Mid-morning fog welcomed me to Charles de Gaulle International Airport in Paris, France.
After exiting the aircraft, I follow my fellow passengers to baggage claim. Next, I follow the signs which direct me toward my rental car. Hopefully I wasn't tricked into any unnecessary upgrades due to the language barrier. The language barrier is real and my comprehension of French lacking. With patience, I eventually make my way through Charles de Gaulle and into my mode transportation for the next two weeks.
I reserved a six-speed manual transmission Citroën C3 prior to leaving the United States. Driving manual transmission is like riding a bike, once you learn you'll never forget. I learned how to drive a 1984 four-speed Dodge Omni when I was 15 years old. It wasn't until my second child was born in 2016 that I transitioned to automatic.
After loading my luggage into the hatchback, I climb into the driver's seat and take a deep breathe.
Guess what I do next? Floss. I know it seems weird, but I'm dying to brush my teeth. It's been a long day of travel and I still anticipate a four hour drive to my final destination of Chateau Orquevaux. So, I floss.
Now is the time when I'm really hit with the reality that I traveled solo to France. What was I thinking? Negative thoughts race through my head, but I have no choice but to shake them off. After another deep breathe, I think to myself, "I got this, I'm capable of doing uncomfortable things."
I put my left foot on the clutch and my right on the gas as I drive away from Charles de Gaulle.
What happens next makes me laugh out loud. I circle Terminal 2 several times before successfully exiting the airport and entering the highway. This is the first mishap, but it certainly won't be the last. Mishap #2 happens just kilometers down the road.
Mishap #2 happens when I think road signs and a paper map will get me to my final destination before sundown.
I know enough to travel south toward Lyon and away from Paris, other than that, I'm clueless. After driving several kilometers, l pull over and put my hazards on. Thankfully, I signed up for Verizon's travel plan prior to leaving for France, just in case I needed it. Of course I need it, what was I thinking?
Google maps gives me three options for getting to Orquevaux.
I choose the route which doesn't require tolls. This route may take a little longer, but now I'm up for the adventure because I trust the GPS. Chateau Orquevaux here I come...
FOLLOW ALONG ON A TRAVEL ADVENTURE THROUGH FRANCE
Join us and learn about creating your own adventures through travel,
inspiration, art and much more.