Hi there/Bonjour ;) and welcome to my first post! I am thrilled to be part of this wonderful adventure that is this blog (thanks to Meghan!), but I have to say it was hard to decide what to write for my first post – so, I decided I would tell you how my expat and travel addict life all began...because it’s a story, believe me! Moving forward, you can follow my stories here and photos on Instagram.

So here goes…

Back in 2009, I reconnected with an old high school friend over Facebook. We hadn’t seen each other since school ended (2002), and we had both gone in different directions. She had moved to Bordeaux, while I had moved to Tours to study, then back to Orléans (my hometown – I’ll make a post on it one day!). I can’t remember exactly how it happened, but we ended up chatting about life, and she announced to me that she was moving to London. Exciting!
I remember thinking...).

I decided I would visit her there and this is exactly what I did...many times! I think I traveled there four or five times during the two years she lived there, and from the first time on, I remember thinking I would love to do the same one day. London is such an exciting city. However, this was not a good timing for me; I had just landed my first-ever permanent contract after spending three years working for at least six different companies…(only working 4-6 months each time on short-term contracts). I thought it was best for me to build on some professional experience before trying “something new.”

My hometown of Orléans, France (above & below).

Tours, France; where I had moved to study after high school (above & right).

[photo credits: all taken by Marion, 2009-2011].

After a year and a half in this job, I started becoming bored, and I visited my friend in London once more in June 2011. This is when it hit me and I finally realized that this was what I wanted. I had always loved England, and as a kid, I had traveled there many times (my mum was an English teacher). I loved learning and speaking the language (I started watching series and films in English when I was 11…), so it was not a barrier that could prevent me from living a normal life there. My life in Orléans at the time had become too much of a routine; most of my friends had moved away, I had no boyfriend or kids here, so there was nothing to prevent me from leaving. This was it. I had to go now or I would never leave.

A month after this trip, I handed in my resignation letter to my boss and moved out of my flat to spend August at my parents’ place and save a little money. On 3rd Septembre 2011, I was off to London! My original idea was to stay there six months to one year, tops. Well…I ended up staying five years. This is what London does to you!

Me (left) and Julie (right) on my second night as a London resident [photo credit: Marion, 2011].

I will spare you the details, but I found a job at a clothes shop a week after I arrived that would keep me earning some money while I was looking for a “proper” job (meaning earning more; London is expensive!) and a place to stay. When I arrived, I first stayed with that same friend, Julie, whom I had visited many times over the years. This is what reassured me into taking the decision to move: I had a place to stay for my first few weeks in London.

Julie left a month after I arrived to pursue other adventures. I was terrified to stay in London by myself, and basically start my life over here all alone. In the end, my colleagues at the shop became true friends, travel companions, flatmates, and I’m still in touch with a few of them now. I started living my own life, and things were really good. After that job, I moved on to another one, and again there, I found some true friends (one of them actually became my best friend; my boss, can you imagine?!). Little by little, I grew accustomed to the life I had in London, which was a great one, I have to say! I took on the motto “
carpe diem.” I didn’t have much money to save, anyway…so I decided to live my life to the fullest!

« There’s only one way to pleasure » is how I decided to interpret this; picture taken outside my job on Curtain Road [photo credit: Marion, 2012].

As a theatre fan, I went to many, many shows during those five years (I think my record number was 35 plays/shows in the year 2014). I was always on the lookout for cool things to do, and had lots of people often coming to me to ask for advice on things to do/see in London. I also had became some sort of “gatherer” (if that’s even a thing?), as I made efforts to organize get-togethers with my friends, to make sure we always had plans and saw each other often.

[photo credit: Marion, 2013].

After a while, I changed jobs AGAIN. That’s when I first met Meghan, founder of the blog, who worked at that company in London, and Sara and Rachelle, too (other ESG contributors), who worked for our head office in Boston, USA (I met Sara and Rachelle in person much later, obviously). It was September 2013 then, and two years had already passed since I had moved to London. In my mind, I would never, ever leave.

This new job was a true life-changer for me in so many ways. I met amazing people there, whom I count as friends still, even though I no longer live in London. But in this job, I also found my “professional calling,” if you will: I discovered what working in education was about. Today, I’m still working in that field, but in France. I even started studying remotely for a Bachelor in Educational Science, which I successfully completed (yay! victory!), despite having to work full-time concurrently. This is just to illustrate how every step of my journey has made sense and contributed to what my life is now...

I originally wanted to tell you about my decision to move back to France and how it came about in the same post, but now I realise this would be way too long for one post, and I wish to spare you! (I also want to make you want to come back to my page to read my other posts!). So, follow me if you wish to hear what happened next...upcoming in another post soon!

[photo credit: Marion, 2014].