She heard rumors that you could buy a plane ticket to go around the world for a year. As long as you kept going in the same direction, east or west, and picked your stops in advance, and arrived back home by day 365. [Didn’t know that, did you?]
So that’s what she bought.
She quit her job in finance in Boston, and informed her family and friends.
They were shocked, disapproving, and alarmed for her safety.
[And maybe a little envious.]
“You quit your job? You’re going where? For how long?”
“All by yourself? Solo? Alone?”
Everyone except her parents -- who are totally supportive.
Her older brothers Tom and Mike joked: “Well, I guess it’s no shoes for us this year.” “Gotta help little sister pay for her big trip!”
So off she goes, heading west -- first stop Hawaii!
She finally gets to France -- almost a year later.
By this time she is a confident world traveler. And more than a little proud of the way she has done it.
All on her own, solo, alone!
By now she knows a little French, so in conversations she casually mentions the fact that she is traveling solo.
“Je voyage seul.” [“I’m traveling alone.”]
Whenever she tells people this in France, in French, it gets little reactions out of people that secretly make her proud.
A French woman’s eyes would open wider, as if to say, “What a risque thing for a woman to do!”
An old Frenchman would purse his lips, as if to say, “What a daring thing for a woman to do!”
A young Frenchman would raise his eyebrows, as if to say, “What an adventurous thing for a woman to do!”
Until one day she mentions it to her bilingual friend Bruce.
But he starts laughing!
“Your French pronunciation is a little off.
You’re not saying: ‘I’m traveling alone!’ [Je voyage seul.]