Lifestyle

My Day in Provence

jamiebeck_mishanonoo_france

So, as you know, I’ve been spending a great deal of my time in a tiny town in the south of France. Nothing about my life is the same as it was. Life in New York has me up at sunrise working, emailing, off to the gym, running errands, doing photoshoots, taking meetings, then social engagements until I finished the day around 10pm with dinner and way too much to drink. Not so anymore…

My day starts at 8am when I naturally wake up. I don’t set alarm clocks. Not a lot happens around here until 11. So, relieved that it’s still early, I go back to sleep until noon. I know, outrageous, but I typically work late here – until about 3am when there are no distractions and America is awake and buzzing.

I go to the café and have my daily cafe créme, something I NEVER would have done in New York. Not taken the time, not taken the milk. Since I don’t have cell service here, a blessing AND a curse, and wifi hasn’t hit this town yet, I listen to podcasts I have stored like Claire & Erica’s “A Few Things“. Today’s episode was especially inspiringI buy my baguette, whatever is left of the varieties they sell, since it’s pretty picked over by the time I roll in. Sometimes they come out with a fresh hot batch midday which is really a shining moment for me, when she hands me the loaf and it’s still warm. That’s when I stand outside and munch.

I come home to my little 17th century apartment. The light is perfect this time of day. I have so many options from direct light to filtered window light, reflected light, and softly diffused. I thumb through inspiration images and I shoot from 2pm to 5pm, mostly on black and white film. Still lives, flowers, self portraits, life.

I clean up, I make dinner, I build a fire. I edit digital stories for social media, I edit client work. I do more research on upcoming commercial projects, and look for inspiration for personal ones.

Living here, that small town life, was super scary at first. I cried every day for a month. There were so many challenges at first. How do I get a taxi cab? Why won’t UPS deliver my boxes? How do I tell the butcher I would like a small steak? Where does one buy scotch tape… and why do I have a washing machine but no dryer?

It took a while to actually reset. To want to shoot. I was so burned out.

I also needed to break out of the hard shell I had built for myself. To find inspiration in creating, not being overly stimulated by a mountain of activity. I have discovered, most importantly, that being here limits what I can do. There is not a lot going on, I don’t have a car (yet). I don’t speak French and everything is basically closed 99% of the time. However, it is in those limitations that I am finding freedom to do so much more. Fewer distractions, more time to create. And that is what it’s really all about.–

Above self portrait, in Misha Nonoo jumpsuit,

inspired from the painting “The Red Beret”



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  • Wow. Huge move. Thanks for sharing such a personal experience.

  • Dan

    Bravo, tu es courageuse !

  • Jamie,

    Thank you for always sharing your insight and journey with us. It’s always great to read and see your perspective.

  • Dee

    So inspiring. Last year this time I spent two weeks in Paris alone, and it was some of the most profound moments I’ve ever had. Learning where everything is, disconnecting from the old lifestyle, settling in to the simplicity and beauty of life. France does that to you.

    Do enjoy, and savor every moment …and keep writing us. It’s beautiful.

    xo

  • Bravo Jamie! I’m so happy you are doing this for yourself. That you are able to do it is such a gift. You are living my dream, and that inspires me. I love your SnapChat stories and look forward to them every day. You are really inspiring me to get my Pentax out and shoot with it again. I shot one roll two summers ago on expired color film and that’s been it. Enjoy the sleep, lovely. You have certainly earned it. xoxo

  • ziloa

    Il faut toujours un temps d’adaptation avant de pouvoir à nouveau déployer ses ailes <3

  • sofia

    I Love that you can share with us your journey. Love your snaps with photography and art. I’ve been following you in about 4 years now and I am still amazed of your work.

    Sincerely,
    Sofia

  • Lyra

    cette réflexion est très inspirante ! Merci de l’avoir partagée avec nous :)

  • I can so relate to this post, as I have made a similiar transformation lately. And you are right, it takes quite some time to adjust. But then, it is heaven.

  • I LOVE THIS! I’ve been driving myself to the ground with work and trying to meet deadlines. I’m finally taking a weekend holiday without phone or laptop and just my camera to Paris in just two weeks. I’m hoping that will be enough time to rejuvenate before a few weeks in India for a few collaborations. I’ve been loving your snapchat. So informative, witty and fun! x

  • Change is never easy and every change comes with it’s own set of challenges. But it’s pushing yourself and forcing yourself to face those boundaries where you aren’t familiar or comfortable, that help in discovering new ingenuity and unraveling new layers of yourself that you never knew were there.

    I’m glad that you were able to push through the beginning and most difficult part of your journey (although I’m sure there will continue to be difficult days along with the good ones), and that you’re taking the time to slow down and soak it all in to find the inspiration you’ve been searching for.

    <3

  • Isidora Dilitante

    Appreciated this post. As an expat who has lived in 5 different countries, this post at least goes beyond the “yawn inducing,hyperbolic” fantasy of France that every blogger writes about. There’s some grit under the nails in this post. Unlike your earlier posts, probably your most honest.

    If you are in Avignon again. There is an Argentine resto (only one in town). Unpretentious. Simple. Live tango music on occasion. And the best bloodly ceviche you will find outside S. America…11 euros. Not going to name it, it’s better if you just run into these place by happenstance.

    Sincerely,
    Portena

  • Deb

    There is an air of something else about you at the moment and it’s captivating ..

  • MK

    It took me about a month to get over my homesickness when I moved to France, as well. I also experienced the joys of French bureaucracy, the frustration of nothing ever being open (including my first ever Sunday spent hungry with no dinner), as well as the frustration of the French transit system. And don’t even get me started on the bank or France Telecom :) But in the end, it was all worth it, for the food, for the people I met, for the loveliness that is la France. Elle me manque beaucoup. Profitez-bien !