I’ve safely returned from my trip to France, though not without a few complications. Flying with a nasty headcold scores a 0 out of 10 and I would not recommend it. Thankfully my brother and sister were healthy and navigated the airports for me so I could just follow them around in a congestion-induced stupor and focus on breathing.
That was only a shadow over the last couple days of trip, though. Most of the experience was fantastic. Before this, I’d never been any farther outside the United States than the Canadian side of Niagara Falls. Then all the sudden I’m getting on a plane in Detroit, waking up the next morning in Paris, and walking down streets older than the country I live in. We had one day in Paris, then flew to Nice and took a bus to Saint-Raphaël. We were there on the Mediterranean coast for about a week, during which we also visited Saint Paul de Vance (pictured in the featured image for this post), Monaco, and Cannes.
Visiting Paris with Mark Twain
I took this trip with my siblings, so our little group consisted of an INFJ, INTJ, and ENFJ (hence the title of this post, which I’ve been planing on using for a while now and am still endlessly pleased with). I started reading Mark Twain’s Innocents Abroad while on the trip, mostly because I wanted to nod to it in a blog post title once we got home. I love the books by Twain that I’ve read, but even though this was the one that sold best during his lifetime I hadn’t read it before.
It’s interesting to read Twain’s record of his visit to Paris in 1867 with our own visit 152 years later. Our experience with French food was similar, with unfamiliar dishes accompanied by “wine with every course, of course, being in France.” Like Twain, on visiting Notre Dame “we recognized the brown old Gothic pile in a moment” even with the recent fire damage making it impossible for us to go inside. We also visited the Louvre like Twain and his companions, though we seem to have been more impressed by “its miles of paintings by the old maters” than he was.
I have a reasonable degree of confidence that my siblings and I had interactions with the French that were far less “ugly American” than Twain’s were. I know he’s a product of his times and that he most likely exaggerated things for comedy, but there are times his blatant insensitivity toward other cultures and people who are different than him made me wince. All in all, though, every one of us walked away with an impression that Paris is one of the most beautiful cities in the world and that we’ll likely never see another quite so charming.
Personality types and travel
As those of you into personality types probably know, as NJ types my siblings and I all use Introverted Intuition as either our primary for co-pilot mental function. This may be one of the reasons my siblings and I get along so well — we understand how each other thinks and see the world from similar perspectives even more so than could be explained just by being raised together. It’s great traveling with people who “get” you at that level. We wanted to visit similar places, have deep/abstract/weird conversations about everything, and go on long exploratory walks that don’t necessarily lead anywhere in particular.
One thing I’ve discovered since learning I’m an INFJ and HSP (highly sensitive person) is that I need to make time for self-care if I don’t want to get sick while traveling. This trip, though, I pushed myself a bit too hard and ended up having a couple mild panic attacks and coming down with the aforementioned head cold. I’m coughing all over my keyboard as I type this, but the experience was well worth it and I hope to have an opportunity to visit Europe again.
What are your experiences traveling outside your home country? Share in the comments!