I have returned to France exactly two years to the day that I left it, as if I planned it to be more significant than it was. I didn’t. But it doesn’t diminish the feeling of homecoming that has been blossoming since I got on the plane from Istanbul to Lyon, when I started hearing snatches of conversations in French. It would then seem somewhat ironic that I had been dreading this trip up until that moment, not feeling my regular level of excitement to be on the move. I love to travel and will do it to within a penny of my pocket’s complete emptiness if given the chance. But France is home. It has been ever since the first day I stepped off the plane in Lyon in 2013 and some part of me will always be here. That is the problem with travelling. We take so much of the world we see with us but we also leave immense bits of our selves everywhere making it increasingly difficult to remain whole and marginally reducing the chance of ever sitting still with every new trip we take. Very soon, we stop travelling solely to discover ourselves and new places and people and things; eventually, we begin to do it because we are incomplete and are trying to find enough of ourselves in these new haunts to replace what we have left behind in the places that become forever beloved. It becomes as much of a give as it is a take. And the more we give, the more we need to be on the go so we can take some more. Travelling becomes the mechanism by which we breathe easiest, by which we can sleep the most comfortably. Languages become thinner and thinner barriers that we encounter as we imbibe as much of them on our voyages as we can. So it is that I find myself on a train at 22h 43 on a Good Friday in 2016 from Paris to Besançon with immense happiness in my heart, the likes of which I have not felt for about three months since my last trip.
On est bien là.