June was all about travel for us this year. I held true to the maxim: Life is for living, blog later.
Yet how to impart our experiences without it turning into ‘slide night’? Do you remember such events? To think we once all expected a little presentation from the travelers on returning home!
So what follows is a snapshot, with minimal musings.
First stop France, which was all warmth, sunshine and good food. No sightseeing, just sitting and soaking it all up. Lots of eating, new tastes (a cheese and a champagne in particular) and happy days. We started in Epernay, where champagne is available everywhere and at all times, so that helped us to refocus our energies on relaxing after a hectic start to the year. On review of our pics, I clearly did a good job of drinking the evidence – not a glass in shot.
Then onto Paris where it was all walking, gardens and cafes.
We pilgrimaged to the Louvre. I’m clearly in house builder mode as I seem to have identified the things I like in a Palace, the pared back, raw material look, not very royal… just like in this painting of Napoleon by Jaques-Louis David, late 1700’s.
Then onto the UK, the main reason for this trip. 3 weeks of visiting family, long rambles in the countryside, getting to know a quintessentially English town, observing for the first time the totally different light on a UK summer evening and a long boat (canal boat) trip that rejigged my appreciation of time.
It was amusing to see the appropriation of the telephone box for so many useful reasons other than a telephone. My favourite was the community book exchange.
Last stop Rome, but with only 24hrs, this visit was only ever going to be a ‘taster’…. so I ate gelato at every opportunity. Our wandering range was very limited. Consequently, my lasting visual memory is that of ruins, fountains, reclaimed ruins … and SCALE.
The ancient buildings of Rome were clearly built to last many lifetimes, and to make lifetimes seem a brief, insignificant blip in consequence or meaning. The scale of these buildings, in size and through time, highlight the irony of a world ruled by omnipresent gods and religion yet conceived and built by humans.
I stood, feeling time, and pondered on ancient Australia. Last month I read ‘Dark Emu’ by Bruce Pascoe and couldn’t help but have a deeper admiration for the ancient works of indigenous Australians. Ancient Australia makes ancient Rome seem positively mid-century. If only gelato could be found at these spots too…
Finally home. We truly loved melting back into our country life. No cars, concrete and people (and gelato … sigh). Just big blue sky, bright light, sheep and a quietness you just can’t bottle. Then we heard a train, the pet sheep started demanding my attention and the generator cranked into gear as we bustled around to spark life back into our dormant house. We went about the tasks in a jet-lagged blur but so happy that our partly built house was still standing, all the sheep still alive, the garlic still growing and our world still intact.
This seems to me the true effect of travel. All the new thinking, learning, feelings and experiences all work to amplify the value of what we already have … I’d like to stop time now, please!
June Book List
At its deepest level, travel can assist us with our psychological education. It can – when approached the right way – play a critical role in helping us to grow into better versions of our normal selves. When it corrects the imbalances and immaturities of our natures, travel reveals its full potential to function as a form of therapy in our lives.
The Book of Life: Travel as Therapy an Introduction