This text is dedicated to Christine, one of the strongest and warmest persons I know.
Slowly, the breath-taking mountaintop night view of thousands of city lights glittering through the night in Toulon disappears, accompanied by the roaring sound of the electric window blinds lowering.
I take a deep breath and say “goodbye” to this beautiful city located in the south of France, between the mountains and the French Mediterranean Sea („Alpes-Côte-d’Azur“ region).
I’m in Toulon, because five years ago, I traveled the world and it started with doing my first “workaway”. Workaway is a platform for self-organized voluntary work. I didn’t use it for a while but, back then, I found the most amazing places and people through it.
Christine, the most loving and warm host mom, stayed in touch with me and that’s why I’m here again, now. Her house is located in the mountains. With views over the city, the mountains and even the Mediterranean, it’s hard to decide what to look at first.
But let’s start from the beginning.
France was calling and I had to go
I’m in France, because it’s the only thing I could think about doing for the last year(s). It’s certainly not my first trip to France, but I’ve always dreamed of driving to France, discovering the country and immersing myself in its culture.
So I booked a car, rented out my apartment in Berlin and took off – short version.
I decided not to go to the big cities because I craved the small, family atmosphere. So I stayed in super small villages near Fulda (still Germany), Dijon (see picture below), Valence and Toulouse (see picture below) and met the nicest families, saw different ways of life and lifestyles, beautifully renovated houses, spoke a LOT of French – and I loved it from second one.
Driving the autoroute (highway) in France was not always the kind of laid-back road trip I had romantically imaged, but once I decided to take different routes, I was lucky enough to get the most panoramic driving views through the mountains and vineyards of the different regions.
And in between all that road trips, I spent 4 lovely days with Christine, whom I just call “Maman”. She treated me like her own daughter, took me to visit friends, to the movies, we went for walks on the beach and in the mountains.
I helped a bit in the garden, got lots of mosquito bites even Maman told me to use deet and I forgot, I adored her food and “Apéro-time“ (snacks and a drink around late afternoon, before dinner) and we watched “The Voice” together (French version, of course).
At the same time, I was free to do my own thing, and got all her trust.
It’s been a few weeks since I left Toulon as I write this, but I see the night (or day) view from almost the top of the mountain as clearly as I feel Christine’s warmth all around me.
This reminds me why I travel: Because it’s the most beautiful and lasting treasure I can find in my life, memories that will stay in my head and heart forever. It gives me a sense of adventure, love, happiness or even fear, but I love everything about it. It’s my thing, and this trip is the proof that I’m perfectly capable of listening to my intuition and going where my heart needs to be.
And I’m thankful for everyone who is with me on this adventure, either in real life or back in Germany (or wherever in the world).
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Want to travel to France?
In case you were wondering, my heart still longs for the waves and the Atlantic coast – which is why my trip did not end in Toulon … 😉