We’ll always have Paris: a diarist’s travel adventures

We'll Always Have Paris: travel adventures - Jennifer Coburn - www.MyFrenchLife.orgWhy do people drop everything to travel? Usually there are many reasons – visiting homelands, cultural ‘top-ups’, the need to tick some items off the bucket list.

For Jennifer Coburn, author and mother, it’s a desperate need to make memories with her daughter, ‘before it’s too late’.

Despite the fact that she’s perfectly fit, her need to cram everything in before her anticipated early death fuels her trips to Paris, and elsewhere in Europe with her daughter.

Is there such a thing as over-prepared when you travel?

We’ve all been there – an overseas trip requires careful planning. Jennifer’s urge to plan, prepare, and double-check contrasts heavily with the chaos she encounters (and which we’ve all been through) when wheeling a suitcase.

Her long-running woes with travel sickness, and the need to juggle her search for l’authentique with her desire to not end up in jail (oh oui!) makes for a fun and sensitive-but-not-sappy read.

Memories come along for the ride

We'll Always Have Paris: travel adventures - Jennifer Coburn - www.MyFrenchLife.org

We travel with Jennifer, her daughter Katie, and the memory of her long departed Dad, Shelly Coburn.

She navigates both the delights of Paris and other European cities, as well as the more murky territory of her nostalgia for her songwriter father, who died at 49.

Jennifer’s anecdotes of her time with her father are sweet, and add another layer to the memoir, as connections arise in Jennifer’s mind. Even his hit ‘Only a Fool’, becomes part of the narrative, and a poignant moment for Jennifer and Katie.

An original take on familiar, erm,  places

Jennifer’s to-do list – including climb the Eiffel Tower, is similar to mine and I’m sure many others. I enjoyed walking some familiar streets – and eating some familiar dishes – with her.

This is the story of several trips for Jennifer and Katie, each one a little different as Katie grows older, and Jennifer grows a little less perturbed about death and dying.

We'll Always Have Paris: travel adventures - Jennifer Coburn - www.MyFrenchLife.org

It’s easy to see that Jennifer Coburn is a writer by craft. Her work carries the reader along effortlessly. This is NOT the book for bedtime reading, if, like me, you have little willpower when it comes to switching off the bedside lamp. It would be a perfect read for a holiday at home, when a little dreaming is no bad thing.

As a memoir, Jennifer Coburn’s book works beautifully – not maudlin, no mere recitation of places and faces – this is 391 pages of thoughtful travel.

Profits from pre-release orders go to the American Cancer Council. We’ll Always Have Paris, by Jennifer Coburn is to be released on April 8 2014.

Do you have travel stories or memories like Jennifer that you would like to share with us? We would love to hear them! Share your stories in the comment box below.

Image Credits:
1. Book cover via Sourcebooks Publisher
2. Girl in Montmartre, by zoetnet via Flickr.com
2012 Fireworks on Eiffel Tower, by Yann Caradec via Wikipedia Commons 

About the Contributor

Amanda Collins

I'm a writer of songs, poetry and film reviews, and “une vraie franco-folle”. I live with my family in Melbourne, Australia and enjoy travel, good wine and foreign supermarkets. My ambitions are to still be roller skating when I'm eighty! When not writing for MyFrenchLife.org, I can be found on TwitterFacebook and on my own Blog.

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