“My European Ritual” is an article featuring work by 9 writers that talk about returning to the same place while traveling. The sense of familiarity that emerges from revisiting a place is something everyone can relate to. Everyone has places they frequent over time based on their life’s design. Sometimes these are little things, some are significant, but they are what make up our lives.
I am often asked if Sketchy Tours always goes to the same place every year. True, to date we have always returned to the Dordogne region of France, the heart of which is about an hour and a half east from the Bordeaux airport. From it’s geographical history through the cultural history of the Perigord, this region is a source of inspiration to me.
The Dordogne and Aquitaine region has sustained life since the ice age allowed access to the shoreline and river valleys. Great parts of this history have been chronicled and remain critical points of reference for civilization. From caves to contemporary art, there is evidence of this entire time line where ever you go. To witness this connection with time, and sketch the evidence, provides a profound connection to humanity and an integrated sense of all life on earth. The current inhabitants are not free from worry, but you could say that France itself is the definition of a sustainable culture. All you have to do is look at regional cuisine to realize this is the case. Local recipes are constructed from local foods. There is no “food off a truck” which often defines cuisine in the United States. I return home from the Dordogne feeling healthier than when I left. I never tire of that feeling. That’s why I return.
Why wouldn't you want to go to France? History, art, food, wine, what else is there?