This is the trip that started it all…
We were not financially able to travel often, and our work gave us little free time together. We worked opposite shifts, including weekends, and spent many hours per day, sitting in traffic. We had an apartment to pay for, and all the usual bills and expenses to take care of. Thinking of taking an overseas holiday was far from our minds, but we always agreed that if my best friend, Mike, decided to get married, we would make a plan and travel.
That day eventually came and we were invited to attend the wedding, planned to take place in Souillac, France.
We grabbed all necessary documents and made our way to our bank manager to state our case, and request a loan which would allow us to travel. To this day, I have no idea how we managed to convince the nice gentleman at the bank to give us some money, but we left with brand new shiny credit cards, loaded with funds, and promises to make the regular payments on time.
Souillac is situated in a rural part of France, which is accessible through Bordeaux. This is wine country, which suited us just fine, and is also an extremely beautiful region of France. It is also close to the Dordogne river which runs through areas such as Bergerac. The wedding would be a week-long celebration, so we looked at places to visit before, and then after the festivities. We agreed on taking a canoe down the river, camping overnight, and visiting some of the old villages and towns along the way. This is a must-do activity if you are in the area. The paddling is relaxed, there are no deadlines, and the scenery is spectacular. Every evening we reached our camping spot (booked by the company) and enjoyed patés with olives, fresh breads and local wines.
As we visited towns along the way, we loved the old-school, traditional, family-orientated way of living. Many people who we interacted with (in our best French of course) were involved in making a living, doing things they loved. There were no big corporations, no rush-hour traffic, and no desire to collect material things. Village shops were small, sold local produce, and wines were from the region. Businesses were closed on Sundays, and families cycled together to collect bread for the day. There was no hectic lifestyle that we were living back home. We loved it…
After the wedding, which was amazing, we decided to treat ourselves, and booked into various chateaus which cost a bit more. We were nearing the end of our stay and wanted to experience some of the fine food and wines that the area is known for. These chateaus were small and quaint, family-owned, each with around 4-6 rooms. In the evenings the husband would act as host, sharing his knowledge and passion for local wines, which were paired with the wonderful dishes that his wife would prepare. The food, service and overall experience was out of this world…
At various times, throughout the visit, we spoke about how we could create change in our lives, and try to find jobs that we loved, follow our passions, and be happy. From the start, Nicole was completely supportive and did not hesitate in her decision. On the way home we discussed our options and agreed that I would resign my restaurant manager position, complete my kite instructor qualification, and see if I could find work as a kite instructor.
This was the first small step we took and we took it together. Nobody could have foreseen how this would affect our lives.
Please note: All Tripadvisor posts were updated shortly after our visits. We do not believe in giving negative reviews unless we have made a personal request or comment to senior staff, allowing the relevant designated persons an opportunity to respond and rectify any shortcomings we might have experienced.