Personal: Big Risk Big Reward

parisian balcony rebecca plotnick

This past weekend I was at dinner with friends and the question to the table was asked: “What is the biggest risk you have taken?” 

I immediately knew the answer… Packing up my apartment in 2013 and moving to Paris was the risky thing I have done. I put my belongings in storage for three months and left February 1st 2013. 

I had been thinking about the idea for some time but I was trying to figure out the logistics. This was way before the digital nomad life and travel Instagram was big. Instagram was just starting and I had no idea how to use it. 

The Back Story

In 2011 I traveled all over Western Europe for three weeks and ended in Paris. I wanted to save the best for last but also explore other cities. I remember sitting in Place des Vosges by myself and looking up at the apartments and decided that I had to find a way to live in Paris. 

place des vosges

Since I sell my photography I had to find a way to get my orders to my customers in a timely manner while spending time abroad. This was my biggest challenge since my photography pays for my travels. 

In 2012 one of my friends who I used to work with had a baby in Switzerland. She invited me to spend the month of January with her in exchange for helping with the kids and I could have a base to travel Europe. Since January is a slow month in retail I jumped at the chance. While Switzerland was freezing in January this trip helped convince me that I could run my business while living abroad. I traveled in Switzerland, Austria, Italy, and France that month. I found a printer to work with and was able to still ship orders out. 

When it came time to renew my lease I decided I was ready to make the move. It took a lot of work to put everything in place and help from some very special people to make everything possible. 


When I say this was the biggest risk there are many reasons why. I rented an apartment on Airbnb it was just starting and I first thought it was for couch surfers until I started looking into it further. I found an apartment in Montmartre after digging through listing after listing and staying on a very tight budget. I took savings and money from my holiday show to cover the cost of the apartment. Three months in advance. I didn’t know anyone else that had rented through Airbnb and I had only been to Montmartre once and it wasn’t alone. I didn’t know the area at all. 

The first days I arrived in Paris I kept a diary. I wrote about moving to Paris and all the fears and doubts I was having. This is one diary I have saved. If I ever write a book I will have to include part of this beginning entry. My only regret was not starting this blog sooner. I wish I could have written a journal of how Paris changed me over those three months. 

I went to Paris without knowing anyone. The only people I knew in Paris where a family I used to nanny for who coincidently moved to Paris around the same time I did. This is how they became “My Paris Family” While they have stayed much longer than me (years!) they were the biggest support system with the move to Paris and every trip after 2013. I am extremely grateful for them and for the timing that led us both to Paris. 

Three Months in Paris

rebecca plotnick paris black and white

Looking back Paris was the biggest risk but also the biggest reward. I didn’t document each day by words but I do have photographs as I saw the city for the first time. Discovering new streets, new arrondissements and as cliché, as it sounds I found myself. I saw the city covered in snow, rain soaked cobblestone streets, and the Spring blossom covering the city in pink. I would do it all over in a heartbeat. 

rebecca plotnick paris in black and white by iheartparisfr

Photographs by IheartParisfr

What is the biggest risk you have taken? 

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  1. Thank you so much for sharing this Rebecca! So far, my biggest risk has been starting my blog and just putting myself out there, but it has also been my biggest reward as I have made many wonderful connections just by taking this leap. I’ve got some bigger plans in the works as I strive to live my best life by following my passions, and it is stories like yours that continue to inspire me to take the risks that will allow me to follow my dreams. Merci, encore!


    • Hi Lauren,

      My pleasure! I am enjoying reading your blog and I hope you are enjoying writing it. It is such a wonderful thing! I can’t wait to hear your bigger plans as you live your best life. Keep being an inspiration to us all! Dream Big!


  2. Thanks for sharing your experience! In 3 weeks, my husband and I have a visa application appointment at the French consulate in Chicago. If our application is approved, we’ll have about 2 months to pick up our lives, rent out our condo, and move to France for at least 4 years (with no logistical support from a company or anything like that). If we are denied, we’ll have to go back to the drawing board and see what we can do differently to achieve this dream of ours. At the moment, I’m not sure which prospect is scariest (no question which is more exciting, though). I have been repeating your mantra in my head for a while now – big risk, big rewards.

  3. Immigrating to Australia in 1989 with my husband and our almost three year old daughter. leaving our family behind and a nice house and permanent jobs for the unknown!