June 21st is World Music Day. This is a special day for me.
The summer of 1990 my bestfriend, Cathy, and I wandered the streets of Paris on World Music Day. Music was as plentiful as wine and baguettes. The energy and vibe of this epic celebration was felt in every nook, cranny and cobble stone. The opera house took their huge speakers outside blasting operatic arias. Garage bands set up on corners. Bohemian and hippie types played guitars and sat in drum circles, smiling drunk-high on the joy of the day. The urban dwellers who called the street their home also participated tinging their spoons and empty cans. It seemed everyone was happy. We’d walk from one rhythm to another with the smoothness of a veteran D.J. mixing her tunes. Why was World Music Day a secret until now?
People flooded the streets—each person happily engaged in listening to or playing music. The city divided into four sectors and larger bands played on outdoor stages for free. The Cure’s mosh pit was our choice—we were in our early 20’s after all and at the beginning of our college experiences. It was the best choice. When we got to the venue—street stage—fans hung from second story windows, ledges and street lamps. It was a scene from a music video. I was incredibly overwhelmed by the awesomeness of it all. In the mosh pit the sway was so strong I was lifted off the ground literally and metaphorically. Incredible! This last night in Paris was just one book mark in an unforgettable summer adventure.
Our wandering took us from the streets of Paris with her art galleries, crepes, wine at noon, delicious dark roast coffee, Eiffel tower, Neoclassic and Romantic art and history. That last night in Paris capped a memory that I have not forgotten. Won’t forget.
The next day we were in Greece where we lost ourselves in the bluest clear water and the longest nights of beach fires, dancing, drinking, kissing and tenting on the beach. We found foreign friends, falling stars and laughter until dawn. So much laughter.
Not all who wander are lost
I believe this summer changed our lives. We gauge all our trips (and maybe our happiness) against this summer. We have raised the bar to our friends and family. Although we love time with our people the vivid memories of Paris, London and Greece put a mystical smile on my face. It’s a secret Cathy and I can’t clearly express. You had to be there—for real. I could not have scripted a better summer. I may very well blog about portions of it in the future.
On June 21, 1990 I discovered World Music Day. I also discovered a zest for life, something that sparked deep in my gypsy soul. That summer set a drama forward in my life that I knew I needed. I have, through the years pushed and pulled away from this epic summer and all the lessons it taught me but ultimately it is one of the times in my life that reminded me of how precious experience and adventure is for my soul. I have continued to travel because the joy of it was more important than paying off a debt and I do not apologize for that (although, I don’t have to choose anymore)
And if I had a daughter and she wanted to settle down I would give her several thousand dollars and say “Sweetheart, go get your best friend and a plane ticket and go find herself in Europe. You won’t regret it.”