Going with the Flow and rediscovering myself in Provence
Sometimes travel can do so much more than broaden your horizons.
For me, holidays open a door to my childhood – away from work, away from technology (I was a child of the 1970s after all). A door to that opens to reading, sketching, doodling, writing, playing with words and lines, experiencing as well as being, creating as well as doing.
It gives me a frisson of excitement to push open that door and all at once ideas come tumbling through as if they’ve been waiting there impatiently to be let out.
It brings into stark relief the dichotomy of me – the black-clad-art-school-wannabe and book-obsessed-almost-English-degree-student (my art teacher wanted me to apply to Central St Martins and my English teacher despaired that I didn’t do enough A Levels to go to Cambridge!) versus the uber-organised, planner-obsessed ex-PR dolly with the Mulberry handbag, big hair and social media compulsion.
I suppose I’m all those things… and more.
Last week on holiday as a guest of James Villas in the South of France I discovered Flow, the magazine of paper lovers, which at £10 a pop isn’t a cheap read – although as Leigh from Headspace Perspective pointed out to me it does only come out four times a year.
It’s beautifully designed and full of delicious creativity that the artistic joy-seeker in me just lapped up, savouring the inspiration from interviews with Keri Smith – author of the cult classic Wreck This Journal – and articles about giving and receiving and being more playful in our adult lives. (So much so that I subscribed as soon as we got home and ordered a back-issue covering happiness.)
I read most of Flow in the car on the way home, actually, holidays with two little ones being more about us-time than me-time (and rightly so).
It appeals to the ‘other me’ – the sit-and-colour-for-the-pure-pleasure-of-it me, a me that’s been a bit neglected recently in planning and preparing work with my clients.
Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely LOVE my second career as a pro-blogger and I’m working with some fantastic companies – I should be black and blue from pinching myself! Yes I work hard, I work early and late and whenever else I can (hello to working in the car while the Little Man naps) but it’s a form of play for me I suppose and I’m so grateful for it.
But just as it’s nice to leave The Barn, our new forever home, to explore pastures new, it’s refreshing and invigorating to take a break from the ‘work me’ and rediscover life unscheduled and unstructured. To feast on fresh-from-the-oven French baguettes and mozzarella drenched in olive oil, creme au glace and deliciously crisp white wine (my wheat intolerance had to take a holiday too quite frankly!)
Perhaps it was the weather, the scenery, the change of pace, the lie-ins and everything else that’s magical about a villa holiday in Provence that led to me remembering those other parts of me and, in a way, rediscovering myself.
But I wish I could bottle that sunny feeling of potential, of creative possibility, so that I can lift the lid sometimes, later on, when life becomes routine again and take a big, deep breath.
Do you rediscover yourself on holiday? How do you keep that magical feeling going when you return home?