fbpx

Louvieres, France – Where My Love Of Travel Began

FRANCE

Heather Markel, Writer, Speaker, Photographer, Traveler, Full Time Travel Coach

Every Story Has A Beginning

With 72 residents, Louvieres is not a village you’ll find tourists flocking to. There’s no tourist office, no restaurants, no public toilets. There is a Mairie, and one of my French host sisters is the adjoint mayor of Louvieres.

I came to Louvieres for the first time in 1986 with The Experiment In International Living. I was a shy, insecure only child from New York City who suddenly found herself in the middle of nowhere (the Louvieres population was smaller back then). More surprising was ending up with 8 host siblings; 7 sisters and one brother. Another shock was the herd of cows in the back yard, and the cow faces that regularly appeared at the kitchen window to see what we were up to each day.

My host family members weren’t able to pronounce my name so I told them it’s a flower that grows in Scotland. They looked up “Heather” in the encyclopedia and found “Bruyere”. From then onward I was known as Fleur de Bruyere. To this day I feel a bit like Harry Potter because most people I meet there for the first time say they’ve heard of me!

koala

I feel like I’m home every time I see the sign

My high school French was mediocre. When my host sister Marguerite-Marie showed me my room for the summer, I understood her to say I was sharing it with François, a friend of the family. At 16, this seemed highly inappropriate, not to mention terrifying. When Marguerite Marie realized what I had understood she burst out laughing. It turned out I was taking the room François had been using up to then, and he was leaving later that day.

The house that became my home for the summer.

I was quickly overwhelmed in such a big family. At meals it seemed like everyone was looking at me and laughing. I stared at the ceiling to avoid crying. My host father, Ernest, didn’t speak much, but he had an uncanny way of always making me feel seen and understood. He caught my eye at many a meal and made me feel reassured.

The herd of cows was another source of comfort. Amazonie, in particular, would follow and lick me like an overgrown puppy. She was the daily moral support I needed and became the impetus for my love of cows.

Scenes from herding the cows, now at my host sister’s home, and some of the new calves to join the herd.

While Ernest made me feel seen, Simone, my host mother, pushed me out of my shell and into the center of attention. At some point that summer, I shed my shy skin and became much more engaged with my outer world. She taught me about the “ugly American” who travels and expects everyone to speak English. I didn’t want to be that, so I’ve made language study a priority.

Marguerite-Marie and another host sister, Marie-Christelle, accompanied me to places like Omaha Beach, Giverny and Bayeux. I even had a French boyfriend, Stephane, who was a cousin of the family. (Note, you won’t find any photos of my family in this article as they prefer their privacy.)

The Louvieres church where my host father is buried.

Over the years, my host siblings got married, moved and had families of their own. There are 28 grandkids and literally too many great grandkids to count. Marguerite-Marie moved nearby and took over the cows and created an organic farm. The milk from her farm goes to Isigny to make camembert! She became mayor of Louvieres and then joined with some other communities so they could make a bigger difference.

In 2007, when Ernest passed away, I attended his funeral and felt another level of connection with the rest of my host family.

A back view of my French host family’s home in Louvieres.

I just spent a wonderful two weeks here with my host mom. She’s getting older now and I’m happy to have the time to spend with her. I had the pleasure of spending her birthday week with her, and ordered her my favorite cake, that we eat every time I come to Louvieres. It’s called a Moka, and is made at the Reine Mathilde pastry shop in Bayeux. They just changed ownership, but the cake is still delicious.

While in Louvieres, I of course milk the cows, play with the calves, and even walk to Omaha beach one day. It’s only about a 25-minute walk! When I arrive at the D-Day memorial, I happen upon 350 musicians from Omaha and an amazing concert. In the 36 years I’ve been going to Louvieres, I’ve never seen anything like it.

While Louvieres may not be a place you’ll ever visit, it will always be a magical place for me. A shy girl became an extroverted woman, fluent in French and fell in love with cultural immersion. This is the place that started my love of travel.

Want to Learn About Full Time Travel?

This is an amazing lifestyle! If you’re looking forward to ditching your desk and discovering your destiny through full time travel, click the button to get started!

Most of what's keeping you from what you want - full-time travel, a new business idea, a radical career shift - are your excuses. After one session with Heather, you'll understand which excuses are holding you back the most, how to get them out of the way, and you'll leave with an action plan that helps you set the foundation to pivot into the life you want.

You know you don't like your job, but you can't figure out how to survive without it. Designed for frustrated professionals the program focuses on teaching you the key steps to shifting your work and money mindsets, and giving you the money and work strategies to pursue, leaving you empowered to quit with confidence and see that it really is possible to live happily without a stable job.

Whether traveling full time was your dream before the pandemic, or after, this session will help you understand how to prepare, what you need to know, and how to get your finances in order to make it happen. It's the perfect accompaniment to the "How To Afford The Travel Life" eBook. You'll also get an understanding of both what's great about full-time travel and some of the challenges. You can also discuss planning help, and how to get the most out of your experience.

It's always been essential to understand your money, but if you've lost your job due to the pandemic, now it's even more important that you create financial empowerment. In this session, Heather will work with you to first understand your gaps in managing your money, then she'll help you with the framework on how to ensure you can afford the life you dream of. You'll get tips to save and budget, and also discuss ways to earn money that will shift you out of feeling like a victim of the times, to seeing the opportunities in front of you to begin making money in a different way.

You want to quit and travel full time, but when can you go? This eBook gives you all the formulas you need to calculate when you can quit and afford the travel lifestyle you want, in under and hour.

Thanks to the pandemic, we've all had a chance to ask the question, "what now?" If you've decided it's time to quit your 9-to-5 to travel full time (or take it with you while you live nomadically), this program will help you address the core mindset, money, and planning gaps you have. This is the program that will help you acknowledge and overcome your fears about what's next, figure out how to afford and sustain your travels, and feel confident about planning your adventure. Book your free session to see if you're a fit!

You're finally serious about traveling full time, but you cannot figure out how you'll afford it. Or, you're just curious whether it's really even possible to afford the lifestyle. Bootcamp is for you! We'll go dive deep into savings strategies before you go, how to save on the road, and how to sustain your travels, as well as look at lots of work opportunities if you want to work while you travel! Includes a 3-day build your budget challenge to get you thinking about how to replace dreams with real logical steps to make it happen.

You've dreamed about traveling full time for as long as you can remember, and now you've learned that it's a little more challenging than you thought. Get help getting through the initial shock and changes when you realize you're not on vacation. Learn how to manage those experiences where you meet parts of yourself long forgotten, and create a plan to help you have the best experience with your journey.

If you want to see every post I've written, starting with the most recent, this is the place to start!


If you need some tips on getting started, traveling safe, and saving money while traveling full time, go here! 

I've been traveling the globe solo, and many of my posts share thoughts and resources specifically for other solo travelers. If you're a fellow solo traveler, or you're thinking about solo travel, this is a collection you will find of interest.

If you're looking to read blog posts about specific destinations, click the country of your interest below to go to it's blog page and get country-specific reviews and thoughts.

Africa

Argentina

Australia

Brazil

Cambodia

Chile

Costa Rica

France

New Zealand

Peru

Portugal

Scotland

Singapore

Thailand

Uruguay

Vietnam

 

Sometimes I write posts where I give insider information on certain cities I've visited, which may be more along the lines of places to go, how to save money, etc. If that's your main interest, check out this compilation of posts.

In 2020, I was traveling in New Zealand as the coronavirus pandemic brewed, and, got stuck there. If you want to read about what this time was like and traveling during this time, check out this page.

At the heart of international travel is learning about the many different cultures and ways of being around the world. The posts compiled on this page speak, specifically, about the cultural observations I've had.

Many of my blog posts are about things I've discovered about myself or about being, while I've traveled. If you'd like to focus on posts that only have self-discovery themes, click the button below.

%d bloggers like this: