paris, france: shakespeare & co
Shakespeare & Company is a book store right on the Seine near Notre Dame in Paris. Marta and I stopped in on our walk home and were directed the proper way to get there by the kindest of strangers (serendipitous). One of my favorite quotes is "there are no strangers here; only friends you haven't met yet." -William Butler Yeats (poet & very relevant to above motto). This is a very comforting mindset to have while traveling as there is so much love and joy to be felt when interacting with "strangers!"
Not only in travel, however, especially in the current landscape, it is so so so important that we value and welcome all humans with open and warm hearts <3.
The first shop, opened by Sylvia Beach (1919) and the second, by George Whitman (1951) operated under the philosophy "give what you can, take what you need." Its existence is rooted in kindness providing writers with resources to make their way- welcoming them to sleep in exchange for help in the store, workshops, book borrowing etc. Shakespeare & Company provides a beautiful community to all of those that come through. Also, as I am huge book-worm, the meaning behind the books is incredible. Books stand for so much: education, new perspective, empathy, experiences, vulnerability. By writing and reading, we can learn so much about so many different things, people, time periods and that can only, as a world, bring us closer together.