Many of you will be traveling this holiday season to visit family or friends (or what my friend calls framilies) and I recommend you adopt a nom de voyage - for the car ride, plane flight or for your entire trip. A nom de voyage can come in handy to entertain your kids on a long car ride. Tell your kids you can't respond to their multiple questions unless they call you Goddess of the Car, Queen Candy Cane or Miss Zhu Zhu. It will make your whole family laugh every time they say it and give every one a delightful boost. It can also aid in the loneliness if you are not traveling and cannot be with your loved ones.
I was introduced to this delightful French phrase and handy traveling tool while on a visit to New Orleans. In the 'Big Easy', French is spoken as a second language. Many French phrases can be technically translated into English, but they just don't have as lovely or meaningful equivalent. There are classic phrases, such as, "joie de vivre" which means, "joy of living" in English or "raison d'etre" which translates "reason for being, purpose for existence; justification for one's purpose on Earth". "Nom de voyage" means "pseudonym/pseudopersonality" one adopts while traveling". It's kind of like a "nom de plume" (pen name). It is a tradition that the French, Superman, seasoned hikers (and yours truly). honor.
I decided to create my personal "nom de voyage" with a visit to NOLA's wig shop called Fifi Mahoney's. Imagine a showgirl's heaven: a little boutique in the French Quarter with glitter, rhinestones, wigs and feathers everywhere! Autographed photos inscribed to Fifi of Marilyn, Bettie Page and Jayne Mansfield line the walls above the heads of wigs that come in every color in the rainbow. The window display has a pale blue glittery wig with a cupcake in the center! Now mind you, as a bellydancer, I am no stranger to wigs, but I feel a sense of a reverence as I await my stylist to return with several hairpieces just for me.
My stylist returns and effortlessly tucks my blonde tresses under a gorgeous long red wig and voila! I am no longer Dolphina, I have become Melodie (pronounced with a French accent). I left Dolphina behind and am ready to explore the new places Melodie wants to discover. Traveling to another city or country opens the eye and offers the soul a chance to meet the world afresh. A change to our exterior self (name, costume, hair cut/color/wig) can have a similar affect. It can begin the journey to travel within and discover new aspects of our mind and heart. What lies behind us and what lies before us are small matters compared to what lies within" (Emerson).
While this may be the ultimate travel cliche, it's not the destination; it's the journey and what you make of it.
Happy Holidays and Bon Voyage Goddesses!