I continue to process my feelings and experiences from that great adventure, but think it's time to share some things with you because people keep bugging me asking me, "was it a good trip?" :-)
Okay, so I brought back some things: postcards from the Chez Christine café in Saignon, bookmarks from an art gallery in Bonnieux, jams from a cherry festival in Casenuve, tapenades and placemats from a souvenir shop in Fountain de Vaucluse.
I ate tender and tasty lamb wrapped in eggplant in St. Pantaleon les Vignes, and rabbit in Apt. I tried goat cheese, sheep's cheese, French coffees and wines. I marveled at the amazing geology of the mountains, explored the trees and plants, and tried to identify birds. I hiked, I drank, and I sat by the pool having deep conversations with deep people. I said "wow" and "yum" a lot! It was exotic and exciting.
But I was exhausted for almost the entire trip. I'm not complaining. Really.
I'm reminded of the song "My Body" by Young the Giant, which goes "…my body tells me, 'no,' but I won't quit 'cause I want more." And I wanted more of the experience of France.
I had physically prepared for this trip by working out and increasing my time and distance on the treadmill. But I also studied meditation and practiced awareness, and worked on living in each moment.
I had no problem with the walking, the climbing, the carrying luggage. But I did have a problem with fatigue from over- stimulation, communicating in another language, dealing with disruptions in routine. By the third day, I wrote in my journal that I was scared, didn't think I could make it to the end of the week because I was just so tired, so overwhelmed.
But then my zen training took over and I told myself to live in the moment. Just thismoment. Right now. Only right now. Don't worry about the rest of the week, worry about just this moment. And I can get through this one moment.
So I savored each moment. Then another. Then another.
As I mentioned earlier, I brought back a few souvenirs (and pictures). But they really don’t matter. What matters is that I brought back a desire to continue to have fresh experiences, a willingness to try new foods, and a renewed confidence that I cango out in the world again with multiple sclerosis and debilitating fatigue. Even if it's just for one moment.
So, YES, it was a good trip!
Back to Home Page PS - In case you missed it, here are links to my Heroic Journey: Part 1 - The Call Part 2 - After the Call Is Answered Part 3 - What to Take on a Heroic Journey