I travel a lot for work. Maybe 30-40% of my time is on the road. You'd think this would inspire a few more travel posts and a highly lucrative blogging business, but it really just means more Instagram photos and time spent ignoring the Internet.
So, work. It's how I ended up in France, in June, on the French Rivera, in the lovely city of Nice. Let me be clear: I'm not complaining.
I didn't give the trip much thought. I had a few other plates spinning, and I was sustaining the stress meter at come-hell-or-high-water-this-is-happening and just-get-on-the-freaking-plane. I knew nothing about Nice, and I know zero French.
I landed on a quiet Saturday, found my apartment with some help and laughter from a patient cab driver, and arrived at my home for the next 10 days. I found a place via Airbnb and got a wonderful tour in French from the flat owner. After a rousing tutorial on working the washing machine, she left me on my own to combat jet lag and find some food.*
I began the trip without expectation, which is sometimes the simplest way to enjoy a place. Letting a city unfold while allowing yourself to get lost, it's how I discover again my love traveling. Blue water, delicious wine, vibrant people, and uh-mazing bread doesn't hurt either.
Traveling solo, truly solo, can get a tad lonely every once in awhile, especially when you don't speak any semblance of the language. There's no one to laugh at your jokes or walk in the warm rain, or talk about how life is so unbelievably amazing in this exact movement. At the same time, we humans have a lot more in common than we think. And a good dose of listening and wandering is cleansing for the soul. Work wasn't too bad either.
*Technically she had to come back to the flat mid-week because I locked myself out of the apartment. Because, of course. Three cheers for our international communication efforts via iMessage and google translator.
I decided to poke my head out during vacation because I'm finally breathing warm air, embracing the sunsets, and walking through sand. I am utterly and fully on vacation--the type of vacation where the air is warm and sticky and the days are long and full. The air is salty, curling the brunette strands around my face and sticking to my toes.
Pictures from Big Sur, California
There's some of life that's been pretty fantastic and some that's been not so great, and most of it is being lived elsewhere in the corners of a sunny deck and a full kitchen table. Sometimes I want to not-tell a great many things, so I hide my pen and shut my computer and get on with life and the stories that happen.
So if you've been wondering what's been going on.
That is it.
That is what's been going on,
at least a small bit of it.
You shouldn’t try to stop everything from happening. Sometimes you’re supposed to feel awkward. Sometimes you’re supposed to be vulnerable in front of people. Sometimes it’s necessary because it’s all part of you getting to the next part of yourself, the next day. Cecelia Ahern
I've been traveling a lot. It was Boston first and then to France.
I've been learning and cooking and running.
I've embraced the rays of summer, bought tickets,
checked bags, spilled lattes, laughed loudly and cried more than I'd like.
I tell my family I love them, because I do, and I try not to rush the days,
even the bad ones, because they are only here once.
I also try to not worry, although I think I'm quite bad at it…not worrying, that is.
I try to ask myself the hard questions, and call my mom, and go for drives, and give hugs,
and write emails, and remember what's needed from the past so I can push into the future.
And I'm trying harder to be present and kind and healthy.
And while I pretend that my computer is shut and my pens are dusty, that is only partially true. Because I've been writing the bigger story, getting it down in fits and starts. It's rough, incredibly ugly, but I've promised myself there will be something, even it's only ever this, there will be something.
If you believe that you have something special inside of you, and you feel it’s about time you gave it a shot, honor that calling in some small way — today. – Elle Luna
What is the fatal charm of Italy? What do we find there that can be found nowhere else? I believe it is a certain permission to be human, which other places, other countries, lost long ago.
For us to go to Italy and to penetrate into Italy is like a most fascinating act of self-discovery, back, back down the old ways of time. Strange and wonderful chords awake in us, and vibrate again after many hundreds of years of complete forgetfulness.
D. H. Lawrence
Methinks I will not die quite happy without having seen something of that Rome of which I have read so much.
Sir Walter Scott
It is the city of mirrors, the city of mirages, at once solid and liquid, at once air and stone.
And today was hard--the crappy, ugly kind. It was the type that I'd rather do without and try to bury deep into yesterday. It was tears on a weeknight, and a dinner to keep, and everything just seemed to be not-right in the square peg, round hole way.
But then the night was warmer with a breeze and I walked outside to move both my feet and heart. I ordered tea from a favorite shop, and wrote down all those feelings. I gave the world some space to flex and grow, the pains of change and thought working there way though the murky spots, adding clarity, forming ideas.
When dinner arrived, it was delicious and fun and extremely needed. The ability to laugh and joke and swear are the amazing gifts friends can give. There is no use being with them if one cannot let go of all that pretentious shit--you know, the stuff that gets in the way and musses up the goodness we try to hide. We talked food and travel and work and driving and all those normal-life oddities that are a part of todays. There was a clear understanding that this was all fair game on a Tuesday night because it's whatever it needed to be at that moment, a non-agenda in a city I love.
Walking home alone in the quiet of SF, I realized there are good people I've got around me these days. People who tell me to write, and that I'm a bad liar, and that maybe life is looking pretty good, and there are some very real things I should quit and start.
So even on a crappy normal Tuesday, that is now technically a Wednesday, I've got a bit of magic and love and luck in this damn city. And isn't that? Well, isn't that everything?