I’m going to start writing more frequently, on a schedule (-ish). To see if I can write without being first inspired, or rather to make inspiration in the doing, like when I used go into my studio just to mess around and to see what would happen. As with all of my experiments, this is subject to change. This blog is the travel journal that I’d long meant to keep but never managed to keep up with. A way of formalizing memory, of putting words and pictures together, where we’ve been, what we’ve done and thought. Of what our plans are because those get revised so frequently. And as memory also gets frequently revised, this is meant to keep my future, misremembering self honest. Writing “publicly” makes me think and write more deliberately, and as we carry very little with us, this functions as a dematerialized travel journal. Whether or not this is actually public in the broad sense doesn’t matter, I’m perfectly happy sitting here muttering to myself!
As of today, our plan is to leave Montpellier in the late spring. We’ll spend Covid winter here and see what’s possible after. Getting our driver’s licenses has opened up new possibilities even as the virus has removed others. It’s not that Montpellier hasn’t been wonderful, but there are downsides. Every place has downsides; I don’t believe in perfection. It’s more that I’m not ready to stop experimenting and exploring, insomuch as those options are still available. Mark and I often said to each other for encouragement as we were preparing to move overseas: you can always come back, but you can’t not leave. We reserve the right to reverse course, to go back to Paris or Montpellier. Returning to the US, however, is not on the table, for glaringly obvious reasons.
The plan so far: to spend a year spending a month or more thoroughly exploring a number of regions, returning to Paris for breaks or bureaucracy as needed. In the back of my mind is the chance of finding a new place that sings, a place to park it for a while as we did here in Montpellier, or perhaps even a new base. But if finding a home becomes the prime motivation, the fun goes away. There are many fascinating places in France where I’d never want to live, but it would be a shame to exclude them from this adventure. Like Alsace-Lorraine, a region entirely dismissed by Mark’s conversation partner Olivier as being too cold, too German. On the list of places we might consider living is Fontainebleau (the village, not Francis the first’s chateau). It’s an appealing small town surrounded by forest and just 40 minutes from Paris at the end of the regional metro line.
But all that is living in the future, which is a fine place to visit for planning purposes, but you can’t live there full-time. For now it’s Montpellier, in this rapidly changing world. Might as well live well in this moment and be happy now.