Jerry West's Blog

Where Were You When Notre Damn Burned

If I told you it was 5-6 years ago, you’d say that was about right. But if I said two years ago, you’d say “no way.”

But it was two years ago.

Pandemics and lockdowns freeze time.

I was at my favorite Pub when the news broke and throughout the night I made my way around and talked to nearly everyone that night. And not a single person had visited Notre Dame.

Not one.

Everyone said they had always wanted to. Some said it was on their “Bucket List.”

How cute.

Let’s trash that “Bucket List” and make it your “To-Do List instead.

And if you recall, donations by the millions came pouring in to restore the structure which was first built in the 1100s (not a typo) in time for the 2024 Olympics in Paris. But, due to COVID-19 and underestimating how extensive the repairs were going to be, it is now forecasted to at least 20 years and probably much more.

Heartbreaking.

Standing in the cathedral and seeing the detail of the architecture brought a peace upon me. Then climbing the stone steps (there were a lot), weaving through different sections until reaching the top outside and seeing closeup of the gargoyles.

This is my shot in 2013. Over 900 years old and the time invested to ensure everything was “just so.”

I didn’t want to leave.

I don’t consider myself fortunate to have seen Notre Dame before it burned, as my trip there was similar to how I run my business: it was intentional.

Paris was a city I wanted to see. So I bought two tickets, took someone I cared about, and went. Yes, it’s that easy. I shit you not.

Don’t wait to travel.

You’ve been saying for years you will. No more excuses. Go get your passport or get yours renewed. When you experience another country’s culture, their food, their wine and beer, you begin to connect with them, and see the world through their lens.

In all of my travels, I have realized there is a universal truth: People want a fabulous meal, great wine, and stimulating conversation with someone they care about deeply.

This is about doing just that, but changing the background scenery. Instead of your kitchen at home, it’s the square in Krakow dining on pierogis while doing shots of the best vodka you’ve had in your life. Or grabbing a crispy waffle at the train station in Ghent, Belgium. Or having razor clams for the first time in Venice. Or sampling street food in the alleys of Thailand and experiencing flavor combinations you never thought possible.

I know what you’re thinking, “That sounds awesome, but Jerry, I don’t have the money to travel like you.”

That’s nonsense.

The money is there, you’re just spending it on stupid shit.

Scale down your cable bill.

Drive an older car. Mine is a 2005 and I keep it because it is paid for and does what it’s supposed to: gets me where I want to go.

Go out to eat one less day a week.

That’s probably a minimum of $500-700 a month or $6000-8400 a year.

That’s a **minimum** of 2-3 trips to Europe a year – and traveling well.

There, I fixed it for you. What’s more important, that new car in the driveway or experiencing the views from a structure built in the 1100s?

Seriously, the 1100s.

And now it’s gone.

Well, not “gone” but if you’re 50, do you think you’re going to be able to climb hundreds of steps in your 70s?!?! Magic 8 Ball says “No.”

It’s not too late to see other amazing places. I was 45 before I got a passport. I made every excuse not to travel.

Some of my favorite cities from around the world: Krakow, Poland; Bruges/Ghent, Belgium; Prague/Brno, Czech Republic; Venice/Bologna, Italy, Bratislava, Slovakia, and Budapest, Hungary.

Stop making excuses and get out of your comfort zone to experience other cultures and you will be a better person because of it.

I can promise you that.

Rock on.

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