156 days of perfection

In the last 10 months I have visited 7 countries via 11 planes, 1 overnight cruise ship, a tour bus shared with 53 others, countless trains, trams, bikes, mini vans and hundreds of miles of walking. I’ve stayed in 12 hostels, 9 hotels, 1 motel, with 1 French host family, 4 kind friends and had 4 proper homes.

It has been five months since trading my stable job and comfortable flat in London for the thrill of a life on the road, living out of a single backpack and travelling to places I always dreamed to visiting. My trip will always be recounted through the many friends and amazing memories from my big adventure, including wandering the alleys of Venice looking for the perfect restaurant, boat trips to private beaches in Positiano, missing the last ferry home from Amalfi resulting in sharing an (expensive) taxi with two strangers that of course got stuck in traffic for over an hour, private boat tours exploring the grottos of Capri, transforming our Venice dorm room into a laundry room, climbing to the fortress at the top of Hvar followed by swimming and sunbathing at secluded beaches, bush walking at dusk in Split, sharing bunk beds in the smallest cruise ship cabin imaginable followed by watching the sunrise as we approach Croatia, cliff jumping and swimming in Dubrovnik, watching the Rugby World Cup matches in Italy, Croatia and Spain, accessing the VIP area at a night club in Barcelona, eating the worst meal of my life in Porto, traditional Portuguese cooking classes in Lisbon followed by cherry liquor in chocolate cups at midnight and hostel movie nights, Turkish bath houses in Spain and late night photo shoots across the river in Cordoba.

Now, after 156 days, or 5 and a bit months, I leave the life of a traveller behind and move onto the next new chapter: tomorrow I start my new job here in Paris.

Less than 4 weeks ago I decided to move to Paris. It wasn’t an easy decision, but I knew it was the right one. I arrived with no job, nowhere to live, no friends and a long list of French bureaucratic hurdles (bank accounts, social security numbers, doctors appointments) to navigate in a language I cannot speak.

I currently live in a cosy attic bedroom which is situated in the eaves of an old Parisian flat above a small French restaurant. I live with two French guys and a crazy street kitten, who often invites other neighbourhood cats in through the bathroom window to steal my hair ties, pens, phone cords and anything else that isn’t tied down.

After weeks of signing up to multiple job boards, scouring LinkedIn, visiting careers websites, connecting with recruiters, updating online job profiles, perfecting my CV and cover letters, it all paid off. I realised that with determination, hard work and a little bit of luck, if you put your mind, energy and focus into something, anything is possible. I have achieved the nearly impossible by landing a great marketing role at a French tech company, situated right in the heart of Paris.

It’s a sad, exciting, nervous and thrilling end to the biggest holiday of my life. I’ll miss waking up whenever I want, wandering cities with no purpose but to explore, sitting in parks/churches/cafes for hours with no pressure of time. On the flip side, I will enjoy the return of routine, intellectual stimulation, creative outlet, challenges and income (!) that all come with working full time.

Living in Paris was always a dream, and now I’ve made it a reality. I plan on being here for quite some time and to live a fantastic life here in Paris: netball, musical theatre, yoga, French language classes. There are still so many places that I want to spend long weekends visiting including Amsterdam, Greece, Geneva, Vienna…. So much to see, so little time!



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