Good For The Soul

As daunting as it may sometimes seem, getting out of your comfort zone can be a good thing. I was reminded of this a few times during our recent holiday in France. I think people (particularly me) can put a lot of pressure on themselves to absolutely adore their vacations, but really, is your life that much different just because you're somewhere else physically?

OK, maybe you're not working and maybe you're doing really fun things, but still, as Richard Carlson (author of Don't Sweat the Small Stuff and various other amazing books) would often say: wherever you go, there you are. You can't have fun every second of every day on a holiday and sometimes those little demons that haunt you in your everyday life show up even when you're sitting by the pool drinking a piña colada (unless you've had two or three).

So that's why, for me, going on a holiday that pushed me a bit was probably a really good thing – a real break from everyday life – good for the soul, I like to think.

The first little challenge was a lack of running water. We stayed in an old farmhouse where although there is a bathroom (including shower), for various reasons, the plumbing is currently broken. Yes, I agreed to go on this trip (!!) and actually I had done this pseudo camping there before, about five years ago, when the summer was particularly hot. So we showered at the pool every day.

I did have a bit of a wobble when it seemed a little too chilly for a cold shower at the pool and I hadn't had one for two days. Alright, I admit it, it was more of a strop. I even threatened to not come back to the house until the plumbing got fixed (imagine threatening that!). But I was able to pull myself back from the edge, from the place where annoyance turns to that anger and you have to make a choice: you can keep being angry or you can just stop. It's hard to do because sometimes it just feels so good to just wallow, but really, where does it get you in the end? You're only making yourself miserable.

The other big out-of-my-comfort zone thing that happened was a whole evening spent with the French neighbors at an impromptu party. Now my French is sort-of decent, but no where near fluent and it was very hard to spend the whole night feeling as though my one superpower – the ability to make small talk in any situation – was robbed from me. Especially as Future Hub is really good at conversing in French and I kept looking over at him green with envy, while I popped delicious pieces of ham and cheese and bread into my mouth to console myself.

I made due, however, and it reminded me to remain extremely respectful of those people I know who not only speak but even work in languages other than their native tongue. It inspired to me to get back to practicing my French, although in a few weeks time I'm sure I'll have forgotten about this new resolution.

Despite these small challenges, the house is located in a beautiful part of southern France, which made it all worthwhile. When you drive around there are so many wonderful things to see and good food to eat (very heavy on all sorts of meat – patés, confits and the like, which I wouldn't think of eating in England but were absolutely delicious). And at night the vast silence and number of mighty stars that fill the inky sky keeps you from worrying about all the silly nonsense that typically rumbles around in the head.

Here, have a gander at Peyrusse-le-Roc, which we climbed up (much easier than it looks). Perhaps worth putting up with lack of indoor plumbing for a while – and good for the soul.

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