Hello, today we have a guest post from the lovely Lindsay who has a beautiful blog called Breakfast From Paris. I discovered her blog through my friend Sirena and knew I wanted to share her story here with you at the Secret OWL Society community because OWL is all about helping people understand the process of really wanting something and achieving it - just the way Lindsay has. So, enjoy her story, check out her blog, and start thinking about how your life could change if you really committed to making something really important to you actually happen no matter how long it takes!
I was twenty years old in 2008; attending art school with endless ambitions of exploring the world. I wanted to be inspired and inspire in return. Never having been out of the country, I jumped at the chance to study abroad for the summer in Provence, located in the South of France.
Our campus had no access to shopping or restaurants, no cars or computers; just two local bars and miles of lavender fields. It was a detachment from everything I knew and provided me with a new, organic way of living.
Our campus took an excursion to Paris and it felt like nothing I’d ever experienced before, yet, everything felt so familiar, so “right.”. I remember seeing the Eiffel Tower for the first time. It was so strong, so soft, so romantic, so magical, and it sparkled! That's how Paris feels... So I had this feeling in my bones that France was were I needed to be at this time in my life.
Finding my way back was difficult. You have to have a visa, which requires a job and endless paperwork, you have to be “somewhat” mentally, physically, and financially stable, you have to have guts, and above all, you have to have patience.
It took me four years to return. During that time I applied for dozens, maybe hundreds of jobs (I think the Chateau of Versailles have four of my resumes on file!) I read blogs of expats who had moved to Paris and then I e-mailed them (strangers!) and asked what their secret was. I approached any Frenchie I came in contact with and would basically say, “Bonjour! Je m’appelle Lindsay. That’s all I can say in French, but I want to move to France! How can you help me…"
I did this to one fellow French acquaintance who, a year and a half later, e-mailed me saying, “Remember me? I know of a friend of a friend of a friend who is looking for an au pair. Are you interested?” I always knew au pairing was an option but avoided it having never had experience with kids. Yet the clock was ticking and after four years I was still stuck in the States. I figured if I said yes, at least it would get me across the pond and then it would be easier to start a life in Paris once I was physically there.
So I took a chance and thankfully I have a liking for children! I went through what a lot of new parents go through, so my first year in Paris was very challenging, but I learned that it wasn’t Paris that was challenging, it was myself.
Paris always remained perfect. Every building is inspiring, every park is magical, and the energy is like no-other; so what I found to be difficult about moving abroad was my outlook and my attitude! I thought moving to Paris would be a dream come true and would fix all of my problems, but all of my “baggage” and negativity came along with me; and that’s when I realized it was all within my self-control. I’m a human being, so I complain when the weather is bad or there’s a lot of people in the street. After several months I had to change my attitude. I lived in PARIS! A place where millions of people dream of living! There is so much to be grateful for! As Diana Vreeland once said, “I think when you’re young you should be a lot with yourself and your sufferings. Then one day you get out where the sun shines and the rain rains and the snow snows and it all comes together.”
When you move abroad, it’s not how the new place fits into your lifestyle, it’s how your new lifestyle fits into the place. You have to be willing to sacrifice some your habits, outlooks, and sanity.
If you dream of moving to Paris or another place that is exotic to yourself, find a way, any way, and when it seems there are no more ways to find, keep searching; a door that was once closed might reopen or someone you only met once might e-mail you a year later. If you can’t find professional work, there’s always au-pair or teaching opportunities; then once you are where you want to be, it will be much easier to create and follow your own destiny. Even if you can't change locations at this very moment, you're still capable of making the personal journey I did. Be vocal about your dreams and put yourself out there. Never give up.