It Rained the Day I Left Paris

Grey. Bleak. Sad. The weather of my last day in Paris matched my mood. How apropos.


My alarm rattled me out of bed far too soon. It took a minute for it all to sink in. I wasn’t going to the café down the street for my morning coffee nor did I have something fabulous planned that would have me springing from my warm, comfy bed. I pried my sleepy eyes open and saw mostly-packed suitcases littered throughout my Go with Oh studio apartment. Coats, shoes, and scraps of paper—most of which were mementos from the bars and restaurants I’d visited in the last ten days. I’d stayed up late packing the night before, but just couldn’t bring myself to finish. That would signify the end, and I wasn’t ready for that yet.


One would think I‘d be used to packing up and leaving by now. In this month alone, I did it nine times with Paris being the tenth and final. Each time I packed and lugged my over-stuffed suitcase to an airport or train station I was sad to leave. Everywhere I visited was special for one reason or another. Not one place did I say to myself, “NEXT!” I was always left with a longing to experience more.

I had the pleasure of visiting some of the most beautiful and historically significant cities in the world. I saw a lot of really old stuff. I caught my first glimpse of the Alps. I drove through the rolling hills of Tuscany and Umbria and then snaked my way around the tricky Amalfi Coast roads. I tasted food that I’d never heard of. I drank wine. Lots and lots of wine. Apart from staying longer, there is not one single thing about these last thirty days that I ‘d change.

It was perfection.

Paris_Arc de Triomphe

“What’s been your favorite part of the trip?”

Friends, family, followers, fans, and strangers have all posed that question countless times. It’s something that I pondered each night before falling asleep. I know most would think I’d proclaim that strolling the streets of Prague or seeing David in Florence would be my pick. Perhaps hiking Mt Vesuvius or visiting the ancient city of Orvieto or Pompeii was my favorite. Maybe having the Sagrada Familia at my fingertips in Barcelona or finally laying eyes on the Eiffel Tower in Paris would be the ultimate for me. I know people expect something definitive, but I can’t give that sort of answer–one that can be easily pinned on a map.

The best part of these last thirty days was not a landmark, a city, or a country. Instead, it was the people I met along the way. I’m not exaggerating when I say that every single person I encountered was genuinely kind. It’s sad to say, but I was taken aback by this fact. After all, I wasn’t in small-town Texas where people wave at each other when driving down the dirt roads. I was in giant cities where tourists often outnumber the locals.

A stranger bought me a subway ticket in Paris when I couldn’t get my card to work. Two different budget airline employees let me slide with extra kilos in baggage. A young man helped me with my giant luggage in Naples because he saw me struggling and not because he expected anything in return. The stories of kindness could go on and on. And although these brief encounters left me with a warm, fuzzy feeling, it was the people that I spent more significant time with that truly made this trip so spectacular.

Who needs a cab in London when you have the Four Season’s Rolls Royce?
How about Barnaby, the American tattoo artist in Paris?
The Go with Oh gang in Barcelona made this trip fabulous.
Olivier Giraud brought me on stage for “How to Become a Parisian in One Hour.”
Lionel Richie was a lovely dinner host in Paris.
The talented Eduardo Frances photographed us in Barcelona.
On the Amalfi Coast, Paschali, opened up his restaurant to me.
In Orvieto, I toured an olive oil factory with Ristorante Zepplin interns.
I was taught the art of marionette making in Prague by a master and his assistant.
Chef Lorenzo Polegri made Orvieto and my taste buds come alive.
Here’s the happiest gelato store manager in Rome.
At the W Barcelona, the bartender showed me how to make their signature cocktail.
The pizza chef in Rome humored my silliness.
Ilaria’s knowledge of Pompeii and the National Museum in Naples was inspiring.
A Dutch man giving an Italian food tour in Rome?
After a year of online friendship, I met Gerard and Kieu of GQ Trippin’ in Prague.
The unbelievable woman behind my Tuscan farm stay is Alina.
There is nothing that Go with Oh’s Sara didn’t do for me. I love her!
The Italian sommelier was so kind at Paris’ George V.
How could I forget the patience and talent of my flamenco instructor in Barcelona?
Superman lives in Barcelona and his real name is Arno.
Oh, my darling Enzo, the best guide in Amalfi.
Paul, a Senior Producer at BBC, gave me a tour of the new headquarters.
Milan shopping insider, Melanie, took me to a showroom and a private shoe sale.
The mix-master at the Four Seasons in London is a genius.
So many from all over came together in Barcelona to help me celebrate Thanksgiving.
Luca, Italy’s 2012 Bartender of the Year, was gracious at the Four Seasons Florence.
What’s not to love about Kevin, a personal shopper at Louis Vuitton in Paris?
The bartender at Elephanta in Barcelona taught me how to make gin and tonics.

This is just a sampling of the people who I encountered over this past month. Each person gave me their most valuable resource…time. I’m grateful for the laughter shared, knowledge imparted, and friendships made.

Extraordinary doesn’t begin to describe this month. Unbelievable doesn’t even come close. Often times it’s not the places we go, but instead the people we encounter along the way. I was fortunate to visit awe-inspiring places and meet kind and fascinating people while there.

On the day I left Paris it rained.

John Updike said,“Rain is grace; rain is the sky descending to the earth; without rain there would be no life.” I think that’s just a fancy way of saying that without rain there would be no rainbows, blooming flowers, or green grass.

I have to take the good with the bad.

So I had to leave Europe. At least I got to go in the first place. In order for a new adventure to begin the current one must end. Mine ended on a rainy morning in Paris. Perhaps I’ll return in the spring to find a rainbow, tulips in bloom, and the lushest grass I’ve ever seen. And I hope to do it with Lola, the absolute best part of my trip.

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  • Priscilla
    December 6, 2012

    Awsome post!!! I can’t wait to follow in your footsteps and hopefully gather some new info for your next venture back to France and Italy!
    You gals sure had Texas size fun!

    • Leah Travels
      December 11, 2012

      Thanks, Priscilla. You offered some invaluable advice on the City of Light. I especially loved the lock suggestion. I can’t wait to see your Paris trip in January.

  • The World Wanderer
    December 6, 2012

    This is depressing. Is it bad that I am feeling the affects of the post-travel blues for you? I could barely read this and I felt my eyes welling up as I looked through your photos. Enzo! Your post about him was my favorite. I truly feel as though I have taken this journey with you. Thank you for sharing all of these beautiful memories with us. I look forward to future ones, Leah! xx

    • Leah Travels
      December 11, 2012

      Oh, I’m sorry that I’ve given you the post-travel blues! However, I am grateful that you’ve followed along. There are many more adventures to come, and I do hope you’ll be with me on those as well.

  • Anita Mac
    December 6, 2012

    I loved following your adventure. What a perfect post to say goodbye. You guys both met some fantastic people. No doubt they had such a huge impact on your time in Europe. It is also a tribute to you Leah – you have such a great attitude in life and I am sure your new found friends enjoyed their time with you! Looking forward to hearing more of your travels.
    But remember, with Europe…it is never goodbye. With so many great expressions to say see you later…I am sure you will be back!

    • Leah Travels
      December 11, 2012

      What a kind thing to say about me, Anita. I thank you very much. I look forward to seeing all of my newly-found friends again. I just hope I can bottle the magic that first brought us together.

  • Sara GowithOh
    December 7, 2012

    Awwwwwwww!! It was an absolute pleasure for us to host you in Europe & share these fantastic memories with you, my dear friends “Leah&Lola”! Hasta pronto!

    • Leah Travels
      December 11, 2012

      Thank you for all you did to make this month the best of my life. You are simply an amazing woman, Sara.

  • Allison GoWithOh
    December 7, 2012

    What a great reflection of your last month. Leah, such a pleasure to be apart of your European experience! It was so fun getting to meet you and Lola. Wishing you all the best, and hopefully we’ll meet again- maybe stateside?! 🙂

    • Leah Travels
      December 11, 2012

      Loved meeting you as well, Allison. If you’re still in Barcelona in March I’d love to see you for a drink and some tapas!

  • Fiona
    December 7, 2012

    Thanks for taking us along with you on your journey Leah and letting us meet all those lovely peeps too! 🙂

    • Leah Travels
      December 11, 2012

      You’re welcome, Fiona. Thank you so much for following along. I hope to add you to my list of wonderful people I’ve met while traveling. Dublin for TBEX perhaps?

  • @mrsoaroundworld
    December 7, 2012

    OMG, I loved following you and Lola on this trip – you guys had sooooooo much fun! And I loved that you came to the English countryside to see me and Mr. O. It was wayyyy to fast. Europe misses you two already – and a little bird told me that in a little over a month that will happen? In the meantime, I am packing my bags (and taking some empties) and will go all the way to Texas to see your part of the world.

    Leah and Lola are definitely going places. And I am delighted to be a part of your journey.

    • Leah Travels
      December 11, 2012

      You know we had fun more than anyone else! Part of what made it great was seeing you and meeting all your lovely friends. I’m so grateful that travel brought you into my crazy life. I’ll see you very soon, my dear friend.

  • Karla
    December 7, 2012

    What a beautiful recap of your journey Leah!

    The sights, the stories but most importantly the people you met make it all truly unforgettable!

    Seeing you cry on that pic made me cry too. Cause how can you leave and go back to the other side of the world? It’s like something dear is taken away and it hurts ;(

    Anyway, we can all take comfort in the fact that you’ll return soon 😉

    Thank you for sharing your adventures with Lola! Had fun reading them 😉

    All the best!

    Kay 😉

    • Leah Travels
      December 11, 2012

      I bawled like a baby. I still do if I think about it too much. What an extraordinary 30 days. Thank you for your wonderful comment and for following along throughout the journey. And, yes, I will return soon. In January I’m off to Switzerland with Lola and Mrs O! Now, that brings a smile back to my sad face.

  • lola dimarco
    December 7, 2012

    i agree that it’s the people you meet that make this world such a special place. i wouldn’t change a thing about our trip either. i only wish we could have bottled up our evening laughter after each wonderful day. Europe may miss us but i can guarantee i miss you WAY MORE!

    love you always my travel partner in crime! xo – LOLA

    • Leah Travels
      December 11, 2012

      In all the amazing moments we shared, the best probably were the ones reflecting on our day before falling asleep. It would take a giant bottle to contain all that laughter. I miss you, my friend.

  • Kirsten Alana
    December 7, 2012

    Could. Not. Love. This. More. (that is all)

    • Leah Travels
      December 11, 2012

      Ahhhh….thank you, Kirsten. 🙂

  • Jody
    December 7, 2012

    I enjoyed every minute of our trip Leah, can’t possibly pick a favorite, thanks again for taking me along.

    • Leah Travels
      December 11, 2012

      You’re welcome, Jody. You know you’re always welcome on my journeys. I’m off to NOLA next. Get your beads ready!

  • Jeremy Branham
    December 7, 2012

    AMEN!! AMEN! AMEN!! If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a million times – your best travel memories are not the places you go or the things you see. They are the people you meet! That is really a thing on my blog. I’ve probably bludgeoned people over the head with that message. However, it really is true. The greatest thing about a trip like this is new friends and new memories that will mean so much more to you than that photo of the Eiffel Tower.

    With that said, I’ve come to appreciate the rain a little more lately. Rain on your last day seems appropriate and I’ve learned to embrace rainy days a little more than I used to when I travel.

    • Leah Travels
      December 11, 2012

      Exactly, Jeremy. Although the pictures from the Eiffel Tower are special, it’s not because of the structure. It symbolizes the day I had with the people I enjoy being with most. I know you get that as you write about this sort of thing on your site often. And, yes, the rain is often something to embrace rather than run from.

  • Gerard ~ GQ trippin
    December 7, 2012

    Hip hip hooray! It was sad leaving Europe for us.. Not only for the beautiful cities.. but also because of all the great people we’ve met on this trip too!

    • Leah Travels
      December 11, 2012

      I loved getting the chance to finally meet you and Kieu. And what a special time to do it…hello, engagement! I’m so happy for y’all. You two were the best part of Prague. Period.

  • Eduardo Frances
    December 7, 2012

    Leah I would lie to tell you I didn`t shed a tear when seeing the photo where you have your hands in your face and after reading your blog entry.

    As I told you both: Europe loves you an yearns for your return, we were nice to you gals because you are amazing and you exuded happiness and it was so contagious that even today we still carry it with the memory of you both with joy

    We will be anxiously waiting for your return girls.

    A big hug from Barcelona for you!

    • Leah Travels
      December 11, 2012

      “You exuded happiness”

      Reading that makes me even more happy! In the moment I knew what I was experienceing was special. It wasn’t until I got home and had time to reflect did I realize it was magical. You were certainly part of that magic.

  • D.J. - The World of Deej
    December 7, 2012

    Look away from the misty eyed travel blogger behind this comment!

    • Leah Travels
      December 11, 2012

      Oh, DJ, It’s ok. I bawled like a baby, too. 🙂

  • Tiana Kai
    December 7, 2012

    I followed you two all the way through and I’m exhausted for you! You gals looked like you had the BEST time and thank you for sharing all of your amazing memories and challenges…ah, how about the one in Florence? You girls rock! One thing I completely missed… what was with Lionel? I love him!!!

    • Leah Travels
      December 11, 2012

      Thank you so much for following along! It wouldn’t have been nearly as special had we not had the feedback from people like you. Oh, and Florence? Haha…I’m still getting razzed about that one 😉 Oh well.

      • Tiana Kai
        December 12, 2012

        LOL, I wish I was there that day, I tweeted about the event first thing that morning, but was in meetings. Oh well! I’m glad you gals were there to see it. Must have been kinda cool.

        • Leah Travels
          December 13, 2012

          Yes, it was cool. I got some great photos of the crowd and will write about it one day. Thanks for the suggestion even though I caught a bit of heat from it. Oh well…closed minded people don’t deserve my time.

  • Kieu
    December 7, 2012

    Now that’s an incredible month in Europe. I swear that place has magical powers. Meeting you guys was a fave of ours too. 🙂

    • Leah Travels
      December 11, 2012

      It was certainly magic for you, my newly-engaged friend. 🙂

  • fotoeins | Henry
    December 7, 2012

    I think you two should have a television show together, or a co-hosting gig somewhere. That was one very heartfelt summary-post, Leah. 🙂

    • nomadic translator
      December 7, 2012

      I second that! You guys have no idea how much you make me smile just from a photo or a word or 2.

      I FREAKING LOVE YOU! can’t wait to see you all again <3

      – Maria Alexandra

      • Leah Travels
        December 11, 2012

        I love the Latina passion in your comment, Maria! I’m so glad we made you smile. That was our whole purpose with all the photos…to make people smile as much as we were. I’ll see you soon!

    • Leah Travels
      December 11, 2012

      We 100% agree with you on that, Henry. If you know someone give them my email address. 😉

  • Raul (@ilivetotravel)
    December 7, 2012

    I love how you captured your trip with PEOPLE, which is what really matters in the end.

    • Leah Travels
      December 11, 2012

      Thank you, Raul. And you’re one of those people that traveling gave me. I’m grateful for that.

  • Scott - Quirky Travel Guy
    December 8, 2012

    What a cool adventure! It’s so often true that the people end up being the best thing about traveling, especially when you’re in a place that’s out of your comfort zone.

    • Leah Travels
      December 11, 2012

      People are people no matter the language they speak. I was fortunate to encounter some amazing people along the way. Had I not had them this trip wouldn’t have been as good.

  • crazy sexy fun traveler
    December 9, 2012

    I am so happy u lovely girls had a great time in Europe! It must have been a blast as I know you and see from all the photos 🙂 For me it is always super sad to leave every place!

    • Leah Travels
      December 11, 2012

      Thanks, Alex. We’re looking forward to including you in some of our fun in Spain. 🙂 Get ready, girl.

  • Emily in Chile
    December 10, 2012

    Did you get a tattoo in Paris?! It sounds like such a wonderful trip, any one of these people and experiences would have been fun, but all together it must have been magic.

    • Leah Travels
      December 11, 2012

      I did get a tatto in Paris. It was always in the plans, so totally not a spur-of-the-moment deal. I think you hit the nail on the head. It was “magic”.

  • Angela
    December 11, 2012

    Looks like you’ve had a wonderful adventure in Europe, great pictures and sweet words 🙂

    • Leah Travels
      December 11, 2012

      Thank you, Angela. I loved sharing my trip with all these people and am happy to be able to look back on the photos with fond memories.

  • Pola (@jettingaround)
    December 12, 2012

    What a lovely, LOVELY post, Leah!!! It’s wonderful that despite all the great places and things you’ve seen and done, you value the people you met. It seems like you had an amazing time, judging by so many faces in this post.

    • Leah Travels
      December 13, 2012

      Thank you so much, Pola. I could have written a similar post about Chicago when I got to meet you. 🙂

  • Lisa
    December 12, 2012

    You are definitely right about people. They are the best part of my travel experiences (with food usually coming in at number 2). People are generally pretty great in mosts places.

    • Leah Travels
      December 13, 2012

      And people that make the food are the best! Combine the two together and it’s perfect. Hahaha!


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