Fall Wanderlust (Or: How to Be in the Moment)
Sometimes I feel like a terrible blogger. There have been so many recipes I've wanted to share, dinner parties I've wanted to document, and recent trips I've wanted to take you all on (including France, Traverse City, and Nantucket). But frankly, sometimes I'd rather just savor the moment. To cook a meal, enjoy the food and the company, and leave it at that. Or to go on a trip, and – rather than spend hours indoors blogging – to actually BE where I am. To explore, to experience, to be present. Which, in these social media-bombarded days, is actually pretty hard.
On a recent trip to Paris, I wandered the winding streets of the 9th and 10th arrondissements, poking my nose into hidden gardens, minuscule flower shops, and funky-looking cafes, walked along the Canal St. Martin and lost myself in the wonder of it all. I confess I did some Instagramming and some tweeting, but I was shocked at the compulsion I felt to post things. Almost like my experience was only validated if it was shared, acknowledged, and affirmed. I can so easily measure the value of an experience - or even, dangerously, the value of my very self - in likes and retweets and comments if I'm not careful.
The past few trips I've been more conscious of this tug of war going on inside of me - the pull between being and doing. A few weeks ago Brandon and I rented a little farmhouse up near Traverse City to celebrate our anniversary. It was absolutely dreamy - it was in the middle of nowhere, with a big garden out back with a chicken coop, a hammock hanging between the trees, a big patio with picnic table and lights strung up, and the best, most light-filled kitchen I've ever cooked in. One afternoon I went outside to lay in the hammock and read a book (and possibly take a nap). The shy was a brilliant blue, the leaves were beginning to color, and the breeze blew through the trees, gently rocking the hammock. Though the moment was perfect, I felt restless. I checked my iPhone. I took a few pictures and posted them on Instagram. I tweeted. It wasn't until I left my phone inside that I could actually just be in the moment and relax.
Where does this pressure come from? To be constantly productive – and, via all our many social media apps – to prove our productiveness. It's amazing the guilt I feel when I'm not posting regularly on the blog. Do we cease to exist when we we stop posting our every move? I don't mean to sound anti-technology. Goodness knows, I depend on it every day, and I'm so grateful for my blog, and the fact that the Internet allows me to connect with so many readers! I'm just saying, sometimes it's OK to have a glass of wine without taking a picture of it. (I'm speaking to myself, people!). This isn't a rant, just some observations and I'd LOVE to hear your thoughts on the subject. Does anyone else struggle with this need to share, to feel validated, and to constantly produce? The need to be constantly moving? Please share!
P.S. This post was intended to be all about fall travel, and it somehow took a direction of it's own! So funny when that happens. One thing I did want to share is that another reason I haven't been blogging as much lately is because I've been busy writing! I recently wrote about Traverse City for New York magazine, about Nova Scotia Wine Country for HuffPo, and America's Best Bread Bakeries for Food & Wine. I'm also working on a couple of really exciting pieces for Anthology magazine, one for Garden Design, and some cool Chef Insider Travel Guides for Food & Wine. Stay tuned! And, perhaps most exciting of all - I've been working in the test kitchens of Bon Appetit, testing all sorts of recipes. Grateful for work that I love!
(All photos were taken in Burgundy, France in October 2010 - I just love the rainbow picture and the gold-colored leaves on the vines! Fall is my favorite time to travel.)