Majestic, imposing, sublime, capricious are the first words that come to mind when I think of "mountain" and I easily think of mountain when I feel the need to escape, to take some fresh air. Fortunately, our mountains in France are spread throughout the country and despite my many moves, I have been able to maintain this little red thread that connects me to nature.
The mountains are certainly beautiful but they are just as dangerous and I have no trouble imagining those who let themselves be seduced and ended up suffering unfortunate consequences. Putting it this way, she would look like as a femme fatale... don't you think?
Often, it is through experience that we end up becoming aware, understanding and making our own what was until then only volatile information. The time of speculation and fantasy must come to an end. We must take action to give ourselves the chance to have access to this new source of knowledge that comes from a living place, there, long before us. Our mountains in France will then perhaps reveal their secrets to you, as long as you show curiosity.
Why venture into our mountains in France?
Mountain how you bewitch me! In front of her I feel my heart filling with what would seem to be fullness, I however have done nothing yet, I have only observed her. Here she is now, digging into my pride, pushing me to humility, thirsting for something that is still unspeakable to me.
Without having to face her, she makes me feel so small. Puts me in my place. Without words she seems to tell me the essentials of life.
When I talk to sportive women and non-sportive ones, some love summits, others not at all, a common feeling comes up: we want to go there and see these mountains.
The question we can legitimately ask ourselves is why? Why this desire? Knowing that if I had to line up in single-file all these people with whom I could talk about the subject, I could only notice our difference... certainly a nice brochette but how heterogeneous!
Not being able to be on my own the voice of all these women, I have decided to reveal to you what personally triggered me and why I would recommend a solo traveller to try a mountain experience.
I hope to reveal, not a whole veil, but little by little her mystery.
It is picturesque to observe that depending on the season, our mountains in France know how to adorn themselves with their most beautiful attire to seduce us.
I am attached to our territory not of a desire to exclude the other mountains in the world, quite the contrary - my love of the mountains was born in France and it is this moment that I share with you.
Many people come from the four corners of the globe to enjoy our mountains in France, it would be a shame to deprive you of it.
An Alpine proposal
Pure chance....or destiny, my illness had coincided with winter. I had just suffered a disappointment in love and, driven by both melancholy and cold, I had buried myself up at home. Yes, I did my Bridget Jones with groundhog tendency.
And without trying to provoke fate (only my stomach was being tested for limits by overdoses of calories), I received a proposal by phone. A providential sign would you tell me...or not.
Then I don't really remember who and how and especially WHY I said yes. How I even managed with this flimingite, to be fast enough not to miss the call and also too deign to articulate..... I don't know.
At 4 a.m. I am here at the meeting place that was set for me. With an ill-fitting hat, a head that believes it without believing it, a ski suit that I got from my sister, a water-proof backpack, robocop gloves and no wallet. I had to make the round trip...and above all, I cursed and with all my being, my outfit in which I was walking around like a Michelin Men.
Once all of us, that is 5 other people, got into a minivan and of course just after closing the wide sliding door, I began to grasp the excessiveness of my simple yes.
I was surrounded by real mountaineers who reminded me of my ex, a surfer, who used to talk about his board as a woman. In short, I felt lost and without any reference.
I had made it clear that I couldn't ski and even today I don't think I was heard.
Now here I am, at the top of a slope that I didn't want to go down, and even less reassured, forced to move forward and concentrate in order not to fall.
Not being able to follow the rhythm of the others, I was obliged to suffer the company that I avoided the most, myself.
My forced appointment with myself
My solo journey was beginning. I had nothing to say to myself. So, to fill the void, I started a senseless fight against the accomplices of this painful situation: the wind, the colour of the sky, my lack of physical condition, the epics for the toilet breaks, the stranger in the same ski suit as me but with a better hat, the cold snow, Marie's screaming voice, the irregular slope, the happy people. The more I shouted inwardly the more my anger happily juggled with my helplessness.
Already almost at the brink of exhaustion, my inner voices suddenly fell silent. Will they feel sorry for me? I realised in the silence that I had not the conscious experience of being alone with myself.
My "professional" skiing friends were already far ahead of me and appeared as multicoloured dots. Now nothing seemed to parasitize my mind, lock me up or disperse me anymore. It was time for me to readjust the pieces of an abandoned puzzle. I decided to get rid of some of the baggage that I had left behind without a care in the world, on this trail that I would never see again.
I continued to advance in silence and the hope was born in me. I was rediscovering myself. A few days later, I didn't bother myself anymore.
One morning we were exposed to bad weather. I couldn't see anything that could occur within a few centimetres of me. A surprising fog, as thick as curdled milk had enveloped us all with heaviness. That day, the wind slapped with its snow gloves, all cheeks exposed.
Something was changing: from a normal everyday life, I was beginning to experience something extraordinary.
I had the feeling that I was breaking out of an egg. Forced to trust myself and rely on me to move forward, I reacted as if I was discovering this power, which I had used regularly in my other life.
My torpor diminished to the rhythm of the fog now transformed into mist. Luckily for us, both of them eventually faded elegantly into oblivion.
I finally managed to raise my head and observe what was around me. The setting was unrealistically beautiful. I didn't know who to thank for the show. Now anchored in the present, in the here and now, I was discovering a new world and it was magical. I filled my belly with this fresh and pure air. Already light, ready to fly away to experience other moments like this one. I was bursting with happiness. I opened myself up to the world again and to what it had to offer.
We all have or will have good reasons to go on a solo holiday and I hope that one of the mountains in France will be part of the trip. In any case, it is a step that we do for ourselves, to do good for ourselves. I find a quote from the poet René Char inspiring because it calls for a state of mind: "Impose your luck, hold on to your happiness and go towards your risk".
The 5 benefits of a solo holiday in the mountains in France
The opportunity to get out of your comfort zone and discover yourself in a different way: to achieve something physically, mentally and emotionally different that can transcend you and help you to live your own life better.
The reward: after the effort comes not only the comfort but also the pride of having achieved a goal that you would have set for yourself. Often it is after the difficulty of a task or action that we value the result and draw satisfaction from it.
Self-confidence: Diving into the unknown is an experience that helps you to let it go and gain confidence. Think about being in action, drawing on your own resources, giving yourself a goal to reach. Your doubts will fade away as your self-confidence gains ground.
Dealing with your environment: the mountain is the master of the place, commands respect and will force you to adapt to it. The same is true in our lives, where we have to adapt and evolve in a plural environment (professional, family, etc.). Here, long before us, she will teach you, provided you are receptive, some beautiful life lessons.
The feeling of freedom: the mountains, by widening our perception of space, increase our well-being. Cut off from your hyper-connected world, rocked by its perfection, purity and harmony of colours, it may also stimulate your creativity.
My recommendations before departure
To get closer to the mountains of France and make them more lenient towards you, I would recommend you to :
Think about your trip: to get yourself inspired, don't hesitate to organise your first solo trip. Take into account that the mountains can be dangerous and that it only takes a moment of inattention for everything to tip over. You should therefore think about being advised, supervised and guided. You can find out more about this from the mountaineering clubs in your area. If you wish to stay among women, women's clubs exist.
You should bring suitable clothing: Don't be like my friend Catherine (who will excuse me for being a snitch but it's for a good cause). Coquettish to the tips of her fingernails, she only thought of the aesthetic side to the detriment of the practical side. She was risking herself freezing to death or breaking her neck in heels. But to use her expression, she would “have died with class.”
Think about your accommodation: La Voyageuse gives you the opportunity to contact many hostesses who live at the foot of the mountains in France and who will be happy to welcome you. You will be able to count on their precious recommendations and kindness. A not insignificant support, especially if it's your first time.
If I had to tell you in a few words what my experience in one of the mountains in France has revealed to me, I would borrow the thoughts and words of Albert Camus in a letter he wrote to his friend, René Char, whom I quote earlier: "We talk about the pain of living. But it is not true, it is the pain of not living that must be said ".
For me, living was no longer limited to feeling a heart muscle beating by reflex or squeezing out of sadness, satisfying primary needs or responding to the desires of life in society. Living also means looking for oneself, finding oneself, freeing oneself from the gaze of others in order to open up to the world and life.
30 Octobre 2020
The editorial team:
Whether you are an avid traveller or a first-time adventurer, all NomadSister editors are passionate about travel. They share their advice and experiences with the desire to give you wings!