Photographer Kathleen Collins bought her ticket to Paris twice—once in February and then again in May. “The truth is, the first time around I chickened out,” she says. The prospect of traveling alone for the first time raised insecurities in herself that she didn’t otherwise recognize: Would people notice that she was alone? Would they care? In the end, as her vacation days loomed large on her early summer calendar, she took the risk and got on the plane. Shot in 35mm film, her visual diary captures the process of learning to explore freely, and how, with each quiet moment alone, Collins learned to love Paris—a place for one.
I don’t love flying, but taking this photo helped me shift my focus away from the revving engines of the plane.
A restaurant called Sunday in Soho—I guess you can’t escape where you come from.
It was clear to me that I will never be able to make an omelette as good as this one.
Parisian women like this one are effortlessly cool.
Taking a self-portrait with my film camera was not an easy task, but I wanted to capture this moment.
Another attempt at a film selfie. Still no luck.
Finally, with a little help from a stranger in the park, I was able to get one photo of myself.
Nothing tastes better than a fresh club sandwich after eating plane food and getting lost multiple times on the way to your hotel. It almost made me forget about the jetlag.
As I walked into the Luxembourg Gardens, I heard a little boy say, “Oo-la-la, ce bon!” That pretty much sums up my feelings about the whole trip, but especially about these gardens.
As I was ambling alone, I stumbled upon a free exhibit featuring the work of photojournalist Gilles Caron.
This was the point of the trip where I was getting tired and a little homesick. I like to think this woman also had that feeling.
Back home, I rarely stop to take photos of flowers, but for some reason, I couldn't help but to stop and look at them while I was away.
No matter how far off the beaten path you try and get when you travel, there are some landmarks you cannot miss.
The beauty of Paris is that you can sit alone at a café for hours with just one espresso and three cigarettes without any interruption.
Yes, Paris is a city, but it is a city that is conscious of its pace. It knows that after a long day, there needs to be time to relax, chat, and take the rest of the day to be with people you care about.
A young couple and a sweet moment nearby.
This was my dinner view for most of the trip at my tables for one. At first, it was hard to get used to, but once I turned myself to face the city, I was greeted by the people, noises, and smells that make Paris so special.
To fight my jetlag on my first night, I went out to have a mojito and explore my neighborhood—with a quick stop at McDonald's because why not—and then came back to survey the city from my balcony.