It’s not always easy to travel when a country is on lockdown and all the flights have been cancelled.  But I think I found a way to work around that, and still enjoy my holiday to France.

In my last post, I told you how our European vacation was called off before we left Canada.  When I last left you, I was knee-deep in laundry, having spent a week in Ottawa, biting my nails as I watched the news incessantly, hoping to justify my decision to cancel our 2 month trip a week before we were to leave for Portugal, Spain and France.  That was early March. A whole lot has happened since then!

My emotions have been all over the place. Fear, worry and some resentment have occupied my mind day and (unfortunately) night.  It occurred to me that I was resentful because I really needed a vacation after a year of leading up to and working on a political campaign; a year of working at my usual editor job, but trying to fill in my knowledge gaps about the Royal Canadian Artillery so I could expand my duties (not to mention speak intelligently to all those military types).

I resolved to take my vacation anyway.  There are a great number of things I could incorporate into my daily life that could give me the feeling of being in Europe.

  1.  Drink wine each day – This one is probably the easiest thing to do. I had cut down my wine consumption drastically during January and February, but it took no time to resume my daily habit of consuming a good rosé. French rosé is a must though.
  2. Wear the clothes you were packing for the trip.  All in all, it was easy to wear most of the clothes I was bringing in my carry-on for 2 months. I may not have worn the fancier outfits, but for the most part, I have been able to rotate my travel wardrobe effortlessly. Give or take a day or two of wearing some gardening clothes.
  3. Get outside daily – Some days that meant a walk in the neighbourhood, but every day, we were able to start with a soak in the hot tub. I’ve even been developing a healthy glow from the morning sun (no, it’s not the wine).
  4. Eat alfresco as often as weather permits. We have been fortunate this April in that we’ve had a lot of sunny days. We may have worn a jacket at the table at times, but that just adds to the formality of the affair.
  5. Eat fresh food – it can’t get any fresher than planting my own vegetables and fruit for consumption in coming months, complete with a lavender plant and a rosemary bush.
  6. Watch French themed entertainment.  This month I was hooked on Versailles, a mini-series I was able to stream on CBC Gem. Another great series we’ve been enjoying is Escape to the Chateau DIY. Who doesn’t dream of owning a chateau?
  7. Read French literature – well, I wouldn’t call My Grape Cellar  classic French literature, but it does take place in France and it does describe a very French lifestyle.  I will be seeking out some actual French books in coming weeks as I enjoy reading in French once in a while.
  8. Become difficult to reach. Post pictures and stories of your vacation – you know how you spend less time on social media when you travel? Think of how interested your friends will be to read about your latest adventure. Don’t bother sharing any news you read unless it relates to your “vacation”.
  9. Adopt Joie de vivre! – These are very difficult times. We are uncertain about our future, our loved ones and pretty well everything we know.  I find the simplest task like going for groceries terribly exhausting. Every time Leon sneezes, I worry. Basically, we have to cut ourselves a whole lot of slack. My teacher friends and parents everywhere are not used to homeschooling or distance learning at this level. But I truly believe we will find a groove at some point. I’ll compare it to another great adventure, our year in Australia. I was terribly stressed for weeks as everything I did automatically didn’t apply. Think of crossing the street or just walking down the hallway where students are coming at you from the wrong side of the corridor. Those are small adjustments, and certainly not life and death situations, but with a little Joie de vivre, these trying times can be tolerated.
  10. Be in touch with your loved ones – You’d be sending them a postcard from your vacation anyway. Call, write, video conference. Repeat often. There is nothing more reassuring that knowing my loved ones are safe and healthy.

Be well, stay well, and take a vacation of your own. This is one trip you can finally afford.