As the news from Paris came in yesterday, I was filled with two main thoughts – heartbreak and sadness for the victims and their families of this senseless attack on this beautiful city that so many of us love, and the realization that this would cause many people to question the value of travel. That would be, I feel, a terrible mistake.
It’s natural to react by withdrawing, staying with what is familiar. But the truth is, nowhere is completely safe anymore – something can happen in your own backyard as easily as halfway around the world. There’s not much I can do to stop this kind of horror except to pray for the victims, and to keep traveling. Through travel we make the world a little bit smaller, understand each other a little bit more, appreciate the beauty and diversity of other lands and cultures and hold them dearer. It’s a small defiance perhaps, but through small steps come big changes.
This afternoon I spent a couple of hours planting bulbs and contemplating the attacks in Paris and how the world will again be forced to change and adapt. I found it appropriate (and some comfort) that the majority of the bulbs I planted today were daffodils. Daffodils have often been used as a symbol of hope and renewal – after 9/11, hundreds were planted in lower Manhatten and the American Cancer Society sponsers Daffodil Days annually to raise money and awareness. They are a promise that spring follows winter, that beauty still exists in the world, and that even after great hardship we can flourish again.
Je t’aime Paris.
*We are Parisians