I’m a pretty proactive traveler. And by that I mean I’m pretty used to being the one who suggests a travel adventure to a friend or family member. My family knows there’s really no need to conjure up a trip – if they wait long enough, I’ll come around with some pipe dream about island hopping in Thailand or hiking through Hawaiian valleys, practically anywhere with an affordable airfare.
So when my boyfriend told me he was taking me on a romantic weekend getaway to Paris, my reaction was decidedly split. On the one hand, my boyfriend just asked me on a romantic weekend getaway to Paris. A girl should be so lucky! Every feminine bone in my body was squealing, kind of the way I do when I see mini cupcakes or baby sized shoes. I, like the majority of the boob-ed half of our species, entertain wildly romantic dreams of being wooed beneath the Eiffel Tower, and now it was finally happening.
But, if we’re really being honest, I was instantly uncomfortable with the lack of control I had over the trip. I generally like surprises, and I generally love handing over the reins when it comes to spearheading shorter excursions. I mean, I don’t even like to drive, vastly preferring to sit in the passenger seat and let my boyfriend take the wheel (literally.) But when it comes to travel, when it comes to Paris, a destination long sitting at the top of my list of Awesomely Awesome Places I’d Someday Like to Have an Awesome Time At, it is way outside my comfort zone to be uninvolved in planning. I know what I like to do and see and bring, and letting go of that felt too weird.
I sneaked in a little pre-trip reading on the side when my boyfriend was working. Secret maps drawn from the Siene to the Champs-Elysées, clandestine lists of must-sees and must-dos and must-hide-these-from-my-boyfriends. I’m pretty sure if I had simply told him I wanted to help with the itinerary, my boyfriend would have said of course. But I was too embarrassed, feeling like I was ruining the romance of his gesture by trying to take control of the whole thing. He was supposed to be taking me to Paris, not the other way around.
So I had this weird anxiety leading the whole time leading up to the trip. But I did my best to keep the behind the scenes snooping around Paris guide books to a minimum. And the day of departure arrived. We went to the airport, got on a plane, and arrived shortly thereafter in Paris. We spent four days exploring the most romantic city in the world. Then we came home.
And it was wonderful.
Here’s the thing about vigilantly planning a trip – it doesn’t really go too well with romance. And in the city of love, the most magical, romantic moments ended up being the ones we sneaked in between planned out excursions. The cafe olé and macarons we ducked into a shop for to escape a bit of afternoon rain were lovely and delicious and unplanned. The fact I came dangerously close to convincing my boyfriend to write the city’s famous carousel is frankly going down in the record books.
Sometimes a trip requires careful planning and the strictest of itineraries. But when the crux of the adventure is romance? Yeah, you can’t plan for that. Turns out my boyfriend didn’t either. He knew we’d have the most fun trying to figure it out as we went.
Photo Credit: Moyan_Brenn