To Be Smart or To Follow Your Heart?

I’ve been abroad for ten months now and if it wasn’t for my law degree, I certainly wouldn’t be coming back. I never would have predicted that I would be where I am right now. Believe me, there were times when my brain had arguments with itself over whether I should go home and graduate or take a chance and move to Paris. In June when I was travelling around Spain, I was really at a cross roads. Having just finished exchange in Milan and after the tearful goodbyes to the amazing friends I had made from all around the world, I had to decide what the right decision for my future was. Do I go home and finish my law degree, or stay abroad? I knew full well that whatever decision I made would undoubtedly change the course of my life forever.

So there I was in Ibiza, literally in tears as I was so confused about what path was the right one. If I choose to stay in Europe, the people waiting for me back home will no longer wait. If I choose to go then I will never know what could have been…

Not to mention I knew that by the end of my summer travels I will have next to no money left. So what do I do? Do I take the smart road, be practical, return back to the safety of my family, my friends, my beautiful dog? Go back to everything I know and love already? Be smart and get my law degree finished so I can make some real money? Or do I completely turn my back on all rational reason. Accept to be poor. Accept likely loneliness and solidarity. Accept the cold that will befall me in the European winter. Accept to not know when I’ll see my beautiful little sisters, my dog, my friends and all my treasured loved ones. Accept that I have no idea what I’ll do for work or where I’ll live. And accept to start all over again in a new city.

Whilst in Barcelona after much deliberation and for various reasons, one being the pure fear of the unknown, and another being the desire for some familiar comfort, I convinced myself that it was the best decision to return back to Australia in August. A few days after making this decision and telling the people closest to me, I realized that deep down that was really not what I wanted to do. That was not what was going to make me happy. How could I possibly say goodbye to my new life in Europe and be content knowing I could have stayed? But at the same time the thought of staying in Europe made my stomach feel a bit queasy.  The problem was even if I knew I wanted to stay in Europe one way or another, I wasn’t sure whether I should extend my exchange in Milan, move to a random city like Barcelona just because I love Spain, or in the spirit of romance follow my heart to Paris. For a control freak like me, not knowing where you’ll be in the next few months is SCARY.

We have all experienced the same sort of choices in our lives. We all have dreams and desires that are so amazing they seem unreachable and improbable. There will always be good excuses not to say yes to our dreams. You’ve got a good job, you have to finish your studies, you have a lover you don’t want to say goodbye to. Sure, there will always be good excuses. But the reality is you will never be more fulfilled then when you say yes to the opportunity that scares you the most. When you do the thing you thought you could never do.

That’s not to say there won’t be hard times. There will be plenty of that don’t you worry. There will be times when you just want to sit on the floor and cry, and ask yourself why you chose to bring such misery upon yourself!? But that will pass, and what will result is pure and utter freedom. It will be you doing exactly what you want to do, being exactly where you want to be and being exactly who you want to be. You may not have as many friends as you did back home, you might not get paid as much, it might be a lot colder, but you will be living a new life that is foreign and amazing. Everyday will surprise you. You will turn a corner and see something magnificent that simply takes your breath away. It’s a different life. A life you’ve never experienced before. And in that lies the beauty. Life might not be perfect but it’s guaranteed to be exciting, unpredictable and full of surprises. One thing I know for sure is that I don’t want to wake up at the end of my life, having only experienced my small little world. When there’s so much out there, why would we want to limit ourselves to the same old thing?

Yes they’ll always be good excuses, but we can’t let the excuses dictate our decisions and fade away our dreams.

Looking back I can now confidently say I definitely made the right decision to stay in Europe, as it has changed my life in ways I could never have imagined.

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After brunch at Le Pain Quotidien in Le Marais.

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After an exhibition at the Palais Galliera in Paris about the fashion of the 50s: La mode des années 50.

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Hosting friends in Paris.

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La Pyramide du Louvre

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My birthday at a restaurant called ‘Balls’ specialising in meatballs, in the area of Oberkampf in Paris’ 11th arrondissement. Mon anniversaire à une restaurant dans Oberkampf ‘Balls’.

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Also my birthday. Aussi mon anniversaire.

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Bike riding home from work with the beautiful Eiffel Tower in the background

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Outskirts of Le Marais at sunset.

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The magnificent Hotel de Ville.

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Outside Hotel De Ville.

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The sparkling Tour Eiffel poking through the apartment buildings on avenue Kleber in the 16th.

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