The Sorbonne flex fanny pack name derives directly from an extraordinary experience
in the Latin Quarter in the winter of 2012. With a street view of Boulevard Saint-Germain just steps away from the Cluny-La Sorbonne Metro Station, it was a fine Sunday, December 16th to remember.
Like most Sunday's, the day began early and calm without reservations. To my surprise, the city was already bustling with commuters just outside my window. With a cup of coffee in one hand and a wonderful view of Jardin Médiéval Du Musée De Cluny, I sat splayed out on a cozy blue comforter, dressed in white fluffy hotel robe, allowing stillness for the luxurious "treat yourself" moment to soak in.
Moments later, I opened my laptop to send a few obligatory social media messages out to calm the nerves of friends and family. Once I made them aware of my safety, I unplugged and proceeded to make plans for the day.
When I was finally ready to head out, I began to hear muffled sounds of megaphone voices emanating from the street below. As luck would have it, plans happened to me rather than, I to it.
As I approached one of my three south facing windows - to my surprise - I found an extraordinary spectacle of hundreds and thousands of people marching slowly while singing to the popular American, Sister Sledge melody, "We are family," in their own lyrics, in French.
To this day, there are no words to express observing the strength of thousands, united as one, singing their beliefs, as one. This is by far the greatest example of "one love" that I have ever seen with my own senses, in the flesh.
After a few hours, I decided, I had to get a closer look. At the behest of friends and family not to go out for fear of my safety, of course, I went out anyway. I thought, "Well, I'm already thousands of miles away from them and I'm safe. Why not go a few steps more?"
So, I did. Being in it, I found even more beauty of the human spirit, up close and personal.
It was marvelous, awe inspiring, and a breathtaking experience to say the least.
Safe and in one piece, even the guards were having a good time. The juxtaposition of the smiles and uniform were a - must-have for the album - moment.
As the magnetic aura of the parade came to its gradual end, groups of street sweepers took over behind them, giving the street back to its usual buzz of cars and headlights.
Spent, I climbed up the narrow spiral staircase to my room. Peering out of my window, I snapped this image, and felt changed forever.
Traveling abroad alone is something I believe everyone should experience at some point in life. It grants you the opportunity to: Learn from the silence of being with your own thoughts, feelings and qwerks; learn about others; and grow in a new way, on your own terms.