As I am sure many of you have heard by now, the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, France caught fire on the evening of April 15th. This incredible building stood through 856 years of life in France - religious and political power struggles, waves of social reform and turbulence, the birth of kings and the rise of industries. It moved beyond religious boundaries and became a symbol of France itself, which is why people around the world were sickened to watch it burn.
But in the aftermath of this awful event, there is hope and a broader lesson that can be applied to traveling and to life in general. Just hours after the blaze was contained, France’s two titans of the luxury industry, François-Henri Pinault (of Kering Group) and Bernard Arnault (of LVMH), pledged a combined 300 million euros toward the Cathedral’s reconstruction. At the time of this writing, a total of nearly 1 billion euros has been contributed, from billionaires and non-billionaires alike, from people around the world. La Notre Dame is an impetus of global community.
This outpouring of support is something that is seen in the wake of tragedies worldwide and it is indicative of a community that transcends national borders. When people care about something, it does not matter what countries they are from, what languages they speak, or what religions they follow. An idea unites and everything else falls into place.
On a smaller scale, this is what you find in traveling. Although you may be oceans away from home in a country where even the feeling of the sun on your skin is foreign to you, you will still find travelers whose perspectives mirror your own. You will still find people who love with a fervor like yours, who seek out experiences that leave them in awe, who dream and laugh and aspire to see the world just as you do. In short, you will find a travelers’ community united by common values wherever you go.
To have been on this side of the Atlantic when the tragedy in Paris occurred was to see my French friends filled with shock and dismay, but it was also a time to witness how people in France and around the world came together to comfort and support one another. Without question, there is grief in abundance. But France also has a global community of support and the Notre Dame Cathedral will stand tall once more.
Author: Debra Harris
As founder of Life’s Journey Travel, I’m deeply passionate about creating custom travel experiences that allow my clients to truly savor the journey.