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Life, Love And Liberation: A Pre-Quarantine Tale

A month before lockdown came into full-effect, I took what would be my last trip for a while to Paris, the city that I affectionately refer to as 'my happy place'...

By Kelle SallePublished 4 years ago 4 min read
Enjoying my pina colada at Le Malakoff

This is a tale about life, love, and liberation.

The most important lesson I learned when I ended my engagement in September 2016 was that life is meant to be lived. If you allow someone or something to hold you back, you will never appreciate your life for the miracle it truly is.

Have you ever taken an Eat, Pray, Love style trip? Mine was Paris. It was July 2018. I had asked a friend if she would like to come with me, but she didn’t really see the point of staying in Paris for more than a day. As far as I was concerned, I wasn’t going to be stopped. I was determined to visit another country on my own. I wanted to be the ‘independent woman’ that Destiny’s Child sang about all those years ago.

Being in a place that was unknown to me, embracing the cuisine, learning about the culture and the opportunity to visit some of the most popular attractions in the world sent a wave of adrenaline through my body. Elizabeth Gilbert had become my shero.

So, on a sunny morning in July, I boarded the Eurostar. As the train left St Pancras, I felt a huge lump in my throat. I couldn’t believe that I was going on my first solo trip. I’m what I would call a fun-focused traveller: I don’t remember the names of any places. All I do is eat lots of food, have a cocktail or two and be merry.

This trip was different. It was my way of inviting self-love into my life. At the moment, it was peeping, scared to let itself in. When I got to Paris, I knew I didn’t want to be confined to the four walls of my hotel room. Exploring everything the life of a Parisian had to offer was my goal. Visiting attractions such as The Louvre, The Eiffel Tower and even walking along the iconic Champs-Elysees gave me the liberation I needed. I was free to be myself, and I acknowledged that I was free to live the life that I truly deserved.

After the trip, my perspective on life and travel had changed. A part of my heart was left in Paris and I made a vow with myself to go there at least once a year. I did eat (a lot) and I prayed too. I didn’t find love (even though I wasn’t short of male attention while I was out and about), but the trip was everything I wanted it to be and more.

Fast forward two years, and I had a new job and a new outlook on life. I embraced the year 2020 full of optimism and excitement, reflecting on all the plans I had for the year ahead.

In February, another friend and I decided to take a trip to Paris. At the time, the coronavirus had spread to several countries, including France, but I was really looking forward to being in ‘my happy place’ again. The day before we were due to leave, my friend decided she wanted to see the Eiffel Tower. We spent about 30 minutes taking in the surrounding scenery: groups of tourists taking photos, couples gazing happily into each other’s eyes and a dance troupe who had assembled a stone throw away from Trocadero Metro.

After this, we decided to go a restaurant. We chose Le Malakoff. It’s a small restaurant located on Place du Trocadero. There was a beautiful terrace at the entrance: it looked like the perfect place for a spot of people watching. We asked for a table and talked about everything we had done in Paris. A passionate rant about Chateau D’Eau, the area where we decided to stay, followed. While we were waiting for our food to arrive, I asked my friend to take a picture of me. When I look at this picture now, I’m reminded of every single memory I have of my annual trips to Paris. Who knows when I will return to ‘my happy place’ again? For all of us, life as we know it will never be the same.

If we can learn anything from these unprecedented times, I hope it’s how to live, not merely exist.

By Kelle Salle


About the Creator

Kelle Salle

I'm Kelle and I am a writer and blogger based in London.

Kelle's Space, an online lifestyle destination which aims to educate and empower millennial women, was launched in 2017.

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