It’s August. Everyone has travel on the mind. A real vacation is not in the cards for me this year, but I am thinking about journeys lately. And this reminded me of a trip to Paris with my mom to visit my sister during an internship in Paris.
In America, so many of our cities are experienced by car. But in Paris, as in many European cities, the best way to get around is by foot: you walk, you eat some pastries, you walk more, you marvel over old churches and unexpected cobblestone streets, you walk a little more, and then you eat more fromage.
Neighborhoods change, people change, and atmospheres change as you walk. It is a journey in itself to experience the city by foot.
And it was my sister’s journey to Paris, one that she had dreamed of for so long, that I was most intrigued to see. I had heard stories of her suddenly being interested in salsa dancing late into the night and drinking wine by the river. Was this really my little sister!? But of course a foreign country and a city full of life is the perfect place to experience different sides of ourselves and different legs of our own journeys.
On one such meandering walk, my mom, sister and I stumbled upon a beautiful shop filled with stripes. Though stripes are easily associated with the French (the infamous sailor shirt!), these were more colorful and from the Catalan region of France. Inside, the variations were overwhelming. Colors that I never would have joined together suddenly had me questioning everything I believed about color. It was beautiful and overwhelming. I couldn’t leave without something, so I settled on a simple striped canvas tote. I had no idea that I would still be carrying it nearly everyday in the two years since the trip.
When we carry something so frequently, it takes on new meanings. My friend Carmen was delighted that the company’s name (Artiga) was so similar to her own last name. I often think of my favorite blogger oh joy! when I see it, because I know she loves a good stripe too.
But, at the end of the day, it is still the bag that was part of my journey with my mom and sister in a new place and a chance to be a part of my sister’s experience, one that I knew was so important to her. And I’m glad that despite all the wear and tear this bag has experienced, it’s still on its journey with me too.
P.S. I cannot find the name of the shop in Paris. But if you’re in NYC and interested in these famous fabrics, try Les Toiles du Soleil for the real deal fabric woven in France from a 150-year old company!