With two suitcases, little French, and no idea of what I was getting myself into, I flew into Charles de Gaulle airport on this day four years ago. I haven’t looked back yet.
It’s amazing how the time flies; it seems to have passed in mere seconds. But how much has happened in these precious years!
I’ve been getting more and more emails lately from people telling me how brave I was for taking the leap. I have to say, brave is not the word I would use. Yes, there were many unknowns. Yes, much could have gone wrong (and, of course, has!). But I did what I had to do.
It is always the second line of this Anais Nin quote that I remember, not the first:
“It takes courage to push yourself to places that you have never been before, to test your limits, to break through barriers. And the day came when the risk it took to remain tight inside the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.“
To me, it would have been more of a risk NOT to come. I did not want to wonder what if? for the rest of my life – and I knew I would if I didn’t get on that plane.
Most of you know that – unlike a lot of people – Paris was not a dream that I harbored for a long time. No. But life called and her name was Paris, as surprising as that seemed to me at the time. It became the dream. And when a dream grabs hold of you, there’s no choice but to follow it.
I call this blog (im)perfect because living is not the same as planning. Unexpected things happen, you roll with the punches, you find and create beauty. Life is imperfect. The imperfect can be beautiful.
In a nice bit of timing, my friend Lisa Lubin just posted an inspiring video to document her 3+ years of world travel. I met her in Paris a few years ago as she was traipsing the globe. A very different journey from mine, but the same impetus in the end: you must simply do it.
Many of the quotes she uses in the video explain how I ended up here:
“Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing” Helen Keller
“Some experiences simply do not translate. You simply have to GO to know” Kobi Yamada
“Dost thou love life? Then do not squander time, for that is the stuff life is made of” Ben Franklin
(You can catch me quickly at minute 1:57 caught in the act of laughing and with unbelievably long hair).
How did I celebrate today? I have a wonderful friend visiting right now (who I know from New York, but who now works for the AP in South Africa – another one living the dream!). We went out for lunch, ate cupcakes, walked the 11th, sat and gossiped at a sidewalk cafe, got gelato. (Yes, a bit indulgent, especially all within the space of 5 hours!)
And now I’m writing this blog post. Reflecting on my time so far. Feeling gratitude. Thinking about the future. Daring to dream new dreams.
Thanking you for sharing in my journey so far.