It's known as the city of love, but that is not the only reason to visit Paris. And frankly, visiting Paris, solo, can be a lot of fun. Seriously, I have never travelled to Paris with another person, and I have never left the city thinking "Ugh, that sucked". Where do YOU go when you're in Paris? Here's my Paris itinerary.
Germany invaded Poland on September 1, 1939, the Russians invaded 16 days later, thus beginning the European theatre of World War II. By October 6th the Germans and Russians occupied all of Poland. The war lasted for five years and eight months in Europe, and during that time Poland was home to some of the most notorious prison camps known to man; Auschwitz, Gross-Rosen, Stutthof. Overall there were roughly 250 camps in occupied Poland, both concentration and extermination. Over 3 million people were killed in those camps.
I always debate about whether or not I should write about being an overweight traveller. It’s not that I think people will leave nasty body shaming comments, which I’m sure a few would, it’s more about the fact that I hate talking about it.
And that is the problem, nobody talks about it.
It's been almost two months since my Dad passed away in a hospital room in Fergus, Ontario. I remember getting the call to drive home early from Québec City, which resulted in the longest nine hours of my life, where I pleaded for him to wait for me to get to his bedside. Two days later I was holding his hand, stroking his hair, and telling him it was time for him to go. I then watched him take his last breath.
Born on the dining room table at the farmhouse in Bracebridge, Ontario, Dad was the youngest of twelve children (nine boys and three girls). Premature at birth, he was taken to the hospital inside the doctor’s little black bag. In those first weeks Dad’s sisters would take turns holding him at night, resting their feet on the wood stove; heating their bodies, which would, in turn, heat his. When it was time for him to eat, they fed him with an eyedropper, and as Dad loved to say, “…now they use a funnel!”
I fell in love with Haïti; every single inch of it (that I saw). I fell in love with the people, the culture, the food, and the landscapes. It is unusual for me to fall in love with a travel destination so quickly, but there I was, my second day in Haïti, and falling hard. So hard that I ached over the fact that I was only in the country for a week. Clearly, I need to return, stay longer, and see more.
Photographing Haiti is an adventure in of itself. This is a country that experienced a devastating earthquake which brought aid workers from around the world to help the country recover, and unfortunatel, a slew of photographers showed up as well. Haïti was in crisis mode. A proud and mindful people were brought low by Mother Nature and in an effort to 'show the world' the devastation, photographers stuck their cameras in the faces of the people and clicked away without a lot of thought. Many of those photos being used by international media outlets.
There is a moment when you're sitting in the back of a beat up black sedan, spewing exhaust, sweating, and stuck in traffic when you think, 'Yay, I am digging the vibe in Haïti'. Having spent the morning and part of the afternoon at Parc historique de la cane à sucre et musèe (Cane sugar historical park and museum) and in traffic; which can be a tad intense in Port-au-Prince, I decided I wanted to visit a market during our free time in the afternoon. And after dropping most of our group off at the hotel, myself, Sarah, and Mylène (we are all on an Air Transat press trip with one of their package tours) were joined by Daphene and Ralph as we hopped out of the van and onto the street.
I stand on the corner of the hotel driveway, camera in hand, framing a photo of the street, and the colourful square stone houses that are creeping up the mountain. It is early morning and as a warm glow slowly stretches across the horizon I hear the faint sounds of roosters in the distance. I'm in Haïti. I let that thought sink in slowly as I start to ponder how I want to share my experiences here. Yes, there will be many photos, a few tweets, and a blog post each day, but what is the story? What will be my angle?
About the Author: Edna is a Pennsylvanian who recently graduated with a degree in political science she never plans on using. After a year and a half of studying, teaching, writing (and making the occasional Gaelic football appearance) in China, moving to Singapore to work for the Youth Olympic Games and is currently working on an Asian supermodel reality tv show, while wondering daily how she got here. You can follow her adventures at Expat Edna and on twitter @ednacz
Eight months ago, I couldn't tell you where Singapore was on a map. It was a month to go until graduation, and while I'd started planning my escape abroad, I had no clue where to actually run off to. Speaking to a best friend from college one night, he revealed his company was planning on transferring him to Singapore for a few months. "I'll have a spare room, want to come live with me?"