The Light of Paris Will Always Drive Away Darkness.

So come with me, where dreams are born, and time is never planned. Just think of happy things, and your heart will fly on wings, forever, in Never Never Land!

J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan

To write about travel adventures seemed so trivial in wake of the dark events that occurred on Friday the 13th in Paris. As I read the Twitter feed and scour the news, I am horrified but cannot disconnect my phone from my hand.  At a certain point the news contains the same morbid facts about death and carnage, but I continue to read the same information over and over again.  I want to turn away, but I cannot. It is the same morbid hypnosis I felt as I watch the events of 9/11 unfold 14 years ago.

Fear fills me as I think of my own 20 year old daughter in New York City, my aunt in DC and my family in San Francisco. We all live in major American cities. Are any of us safe?

As I search for updates I come across the article that does make me want to write this post. The article reports that people are starting to cancel their vacation plans to go to Paris. Tourists are coming home early.  The article predicts that the attacks will have a huge impact on tourism to Paris. It predicts that because of the attacks people will not come to Paris. “No,”I think “that will mean they win!”  This reaction is exactly what the fear mongers want from us. They want us to be afraid. They want us to stay away from Paris. They want to snuff out the city of lights.

When the events were unfolding, I felt compelled to post a photo from our 2009 Paris trip to Facebook and Instagram in support.   I noticed many of my friends did the same, shading their photos of themselves in Paris with the colors of the French flag.

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Paris is a magical city. Paris has a way of never leaving you. I could not help but be caught up in its magic when we visited. The main attractions are lovely; the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, and Norte Dame only to name a few. But the true magic can be felt in the narrow cobblestone streets, in the quiet shadows of night next to the Seine and under the glowing lights of the outdoor cafes at midnight. Paris nights have the aura safety. My daughter Claudia and I wander arm and arm alone down an empty street in the Left Bank in the dark. We feel the mother-daughter closeness that I keep in my heart as my souvenir of Paris. We feel happy, safe, connected and enchanted.

Paris cannot lose this magic. Please do not cancel your plans. Please do not stay off the streets. Please do not scratch Paris off your bucket list or the darkness will win.  Go be touched by the magic of Paris. I will always carry a piece of Paris in my heart. I know this piece of Paris in my heart is why I am now trapped, tranfixed to the horrible news. I feel so helpless. If there is one thing I can do, it is this, I can continue to believe in the magic of Paris. Paris is never never land. It has a magic we should all experience once in our lives. That magic will continue as long as we believe that the light will prevail over darkness.  Life is an adventure not a destination.  Live it with magic in your heart.

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The moment you doubt whether you can fly, you cease for ever to be able to do it.

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