We’re Off In LMB (Yes, Really)!
“Don’t you have to blog today?” Paul asked me
I was surprised by the question because I thought it was Thursday, or maybe Friday. The days have sped by this week and I’d clearly lost track of time.
“Is it Sunday already? Really? And where are we again?”
I’m usually not this muddled having gotten into a pretty regular writing rhythm over the past year, but this week was different. This week everything went out the door and it’s because, my dear Polly, we’re not in France anymore. Yup, after 385 days of sitting still (not that anyone’s counting or anything) LMB is on the road again!
It’s been a bumpy start, that I cannot deny and for many weeks we weren’t even sure we’d get this far.
Home inertia has been high. There’s been the whole mess of COVID of course, but then there’s the infallible truth of Newton too. Bodies at rest tend to stay that way, and home bodies seem to have a special kind of physics that require extra humungous forces to move them (and yes, that’s a technical term). The comforts of home anchor you to the ground, and “regular life” becomes a habit that calls you to stay.
Leaving is tough, especially when you really love where you live!
But here we are, finally out again. We’re off, we’re gone, we’re on a new adventure. The miles are running beneath our wheels and we’ve got open horizon in the windshield. Where we end up, only the Travel Gods will know…
Why Travel At All?
It’s such an interesting question when you think about it.
In and of itself travel is really a very uncomfortable thing. You drag yourself out of your comfort zone into situations and places that you don’t really know if you’ll ultimately enjoy. You travel long distances on roads fraught with obstacles and rife, and you’re so exhausted by the end of the day that you can barely drag yourself to bed (assuming you’re even somewhere you’ll be able to fall peacefully asleep).
But that very discomfort is also one of the reasons travel is ultimately such a rich experience.
The very act of going out of our comfort zone is what allows us to appreciate what we have. Without it we become lax, soft, perhaps even downright grouchy. We lose perspective of what’s important and become oblivious to what’s around us. Travel is like a reset point that re-balances our brains and takes us back to the core of things. Or perhaps that’s just what it feels like to me?
Then of course there’s the connection of it all.
Travel allows you to appreciate how diverse the world is, and yet how little really divides us. I remember taking a philosophy class at University many years ago where the home assignment was to write an essay about how to break down barriers of hate between people. I thought the answer was bleeding obvious. Just travel a bit, spend a year in another country, get out and meet the world! It doesn’t take much to realize the differences between us are not nearly as large as they seem.
Finally there’s nature, the most incredible wonder of it all.
In the grand scheme of things we’re just a big ball of rock and water floating on a molten core, but it’s taken over 4 billion years to get here. And in that time we’ve transformed from cosmic dust to primordial goo, and seen the miracle of life produce millions (perhaps even trillions?) of different species. When you travel you get to experience all that and see it for yourself, and truly absorb what an amazing planet we live on.
So yes travel is uncomfortable, but that’s the price you pay for its grand reward. The discomfort is the yang to the yin of discovery, the weight on the balance that allows both to exist. And when we stop traveling, or pause for several months it’s the memory of all that which makes it possible to truly appreciate what we have right in front of us.
Crazy deep I know, but that’s how I feel….
It’s been a looong time coming, this trip of ours.
COVID changed everything for us, as it did for many. We stopped traveling in large part because of the Pandemic, and we haven’t really traveled since. We kept waiting for the numbers to drop, only to see them rise again. We kept waiting for restrictions to ease, only to see lockdowns enacted again. Then of course we waited for the vaccine. All that planning/not-planning, having hopes raised and then squashed again has been utterly exhausting, and it’s only reinforced the easy decision to stay home.
But this month all the loose bits wrapped up and things suddenly came into focus.
We are both finally fully vaxxed (yeahhhhh!), COVID is taking a brief respite (at least for now in Europe) with case & ICU numbers both dramatically down, and travel is finally “green” and unrestricted across all of EU, even into Denmark (wheeeee)! It’s a temporary freedom that is unlikely to last especially as the Delta variant (and whatever variant comes after) takes hold, so if there’s a time to go it really is NOW!
Plus of course there’s all the other reasons. The heat of summer is about sizzle in SW France, so going North is going to be a real relief. We’ll get to see my homeland, which brings up all kinds of warm fuzzies for me. Plus we’ll be able to see friends and family that we haven’t seen in years.
Oh and that travel bug of mine will finally, blissfully get fed.
What’s The Plan?
If you haven’t guessed by now (which I’m sure you have) our goal this summer is Scandinavia. We’ve got fixed plans for Denmark and Sweden, and then we’ll see how we get on from there.
As usual we’ve planned shortish drives, no more than 4 hours per day, taking a leisurely week to get to Denmark after which we’ll putz around for a while before heading over the bridge to Sweden to stay for a longer period with my sister.
We’ve also decided to do proper campground stops rather than Aires or free-camping, at least for the first few legs. Between possible heat waves and the inevitable discomfort we’re going to feel when we first start out we want to be as relaxed as possible with access to electricity (i.e. air-conditioning), water and warm showers while we ease into travel mode.
Lastly we’ll start our travels mid-week to avoid the infamous “black days*” of French vacation travel as we go around the big metropolitan areas. We know we can’t avoid summer vacationers entirely, but we’re going to do our darndest to avoid being stuck in traffic with them.
That’s really all we’ve planned for now!
Everything else will depend on how we’re feeling, especially our dear old Polly girl. When we’re done, no matter when that happens, we’ll just head on home.
*”Red & Black Days” -> In case you ever need it, Bison Fute is THE site for French traffic, and French traffic predictions. Want to know when and where to avoid the roads? Just check the site!
How’s It Going So Far?
Well that’s really for another post.
I can tell you this much. We’ve already come a ways, and the road has not been smooth. We’ve had obstacles, including an almost-turnaround moment. And despite an excel checklist of over 100 packing items we’ve managed to forget something, as we always do. Last trip it was spoons, this time it was blankets. How could we forget blankets???
But we’ve also started to feel that travel groove, and I think it’s about to get rather good, or at least I hope it will. I’m a little bit excited, a little bit nervous and I still have a bunch of questions. Will we enjoy travel as much as before, or will we just be pining for home? Will Scandinavia be as lovely as I remember, or will it be just a nostalgic dream? Is Polly going to do OK, or will she be too stressed in her old age?
I guess we’re about to find out….