One thing I’ve started to notice this semester is that when it comes to travel, I have a bit of a problem: the issue of what I feel like I should do versus what I actually want to do.
Take Monaco, for instance. It’s just about twenty minutes by train from Nice, so as I was planning my Riviera weekend, I figured a Monaco excursion was a must-do. With the bucket list travel mentality that most people – including myself – succumb to, it seemed that Monaco was a requirement. I can notch my number of countries visited one higher, I thought. Why wouldn’t I go?
So after visiting Villefranche sur Mer, I climbed back on the train and made my way to Monaco. And I arrived in Monaco, got off the train, walked outside and studied the bus schedule, and decided my heart just wasn’t in it. Because Monaco? It just doesn’t sound much like my jam. It’s super expensive and fancy, and as a non-fancy person on a graduate student budget, that’s problematic. And I don’t care about gambling even one bit, so the allure of Monte Carlo was lost on me. And honestly…I liked Nice quite a lot, so much so that I couldn’t think of anything I wanted to do other than go back and enjoy it for a while longer.
And that’s why, roughly ten minutes after disembarking in Monaco, I turned around, marched back inside the train station, and bought a return ticket to Nice. Is that a little bit silly? Maybe. Is it what I wanted to do? Absolutely. Perhaps I can’t brag that I’ve visited Monaco now (though, technically, I guess I have). Perhaps I’ll never soak up the glitz and glam of that uber-wealthy country. But you know what I can say about that afternoon instead? This:
After arriving back in Nice, I grabbed a late lunch and made my way down to the water. I scored a seat on a bench on the Promenade des Anglais and sat while the sun went down. I watched everything around me: the two girls rollerblading at a breakneck pace, weaving in between the people taking their evening strolls. The middle-aged couple on the bench next to me, arms wrapped around each other, napping in the fading sun. The father and his little daughter skipping stones in the water. The man sleeping on the beach, whose little pug kept clambering over him and licking his face.
And you know what? There’s nowhere I else I would have rather been.