California to Europe back to California

It’s a rainy Saturday morning in Paris, and we’re leaving for home on Monday; a fabulous trip, but we’re both more than a little homesick for California. I’ve shot thousands of photos, yet again presenting me the problem of finding context for content. I’m eager to get home and back to work. Each day we wander different Paris neighborhoods. Yesterday I took off on one of my high-speed city walks, went to the Pantheon (just one of Paris’ out-of-scale, hard-to-believe buildings), started sensing my way down the most interesting-looking streets, and ended up following L’ Estrapade down to a square (actually a circle) where five streets came in at odd angles, and there were people sitting at little sidewalk cafes; bakeries, tiny intriguing shops, very few cars on narrow cobblestone streets, therefore a lovely inner-city peacefulness. Da place felt good!

I’m surprised to find that I’m as overwhelmed by Europe as I was on a 7000 mile Lambretta motorscooter trip at age 22. for one thing, I feel, in varying degrees, like a savage. Many French men are dressed beautifully. I’m wearing cargo pants, running shoes, a lightweight North Face Summit series down jacket, and a homemade Merino wool watch cap. I mean, it’s the right outfit for getting around, but it just doesn’t have that Parisian zing.

Also eating: people are so deft placing food on the back of a fork held in the left-hand, it astounds me. My methods of getting food-to-mouth are much cruder. And on and on.

I’m also reminded from time to time that the people here in Europe stayed, whereas my ancestors crossed the ocean and headed west. I have a sense of coming back to the homeland(s) in Europe, a feeling of what I think is genetic familiarity; haven’t I been here before? Yet I’m so glad to be living where I do, where there’s a different kind of freedom (plus I’m homesick for Mount Tamalpais and the Pacific Ocean).

England, Ireland, Germany, France, it’s been a blast! (from the past). I love you, and thanks for the memories, and you’re still wonderful, but right about now I can hear somebody singing I’m going home home home home back home…

About Lloyd Kahn

Lloyd Kahn started building his own home in the early '60s and went on to publish books showing homeowners how they could build their own homes with their own hands. He got his start in publishing by working as the shelter editor of the Whole Earth Catalog with Stewart Brand in the late '60s. He has since authored six highly-graphic books on homemade building, all of which are interrelated. The books, "The Shelter Library Of Building Books," include Shelter, Shelter II (1978), Home Work (2004), Builders of the Pacific Coast (2008), Tiny Homes (2012), and Tiny Homes on the Move (2014). Lloyd operates from Northern California studio built of recycled lumber, set in the midst of a vegetable garden, and hooked into the world via five Mac computers. You can check out videos (one with over 450,000 views) on Lloyd by doing a search on YouTube:

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