Four days of slow traveling in Northern France

It’s hard to believe that it’s already the midpoint of April, that Easter was last Sunday, and that I’ve been back and forth to France for work this past week.

Sometimes it feels like time is moving too fast, you know? Days are filled with intense focus, social activities, responsibilities, work, chores, and obligations. It’s exhausting, really. And it can be even more intense when I find myself on a work trip – like I did this past week.

Often on trips of any kind, time flies by and every moment is packed with something to do, learn, present, and experience. I feel that I must be “on” all of the time. Engaged, social, attentive, open, etc. And, that’s not so tough for me. I love travel and meeting new people and connecting and learning. I am incredibly inspired when I’m on a work trip. But, after debriefing + discussing with my colleagues, I also need some alone time to reflect, absorb, and recharge. I need to let all of the experiences and moments truly sink into me.

That’s why slow living and slow traveling are super important to me. I have got to find my grounding when I’m traveling. I need to create space for reflection and drop down into my rooted, quiet, calm soul.

In the past, when on trips, it’s as if I’ve forgotten who I am and how I want to live. I tend to get so caught up in the excitement and newness of it all, that I fail to feed my soul with the slow time she needs. To be clear, I fill my soul with tons of inspiration when I travel, but I never feel as grounded as I’d like.

My way of being grounded has been to wake early and spend a few moments with myself. But, then as the day gets underway, I get caught up and tend to lose myself in it all.

However, traveling to France with work this week revealed to me that, over the past few years, I have infused my entire life with slow living. In other words, this week I did not just stay “on” all day long and crash into the bed without finding the space I need for slowing down and connecting with myself.

What I discovered about myself this past week in France is that, without even thinking about it, I created the space throughout the entire day. From rising until going to bed, even on the travel days, my entire way of being was slow, calm, present, and mindful. And that is everything. That is how to live, in my opinion.

This is huge, y’all. Over the past few years, I have settled into my way of living, my way of being in the world. And, it’s clear to me now that, whether it is a work trip to France, or mundane everyday life at home, or some other vacation, I can be sure that I am living slowly. That I have found my pace, my grounding, my way of being. So, no matter where I am, or what day it is, I am living my best, most contemplative, grounded, present life right in the middle of it all. It’s not just a few moments of yoga or mediation or prayer or journaling. It is my whole way of being.

And that is so important to me because I believe that it is not only good for my health, my mind, and my spirit; but it is also a way to be aware and more open. In other words, it is exactly how to live life to the fullest, indulge in the moment, and soak everything out of every day.

Slow living and slow traveling leads to a mindset of trust, optimism, acceptance, and flexibility. For example, there were tons of mishaps and adventures on our travel days, but I felt such calm and trust that all would be fine in the end – and it was. What that meant in the present moment, as we were on our way to France and back, was that I could literally enjoy the adventure of it all. And that meant more laugher, more peace, and more fun for me and my colleagues.

Northern France was not at all Paris, of course. However, it was absolutely charming in its own way. I got to see some small towns, eat local food, test out my French (not so good, sadly), visit the satellite Louvre museum, enjoy a bit of France in the spring, and meet regular folk in the days that I was there.

My 4 day trip to Northern France was also an inspiring work trip. I texted my colleague (who stayed home + worked on planning for the rest of the year) constantly with new ideas and ways that we can work. I took tons of notes on my phone and I cannot wait to talk with my colleague about it all tomorrow.

Before I wrap this up, I want to acknowledge the deep gratitude that I feel for being able to take trips with my work. It is such a perk and I feel a deep responsibility to use what I have learned – which I totally will. Turns out that this trip not only inspired me professionally, though. It also revealed to me so much about who I have become, how I live, including how I travel, and that my way of being stretches across all parts of my life.

Merci beaucoup, France.

xoxo. liz.

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