A Picture…A Thousand Words…

It is said that a picture is worth a thousand words. And, although I know it will not take me nearly that many words to explain the circumstances behind this picture, I can assure you that the way this picture came about has happened a thousand times or more to myself and other single, female travelers, particularly those who share my hue.

It was my first full day in Provence. I had decided to take an organized group tour of some lavender fields in the region. I’m not usually one for group tours packed with strangers who will, inevitably, wonder aloud why I’m traveling alone. But I chose to participate in an organized tour for the sole purpose of knowing where to come back to once I had my rental car and three days alone in the Luberon. So…I took an organized, half-day tour of lavender fields with a small group. The tour took us out of the city of Avignon, through the high hills and countryside to the picturesque town of Gordes and ended up in Sault where the view from the distance in the hills showcased dozens of fields of lavender. Some vibrant and in full bloom and others with just a violet haze as the buds just started to show themselves.

The field pictured above was one of the last fields we saw before heading back through the countryside to Avignon in our small motor coach. Since I’ve become accustomed to traveling alone, I’ve learned the art of the perfect selfie. I’ve also learned how to spot another tourist who seems to know their way around an Apple product and understands the importance of an iPhone photo-shoot. So in the midst of this field I was luxuriating in the smell of lavender floating on the mistral winds and the sound of the bees, busy with their own work. My only goal was to frolic and that’s exactly what I was doing. I turn to see who I could ask for yet another picture of me in yet another field, and I encounter a small Asian woman taking pictures of…me. Not the majestic purple field all around me. Not the bees busy about their work. Not the stark white cliffs of the Luberon above us. Nope. Just me. I smile at her and she says, “Ah, so beautiful.” To me. And continues to snap pictures…of me. Well I guess I’ve found my photog. Rather, she’s found me. She clearly speaks some English so I approach her (as she’s still taking pictures…of me) and say “yes, it is very beautiful”. I hand her my iPhone and ask if she wouldn’t mind taking some pictures of me in the fields. I frolic and face the wind and throw my hands up because, well, why not? That’s what I’m here to do after all, right? For a moment I truly lost myself. The color was so vibrant and the smell was so pleasant and the moment was so perfect. I truly lost myself. And I knew that my personal photog was snapping away. I turn around once again as she tells me in her little English that the pictures are good and hands me my phone. I take a look and the pictures are indeed good. This is one of them.

As I thank her and walk away to admire the beauty before me one last time, she grabs her camera and once again, begins taking pictures of me. Unbelievable. I’ve got about three or four pictures from her and she probably has about 15 or 20 of me in her personal collection. This kind of thing has happened to me before so I’m not too bothered by it. I’ve had these kinds of run-ins with people who are fascinated by dark skin in Athens, in Istanbul, in Hawaii, even Egypt! I’ve heard plenty of horror stories about black female travelers being treated like prostitutes, so I’m always happy when someone is merely fascinated or intrigued or curious.

I don’t know who that lady is or where she is but I hope she’s enjoying her pictures of me twirling in a lavender field. And I hope she can share the story with her own family and friends as I’m sharing it with you.

37 thoughts on “A Picture…A Thousand Words…

    1. Thank you so much MJ! I definitely think of that iconic film (and others do too!) when I look at this photo. And you’re right. I cherish it so much. Thank you for reading and commenting!

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    1. Thank you Sizable Chic. I have done much solo traveling and I do enjoy it. But most of all I enjoy that I’m able to share my travels with those who may never get to see the things that I see. And I’ll definitely work on a post about the art of the “selfie”! It’s necessary for the solo traveller who doesn’t want to have their camera stolen, LOL! Thank you for reading and commenting!

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  1. LOVE THIS!! The writing had me going and going. Felt like a love story. I was deep in toughts and imagining myself in your shoes. GOOD GOOD post here love. Honestly, I would immediately be afraid if someone started taking photos of me. LOL. I love how you’re so willing to travel alone. Such peace and comfort you must have… You’re brave!!!

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    1. Thank you so much Janelle! It’s true. I do experience so much peace when I travel alone. Both traveling alone and with companions are such valuable experiences for different reasons. Solo travel allows me to know that there’s nothing I can’t do! Kick that fear in the teeth Lady! Thank you for reading and commenting!

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  2. Damn, feels like I’m there with you, with these descriptions. This place is on my wishlist. I’ve been thinking about solo travel more and more these days. I think I use my friends as a crutch and talk myself out of it since we can never organize anything as a group. Might be time, to just go on my own.

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    1. I say go alone. I’ve found it difficult to organize group trips as well. It can be really difficult to coordinate with so many wishes to consider. I say go it alone. You can’t wait on other people to live and enjoy your life!!! And you’ll discover so much about yourself while traveling solo! Go! Go! Go!

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    1. Thank you. I’ve read these stories as well. I’m happy that I’ve never experienced the negativity that many seem to encounter. Or maybe I just don’t choose to notice it. Thank you for reading and responding. I’m glad you enjoyed it!

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    1. Thank you Val! It was such an amazing feeling. Seeing the lavender fields of Provence has been a dream of mine for quite some time! It was such an amazing, life-changing trip. Thank you for reading and commenting!

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    1. Yes. It’s pretty amazing to think that there are people who just don’t see people of other races everyday. But that’s the reality of many countries. I’ve learned to use these situations as a learning experience for myself and the person i’m encountering. As long as it’s a respectful curiosity, I’m fine with it!
      Thank you so much for reading and responding!

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  3. I think you handled yourself well and it is truly a beautiful photo! I hope you framed it 🙂 Sadly many people still are not used to seeing black folk outside of certain specific situations. Many people right in this country simply can’t get used to the idea of any woman doing her own thing and will expect you to explain yourself in a way they would never expect of a man. I can deal with curiosity as opposed to hatred. I too tend to travel alone. I get to experience a city at my own pace and have little patience to someone flaking at the last minute.

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    1. I feel exactly the same way! I hadn’t thought of framing it but I may do just that! I think that Americans often forget that many countries are just not as diverse as we are. People just don’t see us…which is why I travel and share my experiences!

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      1. Yes, it is one of many reasons why travel is so important – for us to see and be seen on our own terms! America is rather unique in the variety of people within the country even if we don’t really have the level of true integration we like to think we have.

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    1. Thank you so much Gina! I’m definitely working on maintaining peace in my life. Moments like these, in the beauty of God’s creation, definitely enhance my peace. Thank you for reading and commenting.

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