Our Slow Nomads path has taken us to so many places over the years where we have seen so many remarkable things. And yet, we have found that for us, the memories of the people that we’ve met can often outweigh those of the destination itself. Meeting new people and traveling go hand in hand, whether for minutes, months, or years, or whether we could speak their language or not.
When we both became ill during our most recent visit to France, we returned home very pleased with the first half of our visit, but the second half left us feeling … bummed.
Then, we remembered that France would soon be coming to visit us.
Back at the start of the Slow Nomads in 2014, we met a young French family, Nicolas, Lucie, and their little daughter Noemie, at a café in St. Malo. Over the years we became good friends. We got together with them several times in France, and in the US after they immigrated here. On more than one occasion we met their extended families, as well as their new son Maxence.
While we were in the Lyon area in 2015, Lucie’s parents, Michel and Francoise invited us to their home for a couple of days in the Beaujolais area where a wonderful time was had by all.
So, when Nicolas said that his parents, Michel and Colette, were traveling to the US, and wanted to visit Florida, he asked if we could host them for a few days. Of course we said yes, and since their visit would only be a little more than a month after our return from France, with any luck we might just remember some of our French vocabulary.
Over the subsequent weeks we considered possible destinations and things to see that were uniquely Florida and e-mailed ideas and thoughts back and forth. Michel and Colette wanted to see it all.
If there were going to be any glitches, they would be about communications.
When we met them at the airport, it was instantly like old friends reuniting. All the way home, we chatted. After a light dinner we settled into discussing plans for the next several days.
Truth be told, while Michel and Colette’s English-speaking skills were better than our French, we could all use some assistance. It was then that we grabbed our smart-phones, and began using Google Translate, typing in words and phrases; then when this became cumbersome, we began converting speech-to-text to read; then we began going from speech (via text) to translated speech. It was great! After learning to navigate the interface with its own idiosyncrasies, the conversation flowed.
Over the next several days, we traveled the backroads of Florida to see manatees at the Haulover Canal Drawbridge just north of Kennedy Space Center; then we visited the Kennedy Space Center; went to Leu Gardens, in Orlando, and in the village of Mount Dora we took the Lake Dora canal tour and saw a classic Florida swamp with alligators and many native birds.
Through it all we talked and talked, of course assisted by our technology. And we shared a lot, and learned a lot about each other.
It was wonderful to share our Florida, and Michel and Colette’s visit reminded us of many of the reasons we travel. And now that we have been invited to visit them, let the adventures continue.
1 – Jardins de Leu, Orlando, Floride – Leu Gardens, Orlando Florida
2 – Canal Haulover à Titusville, Floride – Haulover Canal in Titusville, Florida
3 – Centre spatial Kennedy de la NASA, Merritt Island, Floride
Haulover Canal in Titusville, Florida