Beignets, Boys, and the City of Bath: My Travel Manifesto
A couple of weeks ago I wrote about my upcoming big, fat, European vacation and how it had taken me two years to plan because I kept getting in my own way.
But now that the tickets are booked and it’s a sure thing (God willing and the creek don’t rise) I am BEYOND excited. (Photo: Beignets and Croissants via Flickr)
And still a little anxious.
I probably need several
hours days on someone’s couch to figure out all the reasons why, but I know a big part of that is my fear of things not turning out the way I think they should. I usually try to deal with that by over-planning everything. But this time, not so much. This time instead of letting the anxiety and worry rule, I intend to let the trip reveal itself to me. There are definitely things I’m planning on doing – as a Jane Austen fan, visiting the city of Bath is a must for this trip – but there are also things I don’t want to do. Planning my day from the crack of dawn until the sun sets is one of them.
So I wrote a manifesto. A travel manifesto. The official definition of manifesto is a public declaration of intentions, opinions or motives. This started out being my travel manifesto, but then I realized that these are all things that I’d like to be doing everyday, especially the part about the men…
Beignets, Boys, and Bath: This Woman at Forty’s Travel Manifesto
I will expect the best, prepare for the worst, and be grateful for all of it as it comes.
I will eat croissants and beignets in Paris, pizza and pasta in Rome, and in London…well, in London I’ll find something to eat, without guilt, without anxiety, and without fear. I won’t eat as though my happiness depends on it (see my struggle with compulsive eating ), but as though my life – the life I want – does.
I will walk. Everywhere I can. Up stairs, around neighborhoods, whenever and wherever it’s a viable option I will choose to move instead of being moved.
I will take pictures – lots of them. I’ll allow myself to be in many of those pictures (more on that in a later post).
I will begin conversations with strangers and hope to end them as friends. I hope a high percentage of these conversations happen with men .
I will attempt to speak in the language of the country I’m visiting even though my vocabulary is limited and my accent and grammar are imperfect.
I will live outside of my comfort zone, every day doing at least one thing I wouldn’t normally do.
I will pay attention. To everything. The sights I’m not used to seeing, the accents I’m not used to hearing, the foods I’m not used to tasting. I will be present in the moment during all these experiences not wondering what’s next.
My experiences won’t be overshadowed by my expectations because I will enjoy the journey, regardless of the destination.
I will write. And then I’ll write. And then I’ll write some more.
And if I’m bold enough to share what I’m dreaming, it’s that I can organize a trip like this for a group of Women at Forty in 2014. A tour where we can continue to live out our own personal manifestos.
You don’t have to be in the process of planning a trip of a lifetime to write a personal manifesto. What’s your intention and how will you give direction to that intention? Share your manifestos (travel and otherwise) with the Women at Forty community. Email them to contributeatwomen(@)forty.com (no parenthesis) and I’ll post them here.