One of those “Wow!” moments

Bonjour tout le monde! It’s been about a week since I’ve been travelling and so far, I’ve made my way through Madrid in Spain, and Lyon, Avignon, and Arles in France. Today, I had the greatest “Wow!” moment yet of my trip – you know, a moment where you’re just totally overwhelmed with the unique surroundings around you that you just literally have to stop in your tracks and say that word “wow” or something similar to it, thinking “how did I get here?” (and maybe spin slowly around in a circle once or twice with wide eyes and a dumbfounded expression, if you’re so inclined)…

view from the Tour Philippe le Bel, with the Fort Saint-André in the background

view from the Tour Philippe le Bel, with the Fort Saint-André in the background

Without getting very detailed, I made my way from the city centre of Avignon to a quaint little town called Villeneuve-lès-Avignon of winding lanes and faded red rooftops surrounded by verdant countryside. It’s just a 20-minute walk crossing the Rhône River, and not a minute passes by between marvelling at picturesque landscapes. Part of what’s so great about this town is that it’s largely devoid of tourists who flock en masse to the more renowned Avignon, and as such you largely have the town to yourself. You do have to share with the locals, though 😉 Feel free to climb the Tour Philippe le Bel, admire the incredible views from all directions from Fort Saint-André, walk the narrow streets without taking a look at your map, and quite simply marvel at the beauty of the environment around you!

beautiful, lush countryside of Provence - and it's only May!

beautiful, lush countryside of Provence – and it’s only May!

view of Villeneuve-les-Avignon from atop one of the towers of Fort Saint-André

view of Villeneuve-les-Avignon from atop one of the towers of Fort Saint-André

These “wow” moments can consist of anything – interactions with locals; seemingly coincidental encounters; finding yourself amidst a spectacular landscape; getting lost and not knowing the slightest idea on how to find your way back somewhere; being so far removed from what you’re familiar with and what you’re used to; an emotion that you rarely feel that has arisen from within you because of any of the above…Maybe, if the day arrives when I’m unable to have these type of “wow” moments when travelling, I’ll stop. But this traveller hopes that day will never arrive …

cool angle taken when walking away from the fort

cool angle taken when walking away from the fort

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A bit of why I’m travelling for six months

I really don’t know exactly how long I’ve wanted to travel for such a long time, but I do know that this feeling has only increased with each voyage I’ve taken the last four years. And quite simply, the urge grew so strong and reached such a ferocity that I could no longer ignore it, no longer delay what has been pending for so long. For me, travel is my greatest passion, and it never fails to inspire and invigorate. Every interaction in a foreign land, every time I touch ground in a place I’ve never been, every encounter with a local or a fellow traveller just gives me so much energy. Through my explorations around the world, I’ve actually found that I’ve discovered countless wealth about myself, my strengths and weaknesses, comforts and anxieties, what I can live with and what I can do without, the person I perceive myself to be, the person I strive to be…

Travelling solo also gives you further insight into what you’re truly capable of – physically, mentally, spiritually… Away from everything and everyone you know and love and everything that you’re familiar with, it’s a constant opportunity to evaluate yourself independent of the preconceptions that you have lived with in your day-to-day life which you have always assumed or accepted as fact. Every day in this beautiful world of ours presents multiple opportunities to challenge yourself and your thinking and not give in or say yes or no to something simply because that’s how you’ve previously reacted. I marvel at the times that I’ve thought “I could never do that” and its dozens of variations, and realized that it was just a perceived limitation on my part, and that all too often the only thing stopping me from doing something is actually myself…

So, that’s a bit of why I travel so much. Join me here to read about my (mis)adventures during the next six months around Europe, with forays into north Africa and the Caucasus too. I’ll admit that I’m not the most disciplined in blogging, but I hope to share my thoughts and impressions here quite often…