If you have been following along on social media, you know I am in Paris right now.
Let me start by saying that this experience taught me a lot about myself. This was my first time travelling alone and my apprehension was unjustified. I need to trust in myself and trust in my strength as an individual, as a person following my dreams. But I also learnt something else: a year commitment to France terrifies me. And not in the, “face your fears,” kind of way but in the, “you need to be more realistic about this in order to ensure success for yourself and your animals,” kind of way.
And as I walked and got lost in Parisian streets, I was terrified of that year commitment. As a wandering soul, a dreamer, I never jump into something that says, “you must commit for (blank) long,” because I change my mind faster than I change my underwear.
That’s not to say that I’m thinking I’ll change my mind about Paris, just that I need to logically think of this commitment for a moment, because it affects more than just myself. It affects my animals as well (and my relationship, but that’s a whole other story).
Have you ever seen the cost of shipping your animals overseas? Think plane ticket times five for my two dogs and one cat. And that’s just a one-way trip for them.
And finding a spacious pet-friendly apartment in my price range is not impossible but it is a difficult task. On top of the already daunting and nearly impossible task of finding an apartment to rent for a year, add animals to the mix and you have doubled your trouble.
But! Living in Paris is my ultimate dream and my pets are my absolute life, so how do I compromise with these challenges and still get what I want without being scared out of my wits?
And so, with the help of my parents, I decided on something that still lets me experience the life I dreamt about since 2010 and doesn’t totally frighten me in the process. At the end of August I’m going to move to Paris for three months. I will be moving without my animals who will stay with my parents during that time. I may bring my cat with me, but that depends on the apartment situation. It won’t be easy leaving my babies behind for three months (it’s going to destroy me) but I think this is best for them, too. Then after three months I’ll decide whether I’m coming home or bringing my animals to Paris with me and extending my stay.
This works for more than just reasons beyond calming my fears. I am continuously learning about the immense difficulties of long term rentals in Paris, where even French residents say the process is excruciating without already being established in the city in some way. A short term rental is an easy feat and far less hoops are leapt through, as companies like airbnb offer monthly rentals with no questions asked. Then another concern of mine was the stress I would put on my animals and whether I would feel trapped in a city where I might not be that happy just because of the cost for and stress on my babies. This is no longer a worry I will carry.
A lot of people have messaged me privately calling me an inspiration for following my dreams and I hope my own fears don’t change anyone’s mind. But no one else is making this decision except me, so no one knows what’s best for me or my animals except me. If anything, I hope my experience does inspire others to take risks and follow dreams, and, like me, I’m sure they will go through leaps, then logical pauses, then fears, then re-evaluations (is that a word?).
I’m impulsive, yes, but this is bigger than a new tattoo (it is!) And as much as I want to jump both feet first, I’ve got to take a look at the height I am leaping from. I’m just taking a few steps down the cliff first and for a woman on her own in another country, where my understanding of the language is rather basic, I feel like I’m saving myself from a broken wrist. A broke wrist may seem like nothing to some, a minor injury, but it’s still never a bad thing to avoid.
And so, though I may not have found an apartment on this trip, I certainly discovered which areas I would never want to live in (what’s up 13th and 18th!), which areas I would absolutely adore living in (what’s up 4th and St-Germain!), and what is truly best for me and my animals regarding my move to Paris. And have I mentioned that my French has improved?!
I am no longer afraid. I am just excited. And that was the best thing that could happen to me on this trip, in my opinion.