I arrived in Charles de Gaulle airport exhausted, dirty and shaking. My acute fear of flying was still very much present, despite now being firmly on the ground. I gingerly made my way to the arrivals gate, bitter that my flight had been delayed, causing me to miss a friend before she boarded a train to Lyon. Heaving my pack onto my back, the excitement of finally being in Paris fell away as I faced the task of navigating my way to my hostel. Eventually deciding to jump in a taxi to avoid the confusing queues surrounding the public transport system, I let myself relax.
Arriving at the hostel, I dropped off my bags, determined that the only way to fight the oncoming jetlag was to explore the city on foot. Although raining and only 15 degrees, I fell in love almost immediately, smiling as I fulfilled every Paris cliché known to man. I strolled the Champs Elysees, admired the Arce de Triumph and had my breath taken away by the enormity of the Eiffel Tower. I even ate a baguette beneath it, for Gods sake. Heading back to my hostel, I knew that I would spend the next five days admiring every part of Paris, what I wasn’t expecting however, were the great friendships that would come with it.
The next five days were a blur of sight seeing, laughing, terrible attempts to speak French and far too much wine. Although in a foreign city, completely alone and severely underprepared, I felt a constant reassuring feeling that I was going to be ok. Sitting on the canal, bottle of wine in hand, surrounded by new friends from all walks of life, I realised I was right to come to Europe and, although the decision to leave was daunting, it was one I needed to make.