In the autumn of 2016, I made a decision that changed the course of my life… and I thank myself every day for it!
Here is a bit of context: I had just stopped working in my dream job as an Event Planner in a Parisian agency and I got into a difficult phase of questioning. I really really loved the job, I was good at it and it fit me very well: a bit of office work, a lot of logistic and “on site” work, a lot of creativity and a lot of human interactions. I was working with renown multinationals, and it was definitely hard work and long hours, but it didn’t matter because I loved it!
However, very quickly, I understood that this system and this environment wouldn’t work for me. I was working my a$$ off, getting good results, proving my determination and willing to do anything for my projects. But nothing was never enough. I was getting the legal minimum wage (after a Master and 5 years of higher studies + a bit of experience), I never got paid my (numerous) overtime hours, I didn’t get the time off, never got credits for my good work… and, on top of that, I had to feel lucky to even have found a job! The balance was so uneven and the environment so ungrateful that I just couldn’t stand it. And it got me thinking “I am 23- year-old, I don’t have kids, I don’t have a mortgage… WHAT THE HELL AM I DOING THIS FOR?”
It was the first time in my life that I was taking each day as it came and it felt
amazing. I never felt so light, so carefree. Several times during the trip I ended up in situations that would have made me so mad in normal times. Like that day I ended up on a trail on my way to a viewpoint and that it started to rain so heavily that they closed the entrance. I was soaked, cold, alone on a trail & far from where I was staying. But I ended up laughing of the situation and dancing in the rain… It’s the type of scenes that you’d see in movies and think “yeah, right, never happens in real life”. But it did to me and it was so good!
During this trip, the weather was not the best, I was sleeping in cheap hostels, not eating the best food, wearing the same clothes, lots of places were closed because it was not the high season… but none of this mattered.
From day 1, I met amazing people from all over the world and during the 2 months that I was travelling around Ireland, I never felt lonely once. I even forced some time by myself at some point! When I was alone – which was new to me – I felt so happy and so comfortable. I met with very different people, from very different backgrounds and every single one of them taught me something. They taught me that there was an endless number of life paths, that it was never too late to do something or that you’re never too young. I learnt so much about myself and discovered so many new
things that I love.
I learnt how to be alone (and that I love it!)
I learnt that I could surpass myself.
I learnt that we don’t need so many things to be happy.
I learnt that going out of my comfort zone made me feel more alive than ever.
I learnt that a lot of our fears come from those of others.
I learnt that life isn’t about enduring a daily life that we don’t like.
I learnt that I was way stronger than I thought.
I learnt that you don’t have to follow the main path.
I learnt that I should prioritize myself more.
I learnt that nothing is set in stones and that it’s always possible to change things.
I learnt that changing things is way easier and accessible than it seems.
All in all, I learnt how to trust myself and gained a lot of confidence.
What I didn’t know at the time is that this solo travel in Ireland not only taught me all these things but also changed my life forever. I came back to Paris after 2 months travelling around the island with one thing in mind: “I don’t know what I’m going to do but there is no way I go back to a 9-to-5 life rushing everywhere”. After that, I kept on travelling to different countries for a few months before landing in Bergen, Norway. Because if I am here in Norway today, it’s thanks to a 15-min talk with a guy I randomly met in Cork, Ireland and who told me about the program that helped me
find my job in Bergen. Crazy how a simple thing can change the course of a life, eh?
In the end, travelling solo put me on a different life path but also completely changed me and my mindset. I say “changed” but I believe it is more that I learnt so much about myself that I actually found myself, really. It also brought me this feeling of well-being & liveliness that was so powerful that I still feel it today. This experience is by far the most enriching and intense that I’ve had so far, and I still use it to drive me and my decisions every day.