Traveling with sore feet: Part II

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.

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