On my YouTube Channel Lilly Out And About!
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Sur ma chaîne YouTube Lilly Out And About !
N’oubliez pas d’aller vous abonner pour me soutenir 🙂
I’m originally from France, and so far I have been to Ireland, England, Italy, Spain, The Netherlands, the USA, Japan, Singapore and at the time this blog post will go up, I’ll be spending Christmas 2018 in Bali, Indonesia! So, 10 countries so far! 🙂
Oh my Gosh, this tag is already getting to hard to answer… Well, in fact my bucket list was all reshuffled after this summer 2018, because I went on a world trip with my parents for my 25th birthday/ end of studies/ life turning point and got to visit the USA and Japan, which were ex aequo my two ABSOLUTE number one destinations on my bucket list! You can read all about this mega-trip here 🙂
Therefore, now that two of my absolute dream destinations have been crossed off the list, I would say the number one on my bucket list now is be Australia. I’m actively looking at prices on Sky Scanner to see when it would be the best time to go there from Singapore!
Well, I’ve already written about the 10 Incredible Destinations I Want to Hit Before I Kick It, and from this I will say the other 3 are:
Ummmmm… Let me think about it.
It would for sure be long, a month or two, and it would include discovering a new country and experiencing some kind of a culture shock. Visiting cities, but also incredible untouched sites, with preserved nature. And it would be either with one loved-one, or alone.
The two pictures I cherish the most are those two shots that my mother took of me in New York this summer…
Both those shots are absolutely perfect to my eyes, and bring back so many memories of us being in New York, me for the first time ever, my parents for the first time in 27 years: they spent their honeymoon there before I was born…
It was my absolute dream to go there, for as long as I can remember, and both pictures represent the fulfillment of this dream of mine and make me remember how lucky I was then, and how lucky I still am to be able to continue fulfilling my dreams now.
Yes, I have had to travel for work on several occasions: when I was on internships in law firms during my law studies, I have had to travel to other courts or tribunals in France, for court hearings.
Since I’ve graduated as a lawyer in France, I’ve been working as a junior legal counsel for the Singaporean office of a big french company. So for my first job, I actually moved abroad, to Singapore.
With each of my loved-ones. Where? I don’t know, where the wind will take us 🙂
For the person it would have to be a loved-one, and for the object it would have to be a knife, because I believe you can achieve anything with a knife (fire, create a shelter, make clothes, prepare food, etc.). But the real answer would be something intangible: knowledge about how to survive and nature in general.
Anyone who knows me well knows I absolutely love amusement parks. For example, I have been to Disneyland Paris more than 30 times (I’ve had a One-Year Pass allowing me to visit for free).
I also like going to zoos, but it really depends on the zoo, and I’ve visited a lot of zoos in my life actually, I’m guessing 20 different ones. In France, Ireland, Japan, the US and Singapore.
In France, you can have really nice open-air ones, where animals live freely in reserves, and most importantly not caged. I especially think about a bird park I absolutely love in Villard-les-Dombes in South-east France (website). I also remember visiting a domain where wolfs lived freely but were fed by humans, which allowed visitors to see them during lunch time. This is the kind of “zoo” I like, but it depends on what you’re calling a zoo really.
All I know is that when I see an animal caged and obviously looking like it’s gone mad, turning in its cage, desperate, it brings tears to my eyes. I can’t handle it.
Sea. I’m a beach girl, have been going to the south of France and the Mediterranean sea for all my holidays from 0 to 17 years old.
Well, 2018 will end in one week, but in fact I still have one country to go to this year: I’ll spend the last week of 2018 on the Indonesian island of Bali 🙂
I cannot say anything about 2019… you’ll see 😉 but stay tuned for my adventures to come, because 2019 will probably be the year I visit the most places, ever!
Well, never say never, but I can think of places where there is a war going on, or countries under dictatorship. I can say I’ll probably never go to North Korea.
Kyoto, Japan. 100%, didn’t even need a minute to think about it. If you’ve never been, PLAN YOUR TRIP RIGHT NOW.
Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Will not go back unless forced to, and you can read all about the reasons why in this blog post: Why Las Vegas Was A Downer & Discovering Sin City | World Tour #8
Well, it was Singapore, because we ended our summer world tour with Singapore, and three months later I was back: now I’m living there 🙂
Japan. 100% again. Hands down. Not joking. If you’ve never been, PLAN YOUR TRIP RIGHT NOW!
Wherever I felt safe, at home, and with the people I love. It has never been attached to a place in particular.
This situation only happens in movies… how nice it would be though! Well, to be really honest with you, I’ll go back to Japan, so the destination would be Tokyo, Narita Airport.
Either Tropical island getaway (which will be what I’m doing for the last week of 2018, going to Bali) or City exploring trip!
A water bottle, a book and a blanket. It’s only with those 3 things that I can survive a 14-hour flight.
All my books, my piano, and really nice camera gear.
Don’t prepare every single thing in advance of a trip: allow yourself to get lost, to explore whatever you wish to and to be surprised!
What I felt arriving in New York City for the first time in my life. I almost cried of happiness, feeling like the luckiest person ever.
Being sick for two days straight in Tokyo, not being able to get up.
The moment I left France again, to go and live in Asia. I cried, and in fact I’ve filmed it: you can watch my departure vlog here!
Well I can’t remember one in particular, but it always has to be with not understanding what a person is saying to me, usually talking in English but with a strong accent from somewhere.
Las Vegas, again. You can read all about the reasons why in this blog post: Why Las Vegas Was A Downer & Discovering Sin City | World Tour #8.
San Francisco, California, USA! I’d never really thought about this place, but staying there and exploring this city was actually so nice! I’ll definitely go back to California in the future.
Well, this is a hard one because I’ve been eating food from all other the world since I was a child so for the moment I didn’t discover any food during a trip. However, I recently discovered Chinese Bao, at the Yam’Tcha teahouse in Paris, the small restaurant of Adeline Grattard’s husband, as seen on the third episode of Netflix’s Chef’s Table: France.
I loved the baos I ate there, and I’ve seen lots of restaurants specialised in baos here in Singapore, so I’ll definitely eat some baos again!
Probably the hardest question of this tag. I will give the short answer, because I’d really like to extensively express my deepest thoughts on this topic in the future, on this blog.
I guess I travel because I’m looking for something, which I haven’t found yet. A place, someone, peace within, answers to my questions, truth? I don’t know.
I’m already getting so used to Singaporeans “Lah” to mark the end of their sentences, and “Can” or “Cannot” instead of answering yes or no, I’m sure I would have picked those in about a month!
A special someone I haven’t met yet.
City: Kyoto, so far. Country: Japan, forever. (repeating myself here, am I not? Have you booked your trip there yet? What are you waiting for?)
All the hats I own. They’re from all other the world, and I love them all.
If it’s a lack of money, then take time to look at all the budget travel tips available on the internet today: you won’t hesitate after doing that.
If it’s a lack of time, then really think about it: I am 100% sure you can find a way to take some time off whatever is keeping you from traveling (work, family, life in general).
And if it’s a lack of courage, which probably is the main reason for everyone, then meditate every day over this quote:
“In the end, what you will regret aren’t the things you did, but the things you never had the courage to do.”
Taking aside the obvious (identity papers, phone + charger and money), I would say a travel guide or a physical map.
My passport stamp from the US.
Oh yes. Along with its expiration date.
Cars, 100%. I’m all about road trips, even though I absolutely love planes and trains as well. I also cherish boats, and buses. Any kind of transportation really.
Hotel or AirBnb. Sharing a bathroom and a bedroom with strangers is my idea of hell on Earth, so hostels are NOT for me.
I’m both. I want to go to all the places I’ve never been to, but also come back to my favourite places.
I read a lot about the destination, its culture and history, but I don’t plan the exact things I’ll be exploring or doing when I get there.
I don’t really have one. What I’m all about are vlogs on YouTube, from youtubers like Louis Cole (Fun For Louis) who’s been to almost every country on Earth. I’ve been watching his vlogs around the world for almost 7 years.
Otherwise, I look at travel guides, and read travel blogs when I need information.
Tokyo, Japan. Because anyone from anywhere in the world will for sure be getting a huge culture shock in Tokyo. This place is absolutely incredible, and it can be everything you wish it to be.
Dublin, at the beginning of September 2011, when I was 17 years-old, to go and live there for 2 years.
Backpack. So much more convenient.
I always go out of the place I’m staying at, choose a direction, and walk or take transportation in that direction not knowing what I will find. This is how I’ve stumbled on amazing sites, discovered amazing restaurants, met locals, etc.
In fact, this is probably the best travel tip I could give to anyone, but to do this you’ll need to be absolutely care-free.
Yes, and I make a point out of it. I need to connect with locals, because this is how I like to travel. Otherwise there would be no point to explore the world for me.
Yes: this is the time when I’m most feeling whole and complete, and not wishing to be somewhere else. I live in the present and am fully aware of the peace I’m feeling inside.
I would like to experience 3 to 6 months of living and working in different places, in one country or many… and I can’t tell much more because nothing’s settled yet. 🙂
Until next time,
Keep Calm & Travel!
aka The French Hat
I’m very happy to tell you I’m currently actively looking for people who would like to answer a questionnaire I’ve created revolving around expatriation, interview-like, all around the world, that I will then publish on this website in my expatriation folder.
From the interviews I’m conducting, I would like to gather as much material as I can on expatriate life in general, and expatriation in specific countries in particular.
You currently live as an expat’ in Southeast Asia? You recently arrived in Australia, New Zealand or Canada under your first Working Holiday Visa (WHV)? You’re getting ready to expatriate yourself from Europe to the United States or Africa for an internship in the next few months? You HAVE TO answer my questionnaire!
After you’ve answered it, I will contact you by email or WhatsApp to review your answers with you and maybe ask you some more specific and unique questions, according to your situation.
I will then draft the blog post relating your interview, and let you review it to make sure I’ve perfectly re-transcribed everything you wanted to share!
Because I’ve already expatriated myself from France to Ireland for 2 years, and am now getting ready to expatriate myself again, this time in Asia, and I cannot find any platform gathering enough valuable information on expatriation, for anywhere in the world for that matter!
Of course you can find practical information, on official governmental websites, and vlogs from expats everywhere on the globe, but not necessarily what matters most to all who wish to expatriate themselves: REAL INSIGHTS.
How does it really feel to live in Sweden? How are Chinese people like? Is living in Singapore that much different from London? Would a British find food s/he likes in Australia? Is it easy to make friends in Colombia? Do black people easily get around in Japan? How hard is it to get a place in France? Do you really need to speak the local language to find a job in Korea?
Your answers would be extremely valuable to others who desperately need insights on the place you currently live in as an expat’ or are getting ready to expatriate yourself to! I can assure you there will be readers from all around the world!
You mean apart from the fact that you will for sure be helping and educating others? 😉
You will of course be featured on my blog and my social media (unless you want to stay anonymous), as I will link your website and/or your social media right under the re-transcription of your interview and in my tweets!
If this project goes well, my ultimate goal would be to come and interview my collaborators in person (yes, you!), and publish the videos on my YouTube channel, without monetization.
You will then get questions from my readers who will contact you directly if they need more answers about the place you talked about in your interview: it’s a win-win situation.
Just knowing I’ve created a place on internet where people can find as much information as they want on expatriation would be a big deal to me: I want my readers to be able to get answers to their most profound interrogations, not ready-made answers that don’t tell anything concrete.
Contact me at this email address created for the occasion: email@example.com
It only takes 30 minutes to complete 🙂
Je suis super contente de vous annoncer qu’en ce moment je recherche activement des personnes souhaitant répondre à un questionnaire que j’ai mis en place, sous forme d’interview, centré sur l’expatriation, partout dans le monde, que je publierai ensuite sur ce site web dans mon onglet expatriation.
A partir des interviews que je conduis, j’aimerais rassembler autant de contenu que possible sur la vie d’expatrié en général, et l’expatriation dans des pays spécifiques en particulier.
Tu vis actuellement en temps qu’expatrié en Asie du sud-est ? Tu es tout fraichement arrivé en Australie, en Nouvelle-Zélande ou au Canada avec ton premier visa Vacances-Travail ? Tu te prépares à t’expatrier depuis l’Europe aux États-Unis ou l’Afrique pour y faire un stage dans les prochains moins ? Tu DOIS répondre à mon questionnaire !
Une fois que tu y auras répondu, je te contacterai par email ou WhatsApp pour qu’on revoie ensemble tes réponses et que je puisse peut-être compléter l’interview par des questions plus spécifiques et uniques à ta situation.
Ensuite je ferai le brouillon de l’article de blog qui retranscrira ton interview, je te le ferai relire pour être sûre que j’ai parfaitement retranscrit tout ce que tu voulais partager !
Parce que je me suis déjà expatriée depuis la France pour l’Irlande durant 2 ans, et me prépare en ce moment à m’expatrier à nouveau, cette fois-ci en Asia, et que je ne trouve aucune plateforme rassemblant assez d’information intéressantes sur l’expatriation, pour n’importe où dans le monde d’ailleurs !
Bien sûr qu’on trouve des informations pratiques, sur les sites gouvernementaux, et des vlogs d’expatriés partout dans le monde, mais pas forcément ce qui importe le plus pour tous ceux qui souhaitent s’expatrier : UNE VRAIE IDEE.
Comment c’est vraiment de vivre en Suède ? Comment sont les chinois ? Est-ce que vivre à Singapour est vraiment différent de la vie londonienne ? Est-ce qu’un(e) britannique trouvera de la nourriture à son goût en Australie ? Est-ce que c’est facile de se faire des amis en Colombie ? Est-ce que c’est facile pour les personnes de couleur au Japon ? A quel point est-ce difficile de trouver un appart’ en France ? Est-ce qu’on a vraiment besoin de parler coréen pour trouver un boulot en Corée ?
Tes réponses seraient extrêmement précieuses pour d’autres qui sont désespérément à la recherche d’une vision depuis l’intérieur de personnes déjà expatriées ou bien se préparant à le devenir ! Je peux t’assurer qu’on aura des lecteurs de partout dans le monde !
Tu veux dire au-delà du fait que tu aiderais les autres et que tu les informerais ? 😉
Tu seras bien évidemment cité sur mon blog et mes réseaux sociaux (sauf si tu veux rester anonyme), puisque je mettrai un lien vers ton site et/ou tes réseaux sociaux juste en-dessous de la retranscription de ton interview et dans mes tweets !
Si ce projet prend de l’ampleur, mon but ultime serait de venir interviewer en personne mes collaborateurs (oui oui, toi !), filmer, et publier tout cela sur ma chaine YouTube, sans monétisation.
Tu auras ensuite des questions provenant de mes lecteurs qui te contacteront directement s’ils ont besoin de plus de réponses à propos de l’endroit dont tu parles dans ton interview : tout le monde est gagnant dans l’histoire.
Le simple fait de savoir que j’aurais créé un endroit sur internet où les gens pourront trouver un maximum d’information sur l’expatriation serait exceptionnel pour moi : je veux que mes lecteurs aient des réponses à leurs plus profondes interrogations, pas des réponses toutes faites qui ne disent rien de concret.
Contacte-moi à cette adresse e-mail que j’ai créée pour l’occasion : firstname.lastname@example.org
Il prend seulement 30 minutes à compléter 🙂
Writing down this list, and choosing from my many dreams wasn’t as easy as I had thought, but here it is. This is my heart put on the table here, my highest dreams, as this summer I’ve been able to cross out going to New York and travelling to Japan.
There is a very old Japanese proverb saying that:
“He who climbs Mt. Fuji is a wise man; he who climbs twice is a fool.”
This may well be my highest hope, and my oldest one at the same time, the one trip I shall never forget in my life. This may sound stupid to some people, but I intend to experience this almost religiously. To me, ascending Mount Fuji at daybreak, sleeping at the top, and waking up at 4 a.m. just to be able to witness the world’s earliest and most incredible sunrise will be a dream come true. Ephemeral yes, but that’s what makes it an absolutely unique experience, and most of the best things in life usually are ephemeral anyway.
I know this won’t be an easy ascension, I’ve read and heard so many people talk about how difficult it was, and how prepared you should be before doing it. But all of this seems little trouble compared to the amazing feeling I will have when at the top of the most famous volcano of the world, I’ll be able to watch the sunrise in the actual Country Of The Rising Sun.
I plan on doing it next time I go to Japan, hopefully with my best friend. Hopefully next year, during August.
3 facts that should make you want to go and see it too:
It this still doesn’t interest you, let me tell you this fortification is 21,196 kilometers long (13,171 miles) and runs across China, from east to west. It stretches from Shanhaiguan, on the Bohai Sea, to Lop Lake in the Gobi Desert.
It was initially constructed at the command of the first Chinese Emperor, from 221 BC, and was a combination of the various protective walls that had been built by the smaller states which he had conquered and merged to form China.
This wall is a direct link with legend: it reflects on how powerful China’s emperors once were. Its beauty and “incredibleness” cannot seriously be grasped in only one trip, and I’m planning on experiencing it over at least 10 days of travel, going from one end to the other, staying at the numerous hotels alongside it – you can even sleep in a watchtower!
Should I really introduce them to you?
Those pyramids are located on the outskirts of Cairo, Egypt, in the actual desert. The complex is more than 4,500 years old. It includes the three Great Pyramids (Cheops/Khufu, Khafre/Chephren and Menkaure), and of course the Great Sphinx. The Great Pyramid of Cheops or Khufu counts as one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.
Who hasn’t flipped through an atlas or an encyclopedia during childhood, and wished they had been able to see the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World invariably listed? Of all those amazing wonders, the Pyramid of Cheops is the only one still standing, which is absolutely incredible as it also is the oldest one. The Great Pyramid remained the tallest man-made structure in the world until the advent of modern skyscrapers.
Now, if that still doesn’t convince you to go and see it as well, I will tell you those pyramids still hold mysteries we haven’t been able to unveil these last 200 years. And you can actually visit the insides of the pyramids, although it requires some planning and a good amount of money.
When I first saw a picture of this site, I just couldn’t believe my own eyes.
This massive salt flat located in Bolivia, South America, formed by several ancient lakes, is the largest in the world with over 10,000 square kilometers (4,000 square miles). But this is not even what makes it incredible: during rainy season, this salt flat becomes so reflective that it is effectively the world’s largest mirror and is used to calibrate satellites!
For one breathtaking sight, it’s a pretty good one. I don’t even have anything else to say: I just want to see it for myself because this seems incredible!
Most people don’t know two things:
Of course you can find documentaries showing you the inside, but they are still rare. The Taj Mahal is an ivory-white marble mausoleum located Agra, India. In Hindi, it means “Crown of The Palace“, and was built by the Emperor Shah Jahan out of love, to contain the tumb of his wife Mumtaz Mahal. It is now part of the New Seven Wonders Of The World.
If I can go to India some day, I will for sure stop by Agra to see this breathtaking palace, symbol of the One Thousand And One Nights to me. What we couldn’t do for love…
As many places I’ve listed here, this bay is here because of the feeling I’m certain I will get while being there: peace.
Seeing the “Bay of the Descending Dragon” (“Ha Long” in Vietnamese) and the beautiful colours of its waters has always been a dream of mine, and can best be experienced on boat. The bay is officially part of Vietnam and is more than 330 square kilometers in size. It also has thousands of limestone karsts and more than 2,000 isles in various shapes and sizes!
“Only mountains accept to be old, but Ha Long sea and wave are young forever” – Nguyễn Tuân
Jerusalem is the oldest city in the world, and is more than 6,000 years old. It has been destroyed at least twice, besieged 23 times, attacked 52 times, and captured and recaptured 44 times.
Surely this incredible history goes alongside its place in the holy world: it is considered holy to the three major Abrahamic religions – Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. In fact, both Israel and the Palestinian Authority claim Jerusalem as their capital.
According to the Bible, King David conquered the city from the Jebusites and established it as the capital of the united kingdom of Israel, and his son, King Solomon, commissioned the building of the First Temple. The Western Wall of Temple Mount still stands there.
According to the Quran, Muhammad made his Night Journey in Jerusalem, ascending to heaven where he spoke to God. Al-Aqsa Mosque now stands in Jerusalem to commemorate this event.
According to the New Testament, Jesus Christ was crucified there, on the Dome of the Rock, where the Church Of The Holy Sepulchre now stands.
Charged with history, this place is arguably the holiest point on Earth, and is also very difficult to reach: you would need a guide to travel inside its walls.
And for all those reasons, it is on my bucket list, because even though I am not a believer in either religion mentioned above, never going to Jerusalem would seem like a terrible fault.
Visible 8 months of the year in Iceland, Aurora Borealis are still a very rare atmospheric phenomenon that you would have to track down to be able to observe.
I’ve read you should go to Iceland for at least 5 days during the right season to maybe catch a glimpse of one during a Black Night. But it sure is worth the trouble: to be able to see one with my own eyes would be unbelievable.
And do it while bathing in a hot spring would be an absolute dream. Me? Too greedy? Don’t know what you’re talking about 😉
Maybe I’m desperate for real adventures or maybe I’ve watched Indiana Jones one time too many, but I’ve always wanted to see it. And if I do it, I’m going to do it right: riding there by camel seems like the perfect and sensible thing to do.
This incredible sight is again one of the New Seven Wonders Of The World, and is actually on the verge of becoming inaccessible because of the Jordan authorities.
Petra, or Raqmu, is a historical and archaeological city in southern Jordan. Petra lies on the slope of Jabal Al-Madbah in a basin among the mountains which form the eastern flank of Arabah valley that run from the Dead Sea to the Gulf of Aqaba. Petra is believed to have been settled as early as 9,000 BC, and it was possibly established in the 4th century BC as the capital city of the Nabataean Kingdom. – Wikipedia
You need another reason to go and see it as well? Well as you can see on the picture I’ve chosen, this city was directly carved into rose-red stone using a technique we still aren’t able to understand!
Take a moment to read this unbelievably beautiful poem by John William Burgon, on the hidden city of Petra and its colour:
“It seems no work of Man’s creative hand,
by labour wrought as wavering fancy planned;
But from the rock as if by magic grown,
eternal, silent, beautiful, alone!
Not virgin-white like that old Doric shrine,
where erst Athena held her rites divine;
Not saintly-grey, like many a minster fane,
that crowns the hill and consecrates the plain;
But rose-red as if the blush of dawn,
that first beheld them were not yet withdrawn;
The hues of youth upon a brow of woe,
which Man deemed old two thousand years ago,
Match me such marvel save in Eastern clime,
a rose-red city half as old as time.”
John William Burgon
This list cannot be in a right order and this site doesn’t deserve the 10th place here, but it is actually impossible to rank all those places.
This breathtaking bridge is located in Bà Nà Hills, Da Nang, Vietnam, above the clouds: it was built at 1,400 meters above sea level in Thien Thai Garden and opened in June 2018! It was only designed to provide a scenic overlook and be a tourist attraction, but it way too beautiful not to experience!
I’m a bookworm, have always been. So when this absolutely incredible library opened in October 2017, I immediately put it on my mental Bucket List. Nicknamed The Eye, Tianjin Binhai Library is a located in Tianjin, China. It holds 1.2 million books, and features floor-to-ceiling, terraced bookshelves, as well as a large, luminous sphere in the center that serves as an auditorium with a capacity of 110 people. It is nicknamed The Eye because the sphere, which appears like an iris, can be seen from the park outside through an eye-shaped opening.
I’m hoping to go to China several times, because one time will definitely not be enough to see all the great places this country has to offer, holding arguably one of the oldest cultures of the world.
“Collect memories, not things.“
Maybe one day, I’ll have done all of these things. Will that make me happy? Not per se, but I’m a great believer into the richness of memories, not things. Having great experiences to share, and something to tell to the future generations, that’s something every single one of us should aspire to.
So go, don’t be afraid, make your own list, go crazy with it, who knows. Maybe writing it down will inspire destiny to give you what your heart truly wishes.
But remember: you can cheat destiny as well, by never forgetting your goals and work towards them, always.
I hope this post has inspired you and has made you dream with me…
Signing off for today,
Lilly, aka The French Hat
My story with New York City started some 20 years ago, which is about as far as my memory can get.
Growing up, every wall of our home was filled with pictures of New York, mostly beautiful, huge puzzles that my Mom had assembled and hung on our walls. And I remember dreaming about jumping inside the pictures, seeing in real life what seemed to be this perfect place, with colours and lights everywhere…
My parents actually went on their honeymoon in New York City, some 27 years ago. In that faraway time, the Twin Towers were still standing, and terrorist threats were only an possibility, not so vivid in the minds of all inhabitants of the world.
I actually remember where I was that day in 2001, even though I still was very young, and I also remember the minute of silence we did at school. Even then, my eyes teared up, although I didn’t have any idea of what was really going on, except the essential: that people, lots of people, were killed.
Five years later, as my mom and I were huge film-lovers, we went to see the movie United 93, true story about this plane filled with civilians, that ended up crashing in the countryside rather than on the Pentagon, which it was aiming at. I cried my eyes out. This was heartbreaking.
So, when we went to the 9/11 Memorial… and of course, I cried again. All those names, written down on the sides. Those huge holes in the ground, where the towers once stood. All those trees planted in memory of those who have died. The new tower, symbolically surnamed the ‘Freedom Tower‘. All those people reflecting, families praying in front of the name of their loved one, flowers put inside the carved names of those whose birthday it was that day… This was all too much. But I needed to see it, be there. Experience it. And try to understand, as best as I could what the scar that that day had left on the world was like.
If you ever go to NYC, I urge you to experience it as well. If your memory of this horrific event is blurry, either because you were too young when it happened or just not even born, please, document yourself. Because I believe it is our history that shape us, and the collective memory we share that makes us humans.
We took time to visit the One World Observatory, which was one third of the price of the Empire State Building and just as good, if not better, for the view of the City. The tower is very futuristic, and the explanations on its observation deck pretty good. We stayed at a presentation given about the City and its history, and it was great!
All in all, my time in New York City left me the feeling I imagined it would, but was truly unexpected as for its visual and some of its vibe. When we first got there, every minute I was thinking to myself ‘What the hell! this building is too big/short! this isn’t at the right place! this isn’t the right colour! this shouldn’t be here!…‘ What happened is that I had gotten a mental image from movies, TV shows and documentaries over the years, and that image was completely wrong. I just felt like everything was off, not as I imagined it, and it made me feel very sad for a few days…
But after a while, almost as if an adaptation had taken place, I just knew what everybody was looking for there: the energy of the place. Its incredible energy. One that can drive anybody, one that can touch anyone, and most of all one that can adopt any of us! Any colour, race, religion, politics, age, tastes… are accepted there.
New York truly is a haven, and although it might not be the case anymore in the future, due to the closing of frontiers, people who live there are the most eclectic I have ever seen in my life, coming from absolutely all horizons…
I definitely have a lot I still need to see and experience there, because in that sort of place, you’re never finished, and it still amazes you after decades of knowing it…
Hope I gave you enough insight, and transmitted you the will to visit New York City!
Lilly, aka The French Hat