Recently, a friend and I had a long conversation about where in the world we'd go if we could go anyplace. My answer: "Paris, always Paris."
"For the shopping?" he asked.
"No," I replied, "for the women."
"Talk about a life change," he muttered. "Let's think this through."
"Get your mind out of the gutter," I admonished. "Haven't you ever heard of the motto of Paris? Fluctuat Nec Mergitur: tossed by the waves, she does not drown."
"That's kind of badass," he noted. "Both the motto and you dropping some Latin. Tell me more."
"I want to go to Paris again because it's a city full of women who Own It. I mean, sure, they care about being thin and pretty and dressing well and what-not -- but I just feel like, as a culture, they don't take shit. They are who they are, take it or leave it, and they expect to be known for it. They are known for it. I mean, French women..."
"That 'je ne sais quoi,'" he added. I could see him nodding over the phone. "I feel you."
"When I go, though," I expanded, "I won't be there alone. I want a romantic vacation, but my way -- the languid dinners, the cruise down the Seine, the whole romantic Paris picture. I want to be strolling down those cobblestone alleyways next to a man who sees that I Own It too -- who appreciates me for who and what I am... a man who is a consummate gentleman but also a feminist who likes that I have ideas and opinions and with whom I can banter about his beliefs, too... who, when I'm baking cookies at 10 pm for the last-minute bake sale my daughter sprung on me, is sitting at the counter keeping me company, actually engaged in conversation with me and not on his smartphone all of the time. A man who pays attention to a woman who deserves it. You know what I mean?"
"Yes. You're having a bake sale in Paris while on a romantic vacation with a yet-to-appear man while your kids are in tow, because that's how you 'Own It?'"
(Well, I guess I can give him points for listening.)
"Yeah, I guess I kind of left Paris on that tangent, didn't I?" I admitted.
"I totally get it though," he shared. "Paris isn't special unless you share it. Been there, done that. You'll get there, too."
So now, I have travel on the brain. I have my "bucket list," which I need to update and to edit, thinking all the meanwhile: where to from here? Talk about a meta-question ... In any event, my next stop in the real-world is SoCal, and then, I'm thinking, maybe the Grand Canyon, or visiting family in Florida. But if I can muster the resources to travel abroad, where, in the world, shall I land? Lago di Como? London-town (again)? Dubai? The possibilities, they're endless ... while I'm waiting for Paris and all that it means and entails.