My first trip to the UK really ignited my fascination with Europe. Along with my mother, I traveled to Edinburgh and London. Having taught English literature for a decade, I was spellbound seeing the streets that Shakespeare and Robert Louis Stevenson roamed. As a small-town Texas girl, I never imagined that I would one day walk in their footsteps.
2.)If you had unlimited resources, where would you go and what would you do?
I’m really happy living in Paris, so if I had unlimited resources, I’d buy an apartment in the 6th or 8th arrondissement large enough to accommodate all of my shoes. I’d spend my days discovering every nook and cranny of the city. I’d take regular trips to Provence for sun and rosé, Normandy for calvados and Camembert, and the Alps for snow and skiing. I’d rotate visits to Champagne, Bordeaux, and Burgundy, depending on my wine cravings. I’m really convinced that a lifetime isn’t enough to experience all that Paris and France have to offer.
3.)What were you afraid to do and how did you find the courage to overcome it?
I’m absolutely afraid of heights. I backed out of a bungy jump in New Zealand, which left me disappointed in myself. I vowed never to let fear keep me from doing anything again. I’m still scared of heights, but now I just power through (and don’t look down).
4.)What apps do you use regularly that make your life easier?
Living in Paris, I would be lost without iTranslate, Paris Metro, and Google Maps.
5.)What place do you wish more people have seen?
New Zealand is the most spectacular place I’ve ever visited. Every turn of the road yields one draw-dropping view after another. Unless you’ve laid eyes on New Zealand there’s no way you can conceive that this natural beauty exists. I promise, this country is mesmerizing.
6.)Best advice you have been given and by whom?
My father is a man of few words, but when he speaks, I intently listen. When I first told my dad that I wanted to get my French visa and move to Paris, he told me, “If you’re happy then I’m happy. GO! Texas will always be here.”
7.)When were you surprised by the kindness of strangers on a trip?
I’m often amazed when a local invites me into their home. Allowing a stranger into your personal space shows a tremendous amount of trust and kindness. Whether it’s a seafood feast prepared over an open fire by Ama divers in Japan or a vintage bottle of Bordeaux shared in an ancient wine cellar in France, I’m always pleasantly surprised to have such experiences.
8.)What inspired you to travel for extended periods of time or live in a new country?
Paris feels like home and settles my restless soul. I don’t have that incessant urge to constantly travel. Paris is the one place in the world that I’ve found that fulfills me.
9.)I travel because….
I want to see things that I can’t imagine. I want to do things that scare me. I want to go places that I’ve only read about. I want to meet people that are nothing like me. These words appear in my very first post, “Why I Travel: A Dedication.” After watching my mother battle with ovarian cancer and my subsequently being identified as having the BRCA gene, I decided that life is too short to live with a someday mentality. Essentially, I’ve been traveling ever since.
Leah Walker is a luxury travel and food writer who has as many stories as she does shoes. She documents her experiences whether that’s in the lap of luxury or riding through a swamp in an airboat. Leah freelances and has contributor/editor roles with The Daily Meal, Bonjour Paris, The Daily Basics, Four Seasons Magazine, Luxe Beat Magazine, Forbes Travel Guide, and is a travel ambassador for Atout France USA. Leah’s thrilled to call Paris home after being awarded the coveted three-year Compétences & Talents visa from France, though her talents don’t extend to speaking French. Yet.
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