Travel, Serendipity & Embracing the Unknown

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My method for exploring cities, my own or otherwise, has always been to just walk out the door and see what happens and it's lead to some of my most memorable and formative experiences in life so far (like that album cover I ended up on, or the time it lead to a chance meeting of a new mentor).

Leaving my house at 8am, wandering aimlessly and getting lost was what solidified my love of the rich character and people of my hometown of Austin, Tx. That alone is what has granted me experiences in cities like New York, Seattle and New Orleans that make me feel at home no matter how few people I knew upon landing I'm talking being invited to dinner parties, next-level career opportunities, forming solid friendships with someone down the block because I liked a jacket they were wearing. And that is my plan for exploring Lyon this summer.

The thought of exploring a foreign country in which I have no friends and have to speak my third, and absolute weakest language is terrifying. I mean, there are an unthinkable number of things that can go wrong- what if I have to go to the hospital but don't know how to say "ovarian cyst" and "ruptured" in French? What if every single one of my lodging arrangements somehow falls through, my wallet is stolen and I have to learn how to beat box to busk my way back to the U.S.? What if I ask a stranger for a recommendation for an evening out and I end up in a jazz club??? The horror!

Tragedy (accidental jazz shows) and the unfortunate can take place anywhere. It's a fact of life. And while it would certainly be much more controlled if I booked every single one of my accommodations, planned my sight-seeing and stuck to restaurants that had at least 3.5 star reviews on Yelp, I believe with my whole heart that I'd miss out on the opportunity to let life happen to me and guide me to the great, unexpected beauties of Lyon. And, by extension, the wonderful and serendipitous nature of life.

So, I’m waking up everyday to discover Lyon sans plan. We’ll see how this goes.

 

Ari Jones