For years (yes years...) I've said that one day I'd move back to Europe. Each year I'd reaffirm this dream with personal and business trips that I took abroad. But for some time, my dream felt like it was just that, a dream and the realization sunk in that I had been living in Orlando for 6 years. I have no regrets about my time there but an anxiety began to build up that I'd settle in a place that never felt like home. That anxiety slowly began morphing into something that affected both my mental and physical health. I found myself going through daily motions with little fervor and often had to take slow deep breaths for no apparent reason; an invincible elephant was always sitting on my chest.
One final straw to break the camel's back sealed the deal for me. I knew some kind of change had to happen so I began researching options and instead of making a complete plan before executing, I executed before planning. Something I've never done as I've always been one to follow the "if you fail to plan, you plan to fail" motto. I decided to abandon my type A tendencies (extreme organizing and planning) to sell my home, car, most of my furniture and to buy a ticket to Paris. I'm shocked at how easily I have adapted to a completely unplanned, spur-of-the-moment lifestyle.
I discussed options with my boss. Without a house, I was free to work remotely from anywhere and what better place than the city whose worse flaws still have a place in my heart. In January, I will be moving to the French countryside with my loyal companion, Franklin (my dog) and after some time with my grandparents in Brittany, I/we will spend a few months in Paris, then perhaps Amsterdam, and then perhaps Oslo...all is yet to be determined.
It took a lot of deep digging to confidently say "you can do this" and "what's the worst that can happen?". My parents were a huge help in making me realize that my worst what-if scenarios were either recoverable or utterly ridiculous. In the end, I realized I could always come back.
Most importantly, I put a lot of faith in myself and I thank my family and friends for having faith in me too. In the last few months, I've learned so much about myself; what I'm capable of, what pains I can endure, what fears I can overcome. In this process, I'm trying to make myself as strong as I can without hardening myself. I've never described myself as soft but I can tell you that I have a heart like mush. It's taken a beating over the years but it's enjoyed a lot of love and I know it's going to be overflowing every time I step out my AirBnB apartment and look out into the City of Lights.
This might be too honest for my own good, but I've gotten the "what made you do it?" question so much it begged an honest answer.
What I hope to gain from this experience is simple; sheer happiness. I know I love what Europe has to offer: its people, cultures, architecture, and foods (heavy emphasis on this one), so to be surrounded by all the things that inspire me at my core, I am confident that I will be smiling daily and working more passionately.
Stay tuned as I'll be documenting my experiences through photography, painting, and writing; the former which I hope to master over the next several months.
For reference, my best fur friend/model: