A very good question, thank you for asking.
In order to answer that I have asked myself these questions:
What really makes me happy? What do I enjoy spending time doing? What small positive contribution can I make to this world? If I could really do anything what would that be?
When I look at the answers one thing that brings it altogether is (not surprisingly) food:
- Spending time making meals for friends and family
- Sitting around the table sharing time and food
- Helping people (children and grown-ups) understand how their meal got to the table
- Supporting independent producers who are passionate about what they do
- Supporting farmers who practice compassion in their every day farming
- Eating food I have made myself
- Learning about food, producers, the science of cooking, the art of cooking an the people who do all of this (think, MFK Fisher, Alice Waters and Harold McGee)
- Spending time with my partner Dominic, whose puerile and dark English sense of humour keeps me laughing and ensures I don’t take myself too seriously.
So, take all those together, and then layer on the fact that every time Dom and I have been in France we make some sort of comment to the effect of ‘can’t we just stay…’; what else is there to do except pack it all in, move to France and create a place where people (and animals) can spend quality time together, enjoy some lovely food and maybe learn something. That is the ‘why’ but you also might ask ‘why now?’….well, without going in to too much detail, 2016 was a very shit year which included the death of both my mother and father. I took a cold hard look at my life and my family and realised that despite the awfulness I have experienced, I am very privileged in my life but I need to do something that makes a small contribution, makes me happy and proud, and creates a positive place in the world. AND I should NOT wait until ‘the perfect time’ or when I have ‘finally made enough money‘ and one never knows how long you have…. so you need to do your best to make your mark and feel you are doing and living how and what and when you want. I know some people are ‘concerned’ but I have never felt so sure about what I want to do in my life before. Yes, it will be hard work (despite what some people may think, Dom and I are not ‘retiring to France’), yes, it is risky and I need to have a ‘plan B’…but I am really quite excited about plan A.
Now, when I look ahead I see…. France. Gites. House. Food. Animals. Family. Friends. Being together. Sharing. Life. I can’t always just dream it, time to make it actually happen…or at least know I have tried.
Enough philosophising for now. Have a lovely day everyone!