I lived in the Philippines until I was 20 years old and moved to the US after I graduated from college. Back then, all my travel plans were thought of by my parents. I didn’t think about travel to far flung places other than America where I traveled to since I was 3 years old. It’s probably because with visa requirements from Philippine passport holders, it just seemed a tedious thing for my parents to take care of.
Like a lot of foreigners, I first learned about countries through school. The world history and geography classes where we had a blank world map and had to fill in the names of the countries made it evident how far my world was from all these places that piqued my curiosity.
France piqued my curiosity the most. It was art and history that drew me in. And of course, literature too. Our grandfather was an English teacher so love for reading was instilled in us, and our kid editions of works by Alexandre Dumas painted the picture of France for me. Fast forward to after moving to the US, becoming an American resident, earning my own money, meeting my future husband who spoke French, learning how easy it was to apply for a Schengen Visa that I thought, I’m ready to see the world. And my first stop will be the place I dreamed about for as long as I remember, and my dad’s wish since he was a wee boy… Paris, France.
We followed the literature trail, from Les Misérables, to the Man in the Iron Mask, to the Da Vinci Code. We followed masters from Auguste Rodin, to Claude Monet to the indomitable (and personal favorite) Salvador Dalí, to the yet unsung artists that fill the squares of Montmartre. On my second trip with my husband, we followed the food and architecture trail. We traveled farther and deeper, although I’ll always say not far enough.
I could definitively say that with France, I had such a love for it. The sort of love that has understanding despite the mystery; that sees beauty in literally everything, that it can do no wrong; the one that feels a connection despite the distance.
I’ve traveled a lot more since my first trip to France. And since then, I had fallen in love with other places. I had blogged about my moledro with Florence. Rainy train rides through and around the English countryside, The Twelfth Night at hand, gave such a superlative of peace, it could only be love. And most recently, as I have been persistent about increasing efficiency personally and professionally, and evolved to one obsessed with intelligent design, Denmark has most definitely captured my heart.
I’ve been making quite a few travel plans lately, and none of them are to France. Perhaps distance and time make things fade, but they also make things grow fonder. What a contradiction. But, you’ll never forget your first love, right? And that is France to me.
Bianca is one of the founders of get there | get lost. She is an avid writer and photographer based in Northern California. Her love for history, literature, architecture and food culminate to her passion for traveling and learning about different cultures. She advocates for accessible travel, and continues to explore with her husband and travel partner, Jesús, despite physical limitations. Follow their adventures on Instagram as @gettheregetlost and @coffeeandtherapy.