I get to the villa in the Luberon region of Provence late on Monday after a horrific crisscrossing of Germany, Belgium and France. France is once again one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. In the past it has been Paris (obviously) and rural Bordeaux. Now it is the small villages stretching east of Avignon. The compound is built around a vineyard outside of Oppéde, below the ghost town of “Old Oppéde” that sits visible in the hillside.
And what strikes me beyond even the undisputable beauty, is how little I have to say about it.
It’s not because I find it uninspiring. I just can’t believe that my writing about it is interesting. It seems like the literary equivalent of a painfully inauthentic Instagram post designed to induce jealousy. Turning what should be beautiful into the exact opposite.
Travel wasn’t always like this for me. Ten years ago, I could write pages about a trip to Amsterdam (which, would now seem uninspired). Because I actually thought I was doing something worth writing about. They weren’t noble things, but they seemed interesting (or at least a little funny). It was a strange world, and I was trying to catalogue my ups, downs and observations inside of it. And maybe make it feel a little less lonely through my dysfunction.
So how am I supposed to write about my life now? I’m not sleeping on benches and puking in alleyways. Whatever I’m struggling with is more existential or literal (e.g. parenthood). Nobody wants to read about some guy lounging in a pool and walking through perfectly manicured Provincial towns.
And yet it is beautiful here. And I think that I’m still grateful for it (as best as I can be). And despite my criticality of Instagram, my Stories also contain pictures of this absurdly gorgeous valley. So I might as well write about it.
Not because I think what I’m writing needs to be said, but because I enjoy the process. And maybe I will find it as satisfying to write about French markets as I do evading French police.