I am seated on my throne a the holy temple of uber glamour, otherwise know as the adorably divine boutique called Fifi Mahoney's in New Orleans. 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. I came here with a purpose during my holiday in New Orleans: to create my "nom de voyage".
French is spoken as a second language here and there are some French phrases that even though you can technically translate them into English, they just don't have as lovely or a meaningful equivalent. There are so many 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". Kind of like a "nom de plume". It is a tradition that the French, Superman, seasoned hikers and myself honor.
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).
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.
Personally, traveling is at the top my list of favorite things to do. I have had the joy of visiting far away locales in the lap of luxury. I have also had to make my own fun when I did a grueling PR tour in which I literally trekked to 40 US cities in 40 actual days. 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!
Mon, November 23, 2009
by Ms. Dolphina