Paris Diaries: Be a Leader not a Follower

I have many takeaways from my time in Paris. I did a lot of reflecting and observing. As a photographer, it is part of my job to observe and then react. Do you capture the moment, what is happening in the scene? Sometimes it is just as beautiful to put the camera down and not react and let it all soak in. 

One of the biggest observations while away is that we are all struggling too hard to fit in. I see it a lot of instagram. You scroll through your feed and everyone seems to have the same exact shot these days and everyone is going to the same places/restaurants. Part of the gift of photography is that we can all observe the same thing and each have our own view on it through our eyes. 

A few people in Paris told me they had this “list” of places they needed to go to get the perfect shots for Instagram.  If you are going just to “do” then are you really enjoying yourself? I am guilty of it I will admit, I think we all are. 

My friend Katie made an observation about me when I first arrived in Paris that I was more relaxed and calm. There was something different about me. I just came back from Cuba and had a digital detox. Paris after Cuba was the perfect combination. I cannot explain how good it was for me mentally. I didn’t put as much pressure on myself. 

Why do we measure our self-worth by a number of likes we get? 

Before I left for Paris my friend Leyla encouraged me to find something different about Paris. I am in Paris two to three times a year and it is easy to fall into a routine. I have my favorite spots for people watching and cafés and also my favorite walks. Hearing her coach me along while I was walking the streets of Paris made me remember to turn left instead of right or hop on the bus and see where it took me. 

As consumers, we are trained to psychologically want to buy or do what is “trendy” even if it isn’t actually good. Think of acai bowls, green juice, and mom jeans. 

The moment I let myself go and had no expectations the freer I felt. I was able to soak up a new side of Paris and feel like I was seeing the city for the first time again. I actually surprised myself with how many new things I discovered and my face lit up with joy. I can’t wait to share more of my discoveries here on the blog. 

So this weekend I encourage you to put down the $20 avocado toast and disconnect from your Instagram. Do something you have always wanted to do. Explore a new neighborhood, try a new restaurant, or even book a ticket to a new destination. I can’t wait to hear where you all end up!

Please comment below and let me know what you ended up doing. I would love to hear your thoughts on being different and not trying to fit in. 

Photos of me by Iheartparisfr

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  1. Your post put a smile on my face this morning. It was so timely for me to read. I am doing a semi digital detox this week (no instagram, facebook, checking email once a day, not using any short cuts on phone for news etc.) I am working to be in the moment and do what brings me joy. A week of doing things differently. I will use the time to increase my reading time (books and favorite blogs that uplift) and other creative endeavors such as no pressure sewing and visiting the darkroom to work on printing photos from last trip to Paris which included some time in Amsterdam, London, Milan, Florence and Rome. I am working my way through 39 rolls of 36 exposure black and white film and of course day dreaming about next trip to Paris.