Despite some seriously cold feet before we left, it couldn't have turned out any better - the entire experience was absolutely wonderful at so many different levels. I've enjoyed many trips to France before, but I can honestly say that this was among the best. I can also say that it is unbelievably liberating not to have to worry about "the voice" while traveling! For once, somebody else was doing the singing (all 80 of them :). I didn't have to cast a single thought to allergy medications, air conditioning issues, what kind of water I was drinking, whether or not I got a full 8hrs of sleep a night or finding a practice room the entire time I was gone. Not that I would trade the wonderful singing opportunities I enjoy for a lifetime of low-maintenance travel, but I kind of envy those of you who can travel exclusively for pleasure (or even if you cross the globe for business reasons don't need to be in top physical form when you land in a different timezone after a long-haul flight). So that's what it's like!
This wonderful song by Ned Rorem haunted me the entire time I was away, and I can't resist sharing it with some of the photos I took in Paris. I believe it is sung here by Donald Gramm (a singer who, thankfully, left behind a wonderful legacy of recordings before his early death).
And now, just a couple of weeks before we leave for the next phase of the summer's travels, and head west to California. I have no doubt it's going to be a slightly odd reunion for me as it's been 22 years since I was back there (!), but I'm also ridiculously excited about getting to show my daughter the places I was spending time when I was her age and visiting with my oldest friend. Of the many things I expected from 2013, extensive traveling was not on the list, but I can't say I'm complaining, and making memories with my daughter is priceless; I'm beyond grateful to have the opportunities.