I love to travel. I really love to travel. So next February I'm going to spend some time in Paris.
Having undertaken recently to avoid the sins of pride and smugness I'm trying hard not to feel too pleased with myself, but I am quietly celebrating the ingenuity that's enabled me to plan a holiday in Paris at a time of very limited disposable income. I've used some aging frequent flyer points to buy my ticket (except for the $590 in 'taxes and charges' I've had to pay) and have organised a house swap through an on-line home exchange site (you have to pay a fee to participate) - three weeks in Paris without accommodation costs sounds ideal.
I'd initially advertised for a swap in Amsterdam - my favourite city ever - but when someone from Paris offered to swap at a time that suited me it didn't take long to reconsider my destination. My residence in Paris will be a small loft apartment near the Bastille - a super location.
To reward myself for my ingenuity I went browsing in the travel section of Kinokuniya - I find travel books very beguiling - but was eventually fatally tempted by a book I found in the craft section, 'Paris: Made By Hand' By Pia Jane Bijkerk. It's a little book of exquisite photos that provides 'an insider's look at the city's artisans, createurs, and crafts boutiques' (to quote from the Introduction). The only yarn store it includes is La Droguerie, but there are lots of other temptations to browse - both in print and in reality next February.
* The title of a Philip Larkin poem that finishes with the following wonderful line that summarises why I like to travel:
'Here no elsewhere underwrites my existence'