Failing Forward

with Daniel Cassadio

Prologue - Chapter 4: Bonjour adventure

PrologueDaniel CasadioComment

On a train to my first WWOOFing farm 7-hour train ride south of Paris.

I wrote this blog: 

I flew into Paris at 8 am in the morning, completely jetlagged and really just wanting to be in bed with a hot chocolate and watch Friends. But that wasn’t the case, I had to go out and explore Paris. I know could life get any worse right?

I had a great day seeing all the regular sites of Paris, trying to pick up French phrases; by the end of the day I could say ‘bonjour’ in the most attractive French accent ever. Maybe not 'the most' attractive. Alright, maybe I could say the phrase like semi-attractive. FINE! I sound like a complete idiot. 

The first day I also got my bearings on the metro system, by ‘bearings’, I mean getting lost for a solid two hours trying to work out how to get to Chàtelet.
After some hours of speaking some very poor French and English and listening to jokes I had no idea were about, so when there was a pause I would laugh hysterically. I found myself in the outskirts of Paris, about to knock on the door of my Couchsurfer. That for me was a little tricky, I mean this could be the wrong house and I’m about to say ‘Its me Daniel, the dude who is going to live in your house for free for the next few days’. How does this conversation happen?

I must of said some words right because the next thing I knew I was chatting away with Alain and his wife Dominique over some local French dinner. It was great. Alain and Dominique really did make my time in Paris fantastic, they taught me other French phrases and after all that I was wrecked. A full day of exploring, getting lost and getting to know my Couchsurfers; Daniel was ready for bed.  And falling asleep on a bed and not a chair on a plane, and even just falling asleep knowing that I’m in a safe place where my back pack and I can just relax.

The next day Alain and I had breakfast together, then a few moments later I was on the back of his motorbike, and I swear the ‘light’ flashed before my eyes that many times from all the near death crashes. Because apparently when a French person owns a motorbike/scooter all traffic laws go out the window.

You know when you watch a movie like Fast and Furious, and you’re thinking ‘that is so fake’? As Dwayne Johnson and Vin Diesel are swerving through traffic, dodging all the cars whilst shooting at the bad guys? Alain wasn’t shooting anyone but going 110 km/h down a busy road swerving through cars, trucks and buses is quite the adrenaline rush.

So Fast and Furious 9 went on for about 45 minutes until Alain decided to stop and get some coffee because he was feeling a bit sleepy. How reassuring.

Alain got us some Jewish vegetarian roll, he said the name but it sounded like a mix of French and Jewish. So there was no way I could understand what he said, but like a regular person would do I just nodded my head.

We chatted in a park for a couple hours about travel, food and life itself. Then Alain had to go, so we would meet back home in the evening. In the meantime; I had some ‘getting lost’ to do.

And that’s exactly what I did, and by the afternoon when I started to make my way back to Alain and Dominique’s house I knew the metro system to well. And I was back home in no time.

I loved how Alain and Dominique’s house was in the out skirts of Paris, because there was a 2000 hectares of forest literally in the backyard. It was so good that I could be in the city and then reset my mind and hang out with God in the forest.

On Wednesday I explored the forest more, and also did the good 18-year-old -teenage-boy thing to do and find Mac Donald’s, buy a Coke and then use their Wi Fi for two hours reassuring Ma that I’m okay.

That I guess was a taste of what happened in Paris, I could go on but then I would be writing pages and pages. But another lesson learnt on this adventure is travel is great alone and thinking time. When you arrive at a destination you are generally quite busy interacting with your hosts and their friends. But the time it takes to get there is great; because you just get to sit back on the train, taxi, metro, horse (probably not, but it would cool) or plane and just think and wonder. About your history, future plans and other important people in your life.