Paris Is Always A Good Idea: Lessons in Moving Abroad for 3 Months
another gem from EDP Contributing writer Marissa
I’m not sure when my avid collection of Paris paraphernalia started, but it was funny that it became so noticeable only after I had made the decision to move to Paris. I looked around my apartment and noticed that I had furniture, dish towels, magnets, notebooks... I mean, the Parisian theme was everywhere in my life. I’ve been in love with the City of Love (who isn't) since I was young. Before visiting during my study abroad experience in college, I had built it up to be the most magical place on Earth. Naturally, I thought this would set me up for disappointment but what transpired was a whirlwind love affair with the city. It was the first time a geographical location had spoke to my soul (just me?).
Fast forward to 2018 and I remember sitting in the car with Ash. We were eating lunch in a parking lot after running a quick errand and I blurted out that I wanted to move to Paris someday (as one does). Without hesitation, she simply said ‘do it.’ At the time, I was working full time for her and, of all people, she was 100% for it.
That car chat changed my life. (Love you Ash)
It was only a few short months before I packed my life into storage, moved out of my apartment and booked a one way flight.
Aside from having the time of my life, the months leading up to Paris and the entire trip held a lot of hard and fast lessons. If you’re lucky, you’ll learn some of these the easy way and not the hard way like I did.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help
Travel can sometimes be very selfish, especially when it’s longer term. When it comes down to it, if it’s important to you, there’s ways to make it happen. I had to ask a lot of people for help and they came through in big ways. I left a lot of boxes all over the city of Los Angeles with friends. I parked my car in my best friends family driveway. I stayed in my roommates bed when I officially moved out. People were getting married and I had to ask for forgiveness when I RSVP’d no. Your people will show up for you if what you’re doing matters to you.
The time is now to release your attachment to things
I stored most of my life in Ash and Andy’s garage (what a bunch of angels, right?!) and the week I was set to leave, the garage got broken into and most things of value were stolen. While it was initially a bit shocking (because the key fob to my car got stolen and, well, MY THINGS!!!), it ended up being a blessing in disguise. Everything that mattered to me was coming on my trip with me and I was healthy. No one got hurt and the only thing that really got lost was my attachment to my *things.* I don’t recommend this as a way to go about it, but hey, it was effective and the lesson is always there if you search for it.
Saying your dreams out loud might just make them come true
Paris was just a crazy idea until I said it out loud to Ashley. From there, I started saying it to my friends and then I started to look at Airbnbs. This time around, I didn’t ask for a million different opinions, I just talked about it like it was happening, and somewhere along the line, it was. Mentally preparing my father for a cross continental move was good practice in calling my own bluff. By keeping our dreams to ourselves, for fear of failure or ridicule, we lose out on so much motivation to make them happen.
A croissant a day keeps the blues away… along with an average of 5 miles of walking
I had a chocolate croissant almost every day I was there. I also walked all over the city like it was my full time job. The mixture of the two had me feeling like I was on cloud 9. *Almost* all of the food that I’ve come across in Europe is impeccably made with simple, fresh ingredients. You can taste (and feel) the difference because after eating something, you don’t feel like you need to put on some sweat pants and do heaving breathing exercises. As soon as I realized I could have my croissant and eat it too, I. went. in. The lesson in this is that for so long I labeled food as good or bad but it is possible to find a happy medium. Also, walking is a superior form of exercise to running.. in my humble opinion.
There’s a difference between traveling well and being good at travel
I’m just going to say it: I am not good at traveling. I can settle and sink my teeth into a location like nobodies business, but when it comes to trains, planes and automobiles… wake me up when it’s over. I’m a fairly organized person, but there’s something about the anxiety of leaving that really throws me for a loop. That feeling that I forgot something is my constant state on travel days and honestly, it’s because I forgot something. For example, the morning I woke up to travel back to the states, I’m in the car heading to the airport and it’s only until I’m standing in line, waiting to check in for my flight that I realize that I’m at the WRONG FLUFFING AIRPORT. How on Earth did I survive two months in a foreign country but I can’t even make it to the right airport?! Between this and getting a warning on my passport, I’ve learned that you can hardly ever be too prepared. Knowing where my weaknesses lie has helped me cut down on stress and find ways to make travel days go a little smoother. Travel hacks, comin’ right up!
Extra Credit: Parisians aren’t rude, we are
Everyone knows the stereotype that French people are considered rude. After my time in Paris, I’d have to wholeheartedly disagree. In my opinion, what it comes down to is tourists traveling to their home city and expecting them to speak a language that is different than their native tongue. Imagine if people walked up to you on a daily basis, asking for directions in a language you didn’t speak. The greatest piece of advice I read was to learn a few key words in French before you travel. I learned how to say ‘Je ne sais pas parler francais’ which means I don’t know how to speak French and this, paired with a few tries at what I was trying to say, normally equated to them having mercy on my pour soul.