Okay. By now, late -July, I feel like everyone who is able to has either set out on their vacation or has plans in place to take one. Once you’ve decided where you’re going to go, and how you’re going to get there, the next daunting task is to figure out what you’re going to take with you.
For the last 9 years (except for the one year I stayed home in Pennsylvania and contracted Lyme disease), I have travelled with my family to help my husband conduct a month-long university Study Abroad program based in Paris, France.
I know, I know, it sounds glamorous and you are all hating me right now. The truth is, as a small business owner it’s not always easy to pick up one’s life and plop it down somewhere else every July, the height of outdoor yoga season and the very moment when designers and manufacturers are preparing their Fall/Winter line with rigor. But hey, we all have sacrifices to make, right?
The month of July is often a slow-down time for mothers. June has all its end-of-year school needs and appointments to schedule for the upcoming semester. But July is the time for gardening, sprucing up porches and yards, and enjoying the sunshine and warm weather. August harkens Fall preparation: for school, for home projects, for Winter. I barely get the weeds cleared, and we’re off to France, then it’s August already!
So, it’s very important to me to be able to squeeze into July the things I imagine doing all year long, in the sunshine,
with the long days full of northern light and the alarm clock safely stowed in the bottom drawer.
Suddenly I will be away from ‘my things,’ and will be able to draw upon only what I’ve stashed into my one reasonably small bag for the month. It has to include business materials, computer, books, papers, inventory charts and schedules. Too, there’s an iPad and phone for connectivity and the taking of millions of pictures every year. Who can really ever get enough shots of the Eiffel tower?
I also need to take the few cosmetics that I know and trust (and can read the labels of); a perfume from the previous year that is just about to run out (hmm…what’s new this year?); my huge array of vitamin supplements; and nearly tipping the 50lb. scale limit is the large supply of nuts and seeds that are dramatically cheaper Stateside.
Shoes, shoes, and more shoes
to be able to change with the weather, the terrain, the fashion, and my mood. I need to mix it up for my feet, so that what rubs one day will be alleviated the next. Did I mention we walk, on average, 20,000 steps daily with the students? There’s so much to see and learn!
I usually take one good novel set in the area we are visiting, or a story of a strong woman who gives me inspiration. This year, I’m reading “Love and Ruin,” by Paula McLain. It’s about Martha Gellhorn and her relationship with Ernest Hemmingway.
I also take an inspirational business book, which this year is “Girl, Stop Apologizing,” by Rachel Hollis. I’ll pick up a new notebook from one of the many French stationary stores. (Happily, France has not gone digital the way we Americans have). It’s a satisfying way to make notes in the mornings up on the balcony, so I can try to set my intentions for the day.
Exercise here and packing for that is another issue, and I’ll cover that in another post,
It’s always a struggle between wanting to eat, drink, and sightsee my way through the month and getting work done. But if I’m gentler on myself, I can see that there really is time for both if I commit to each endeavor completely.
If you have already returned from your travels this Summer, or are slogging away until a later opportunity for a break, please join me on social at IG @steelcore and FB @steelcorewear. I’ll try to bring as much of my July to your inbox as I can.
De Paris, avec amour