It’s going to France. Specifically, the Luberon valley, where rosé is poured with abandon and lunches sprawl gregariously from noon to four – finishing, of course, in time for a poolside apero.
There’s more to life in Provence than food, though, if you insist on silly things like “diversifying interests” and “taking a break from all of that eating”. There are expansive antique markets which wind their way along river banks and through gnarled streets. There are stunning vistas granted to intrepid bikers and hikers that shun the beaten path. And there are seemingly zillions of wineries just waiting to pour samples and fill your trunk with a few cases to tide you over. What? Wine is technically not a food.
These things all have their place on the to-do list, but for me the charm of the south of France lies in a fairly mundane-sounding routine. Wake up early, preferably before anyone else, and have coffee alone, outside, in perfect stillness. Pack a shopping basket and head off to the market of the day before it becomes overrun with tourists. Practice French on the unfortunate stallholders carrying the most perfect produce; then thank them for putting up with me as I pay and move on.* Buy bread: at least one baguette, if not two. Start the aforementioned long lunch.
That’s it. That’s all I ask of any given day. And as I long for this trip and all of the pleasures it will hold, I wonder why I don’t make time for this routine back home. Certainly the pace of life is different here, but only because I choose to buy into it; as I keep learning time and again, what I do with my day makes very little difference to the rest of the world. So, in preparation for vacation, I’m making a concerted effort to balance the chaos of getting organized with simple pleasures like wandering through the garden after work to gather eggs and asparagus for dinner and making biscotti for friends. So far it’s working out for me and I’ll be doing my very best to keep it up on my return.
But for now there are a few meetings to run to and bills to pay. Keep glued to your screen for updates on the good life over the next couple of weeks and remember to take a few minutes a day to do something that brings you complete joy.
*Side note: I don’t actually know how to say “thanks for putting up with me” so it’s translated as an awkward smile, apologetic shrug, and a wave. If someone wants to teach me, that would be fantastic.