In the summer of 2008, I was burnt out and in need of a personal and professional reset. So, a few months before the historic U.S. presidential election and a few weeks before the start of the worst U.S. financial crisis in generations, I quit my job, sublet my apartment, and traveled to France. I spent the first week in Paris, the next month traveling from Normandy to Monaco in a rented Renault, finally settling in a small, old farmhouse in the Quercy region of southwest France for the rest of the year. The rough plan was to explore the country while writing songs and taking photos. I'm happy to share the photos—the songs were crap.