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.
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.
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.
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.
Photographs by IheartParisfr
What is the biggest risk you have taken?