Archive for May, 2014

Traveling with sore feet: Part II

Monday, May 12th, 2014

Diane is blogging from France about the mindfulness of traveling—especially with limited mobility. Here’s her latest post, with tips that apply to everyday life:

Don’t go with the flow. This is a strange thing to say on a cruise, yet to experience fully the pleasures of this trip down the Seine River, I need to resist my natural inclinations to keep going beyond my physical limitations. Here’s what I’ve learned…

Rest when you’re tired. This is the second day we’ve bypassed the opportunity to visit the Musee de l’Orangerie, a gorgeous Monet museum, in favor of lounging around the hotel (yesterday) and the boat (today). I’ve opted for rest.

Focus on what’s directly in front of you rather than what you’re missing. Having decided to skip the museum, I now watch Parisians frolic with their dogs in the park on the other side of the river. Five dogs of varying sizes chase one another back and forth as their owners sit on the ground and watch them play. Do these locals know one another—friends who are out running together—or have they become acquainted by virtue of their pets? Tails wag so exuberantly. Dogs run excitedly after balls. A new dog arrives and tugs at the owner, as if to say, “Oh, please let’s stop and play.”

Don’t worry about what others think. “What did you do today?” other guests on the cruise inevitably ask. “I watched some dogs frolic in a park” feels like an inadequate answer as others recite the list of sites visited and tours taken. Yet at this moment, as I observe people doing ordinary things, an unexpected happiness overtakes me.

Evaluate how you’re doing. Guidebooks list the top ten attractions of Paris, the  “don’t miss” sites. It’s hard to ignore such recommendations, yet my intention, in honoring my physical limitations, has been to set my own pace and focus on a few things.

So now it’s time to do that—minding the mystique of Mona Lisa at the Louvre, whiling away time near the weeping willows of Monet’s garden at Giverny, contemplating the courage of the soldiers who landed at Normandy Beach. Unless, of course, I resist the flow of even my own plans and stay grounded just where I  am.

Traveling with sore feet

Thursday, May 8th, 2014

Diane is blogging from France about the mindfulness of traveling—especially with limited mobility. Here’s her latest post:

Paris is easy on the soul, not so much on the sole. It offers many allures and diversions, most reachable through long walks and not particularly accessible by public transportation. Get to your destination, and long admission lines await.

Yet in our three days, soul and sole have aligned. Foregoing the two-and-a-half-hour tour of the Notre Dame Cathedral, I chose instead to  meditate in the cavernous, relatively quiet space. Then, discovering a beautiful 13th-century Mary and child, I gazed with wonder at her wise, gentle face and a baby Jesus appearing to be discovering his hands for the first time.

When lines wound around too many curves at the Musee de l’Orangerie, we instead joined thousands of Parisians sunning themselves at a nearby reflecting pool and fountain. As Jeff went off to buy ice cream, I found one chair and began the search for another. An elderly woman carried one over to me.  Was it that apparent my feet hurt?

Parisians have been consistently gracious—running after us to return a dropped tour guide, offering seats on buses and speaking English without hesitation after our awkward attempts at French.

What have I learned so far about traveling through the day with my nerve-impaired feet?

Give your curious mind something to feast on that doesn’t always require moving about.

Indulge your eyes, ears and nose wherever you may be.

Surrender to what is pleasant and easy.

Vacationing doesn’t have to be hard work. Use your common sense, which I neglected to do when walking to the Latin Quarter last night for dinner. As Jeff continues to say, “Now remember, we have to walk back!”

Tomorrow we move to a boat that will take us up the Seine—more opportunities to cultivate soul and care for soles.