It’s summer and that means another road trip with the BFF. And when I say “road” I mean “airplane.” How this tradition of a yearly summer trip started is a mystery. All I know for sure is that when summer rolls around, no matter what’s happening in our lives, Angela and I head off to someplace together for a few weeks.
This year, we’re galavanting by car and foot through the south of France. Though Angela and I had both seen some great photos of the region over the years, this wasn’t a trip we had on our radar. At least not until a few years ago when we flew back into France from another trip and accidentally ended up in the countryside.
There’s an airport that calls itself “Paris” something or other, so when I booked our plane tickets from Paris to Marrakesh, I didn’t think twice that our return ticket on the same airline would get us back into the city, especially since it said “Paris.” Well, this particular airport was about a thousand miles (slight exaggeration) away from Paris. We ended up having to book an expensive shuttle ride from that airport two hours or so back to the city. While I sat in the back of the crowded shuttle van fuming and planning a scathing Yelp review, Angela was gawking out the window and marveling at the passing views. Fast forward five years, and here we are.
Our planned stops were Valensole, Roussillon, and Lourmarin for a peek at lavender fields and cute little villages. But our Airbnb hostess in Roussillon got the itch to shout at us because we requested a fan (it’s hot out here, y’all!) so after we lost a day to grumpy feelings and searching last minute for a new place to sleep, we left the town of the pretty rusty-colored cliffs and found a host with a more welcoming vibe and a pool.
One of the nice things about these summer trips is the necessity of unplugging from the news. If we’re going to make the most of this intense togetherness and the places we see, Angela and I leave the social media and world news check-ins to a minimum. With the world being as it is, it saves the sanity. Enough of the outside has leaked through for me to know about Megan Rapinoe’s continued awesomeness – go USA women’s soccer! – and that some people still manage to be kind to each other.
Writing inspiration has, thankfully, been everywhere on this trip. In Valensole, we had the kindest and sweetest hosts. The couple welcomed us with fresh-baked bread into their ancient Provincial-style home. Their yard had cherry trees, two disinterested cats, plus little tables and chairs where we could eat and enjoy the relatively cool mornings. The house itself was like something from a movie with winding stairs, grape leaves hanging down the stone facade and in front of the green shuttered windows, and a homey kitchen for us to cook in.
Outside the village, encounters with sunflower and lavender fields, amazing views, kind strangers (and a few locos) are helping to fill up my notebook fast. I can’t wait to see how what I’m experiencing now translates to my fiction down the road.
In the meantime, the journey continues. Next, it’s the beach and hopefully a chance to check out the actual casino from the James Bond film, Casino Royale. Fingers crossed. Hope you’re having a wonderful summer!