What is the moral of the story? Film photography from my travels in London & Paris

The deep places in our lives – places of resistance and embrace – are reached only by stories, by images, metaphors and phrases that line out the world differently, apart from our fear and hurt ~ Walter Brueggemann

It was a lovely sunny afternoon

for a Travel Photographer/Blogger. I have just been travelling the wonderful streets of Paris, bought a few books from Shakespeare and Company my favourite place from my entire Europe Trip, and sat down on my own at apparently the most famous cafe for writers in Paris, Cafe de Flore. This French Mum who was lunching with her daughter and son, Art Dealer Jack ( pronounced Jacque ) started chatting to me. It was so lovely.
They told me I had to pour olive oil over my tomato salad.

‘ Plus plus ‘. Eating the French way. I asked them why everyone here drinks espresso. Jack responded “ oh Americans and their lattes/frappes. Lattes tres toxique! “
I am certain they smoke like everyone else in Europe and they think milk in coffee is toxic?
I couldn’t stop laughing…

I was away for 3 weeks and everyone was commenting on how much they enjoyed my Instagram / my travel diary saying how amazing my Europe trip is. Truth is, social media is all about perception and my Instagram is to inspire and bring joy, not a pity party, so therefore I am only going to put up the good stuff.

Would it not be great to go beyond that. To share my lessons and a little glimpse of the story behind these beautiful film images I took them on my first ever SLR camera! As Dad always says “ I hope you learn the easy way! “

After every movie, I always ask ‘What is the moral of the story?’

Lets wind back to why I was asking this question. For most of this trip I was in work mode ready for my Paris photoshoot. I am a super organised person. I always plan ahead. My calendar is my life.

So to have my original model couple pull out from my photoshoot 3 days before I leave, lugging around all my camera gear, a stunning sparkly designer Anna Campbell wedding gown worth god knows how much on top of my luggage plus a few other unexpected surprises. Including 1 London rat and Paris bedbugs even though we stayed in the poshest area Chelsea and Trocadero respectively. Consequently set my mind into a turmoil of stress.

Giving up aka the F word is never an option. Surely I will be able to find another model couple who would love to do a shoot together. How hard could it be? But then.
Nothing.
And to top it off I had to worry about bedbugs?!?!

Forgive me for being stressed in Paris, I mean for goodness sakes, is that even allowed?

I asked a few wise people including my friends Dad, who runs a super successful business, how he manages to stay calm in times of serious stress. He said
‘You always look at the big picture, where you have come from and FOCUS on the good things not the bad. Side note GRATEFULNESS is the common denominator of the happiest people I know.

But I still needed to know …WHY?
Then I realised it.

Maybe I was asking the wrong question. Instead of asking WHY I should be asking WHAT.
What is the moral of the story?

I recently heard this quote by Jeanette Winterson from a book I bought in Paris.
“ Lies usually come in the form of answers. Truth is a questioning place. “

Thoughts?

My other wise friend uses the term failing forward. There is always a lesson.

I also got some perspective from the wisest man I know, my Dad.
He said this is the moral of the story : I trust in peoples word too easily.

He’s not saying I should be suspicious. Reality is we don’t live in a world where every word spoken is truth. Therefore you cannot rush something especially not trust!

When I think about it, maybe there were warning signals. Half of my shoot prospects were complete strangers. We just met! Afterall. I don’t know them. They don’t know me. How did I miss that? Even the bedbug situation, it was based on trust.

Wow.

For those of you who have the gift of people reading, discernment, Blink by Malcolm Gladwell situation, I am not encouraging you to keep your walls up and not trust people . Just that this is an amazing thing to build on.

This Europe trip, with all the good and bad, was worth every bit. I would do it all over again even with the bed bugs. So here is the moral of my europe story :
Ask the right questions.

Focus on the good and the big picture.

Take your time, you cannot rush something good.

Enjoy my glimpses of Europe. Appreciating all the small beautiful details of life in the midst of the bigger picture.

Afterall…

Lattes are not tres toxique but tres délicieux

PS Spot the squirrel. Leave a comment. Your favourite image. Your moral of the story. Would love to hear from you!

My Favourite Cafes in Paris : Cafe de Flore / Fragments / My Favourite Bookshop in Paris : Shakespeare and Company / My Favourite Cafe in London : Fabrique