REFLECTION: Yep, I’m baaack! After my longest vacation absence ever, it feels odd to be sitting down at the keyboard to compose another edition in the ongoing saga of Pause. I confess I’m finding myself a bit out of practice.
It’s been a challenge to shift gears from vacation mode to workplace mode. For six weeks, my husband and I have only had to think of ourselves – and toy with what we might want to do the wide open, uncommitted days that lay ahead. I must say that I loved it all, and that I could probably find it easy to get used to more of the same.
That said, there was and is a part of me that was still keen to make sense of every experience, to look for the lessons, and to share them with others. You can’t keep a reflective, educative, contributing spirit down for long!
I know that some of you were following along on our travel adventures via the postings on the new Pause web blog. If you missed it, you can still check it out online at: http://www.pauseworks.com/wp/ Click the travel category and you’ll be linked to all the postings from ‘away’.
I’m eager to start sharing data from the Overwhelm and Overload survey results that have been sitting here waiting for my return. You can expect many of the Pause postings over the next few weeks to draw on that material.
However, as a way of honoring the experience of our ‘Grand Adventure’, I’d like to commit today’s edition of Pause to sharing a few of my overall reflections and observations after six weeks of travel – three on land in France and Italy, and three at sea through the Mediterranean and across the Atlantic.
The message is a bit longer than usual, so top off your coffee and pop your feet up on the corner of your desk. Here goes:
* Six weeks of concentrated togetherness is an excellent test of relationship – especially when it involves sharing the navigation and driving through crazy Italian traffic. Important discovery: we still like each other!
* Having reliable back up support at home and in the business makes it possible to disengage with confidence. I appreciated T & L taking care of everything, so we didn’t have to worry about anything.
* Despite my frequent rants against the vagaries of gadgetry, I love technology – especially when it works and when my very own tech support specialist is travelling with me to sort out the snags. Wi Fi connections abound – making it easy to check a reference on a restaurant, exchange email messages with home, and post to blogs en route. The Skype phone service is a fabulous and inexpensive way to stay in touch with family thousands of miles away.
* No matter how often you’ve visited a place, there’s always something more to see and experience. The views change with the seasons. A new byway beckons. You lose your way and stumble across an accordian repair shop or an art supply shop that’s been serving clients since the 19th century. Who knew?
* I am nowhere near fluent in French or Italian! And, I’m downright deficient in Spanish and Portuguese. It would take a lot of work to get me up to speed in any one of these languages, but it is fun trying nonetheless. Maybe if I could just speak European – and draw from all of those vocabularies – I might find enough words to put a sentence together. As to who might understand me, I’m not sure; however I admire the many Euro folks who speak all these languages and more with ease!
* Sketching and painting really connect you to the world in front of you. Spending a half hour sitting, soaking up a scene, and capturing it on paper with your own eye and hand is a great deal richer than the ‘speedy snap’ digital ‘stroll by’ experience. Now, depending on your skill, it may not realistically represent the view, but it sure helps you connect with the feel and essence of a place.
* As cool as it is to see international monuments and icons, many of the best travel moments are those far away from the tourist traps: sharing a meal in a restaurant where 90% of the diners are from the neighborhood, watching a giggly group of smock-clad pre-schoolers trailing hand in hand through the market, being stopped dead in your tracks by the awesome beauty of the sun rising over the Tuscan hills.
* And so very much more.
ACTION: Note to self: listen up and pay closer attention. Life unfolds at every turn. I wonder what you and I might be missing on our own home turf every day – what travellers and visitors to our part of the world would find amazing and astounding – something they might be drawn to write home about.
QUOTES OF THE WEEK:
A good traveler has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving. – Lao Tzu
Travel and change of place impart new vigor to the mind. – Seneca
I met a lot of people in Europe. I even encountered myself. – James Baldwin
RESOURCE OF THE WEEK: My post vacation gift to Pause readers is a list of interesting places to eat in France, Italy & Spain. It’s not exhaustive in any way, but rather something to tuck in your back pocket should you be headed that way yourself.
These places are of interest for a variety of reasons – some the food, some the ambience, some the zany staff, some the view, some all this and more. If you’d like more details on any one in particular, just drop me a line.
See the Pause Blog for the Euro Eats listing at: http://www.pauseworks.com/wp/?p=116