Look what happened now...
Hello Travel Family!
Hope you're having a wonderful winter day!
I was digging around on an external drive looking for business files and found these pictures from a sunny day in France. How was this four years ago??
The first time I flew over Carcassonne I knew I had to go explore! Reading about the fortified town is one thing, seeing it from the air is another!
If you are at a loss as to where to go in the south of France (and want to avoid the trite American tourist destinations), I suggest Carcassonne.
"Since the pre-Roman period, a fortified settlement has existed on the hill where Carcassonne now stands. In its present form it is an outstanding example of a medieval fortified town, with its massive defences encircling the castle and the surrounding buildings, its streets and its fine Gothic cathedral. Carcassonne is also of exceptional importance because of the lengthy restoration campaign undertaken by Viollet-le-Duc, one of the founders of the modern science of conservation." read more
I'm missing France and all things French right now. From the wonderful food to the good friends I have made there. I love Paris, because who doesn't? But I also adore the beauty of nature and the friendliness of the people in the south of France.
I love how clear the water was! We stayed in a three story gite, right beside the river and could look out the window and see the fish swimming by! We were also less than a block from cafes and shops. It was a prefect holiday and I cannot wait to go back!
How goes it? October is almost over (insert scream here!) And while it almost feels sacrilegious to even think about Christmas, I am planning out my seasonal shopping and travel this week. I’ve already begun a gift list, started shopping & now its time to decide if we head to the snow or the tropics for the break.
In my defense, because I know you’re all reading this post in absolute horror right now, it all started with trying to plan a holiday get away. I know, I should already have the shit locked down. To make it even worse, I have friends planning their 2020 holidays, asking me to rsvp to galas and crap, (damn overachievers!)
Meanwhile I'm having trouble planning/committing to dinner tonight. Work has been good lately, but its left me too busy to even leaf through the many vacation advertisements I receive. So lets get planning now, because better late than never.
According to CNN (As of last November) the 15 the best places to have a Christmas break are:
11. Salzburg, Austria - Love Austria and never get to spend enough time there.
12. Santa Claus, Indiana - How is it I've never been?
13. Strasbourg, France - Okay, we all know I will pick France.
14. Queenstown, New Zealand - On my list to visit soon.
15. Valkenburg, The Netherlands - Love the Netherlands, so a holiday visit would be cool.
What do you think? What is your favorite holiday destination? Are you escaping the cold for a tropical vacation? I enjoy that myself - some years we have gone sailing to the tropics and others we have searched out the Christmas markets in Europe. Still not sure what direction we will go. I'd love to hear your suggestions
Then a again, we may stay closer to home this year...
When I first read this on the blog challenge I thought of:
1. Paris (because I always think of Paris)
2. Birthday candles (Because of the wish thing)
3. Shooting Stars (Also make a wish thingy)
To be honest I don't wish for much. Just my son and myself to be healthy.
I feel we are so blessed with our lives in general.
So it made me stop and think what would I wish for? Besides health? Hmmm, I mean I could always use another pair of shoes or more cruises or a petite manison à paris, but who couldn't, right? World peace of course, and a trillion dollars and 888 new clients, but it just goes off the rails there. I start backtracking with what would I do with that much money? Taxes, fees, blah, blah and I can barely manage the clients I have now...add another 888? Are you kidding me?
So yeah, I guess I will stick to wishing for health, and more opportunities to travel. What would you wish for today?
See you tomorrow for another installment in the blogging challenge.
I hope all is well in your world? Life is great here. Work is good, weather is pleasant and I've a trove of new books, lol So it's time to ask that question, "What have you been reading?" Do you have any new recommendations or books to share? Cause I could always use another for the TBR shelf.
Currently I've changed my work schedule I have more time to read. #win!
So I've a few books to review.
This book is number two in the Anno Dracula series. I read book one here if you want to read my review.
The Bloody Baron by Kim Newman
I read book one and was hooked on the series and the authors witty style of including historical and fictional era characters in the story along with a good mystery. It's not your typical Dracula saga at all and if you are a Twilight fan - you will hate this.
Tokyo on Foot by Florent Chavouet
Another book I found via Goodreads. One of the people I follow had pick it up on a whim and reviewed it. I instantly fell in love with the sketch art. The artist/author is Florent Chavouet a French author who spent six months staying in Tokyo. His humor and insights make for a fun read, but the art and the energy he captures make this a treasured travllers book.
Part two coming soon!
See you at the airport~
How is your long weekend progressing? I am working hard to delete all the old, never finished posts here on the website. (I keep finding more and more. Do I ever write anything? WTF?)
I probably should have deleted this one as well, but I have been missing life in France so much lately that when I found this I knew I had to finish it.
So lets return to the idyllic south of France. Where the food is fresh, the people are chill and time moves at an entirely different pace.
I suspect these pictures were taken with my older iphone. This was late September, 2014.
My older Mac took its last breath during our 3 months here. Luckily the flat came with its own PC. I just had to relearn how to operate it. #Fail
This was our 1st day...the move in day, as it was. The place is simple, clean and efficient. It always makes me consider why the Hell we insist on purchasing so much crap at home, you know? Do we really need so much? And couldn't that money be put to better use, like say living in France? Lol
I brought tea and some necessities, but mostly we ate and shopped locally. Okay, I will admit I did have a couple of Amazon orders delivered while we were there, but you know, mostly we shopped locally.
I think the food is so good because it isn't rushed. The French do not rush preparing it and you are not expected to rush to eat it and race back to work. You are expected to take your time, slow down and enjoy eating, meeting up with friends or just sitting outside at the cafe. People watching and reading at outdoor cafes is an art form in France.
Local castle...It is a family owned restaurant and small hotel. It is a destination for weddings and other events. People are surprised when they turn up for their events and find that the Rugby pitch is in the front garden, lol. But such is life...
The weather was perfect until right before we left. Three months of cool nights and warm days were irrupted by flash flooding and heavy winds as massive storms moved in. But all in all it was a great 3 months!
Not unlike riding in the UK, but also not exactly the same...the French trains are much faster and newer!
See you at (the French) airport-
I am continuing the 30 Day Thankfulness Challenge...if you missed the last 4 days were posted here. This has turned into a very deep and personal challenge, as I share my gratitude with you.
Shall we do a few more days, before I call it quits?
A family member:
My niece Layla..
You see pictures sometimes on here of her. She is a very sweet and kind little girl who lights up a room when she walks in. She will be 4 this month!
Not only is she super smart, kind and loving, she has a wonderful sense of humor! We have so much fun when we visit her. I am grateful for the time I get to spend with her and her family.
Just a few weeks ago she welcomed home a baby brother! I can’t wait to start spoiling him!
There will be more baby and baby related items on here in the future, lol!
The town/countryside you call home:
This is a tough one. I am often asked where I’m from and I usually hesitate. In the last week I have had 3 people ask me if I was English (I'm pretty sure I do not have an English accent) and a few more in Texas ask me where I was from. WTF?! I looked at them blankly because I was born in Texas. See this past post about this very topic in Las Vegas.
So I think I’M from Texas (I was born there) and I love Texas very much. It is as large as France, used to be its own country and is full of wildness. (No, not wilderness, there is that too.) Texas has a wild “Anything can happen” sense about it. There are so many different things from Austin being the Live Music Capital of the World, to the Gulf Coast to the cowboys to NASA, and the list goes on and on.
Texas has a pride you don’t find in other states, it also has a rich diversity in people. I love that. I love all the adventures you can have there and all the cool people you can meet.
Texas will always be home and I am grateful I was born there.
I also call the south of France home and I am very grateful for that. I love Paris very much, but I spend most of my time in a sleepy little village just across the Pyrenees from Spain. The weather is amazing, the food is fresh and fabulous and the people are kind. There is no crime, no hustle and bustle and life is slow and calm there. I love it and am grateful for every opportunity I have to be there.
I am currently living in New Mexico and I am immensely grateful for this! While I love Texas it was time to leave. I love the mountains too much to stay in central Texas and I dislike all the high prices due to the oil boom. Plus with everything else going on in my life I really needed a change.
We have a lovely house in a quiet area that suits us well and I am grateful for this more than I can express! I have a great office, wonderful clients and amazing new friends here!
I really do have so much to be thankful for! Life is good and actually getting better everyday.
Why don't you do the challenge too and tag me so I can read your answers? I'd love to learn more about you.
See you at the airport and I promise more of the challenge tomorrow!
Yes, I'm gonna get all "preachy" today.
As you know mostly I'm all about rainbows, unicorns, love and wanderlust. But all my life I have heard, "Why the Hell would you want to do that?" When I make the mistake of telling someone that I was going somewhere, trying something new or thinking of learning something. In the beginning I let it stop me, I can admit that now. I CARED what people thought and doubted my ability to make a good decision. WHY? I haven't a CLUE! I think mostly because the idiots are LOUD! They are the first people to pipe up and declare their opinions and find fault. They Love to shoot down people's dreams. It's a favorite past time of the bitter, ignorant and frightened.
If you read my blog, then you know I stopped listening (and caring) about what people thought a long time ago. I realized that their world view and mine are totally and completely different. My world is HUGE and their world is very small. So bless them and move on....I don't judge them, (Okay sometimes I do, but I try not to, even when they are all up in my business.)
The point I'm trying to make is: If you dream of traveling, starting your own business or living somewhere other than the town you were born in, DO IT. The people who will try and shoot down your plans are more than likely coming from a place of fear, not facts.
So when they tell you how over priced healthcare, drugs, crime and corruption is the same everywhere, ask them how they know. When did they last travel or experience life elsewhere? Who do they know in those far off places? Or what have they accomplished that makes them an expert on such topics?
Usually you will get a half assed answer regarding something they saw on the TV or Facebook. Both totally reliable references for world facts. (She says rolling here eyes.) So do NOT listen to them! Do your own research! Ask people, read forums, news reports, buy books, etc. And then GO SEE FOR YOURSELF!
I can only share MY experience, but for me the world is a HUGE and Varied place! Its full of adventure, great people and interesting places to explore. So why are you still inside? Go explore and do not let frightened people stop you from living your dreams.
Okay rant over---
See you at the airport!
I have been going back forth from the states to Europe for a decade. I have been fortunate enough to have lived in both France and England. And as you know, I just recently moving back to the United States. Here are ten things I learned from living in France:
1. The French people do NOT Hate Americans. It's a common misconception in the US and I think gives us grounds to in turn hate other countries. Which is total merde.
2. French people are both kind and very polite. If you use good manners and common sense, you will do fine there. Do your best to not be a living, breathing caricature of a rude American, okay?
3. People in Paris will NOT laugh at your accent. Also another misconception from the US. We are told not to go to Paris because our accent will be so awful people will stop in the streets and laugh at you and point. (Rolls eyes - never happen.)
4. People really do walk around with loaves of bread sticking out of sacks. That bread is fresh made and cost about one euro and you will LOVE IT!
5. The air and the sunlight really are different in France. Even if you were not an artist, you will become one after spending time in France. Pack that sketch pad now.
6. Higher Education is Free in France. (No student loans if you are a resident.) My French friends have asked me several times why we do not all get together in America and just pay a teacher to teach our children? I had to explain in America its all about that piece of paper.
7. French Food is Delicious! But we really already knew that, didn't we?
8. Most French words we use in American English do not mean the same thing. So tread carefully and do not take offense when someone say them to you in a totally different context.
9. Starbucks is for the tourists, because not very many, (if any French people) would pay $5 for a cup of coffee. Most often when I have coffee at my friends homes it is instant Nescafe. Sorry to spoil your fantasy.
10. Wine is very, very affordable. (If you live in the South especially.) Make friends with the locals and you will learn to save your wine bottles. You take these back to the vineyard on certain days to be refilled for almost nothing.
France felt like home to me the first time I stepped off the plane. I could do a list of 100 things I learned in France or maybe more. I learned so much about the French people, culture and also about myself. At times it was frightening to be living in a country where I knew no one, had a limited vocabulary and no cell phone, but I'm so glad I did it! I did purchase a phone (you have to show Id), made friends and learned some French. Then I learned more and met more people, went to more places and have so many wonderful memories!
If you are wondering if you should go soon or wait to visit...I would advise you NOT to wait. Learn as much French as you can and do not be afraid to address people, order food in a cafe or visit the landmarks. Just be polite and have an open mind.
Pack light and go already!
So hello again,
As I set to write more on this blog I laugh to myself about what (or how little I actually write here)
for example, this is what I want to write:
"Suddenly bewitched by an errant butterfly, (or something about as bizarre), the bewildered athlete made a wrong turn and left the race course. Without warning he was in the middle of speeding, angry autos and oncoming traffic. Somehow, and rather miraculously, I might add, he made a narrow escape around two Peugeot into a medieval, crooked alley way.
It was apparent he used all his training to defy gravity and escape the traffic; stunned in to open mouthed silence, we watched from the side walk cafe, not more than a few feet away. I was so discouraged by his near death that I could hardly finish my cappuccino.."
But instead I will just take a shy picture of my drink and write how delicious it was. #Fail
I ask myself why? Is it because I fear judgement?
Will you judge my writing and find it puerile and gauche? So instead I write nothing? The stories are after all what make the trips so much more than just airline miles. But I find I usually do not share them. Again I ask myself why?
Maybe it's just France that makes me behave this way, I don't know..
Welcome to my travel blog, my healthy Vegan lifestyle blog and my life! It's a lot, but it's my passions and I just love to write about it. Here I share tips, stories and photos from my adventures and life. This is the place where people can find daily inspiration to travel and motivation to live healthier lives and laugh a bit too!
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