, and boarding a plane to go half way across the world. I figured it’s Paris, who can’t kick anxiety’s butt in Paris? Me, apparently. Poor Nick, I spent most of those days fighting off panic attacks, wanting to go back to the hotel for breathers and generally being uncomfortable. There was so much left unseen. Between the jet lag and the new medication I was taking, I slept through the alarm the first day and missed our scheduled tour of the Eiffel Tower. We never got to go inside the Lourve (although the outside was quite lovely). And this didn’t have to do with my PP but we didn’t realize the last day of our trip was the Tour de France, which apparently is a national holiday and most everything closes down. So the final day, when I felt like I finally was ready to tackle this thing head on, there was nowhere to go and nothing to do. We embraced the fun and parked alongside the road to watch the race, but all in all, a wasted day in an amazing city.
The thing that truly kept me going was my camera. When I was behind it I felt like I was invisible. Almost like I was experiencing the city through a television and behind that lens I was safe and secure. As long as I was looking through that glass I was distracted, and calm. It’s funny, I actually look back at those pictures now and don’t even remember walking some of those streets or being in some moments. It looks quite lovely, I’d like to go back and try again some day.
Not surprisingly, however, I did manage to have one truly care free day, that was the most peaceful and breathtaking of them all. We hopped a train to Giverny, to take a bike riding trip through the town where Claude Monet lived to see Monet’s Garden. THAT day I will forever remember. I can close my eyes and see the small French cottages whizzing by as we peddled on those red bikes. It rained off and on as we rode, but it didn’t even matter. It made the smells even more amazing, fresh rain mixed with blooming florals. The sun would go behind a cloud and scatter some showers on us, then in a blink it’d come back out shining full blast and give us a gorgeous landscape to marvel at. It’s like my anxiety was controlling the weather. Waves of darkness being blasted away by lightness. No amount of dark could keep me down that day. If you’ve ever followed my Instagram feed, visiting my Etsy shop, or generally looked at my photography portfolio you’d know why. It’s HEAVY with gardens, greenery, landscapes and flowers. It’s my happy place. I can be at the lowest of the low, and escape to some place green and blooming and instantly be calmed. It’s like that day was my security blanket God was wrapping me in, swaddled in tightly, able to relax and enjoy. Hands down, it’s my favorite traveling experience to date, and I would hop on a plane, anxiety ridden and all, and do it all over again today.