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  • Jennifer Howard

Drink the Wild Air

Updated: Nov 3, 2021

I knew travel ignited a very special vibe, even from the time I was a young girl. It felt exciting and aspirational, the idea of going somewhere far away, with entirely different culture, currency, language, landmarks, people, cuisine, and way of life. I suppose it started for me in high school, in my very first French class. My French teacher, and very good friend to this day, Madame Horn, was the living embodiment of global chic. She spoke the language perfectly, taught us about the culture, made us laugh, helped us develop habits of excellence, and allowed me to declare my first big dream (at age 15). "I'm going to Paris!"

Eiffel Tower in France

Along with Madame Horn, it was my grandmother who unlocked this dream for me, when she surprised me with the money needed to go on the school trip to London, Paris and Madrid for graduation. I was so excited! My first passport, the first time I got to be on a long international flight (and chunnel), getting to speak French (with French people!), using le metro, asking for directions, running around with peers, finding our way, going to the top of La Tour Eiffel (and hugging it). Viewing the Mona Lisa and Venus de Milo at the Louvre. Skipping down Les Champs-Elysees. Writing in my journal while sitting at the perfect sidewalk cafe. Twirling down the hall of mirrors at Versailles. Let me tell you a past life, I must have been something really special, because I felt so at home. In Paris, in the palace, in the world. And those rose colored lenses would stay on for the rest of my life.

beautiful bridge in france

Even now, travel brings out parts of that same elated inner-teen. The one who feels special just entering the international terminal. A different geographical setting brings me joy, excitement, inspiration, adventure, freedom, rest, clarity, a direct connection to my soul, which is worth the amount of any plane ticket. Even being in the plane, among the clouds, zooming at 500+ mph towards my next glamorous destination brings inspiration (and usually, some good writing). I even feel a little closer to grammy up there (imagining for even a brief sec, that I can fly to visit her). I am so grateful to my parents and grandmother for sending me out into the world, even before they could experience it fully. I have a few of my grandmother's travel journals, and as I read about her experiences (my grandparents traveled a lot domestically, and on a few ocean liners), I feel even more connected to her. She was an absolute star.

Versailles gardens

Traveling allows you to connect with a different part of yourself. Perhaps a part you didn't even know was there. The time to discover is now...don't wait for someday. As stated by the poet and philosopher, Ralph Waldo Emerson, "Live in the sunshine, swim the sea, drink the wild air." See you out there.

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