33 lessons learned in Paris

by Shannon Ables
Portland writer
The Simply Luxurious Life

Last year after returning from my travels abroad, I wrote a similar post recording the many lessons I had learned (click here to read the post). While it takes time for some lessons to be absorbed, other lessons appear like flashes of lightning during moments unexpected. So many of the lessons I will share with you today occurred in this latter fashion.

The gift of travel is that no matter where the car, train, plane or your feet take you, there is always something to learn, and you always have the opportunity to return a better version of the person you wish to become.

One of the most wonderful ahh moments I observed is what I share in lesson #32. Many people have asked when my fascination with all things French began and when I began seeking out “French women’s ways of living”, but what I’ve realized is that I’ve always had an innate appreciation and love for many of the things associated with French living – quality over quantity, simple, chic style, appreciation for relationships rather than excess and things, etc, and so it has been more of an experience much like one is drawn to a kindred spirit.

When you find someone or something that holds similar ways of living in high regard, a magnetic force has a mysterious way of pulling you together. Thankfully, I have been fortunate enough to visit a country that speaks my language because it would be quite difficult for a country to hop on a plane to Oregon.

Have a look at the many lessons I discovered and hope to try and incorporate into my daily routine now that I’m back home . . .

1. Leave the cell phone in your handbag when dining and be present with the company you are with, the food you are eating the atmosphere that surrounds you.

2. Let events unfold naturally. Who knows where they might lead?

3. Forget labels. Shop for the best quality you can afford.

4. Forget size. Shop for what flatters your figure.

5. Wake up excited to be alive, realizing that nothing is guaranteed.

6. Inspiration is everywhere, but you must be rested and alert to observe it.

7. Every one needs time off. Let go of the busman’s holiday mentality and take time to replenish yourself.

8. Loving what you do has a direct effect on one’s health.

9. Dressing well reflects a respect for life, one’s self and others.

10. Find your calm each day.

11. Don’t be afraid to ask.

12. Quality accessories complete one’s outfit.

13. Be patient. Let the way of the day inspire you, not frustrate you.

14. When the weather is excessively hot, get up early and enjoy the quiet and cool.

15. Always choose stylish over sexy. Because choosing to be sexy is objectification of one’s outer self, while choosing to be stylish is a revelation of one’s inner self-respect.

16. Incorporate scarves into your daily wardrobe. Own them like you would pairs of shoes. You can never have too many, and just the right scarf perfectly completes a look. (Click here to read more about scarves.)

17. Invest in quality accessories. Purchase them not because it’s a trend or the “it” item but because it will last and it speaks to your sense of style.

18. Even if you have amazing health care, smoking still is not chic.

19. It is better to ask why or ask how something works than to cower and remain stagnant because of fear. Knowledge provides understanding which provides direction, which provides freedom.

20. Planning ahead and doing your homework pays off even if things unfold differently or go off track.

21. Dress to please yourself.

22. Wear a beautiful chemise, lingerie or pajamas to bed each night whether you share your bed or not.

23. Fall in love with your life. If the life you are living isn’t your ideal, find something about it that you do love – a daily ritual, a certain relationship, your morning walk, etc – and be willing to find the courage to do the work to create a life you love. While it won’t be easy, it will be worth it.

24. Add a shift dress to your summer wardrobe – simple, comfortable in hot weather and chic with flats or sandals.

25. Don’t follow what other tourists do or what is expected of a vacation to your destination. Enjoy your trip in such a way that leave you wiser about how to live your one unique life and better informed about the world.

26. Paris isn’t perfect, but it has embraced who it is. Do the same with yourself and capitalize on your strengths. Gather all necessary knowledge to bolster those strengths and observe your expectations being exceeded.

27. Sales are most rewarding when you buy what you need and would buy at full price if you had the money.

28. Choose your words wisely as they have great power. They can welcome or isolate, console or harm, inform or manipulate, encourage or terrify. What legacy do you want to leave behind?

29. Everyone is on their own path, but we all have to get along to each move forward.

30. Keeping up with the Joneses leaves nobody happy.

31. Having more money than you plan on spending brings an ease along the journey. Who knows when an obstacle or opportunity will present itself?

32. My Paris (a sense of self-respect, signature style, quality over quantity, a regard for relationships over money, an air of mystery, etc) will be wherever I go.

33. Life has a wonderful way of surprising you if you allow yourself to be present. While it is advisable to have expectations, it is understanding why you have those expectations (how it will make you feel when you reach them) that is more important to grasp. After all, it is the journey that is most enjoyable.

As you can see, travel allows us to return home richer than when we embarked on our journey. I’m curious to know, what valuable life lessons have you learned from your travels? Please do share in the comments below or on TSLL Facebook page. Have a great Monday and lovely start to the week.

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