By Alex Bottner
50,000 Steps in Paris
My typical weekend this term has been spent going out on a Friday, sleeping in on a Saturday, then getting prepped for the week ahead on Sundays.
By the time Friday hits, I’m usually exhausted. The thought of taking the tube on the weekend and going into central London to collect dots and take in culture seems tiring instead of invigorating. But then spending my weekend on the couch at home and resting up feels just as tiring.
It was time to break the pattern, so I found some last minute deals and booked a weekend trip to Paris with my boyfriend.
After Friday reflections, I went straight from Brixton to the airport. The next day, I woke up early in Le Marais and hit the ground running. In one weekend, I walked 50,000 steps — the most exercise I’ve gotten all month —and didn’t feel tired during one bit of it.
I had an almost childlike awe exploring my surroundings — the windy streets, the galleries tucked in every corner, the clothing stores where you could tell the owners carefully curated every little detail in them, and restaurants with pretty awnings and bustling patios, which invigorated me to keep exploring.
I ended up walking from Le Marais and following the river Seine until I reached the Eiffel Tower, then crossed a bridge and made it to the Louvre as the sun was about to set (I inadvertently followed a similar route to the Gilets Jaunes protestors that day, but that’s a different story).
The city itself nudges you to drink in your surroundings. Cafes and bars have their outdoor seating facing the street directly, making people-watching a perfectly normal pastime. No one cares if you stare too long.
On our street wisdom walk that we did in last term, we were encouraged to look at the surroundings in our everyday lives with this same openness. By doing this, you end up making yourself more open to the people and the world around you. You observe things that you wouldn’t normally and break out of autopilot mode.
It’s easy to forget this when you’re feeling rushed everyday. I shouldn’t need to go to another country to feel refreshed and revived, but sometimes you just need a change of scenery and culture to get out of your rut.
It was short and sweet, but taking the weekend to explore a new city made me feel like myself again. It forced me to stop overthinking and mulling over my past week’s challenges, and to just enjoy where I was.
Not going to lie though, my legs have been aching all week…I need to start going to the gym again.