And just like that, I’m three months in.
Three months since I left Australia, excited, anxious, exhausted. Oh-so-ready for something new, aching for something completely different. I knew then it was what I needed, I know now I didn’t even realise just how much.
It’s been bothering me that some people reading this don’t know the truth of how I ended up here. I wrote in my very first blog post that I was at a turning point to a life lived more openly and honestly… So in that spirit, I think I should let you know, the thing that led me here was my marriage ending. July last year, I became a 27-year-old soon-to-be-divorced wedding photographer (oh, the irony!). I’ve skirted around the subject with many people, but what for? It happened, and it was hard, and scary, and stressful, but ultimately the right thing. It led me to this… To sell all my stuff, make some time for myself, hop a plane and just see what happens.
In the last three months I’ve explored Belgium with my oldest friend, partied with gingers in the Netherlands, cruised along the canals of Amsterdam, trekked the Quiraing mountain range on the Isle of Skye, explored islands and castles off the coast of Oban, taken a family pilgrimage to sit where my ancestor once sat, driven the Northern Ireland coastline to the Giant’s Causeway, watched the sunrise over the highway from Galway to Dublin, walked through the halls of the 700 year old Papal palace in Avignon, photographed a wedding and made wonderful new friends in Bonnieux, been challenged and inspired and faced hard truths in many cafes across Berlin, where I met a man who over the following weeks would show me new ways, new places, new people, an unforgettable four days in Ghent… And after all this and so much more, I finally arrived in Paris, where I was able to stop and let it all sink in.
What a luxury to have the time to read books, to walk the streets, to learn to appreciate my own company, to further appreciate the company of others, to listen and understand, rather than argue and compete. What a luxury to have nowhere to be but Paris. It’s been so good for me.
I guess what I’m getting at in a very roundabout way is this: These last three months (these last two years) I’ve been on the greatest learning curve of my life. It’s become clearer what I need to keep, and what I need to leave behind. And I’ve decided I won’t be moving to Sydney next year.
There’s a lot that went into the decision to move to Sydney, and a lot that went into the decision to not move to Sydney, but I won’t go into that here. Maybe one day I’ll write a book about it.
There’s also a lot more to this new plan, still forming in my head, and I promise to share more as I know more. What I do know is that I want to keep this freedom I’ve created for myself. Work seasonally, travel more, accumulate less stuff. And I’m writing this down so I have something to hold myself accountable to!
I never wanted this to turn into my own “Eat Pray Love,” but there’s no denying I’ve been on what I shudder to refer to as a “journey”… Urgh, sorry. But to the guy who said many months ago that this trip would change me, in so many ways you were right. And I’m so thankful for that.
I’m in Paris until 10 December, and I plan on continuing to enjoy my own company, read books, drink wine, test the limits of where “too much” and “cheese” come together as something other than an oxymoron (haven’t reached it yet, thank goodness), and just savour every moment I get to spend in this magical city. (As I’m writing this, I’m sitting in the sunshine by the fountain at Palais Royal…)
After Paris, I’m excited for a few days in Carlisle to reconnect with family and see where my mum spent her childhood, and for Christmas with dear friends in London.
After Christmas, I have absolutely no idea where I’ll be. Two months and no plans, with the whole world wide open. How very, very exciting.