This weekend I walked through Paris in the rain. It wasn’t much more than a slow drizzle, but it was enough to scatter haphazard puddles of varying depths. It was enough to make frazzled tourists jump into the nearest cab or hide under the awning of a café. It was enough to darken the sky at only 5 p.m. and create a blanket of fog over the very top of the Eiffel Tower.
But my friends and I didn’t sit at the nearest restaurant to wait it out. We didn’t order an Uber to go back to our apartment. We didn’t duck inside the nearest museum to wander aimlessly until the weather cleared. We walked down the very center of a muddy dirt path that, in the sunlight, houses a charming garden overlooking the Louvre on one end and the Champs Élysées on the other.
In the rain, it was little more than a sodden trail in the fog. But no one seemed to care. Parisian couples casually walked hand-in-hand, sharing an umbrella, stopping occasionally to kiss one another or to marvel at Paris in the rain. We walked alongside the nonchalant, dampened couples and admired the way the lights from the street lamps reflected in the water pooling at our feet.
We walked through the rain for about an hour, pausing only once to warm up with a steaming hot cup of coffee. We didn’t have a plan. We didn’t have GPS. We spoke in broken French, laughed and followed the golden lights of the Eiffel Tower back to our apartment.
There was no plan, no rush, no commitments. We talked, walked and admired a foreign city in its natural beauty. Our phones had died, so there were no photo-ops or Snapchat videos to document the moment. We documented each feeling, sight or sound in our minds only, and it made the experience even more beautiful.
But when was the last time I’d done this? Aimlessly walked? Felt such powerful emotions and seen such beauty without capturing it on camera? Slowed down? Didn’t worry about where I was going or how I’d end up getting there? Lived, just for the hell of it?
When was the last time you did?