Yes. That’s correct. I’m taking you on vacation and you don’t have to pack one thing. Not even a toothbrush.
No packing needed!! Sit back and enjoy this non-flight flight!
And after I take you to a few places, you’re gonna sit back for a while and reflect on all the great places you’ve been. Then you’re gonna head to your photographs and take a look at them. Then you’re gonna have a big smile on your face and you’ll see that sometimes, just thinking about your travels and viewing the movie in your mind, can filled with fun and happy memories.
Back in the day before Shutterfly and other sites that’ll make books of your photos, I made quite a few scrap books with our travel photos!
Look, this pandemic has taken a toll on most of us. It’s daunting and even difficult to come to terms that summer is more than halfway over and we’ve had to cancel vacations we’ve looked forward to for over a year or so. It’s worse realizing you can’t visit family who live far away. I get that. And I get it because we’ve had our summer trip to France cancelled. That trip couldn’t even be substituted by traveling to see my daughter in Ohio or traveling, for the first time, to L.A. to see my son.
Who knew that last summer would be one of baseball games and traveling to see family?
Other than Oona’s wedding in July 2019, the only other time I saw my kids last year was Christmas. Who knew what we were in for?
But there’s an upside of sorts. Trust me, as I write this, I’m talking myself into believing there is an upside. But I’ll list those upsides and then we’ll embark on our travels! Okay?
The upside of not traveling realistically during this pandemic are.
You don’t have to wait on the TSA lines at the airport. Truth be told, I despise those lines—but in order to get to where we go, we have to comply. No standing and lugging carry ons. No taking your shoes, jewelry, scarves and other items off and placing them into those ugly gray plastic trays. Am I right?
See? There IS an upside! No waiting on these horrific TSA lines!
And speaking of lines, you don’t have to wait on an abusively long line at border patrol, aka, Customs. Those lines are painful. Not only to your feet but to your emotional well-being. It seems that whenever we land in Paris, it is either when Customs agents are either taking a break, have not arrived yet because it’s early in the morning or they are in a bad mood. And you don’t have to be crammed like sardines at the embarkment areas. Do you have any idea what it is like to board a translantic flight that is filled to capacity at an unorganized airport? Chaos is a kind word for the experience!
None of this on our blog vacation!
No plane passenger issues. You know what I’m talking about! Those assholes who refuse to wear proper shoes that, unfortunately are sitting next to you. You know, the ones with filthy feet, fungus-ridden toenails and flip-flops that are equally as filthy as their hairy feet. No sitting next to the passenger who gets up every half-hour to make you have to get up from watching your movie or disturbing your movie, to go to the bathroom.
Welcome to my travel life. I’m the one who manages to sit in front of the passenger who takes his shoes off….
And, the mother of all flight annoyances, you don’t have to be bothered with the morons who cram a large number of their family’s carry-on luggage into the compartment above your seat. This is probably my biggest annoyance because the airlines do not enforce the one-carry-on per person rule. Don’t get me started….When I flew to my nephew’s wedding just before the lockdown, I witnessed an in-flight fight two passengers had regarding the overhead space. The worst part was the flight attendant did absolutely nothing!
I’m that passenger who MAKES space in the overhead. Regardless of who’s carryon I rip. Seriously. This os over MY seat that I paid for. Get your stuff outta my way!
We’ve waited as long as over an hour with no pleasant welcome. Not having to go through Customs is such a delight! I’m in a better mood already!
No waiting for that car rental that turns out to be the wrong vehicle so you have to wait two additional hours while the car rental dealer scrambles to find you the model car you did rent and pay a lot of money for!
Umm. Excuse me but this isn’t the vehicle I paid for!
Not leaving your luggage with the concierge because your flight arrived early and you really want to sleep and take a shower but you can’t because the room isn’t ready yet!
And you make the best of it by heading to a nearby cafe for coffee and croissants! And don’t forget to snap a pic to document your arrival–as tired as you might be!
Right? You don’t have to deal with any of this! Trust me! Below is a link to a bit I wrote about the worst experience we’ve had returning from France. I wrote it back in July of 2013! Sometimes It Pays to Fly Direct!
Yup! SNL got it right about Aer Lingus! And I’m of Irish lineage!
Now, dig out those old photos of trips you’ve had and imagine you are in the midst of those photos. It could be a few decades ago or could be a few months before the pandemic.
For us, it was a visit to NYC literally, the week before the lockdown!
Maybe it’s as close as a nearby city or as far as a country across your closest ocean.
I never tire of Paris. Paris and NYC–Be still my heart I love you both!
I went through some old photos today and visited a few places.
Ireland—Dublin and Belfast to be exact.
Oona at Trinity College Library. This was a pretty amazing visit
An education regarding culture. Nobody gets offended about a 15-year old in this funny pose at the Guinness Brewery!
And in Belfast at the All-Irelands!
At the Taronga Zoo in Sydney. That Joey was so adorable. Check out the fanny pack and sneakers. How long ago was that?
My cousins traveled from Brisbane to Sydney to see me. It was a first and we had a blast. And yes. That is my real hair! Bottom pic is with Zookeeper Brian Jessup and a Koala friend!
The Opera House
The Bats at the Botanical Gardens in Sydney
Kookaburra sits in the old gum tree
—and I head to Doyle’s to get some fish in me!
And, naturally, France.
Whether hanging out in Paris doing literally nothing..
Or enjoying a vista in Provence..
Or in the Principality of Monaco..
Let’s not forget St. Tropez and my horrific attempt at a panoramic view!
Keep journals. Quite honestly journaling your trips bring back vivid memories to accompany those photos!
This journal En Route by Barrie Kerper in THE greatest journal ever. Purchased for a trip to France back in 2012, I’ve never seen it since and boy, it pains me that it wasn’t printed year after year after year. It’s incredible. Sectioned off into entries, sketches, expenses, pockets to add little bits and stuff. It was just incredible!
I started keeping track but never kept it up. I was too focused on writing entires!
Every day, I would take time in the late afternoon to sit down and write about our daily experiences. I have a plethora of journals!
But it doesn’t stop there. Get some music. If you are hooked on Italy, research and get some Italian pop music. Love the Middle East? There’s some great Arab music out there. For me, I’m so into French Pop and have amassed quite the selection of CD’s and Spotify playlists! Make your “mindcation” even better with tunes!
Whenever I listen to French pop music, I’m transformed to our auto rental and listening to the radio while driving through the Cote d’Azur!
Don’t forget the movies either! Two of my favorite movies of all time are The Four Hundred Blows. It’s so sad and somewhat depressing but funny and full of hope at the same time. Visually it is stunning because it’s filmed in black and white and shows a side of Paris before it became overcrowded!
The 400 Blows was the first in a series about Francois Truffaut’s alter ego, Antoine Doinel. The series runs the gamut of emotions but boy, The 400 Blows is epic!
Another scene from the film.
Quite possibly, the greatest movie ever made is Amelie. The story can be somewhat comparible to Jane Austen’s Emma–but better! And visually, it is stunning–there’s a green cast and OMG. It’s just the best movie ever. I cannot count how many times I’ve sat through it! It definitely brings me back to Paris!
For obvious family reasons Les Miserables starring Daniele Delorme….shameless plug!
And can we not forget the food. Make a dish from the place you were to vacation! I made Gougeres today for Bonaparte!
75 gougeres were baked today. And my husband felt as though he was on vacation when he had some with his aperitif!
- Try something different. Make esscargot. Make a tagine. Or homemade pasta! Or baklava!
From Paris to the South of France, my favorite travels have been with myhusband.
We travel very well together! We’re definitely on the same page!
We’re at that age when our children have grown out of their teens and twenties. They are full-fledged adults. Responsible adults with successful careers. They don’t need nor depend on us anymore. Besides it’s important to have a travel companion that you get along with. Trust me, I’ve been on trips that were a wreck. Blended personalities is always a good equation!
And so, travel fills a void. But it’s all good. Great, in fact. When you travel you acquire the greatest education—one you cannot learn in a classroom. It’s the education of cultures and art and people and history and food. And once you experience that initial visit—you’re hooked!
Tarascon chateau in Provence was one of the greatest Medieval sites I’ve ever visited!
And you never know what photo opportunities await. Below is a TOILET. You sat on it and hopefully, no body was standing on the ground under you!
Yes. I was fascinated and disgusted at the same time with a bit of nervous laughter. This is a Medieval toilet. Oh boy–I’m sure beautiful gardens grew underneath from the “fertilizer”!
Bonaparte and I make a wonderful travel team. We have similar “want-to-do’s” when we are away and we have our particulars. We like clean hotels for one. And we like having a car—even in Paris. It lends itself well for us to drive out of City Centre and onto the historical venues that lay outside of the City of Lights.
When we rent the apartment in Theoule, we spend our last night in the Clubhouse at La Galere–it’s become a tradition and the rooms are wonderful!
That isn’t to say we run into differences at times because we do. But we always manage to iron those differences out within minutes and then head on our merry way.
And that merry way usually means driving to pick up a baguette from Desgranges–the best bread in Paris (in my opinion). Crusty exterior and just enough saltiness with a chewy interior. It’s heavenly!
During this time of being banned from practically every country and then some, it’s bittersweet to read about your past travels—the fun stuff. The sites. For me, it’s reading about Bonaparte’s aunt, Daniele, and the many years we spent with her in her Paris Apartment. It’s also about our trips to the Cote d’Azur—I really thought we would be there this summer but who knew this pandemic would affect life itself.
We were fortunate to see this exhibit of Bonaparte’s grandfather’s photos during our November visit. Hopefully we’ll be back this coming November!
Instead, after I finish writing this post, I’m going to return to my travels through photographs and journals. And later when we are enjoying our aperitifs before dinner, we’ll reminisce about the best of our trips.
The photos date back to 2006 and I started documenting from 2009. It’s been a great journey and I hope it continues after the pandemic.
I hope you enjoyed this post! Now go. Take a vacation in your mind. It’ll be good for you! XOXOXOXO
Bonjour! Thanks for the reminder of how great trips can be. Or not!
I completely agree with you that travels allow the discovery of culture, people, history and food. You need to be in the country to absorb all the flavours, scents and noises.
On the other hand I can do without the crowds, especially the lines at airport check points. Don’t get me started on the absence of customs officers at CDG airport!! I have very bad memories of Sunday mornings at 7 am, landing after a night flight with two tired kiddies, from the US, Singapore or the Caribbean with practically no Police des Airs available due to strike, early morning hour, 35 hour working week or just plain “couldn’t drag myself away from the coffee machine” syndrome. And Paraphe booths out of order to boot! Things have somewhat improved since a couple of years, though. Augustin de Romanet, Aéroport de Paris manager, installed a number of new generation Paraphe booths. Lines at passport control had been getting out of control, and there had been an incident at Orly airport some summers ago when waiting travellers rioted to get through passport check.
This summer we were supposed to be in Austria, but the pandemic decided otherwise. Travels are allowed within Schengen, my daughter is off to Greece, but we decided to forgo the obligation of wearing a mask on airplanes. We’ll be visiting the Ardèche region and Aix en Provence instead.
Oh God CDG is the worst ever. I dread those early morning landings and cannot wait to get a French Passport. I do wish the ban on US citizens was lifted but…no thanks to the moron in charge, we’ve all suffered! XOXOXOXO
I too always keep a journal when on holiday and my husband still makes up an album. Nothing better than looking back and marvelling at places we’ve been.
We are hoping to be able to drive to Normandy at the end of the month, but with the news of quarantine being necessary on return from Spain, we are keeping our fingers crossed. No South of France for us either this year. We discovered and adore Theoule because of you.
At least you are guaranteed some nice weather, here in the UK we can never guarantee anything. Yesterday we visited friends but it was too cold and windy to sit outside so had to go indoors – our first time inside anywhere other than our own home!
Thank you for continuing to keep us entertained during this terrible time, and all the while you’re still working.
I wish Vincent continued recovery and good health.
What a fabulous post, and you are so right – we can revisit our vacations and appreciate the good and also acknowledge the not so great aspects. I have no idea if we will get away this year – Scotland is slightly different to the rest of the UK and even a trip down to the husbands flat in Uxbridge (London-ish) is terribly exciting for me, we might do that in a week or two. What I love about going away though apart from some beautiful places is the opportunity to indulge in some sheer noseyness (never – NEVER met a Hypermarche I didnt love, ohhhh other peoples domesticity and their shopping baskets and the minutiae of what they compose their life from – I could spend HOURS in a Hypermarche just following people but husband says that is bad ) and the opportunity to see Gravel-Guy come out of his cranky carapace of grumpiness and actually open up. He is the sensible one, the grown up and the cautious one, but on holiday he suddenly blooms and talks in a really interesting way about the local geology and land formation (he is a geomorphologist) – explaining and describing how things have gradually changed and formed what we are seeing, suddenly you see a whole different Trev. I begin to see what his students see in him and why they think he is such a great guy. Fascinating… but you have me dreaming of Paris, New Zealand and Carcasonne, Fontfroide Abbaye, Alpe d’Huez…. it will happen again, it will and maybe I will be even more appreciative of the opportunity
OMG. Susan. First of all, I’m incredibly touched that you found out about Theoule through me. Isn’t it great? AND one of MY favorite things to do is to head to Geant Hypermarche in Mandelileu to do exatly what you do. I LOVE THAT MARHE! And I miss it terribly. If you’ve been there you are familiar with the guys (especially the one with a missing leg) who sit at the bar outside the marche and enjoy their beverages or the orange juice stand or the russian-operated patiserrie arcross from the main market1 XOXOXOXO
this was great fun! In a big fat dose of irony, my TSA pre-check came through 2 days after we went into stay-at-home lockdowns. We’re still locked down, mostly. I’ve managed a few road trips and just getting out and seeing different scenery other than neighborhood and grocery store has been good for the soul!
Hi MJ! Oh the irony! I’m interested in seeing what the new normal is for TSA when we ger back to somewhat normal. I don’t think travel will ever be the same!! XOXOXO
I am not missing a vacation this year, because we generally cannot afford to take a vacation anyway. And to be honest, even though it’s selfish, I am happy to not be bombarded with other people’s endless stories about prepping for their vacations, being on their vacations, and talking about their vacations. That gets old really fast when you don’t go anywhere.
I certainly understand the disappointment for those people, but as you have pointed out, if there are any photographs or journals, you can revisit past trips and sometimes that is as enjoyable as going, because you have the benefits and none of the hassles!
Touche Bridget. Last night my husband had me read aloud from three journals. One was especially touching because it was the trip where he and his dad reconnected! XOXOXOXO
Is this one the journal you were talking about? https://www.amazon.com/En-Route-Companion-Inspired-Travelers/dp/0307342344/ref=sr_1_4?dchild=1&keywords=en+route+barrie&qid=1595772089&sr=8-4
Yes but that’s from 2007. I wish there were yearly updates! Thanks for the link though! XOXOXO
Fun to read your post. I’d love to go back to France. Would love to go to New Zealand and Australia, too!! And I really want to go to Iceland!! I’ve had to cancel three trips in the last couple of years (house fire axed a trip to Kauai, snowstorm cancelled a trip to Denver, and pandemic cancelled a hiking trip in Utah) but generally have taken it in stride because quite honestly my favorite place to be is right here at the home front. Especially during the summer. I guess the thing that riles me up is people who are acting as if it’s ‘business as usual’. Certain friends and family members who absolutely refuse to stay home. One is even a retired nurse and she’s going places thinking her hand sanitizer is what will save her. She goes to gatherings and doesn’t wear a mask. It’s people like this who contribute to prolonging this plague and it ticks me off.
Vava I hear you. One of my sisters posted a pic of and friends at a beach club party. My comment was “where’s the masks” She was not pleased. I refuse to leave home without a mask. And those idiots who refuse to comply? They are the reason we aren’t travelling! I can’t even…..XOXOXOXO
“I’ll drink that shit before you get your grubby hands on it!” Hysterical and I believe you would say and do it!
LOL! Denise. I did say it:)!!!!!! XOXOXOXO
Cathe, in the post with you and the zookeeper, Brian Jessup, you look just like Jackie Kennedy! I couldn’t believe my eyes!
Loved this post! Thank you for the post. The photos are wonderful!
We haven’t been to our home in France since November but I’m trying to be grateful for all the places I have been to in the last few years: Cape Town, Barcelona, Vienna. I may not get back to France until next year but our new puppy more than makes up for our lack of travelling. Take care xoxo
You’ve inspired me, Cathe (as usual)…I’m reaching for my journals and photo albums right now! Thanks for the suggestion. Sometimes it makes me sad because Allen is in so many of the pics and I miss all the fun we had on the road – onward and upward, right? I hope you and Vincent can have a taste of Paris and Theoule next year…oh well, now I’m off to Paris, Sancerre, Spain, Morocco and who knows where else ✈️.
I love the picture of you with your charming husband. You are adorable together.
I qlook forward to traveling, just a nice weekend trip to Coronado Island or Santa Barbara. Our “big” trip for 2020 was to be to Spain in April. But I realized in March that it wasn’t going to happen. Thankfully we finally got a full refund on our prepayment.
Since retirement in 2013 we’ve been to Paris (3 times!), Normandy, Amsterdam, Rome/Venice/Florence, Montreal/Quebec City, and Cuba. Every trip was a delight. Fingers crossed that we will be able to travel again sooner, rather than later.
Oh my, I “look” forward. Not sure what “qlook” would be. LOL
LOL! Christine! My qeyes are qstopping me from typing correcty! XOXOXOXOXOXO
Oh Christine. Cuba is on my bucket list. Wow! That trip must’ve been wonderful! What did you think of Normandy? It was a very somber experience for me and I tell everyone heading to France to try to squeeze a trip to Normandy in there. We are supposed to go to Paris for Thanksgiving but I don’t think it’ll happen since we Americans are banned for now. I don’t see that ban lifting any time soon! My fingers are crossed as well! XOXOXOXO