11 September 2010

The baguette that just keeps giving

Some gifts last forever
People like to ask me, "did you have a really good time in France, what was the best part?" At the time I was busy living it, and found 5 weeks of adventure hard to summarize into two sentences to friends I knew well, and others I did not. Now that I have been home for 6 weeks, I could answer the question with, "Yes, I had a good time in France. Yes, it changed my life".
I already knew that travel affords me a different view for a short time and leaves me with lasting impressions for a lifetime. Travel teaches me that there is a lot going on in this world every day. And when I return home to my neighborhood and my routine, all that going on, is still going on. I like to think about the places I have traveled, and imagine what is happening on this day in that same place.

Travel reminds me that freedom of choice and a light schedule are good. Three activities a day is more than enough. A good meal, a great view, and an interesting conversation is about as good as it gets. Traveling seems to lighten my load, slow my pace, and offer me a different view of my own life upon return home. That is the true gift of travel.

The fun part for me has been to try to maintain the feeling, the lifestyle, and the choice of how I spend my time.

I have not missed the typical 3-5 hour road bike rides in the mountains that filled so many days this past spring and summer. Fall is my favorite time of year in Colorado. I have been riding my townie bike everyday - to the market, to the bakery, to the wine store, to the University swimming pool, to the movies, to friend's homes, to restaurants. I have enjoyed keeping it simple.

This is my old road bike, the one with Tour de France road paint splashed underneath the down tube, that affords me freedom and brings back memories of the TDF. I love to ride this bike.
I was riding past the Denver State Capital Building one day as the sun was setting, I stopped to be a tourist in my own town.
I look forward to morning rides (for a baguette!) to the French bakery in Denver 
I have the freedom to stop and enjoy the view in the local park, with my baguette and coffee (in my water bottle)
Very nice days in Denver, and I didn't have to travel that far. This morning I enjoyed watching the exciting finish and changes in the Vuelta a Espana race on Eurosport TV.  Western slope fresh Peaches are in season in Colorado, and Hatch Chilies were being roasted at the local market in Denver. Tonight we are having a Block Party, where the neighbors close down our local street and roll their BBQ grills out front to share some beer and food. Simple times are more than enough.