Sometimes when you travel, its easy to get diluted experiences of places. Sometimes, that can be okay if you're tired or have seen a place a few times. But sometimes, you don't want to settle for site seeing and cafes. And sometimes, I don't either. When we visited Provence this spring, I was eager to get the full experience. I wanted to the most concentrated moment in Provence I could get. With only one day in Arles on our itinerary, it was going to be hard. After thinking through the area and what's it is known for, my mind wandered to Van Gogh's stay there. During his hospitalization in Arles, he managed to paint some amazingly famous paintings like "Cafe at Night" and "Starry Night." As I thought about the pieces, I paused for a moment and decided that, regardless of how terrible the outcome, I wanted to try to paint the countryside in Provence. (Go big or go home, eh LBK?) Now as charming as that sounds, you have to realize this is slightly absurd. First, the last thing I painted was a banner for the highschool football team to run through in 2002. Second, I had no where to go and no art kit to help me. But it was going to happen. When we got there, I ran to Monoprix and grabbed some paper, some cheap acrylic paints and brushes, some tape and food for a picnic. We hopped in a cab and asked them to drive us out of town until we said, "Stop!" They did, and we jumped out out here on a random, lonely road with some even lonelier ruins in the distance. It was windy and chilly, and we were done in about an hour and half... oh, and my art was hilariously childlike. BUT It is a memory that I won't forget. It won't melt into other moments sitting in a cafe like the hundreds of others in my mind. It was distinct and rich. The director of my semester in Florence, Robbie, joined us for the day (who is also a talented artist!), and guided me through the basics. What a fun day!
It's not always comfortable to do the big moments in travel- like having to use the bathroom behind bushes off a highway in the French countryside, but those moments of pushing yourself are what stay with you.
Have you ever gone above and beyond in travel?
How did you feel about the reward- enriching or draining?
I've had both feelings. It's not always a win, but you never know until you try.
Also, thanks for the notes about the travel links in the Travel Section being down. I'm going to try and get those sorted out ASAP. Until then, the search box on the home page is a great way to search for previous posts. Just type in a keyword or place, and you should be able to find what you are looking for. Thanks for letting me know!
*photos original to Aspiring Kennedy