The courtyard was stunningly beautiful. The bushes were neatly arranged in green architectural patterns. The fountain was ginormous, with the stream of water peacefully flowing through the vibrant gardens. Everything was perfectly trimmed. Just like how an ideal palace should be.
I was standing in the backyard of the beautiful Palace of Versailles - in complete awe of the grandeur and beauty. There were tourists left and right snapping pictures everywhere they could. But, that did not deter from the beauty of that moment. The ambience was incredible.
It was the first time I’ve visited such a luxurious European palace. Actually, it was the first time I had ever been in Europe. And it left a lasting imprint.
Versailles was probably my favorite part of France. That day, I strolled down the courtyard and its winding cottage roads together with my mom and dad. It was a day to remember.
We took our time, taking in the whole majestic scenery. Walked through the courtyard in its entirety. Even the “secret” cottage near the back skirts of the area. The palace closed to the public in the late afternoon - but we were still inside taking in the breathtaking wonder.
I thought to myself how magnificent Europe truly was. And I thank my parents to this day for giving me the opportunity bringing me to Versailles - to soak in this sweet, sweet moment.
This opportunity does not come up for everyone, and I was lucky to have felt like I had won the “lottery”. It really was amazing. Beyond words and descriptions.
And as I walked along the canal, I saw athletes training on it - rowing to their heart’s content. The man-made canal stretched almost an entire football field. At least that’s how it felt.
There was a beautiful view of the palace in its afternoon serenity. And I thought to myself - if I were to propose to the girl of my dreams someday - this spot right here would be perfect. It would be actual bliss. And there would be no mistakes left in the world.
That was how engrossed I felt while walking down the man-made canal in the “backyard” of Versailles.
It was part of my first visit to Paris. My dad had some business there, and decided to take the entire family on a one week tour of this magnificent city and its surrounding countryside area.
I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it. Besides Versailles, we visited the usual requirements on a trip to Paris. The Champs Elysees. The Arc de Triomphe. The Louvre. Sacred Heart. Cathedral of Notre Dame. Not to mention a scenic evening cruise down the Seine River - right through the heart of Paris.
And of course, the Eiffel Tower.
I couldn’t have planned a more ideal trip - to showcase the splendor that is France. And this trip still remains one of my all-time favorites. And it left an indelible mark in my imagination.
If it were not for this experience, I would not have aimed to pursue my eventual MBA overseas in France. And subsequently, I would not have pursued my second year of my MBA in the equally amazing city of Beijing.
Looking back all these years, the decisions that you make. The actions that you take. All play a role in influencing your forward thinking and experience. One thing leads to another.
It’s like a domino effect. And that visit to Versailles back in 2001 (I think) was a large piece of the domino. Once it fell, I was enamored with France and the full European experience.
It’s hard to describe word-for-word how I felt while traveling thru Versailles for the first time - together with my parents. It was a wonderful memory in the realm of travel.
And we were lucky to have made many more wonderful memories - all across the world - together. In China. Singapore. Taiwan. Italy. Iceland. Alaska. Russia.
Lasting memories that I’ve ingrained into my head and am truly thankful for. Travel has a way of expanding your horizons. Of igniting that taste for adventure. Wherever you go. Memories will follow.
Just like Versailles and how it changed my view of France. It lead to a whole list of actions that culminated in the pursuit of my MBA overseas.
I don’t regret it at all. The memories gained and experiences shared make it all worth it. And again, I am truly lucky to be able to experience such variety of flavor in traveling.
So, experience the world as much as you can. Even if you can’t afford such lofty trips like Paris, try to switch up your experiences here and there to gain more diversity of perspective.
It’s good training towards inner well-being. And every little bit can help. Travel provides invaluable experiences in thought and feeling. Wherever you go. Whatever it may be. Even if it is just a small weekend trip for a hike.
The beauty of the world is in its majestic difference. So, travel and try out different things - both within and without your comfort zone. You never know what lasting memories you can generate from the experience of it all.