Words and Images by Tyshaia Earnest (@tyshaia)
It was mid-July when I found myself in the South of France. Me and my last-minute-packed suitcase – alone for nine days in the French Riviera (specifically Côte d'Azur.)
Traveling, to me, always feels like a renewal. A huge reason that I travel is to tend to my craving of discovering more about the people of the world, including myself. This is why, before visiting a new destination, whether for leisure or work, I set a unique intention.
When I landed at the airport in Nice, France, I set the intention to use this trip to reconnect and return to self. I wanted to escape my routine – for a moment– to recenter, reenergize, and remember my “why.”
Central in location, Nice was a perfect base because of its access to almost everywhere in the region. This gave me the opportunity to freely explore other cities with little restrictions. From the hilltops of Éze Village to the colorful buildings of Menton, a simple train ride took me along the picturesque coast and revealed fairy tale towns filled with endless discovery.
I landed in France with no itinerary (very unlike me), with only a few things I had to do. This left me room to roam and freely explore, but it also brought a lot of hesitations. I leaned into this like never before. The feeling of not knowing what was next but knowing if I just got on the train, took one step, I would be led to something beautiful… something new. This felt like a metaphor for life and my personal discovery. I wrote down in my notes app, “Take the step. It may not be clear now but, trust it will lead to something new and fulfilling.”
This realization, along with many more, fulfilled my intention to recenter and reconnect. Being surrounded by the Mediterranean sea centered me. Between the solitude, lack of reception, and the free time blocks on my calendar, I was left with space to reflect and think about what I wanted next, not just for the trip but, for when I returned home.
This past July, the French Riviera spoke to me like a warm affirmation. From the whispers along the Promenade des Anglais in Nice to the smell of lavender in Grasse, my solo trip provided solitude and inspiration for me to remember who I am and envision my next steps. The country's spirit personified carried me back to New York City with a different kind of softness and energy. Two things my inner child graciously welcomed back.
Here’s to visiting more destinations that remind us of who we are and what we really want.