It is better to travel well than to arrive.
This time around, my traveling took on a new pattern. Instead of making a long list of ‘must-see’ places, I carried some guidebooks and maps around (on my iPad–so convenient), and let serendipity guide much of my wanderings. The second and third days in Provence I had no reservations and no firm plan except that I had a vague notion of wanting to see St. Remy-de-Provence because of being a Remy myself. And while that town was utterly charming, it was more crowded and less fun than the other parts of Provence that I visited. Some things I learned from this experience:
-local Visitor’s Bureaus are invaluable resources for finding lodging at the last minute
-much of Provence is not in guidebooks and can’t be found through a Google search
-the locals were eager to make suggestions for excellent eating, and they were more than willing to go out of their way to make sure that we didn’t get lost in our search for food and lodging
-though at times the roundabouts were confusing, most every road was well signposted for finding one’s way
-when you get up one morning with the intention of ‘driving to the next village’ for coffee and you just start driving in whatever random direction seems interesting, it might be a very long time before you find coffee. But when you do, it will be at the perfect little family-run cafe with pain chocolate and a hot dark brew.
More than anything, I learned to release my need to know everything ahead of time. I let myself just be where I was, even if that included being a wee bit hungry when a restaurant wasn’t just around the corner. I not only found beautiful medieval towns, waterways, rock formations, and tasty olives-wine-lavender-cheese, but I also found huge comfort in learning to do things a new way, and to even enjoyed it more than how I’ve traveled in the past.
I used to be far more afraid of an uncertain future. But I’m not (so much) now…