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