Tuesday, June 26, 2012

tranquilosophy: sensory bliss

joys of tea sipping

bonjour from castellane, france outside the famous gorges du verdon (= grand canyon of europe). today i drove from gordes (an absolute hillside gem) to l'occitane factory and museum (loved learning about their foundation), through hairpin turns with "nerves of steel" (as noted in our travel book) in gorges du verdon. lordie, it was SO pretty, but through my sweaty palms and racing heart, i didn't dare snap pics. my loss, but i'm happy to share that we are all in one piece many hair-raising hours later. however, i did need two glasses of rosé to decompress! and, honestly, i think i'm still decompressing and will sleep like a baby tonight.

we've been fairly wifi-free the past many days. our data stick is out (le sigh) and wifi access often doesn't always work on my computer (where i prefer to blog) so we've been reliant on random cafes for access. thus, i've been able to post occasional photos on instagram and facebook, but not truly sit down and pen thoughts. 

this journey has been one of a lifetime for sure. we choose the camper route in order to have more freedom versus relying on train schedules or hotels that may not allow le pugs (boo, "dogists"). we've enjoyed campgrounds in the mountains, on the beach, and in parking lots with luxuries of electricity, a stove (must-have for hot tea), double bed, toilet and sinks. 

confession: for years i've longed to rent an RV and travel across the US, but each time we looked into it, between gas and the rental, it was well beyond our budget. thus, when exploring how to bask in our two weeks off in provence, this felt like a win-win (and a generous birthday gift from le beau = merci!). downside = the camper is HUGE (by my small pink bike standards), has no rear window (requires le beau to get out and direct when we need to reverse), and is challenging to maneuver in small french towns (only got stuck once!).
colorful scarves at today's morning market. guess which one i procured? 

over the past week and a half i've done heaps of reading, a bit of writing and napping, lots of experiencing, and sprinkles of big picture thinking. no big epiphanies (again, le sigh), but i know lots of seeds have been planted from my various readings and experiences. it's been a joy to let go, have limited access to the online world, and to be truly immersed in this part of the world filled with heaps o' sensory bliss.

the french relish in down time in addition to nurturing the senses. most of the country is closed on sunday. this sunday while in salon de provence, i whipped out my laptop to do some writing while le beau ran an errand. for nearly 30 minutes i didn't get served. when i requested a menu, the waiter said he didn't want to distract my work and to put my computer away to enjoy the day. wow, well ok! i wasn't "working" per se, but enjoying the flow of my thoughts. however, it's so not the norm in france to see people with a laptop at a cafe, much less a restaurant. lesson learned. when in rome . . . 

smell of rose salt at today's market

i'm honored to have had this opportunity to bask in the senses of provence. this region is known for its lavender, good food, and sunshine. it's given us that and much, much more. le pug has loved the adventure and been quite the trooper, le beau has been a loving travel companion and navigator, and this region has offered me the much-needed opportunity to bask in being. 

it's hard not to when you fall asleep to sounds of crickets, starry nights, and gentle breezes . . . when fed the most succulent fruits and vegetables . . . when gazing out over lush vistas seen previously on postcards . . . when inhaling the scent of lavender . . . when hanging freshly laundered clothes to dry . . .  when savoring quiet moments in "legs up the camper" and in old churches. 

we have a few days left in the camper and plan to hit grasse for perfumerie bliss, then back to paris via train for mon anniversaire and home late sunday. i'll continue to process this experience, bask in it the few days we have left, and promise to bring you along for the ride. my plan is to incorporate this sensory bliss at home - more produce shopping at local markets, hanging clothes outside to dry, and more tea sipping sans technology.

oh, and i'm already planning heaps of sensory bliss for our return retreats next year. join the adventures and nurture your senses with moi. bisous. x

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Jennifer said...

You're france vacation has sounded absolutely beautiful and I love your photos. I'd love to do this someday too, including the RV, it sounds so fun.
Enjoy the rest of your trip!

Gina said...

I don't think one can set out to have a big epiphany. It just comes.

However, I think you had one, but you failed to recognized that you learned how to relax!