I want to be wild, beautiful and free, just like the sea

Two years ago this week I left a good, if rather dull career in finance to start a new life in the South of France.  I was a bit younger than Peter Mayle so I didn’t see myself with John Thaw and a pig searching for truffles.  Also, I am much more of a cynical bugger than Elizabeth Gilbert so I wasn’t expecting to discover food, spirituality and sex with the same gusto as Julia Roberts although, obviously, I am open to enlightenment in any of these three areas.

Instead I deliberately had no expectations – that way I thought I couldn’t fail.

I am a terrible traveler, shockingly atrocious in fact.  Having suffered badly from IBS for over a decade I hadn’t even been on holiday abroad in oh so many years.  But nonetheless, out of practice and with desperately low confidence I armed myself with a large enough supply of Imodium to bung up an elephant for a few months; a fascinating but practically useless travel book; and one large and one small suitcase (yep suitcases, two of them) full of things I didn’t need and nothing of what I did and headed cautiously into my new life.

It turned out that after a few months, even though I loved it in the South of France, I wasn’t ready to settle down just yet.  I was feeling wild and free, like the sea  – or if not wild then at least I had the desire to moderately misbehave.  What I was sure of was that now I was on the road, albeit tentatively and with still with a pocket full of Imodium, I didn’t want to get off it.  Some call it wanderlust, some itchy feet or maybe at my age it’s just plain old Peter Pan syndrome.  A wise woman I know believes that we of the generation X variety have too many choices and when offered with such a seemingly infinite array of options we become paralysed with indecision.  And my Ma is right, as two years on I am still not ready to stop.  So I have created this itinerant life, house-sitting my way around Europe, discovering new people and places and meeting up with old friends.  It’s by no means a perfect life but it’s sure as hell more fulfilling and entertaining than working in finance.

Incidentally, the book was “The French Riviera: A Literary Guide for Travellers” by Ted Jones which I can highly recommend for its insight into the writers lives who spent time on the Riviera and it truly was a wonderful prism to see the region through.  But I’d also recommend taking an actual travel guide with you if you want, you know, actual travel advice.

Whilst writing this post I have been mainly been listening to ‘Born to be wild’ by Steppenwolf – I don’t think I was but I am certainly working on it now…

‘Born to be wild’ by Steppenwolf – youtube video


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