Beginnings

I woke up just after midnight and haven’t been able to get back to sleep so here I am. Six sleeps to go before we’re on the plane for the long haul around to the other side of the globe. I hope my crazy legs won’t be too crazy…

When I try to pinpoint how Tina and I started thinking about planning this trip to France, I keep going back and back, and I begin to think there is no one beginning point for anything…

As long as I have known her, Tina has wanted to take a year off and travel around Australia in a campervan. While I agreed it would be a great adventure, I thought it would be a good idea to trial different modes of transport and accommodation for shorter periods first, to ensure we didn’t get down the road for a month and find it an ordeal rather than an adventure. And one or both of us were working – so how could we possibly take a year off? And what would we do with the house?

Meanwhile, I retired and started a Diploma in Fine Arts which just started me on another commitment of annual blocks. But during this time we visited several art exhibitions and Tina was particularly inspired by the French Impressionists… specifically wanting to visit Monet’s garden at Giverney. This idea took root, grew, blossomed and here we are 6 sleeps away from catching the plane to go to France for nearly nine months (gestational analogies spring automatically to mind I am sure you’ll agree.)

At first, Tina saw the trip to France as getting away from it all and finding a quiet little gite somewhere in the French countryside where I would be painting most of the day and she would be writing. A house swap might be a good way to do this? I thought I could just as easily do this in Australia! If I went to France I wanted to see and experience lots of places things and be in amongst it all… To be able to go to the local boulangerie and bring home a fresh baguette and coffee for breakfast if I felt like it. Gradually we came to the plan that we could stay in places for 3 or 4 weeks – using these bases to explore the countryside around like a daisy chain that spiralled around France, starting in Nice and ending in Paris where we will spend the last six weeks.

So much to do – finding out about car hire, accommodation, what to see and do, applying for visas, updating the passports, (those yucky passport photos!!) finding out about money, renting out the house for a year, packing the house and putting everything in storage! Definitely nightmare material but we’ll do much better next time!

Our dear friends Vicki and Kris have been incredibly supportive helping us survive the move as well as sharing their home with us for several weeks before we left and we got a bit teary at the airport. it has been really special spending that time with them and we look forward to seeing them again very early when we get to France!

Then we’ve been overwhelmed by the warmth of goodbye wishes from dear friends and family so we are honour bound to share as much of the adventure as we can. A bientôt mes amis!

Heather

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