by Malena Lott
Ah, Paris! I’ve never been, but thanks to author Karen Chase, I got to put a little French in my fall break. While my body was in Texas on a ranch, my mind was in Paris. Chase’s book is based on the blog she kept while living in Paris for 40 days. It’s a travel log, set up by date and numbered 1 through 40 so we get Paris as she saw it versus categories or themes.
Chase wasn’t traveling in search of love or redemption, so don’t expect an EAT, PRAY, LOVE a-ha moment in the quest, but she does do a great job of making her trip enjoyable for the reader and leaving us with some nice takeaways about life and adventure. She also includes history and facts to inform us along the way. The food bits and the Louvre, in particular, were my favorites. -ML
By Karen A. Chase
Author of Bonjour 40: A travel log
(40 years. 40 days. 40 seconds)
I’ve always said if you want to figure out where exactly those “really comfortable shoes” you bought are going to start giving you trouble, you could just walk around New York and your feet will find the spot. The same is true of Paris. Whenever I wasn’t writing at a café, eating, or sleeping, I was on the move. If not on foot, by bike. One day I walked from the Eiffel Tower to my apartment. That was about four miles. It doesn’t seem like much, but that morning I first biked to an early morning market. Then I walked to lunch. Shopped in the afternoon, wrote while I was at lunch and breakfast, and then after returning to my apartment to freshen up, I walked to dinner. According to my calculations, my total caloric output that day was just over 2,000. Given my average eating habits while I was there, I figure my input was about 1,500. As Ted often tells his therapy patients who are struggling with weight issues, “If the input exceeds the output, it stays put.” My output exceeded the input. So it went kaput.
The most notable difference, however, was the simple fact that not once in five weeks did I think about caloric intake or expenditure figures affecting my figure. Not once. All the above calculations were gathered upon returning home to calorie-obsessed America. (Ironically, the same country where forty-nine states have an obesity rate over 30 percent.) Here, my inbox fills with reminders from www.WebMD.com and www.RealAge.com to eat healthy, cut down, or cut out everything I coveted in France. Here, menus at restaurants tell me how many calories are in each dish. To help me? Shock me? Direct my choices with guilt? Here, magazine ads tell me I can lose unwanted pounds by actually paying for prepared or processed meals, popping pills, or tracking my every move on my new phone app. Ahhhhh! Come on! I want to enjoy life. Shuuut uuuup already!
It was so simple there. The lifestyle I had for five weeks was guilt-free and made me slimmer simply because I was moving around and eating a common-sense diet. So good-bye weight, and hello tight ass. By the time Ted arrived on Day 30, he took one look at my toned calves and thighs in a skirt and said, “Look at those! Where did you get those?”
Yes, I was touring and visiting, which made all the walking easier. But I also wrote. A lot. You can’t walk and write at the same time. But in between the lines, I was moving. Fast. Not sauntering. Not strolling. Speed-walking like every good French woman who refuses to miss a metro train. Even in heels.
For more on author and to see her pictures of Paris, visit http://bonjour40.blogspot.com/.