What: Staying at the Tumbleweed HotelWhere: Shakespeare and Company, Paris When: March 2020Why:
June 6 was my birthday, and I’m shocked to be almost forty. Where have I been? Where am I going? As if feeling time running short, “priorities” have become more than an abstract word—which is why I travel to Paris in March of 2020, smack dab between two new book releases, to (hopefully) sleep at Shakespeare and Company at the Tumbleweed Hotel.
George Whitman, founder of Shakespeare and Company’s current incarnation at 37 Rue de la Bûcherie, sadly passed away in 2010, but before he died, he welcomed thousands of writers, or “tumbleweeds,” to sleep in makeshift beds between book stacks across the Seine from Notre-Dame. I say I will “hopefully” sleep here because I can’t make a reservation. I just have to show up, hope for the best, and do my part: read a book a day, help around the shop, and write.
With forty looming, it’s time to be the old lady at Shakespeare and Company. The plan is to fly out around March 1, 2020, and remain in Paris for three weeks. I travel alone because this is a selfish trip for my curious heart and me—although selfish might not be the right word.
This is a seeking, a pilgrimage to commune with the ghosts of Fitzgerald and Anais Nin. I’ll have imaginary arguments with Hemingway, Stein, and maybe even George Whitman’s passionate presence. I’ll over-romanticize everything and drink too much wine. I’ll speak my very best French and just enjoy life for a little while. Like Bilbo, “I’m going on an adventure!”
Sadly, adventures aren’t free, so for my birthday this year, I don’t ask for gifts but for donations instead, to help with travel, lodging, and food.
Paris is waiting, and if you want to help this crazy writer fulfill a life-long dream, this is your chance.
With this trip, I hope to remind people of all ages that life is never stagnant.
There is always space for change and opportunities to try something stupidly spectacular. There are new people to meet, books to read, and words yet to be written if only we stop being afraid and just do.
And I am afraid. I’m nervous to travel alone and try surviving on my paltry French while wandering unknown streets and talking to strangers. Yet, the fear won’t stop me. How often do we miss out on things because of fear, anxiety, or self-doubt? Not this time.
In the words of George Whitman, “The phrase ‘to be human’ means to follow life wherever it may lead, up and down, down and up, from the bottom of the world to the top, from darkness into light, through each degree of good and evil. As the circle of knowledge widens, life grows more beautiful and heroic.”
So here I go on my hero’s journey—although I’m pretty sure Odysseus didn’t eat twenty pounds of cheese and play “La Vie en Rose” on repeat—but, okay, this is my quirky quest. Will you help me walk this path?Learn more about me and my work:http://SaraDobieBauer.com.
And remember: “Be not inhospitable to strangers lest they be angels in disguise.”