Sunday, October 30, 2016

Jenn Chan Travels: Palais Garnier Opera House in Paris

I've written about this before, but I truly believe that traveling alone is one of the most liberating and empowering things you can do in your life. A lot of people ask me how I do it, given that I'm a young woman, I only speak English and my sense of direction is, well, average at best; but even with those odds, I honestly love it.

I love waking up in Paris not knowing exactly what I'll stumble upon each day and I love the feeling of not needing to consult anyone but myself on all decisions of the day.

Of course, it's not for everyone--but if you're independent (or, as my dad calls it, "gutsy") with a love of adventure and exploration, there's no greater feeling than wandering around a foreign city with an iPhone for taking photos and Google maps to navigate you wherever your heart desires.

I've lived in big cities (Los Angeles, New York, Houston, Florence, Washington D.C. and now Paris) my whole life, so I am inherently very accustomed to watching my back, weaving in and out of crowds, keeping my guard up for safety and listening to my instincts when traveling alone--and once you've got that down, you're good to go!

One problem with traveling alone: selfies get old. It's always nice to have a built-in companion and photographer to capture these moments! 

On the flip side, of course it's nice to have someone to explore cities with, to take pictures with and to share meals with; but there's also the divine freedom of doing whatever you please whenever you please when you're flying solo, too. In this chapter of life, I'm flapping my wings as a solo traveler and really soaking up the experience.

The other day I inadvertently found myself just outside of the Palais Garnier Opera House here in Paris after an afternoon of leisurely shopping (saving that for another post!) It was a Friday at 4PM, and I had nowhere to be (which literally never happens in LA, so needless to say, I am loving this relaxed schedule!), so I waltzed in and did a self-guided tour of one of the most beautiful spaces I've ever seen with my own eyes.

It was stunning and gorgeous and everything I had hoped it would be.
And in that instant, only one thought came to mind, "This is why I came to Paris."

To experience and appreciate the beauty of the world, to discover new things daily that make my heart sing, to get out of the grueling everyday rut and stress of what my life was accustomed to, and to take time to just enjoy. Because after all, life is short, and there's so much to treat ourselves to. So with that, I leave you with some stunning images I snapped while I visited Palais Garnier with my jaw pretty much completely open in utter awe.

Paris, I love you.

xx Jenn

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