The best travelers are ones who have experienced moments as a tourist, and upon reflection, realize they wish to go deeper, to perhaps snuggle underneath the surface and feel more ‘at home’ in the new land or land away from home they find themselves.
As I awoke this morning in the Loire Valley, with the view of grounds with wall to wall jardins, grazing grounds and innumerable deciduous and pine trees older than many generations of the humans who have called this location on earth home, what I desired was not to go see another chateau, cathedral or historic grounds with masses of people. It was not because I mind crowds. I don’t. It was not because I didn’t want to learn more about the history of the land. I do. It was because I rathered to be right where I was as I knew I wouldn’t be able to experience waking up in a chateau, roaming the grounds of a chateau which has been in the family since the 15th century, and writing in a salon which peered upon a stone fireplace with the family crest and French windows that opened to the jardins ever again most likely.
So what is the difference between a tourist and a traveler?
Simply a tourist sees, a traveler experiences. or perhaps a better word is participates. And I have been both and will continue to be both. One is not better than the other. They are merely different. Sometimes we want to see where the battles happened, walk upon the hallowed ground of history, but we cannot experience what we are learning about in this instance – the time and event have passed. Being a tourist is all that one can do in such a case.
But if the culture of a country, a part of the world, is something that intrigues us, traveling and immersing ourselves into it as much as possible shifts from the idea of being a tourist and into the definition of a traveler. Even if we are only a traveler for the duration of a week – heck a day – when we travel, we engage, we participate. We may not speak the language well or at all, but we courageously step away from what is comfortable and volunteer to understand a bit more than we did prior to choosing to travel.
Today, I stayed put on the grounds of the Chateau I am calling ‘home’ for a few days – Chateau de la Barre, and it was spectacular. Spectacularly slow, gentle, nourishing and restful. (and as this post goes live, the day is not done as a lovely Grand Siecle Dinner will take place tonight with the guests and hosts.)
With a wander through the garden with the resident pup Margot, enjoying breakfast in the breakfast room decorated in blues and yellows to awaken the senses for the day, and taking a short nap under the magnolia tree in the chaise lounge with Margot coming to join me, the gifts of traveling to this magnificent part of the world have been enriched. Yes, it will have only been for a few days and nights, but the generous offering of the family to open their chateau to share with the world is something I may not again be able to take advantage of in the future as it is a pretty investment for travel accommodations (more to come during TSLL’s annual French Week on reserving a stay at one of the many Chateau Bed & Breakfasts – beginning August 12th).
Today has been more experiential and offered more moments to savor and remember than I could have imagined (see below as while I was working in the salon, the count served me a couple of delightful simple pleasures to enjoy as I worked, as well as gave me a tutorial on Cuban cigars, invited me to smell them, see them and learn about them in great detail. As well I experienced the everyday “going-ons” of the property and was the “lady of the house” momentarily as the Count coined it as he stepped out of the chateau! Don’t worry, he was nearby and staff was within the building.)
Enjoy my day below in pictures, and thank you for indulging me as the weekly regular schedule of posts has been shifted for my travel inspirations in France. Bonne journée!
~(left) the Count of the Chateau offered a serving of wine and cherries from Provence while I worked in the salon. I accepted gladly, although I will be saving the wine for dinner or at least until after I am done working. (right) the chevron hardwood floors in the salon.~
~espresso for afternoon work period~
~Margot and Me~
~Read more posts from my France 2018 trip below:
~episode #216 – French Trip Travel Musings, Part Deux
All images captured by TSLL with iPhone 8 on the Chateau de la Barre grounds