June 19 – 20, 2015
Remember, you don’t have to give up everything in order to have the life you want. – Renu
2 Days in Aix-en-Provence. Before heading to the Cannes Lions Festival for my final week of extended vacation, I decided to spend two days in the French countryside.
Aix-en-Provence is another small, charming city in Southern France where the Old Town turns into a giant extended market in the mornings and the town squares (places) turn into lively centers for locals and tourists to gather and drink rose in the evenings. During the day, you can find everything from fruits & vegetables to seafood, from fresh baked parisian bread to clothes, everything is sold throughout the places of the city.
Day 1: Old Town, Cours Mirabeau, Fontaine de la Rontonde
I spent my first day roaming around Old Town, finding my bearings, and discovered that Aix-en-Provence is quite an expensive city with both mid-to-high end designers stores lining its cobblestone streets. One of the most famous streets is Cours Mirabeau – decorated with many fountains, the most famous being Fontaine de la Rontonde at the end, and many cafes. I often found myself walking in circles but it was nice to get lost in the quaint streets of Aix.
Day 2: Bonneux, Roussilon, Luberon
I am so glad I decided to book a 60 Euro private tour through the countryside. Not only was it a side of France I had never seen before, but I got to finally see the lavender fields that have been popping up in my summer travel newsfeed! The tour took me through the old, small towns of Bonneux, Roussilon, and Luberon, which aren’t cities to spend the night in unless you are staying in the countryside for a week or more but charming nonetheless.
The French countryside is beyond what words can express as beauty. There is something about it that is freeing, calming, and restoring. I had spent the previous four weeks traveling from city to city, wakeboarding on Lake Como, hiking in Italy, swimming in the Adriatic Sea, exploring the streets of Budapest, and then I finally found myself alone in a quiet, calm, and peaceful place. Hardly anyone else around, fields as far as the eye can see, perfect rows of vineyards and lavender, it was the right moment to reflect. I had started my journey on a mission, a mission to figure out what I wanted to do with my life. Do I give up my financially securing job to live a ‘simple’ life in Europe? In Italy? In Lezzeno? Or, do I continue to climb the corporate ladder that has fed my ambition for success? I was torn, I am torn.
Have you ever met someone and just knew that you were meant to meet them at that given moment in time? I met Renu, he was my tour guide. At 25, he gave up engineering to teach scuba lessons in the Dominican Republic. He visited, fell in love, and then someone offered him an opportunity, so he quit his 9-5 job to pursue his passion. He definitely did not make as much but that was a choice he made. He decided to live his life not work it away. He’s 30 now and spends his summers in the South of France and winters in the DR. While I cannot compare my life to his (he made that clear), I do admire his strength to give it up. His courage to take a risk. He had many words of wisdom to share, things I have known but just needed to hear again…
You cannot move just to move because people carry their troubles with them. You must move for another reason… way of life, love, something that ties you to that destination.
What stuck with me the most is the last thing he told me.
Remember, you don’t have to give up everything in order to have the life you want.
He’s right. I don’t have to give up the career I have built. I don’t have to give up my financial security. I don’t have to give up my traveling lifestyle. All I need to do is find a balance.