Why hello January, I didn’t see you sneak up on me. You mean to say you’ve been here for over a week already? How is that even possible?
For me there’s always been a lull after the excitement of New Year’s Eve. January can be such a quiet month, where all you want to do is cuddle in blankets and drink hot drinks and just hibernate. Does it ever take anyone else a few weeks to ramp up to the embraceable qualities of a new year, full of all its possibilities? This year I’ve been having even more trouble than usual accepting that 2014 is really here — life changed so many times throughout 2013, I guess I really thought that it was a year that would never end.
A year ago in January I was on a journey with no foreseeable conclusion. After working in one industry for about 10 years, I desperately wanted some new experiences and options. I’d been researching schools to return to for the past 4 years or so without anything really grabbing me, and eventually decided to travel instead. I was stuck in a rut, and I didn’t know what I wanted in my future, but I was determined to find out. Using house-sitting as my means, I wandered around between Iceland, Amsterdam, Paris, England, Scotland, and the south of France over the winter months of 2013.
And sometimes when you open yourself up to the world, it responds back. A friend I met along the way introduced me to a study program that captivated my imagination. I applied, was accepted, and was suddenly planning for a new adventure — 6 months or longer of living and studying in Paris! Knowing that I’d have to return to work between then and the start of classes, I indulged myself a bit on the way home. Instead of letting house-sitting jobs dictate where I traveled, I set a course for three places on my bucket list — Spain, Morocco, and Istanbul.
At the end of it all I returned to San Francisco with new eyes for my city by the bay. It seemed impossible for the city to be so much as I’d remembered it, but it turns out I’d changed enough for the both of us. Traveling introduces one to so many things you’d never have learned of otherwise, and that includes renewed love for the place you came from. Either that, or it justifies any doubts you might have had, but in this case, it was love.
I’d barely settled back in to my life by the Panhandle with my cat and my roommates when everything changed again, and I found myself moving to a new spot on the other side of town. Probably not the smartest thing to do during the summer I’m supposed to be saving, but an opportunity presented itself in an otherwise locked down rental market, and so I jumped.
And I was just starting to settle in there before I was off again, to Paris to attend classes in history, French, and urban studies. I hoped for opportunities to learn, to grow, and to meet new people, but was still blown away by how many amazing people I actually crossed paths with. As a freelancer for most of my life, making friends has been supremely difficult. A big part of this trip was to live alone, and to focus on projects other than the job I have back home, but in the end most of the best memories come from experiences with the people I’ve met, either through school, by reconnecting with existing friends, or through blogging and other forms of networking. Overall, Paris has been an era of incredible humans, of new tastes, new challenges, and new discoveries of self.
Now my studies are drawing to a close and I’ve reached another fork in the road. I can stay in Paris and continue studying towards a degree, or move on to other projects and other places in the world. As important as a degree is, I find myself pulling towards the second option. This time has helped crystalize to me who I am and what I want. I have so many more projects in mind, and so many other places in the world I want to keep traveling to. So I’m returning to San Francisco for now; to rest, to be with my loved ones, to work and prepare and plan for all that lies ahead of me.
Sweater: Louche/Jeans: Topshop/Boots: Frye
Along the way, this blog has transformed from a focus on personal style, to a travelogue and lifestyle blog, to what it is today — a collection of photos and words about where I am, what I’m doing, wearing and eating, what I’m watching, listening to and loving, and I want to keep that going back in SF as well as wherever else I find myself on this globe throughout 2014. I hope you’ve enjoyed the focus I’ve found while blogging from Paris, and if there’s anything you’d like to see more of or less of, or any other suggestions you have, please contact me or leave a note in the comments! I’m a bit intimidated to try to blog about food and lifestyle from San Francisco — a place that is fully documented and critiqued through every available app or website, but still I hope to share my love of the city with you through this platform.
So here we are, in another January, and once again I have almost no idea where I’ll be in another 12 months, but I have never been more excited to find out. I hope to get back to Paris soon, but until then, let’s stay in touch! Please drop me a line if you’re in Northern California. I cannot wait to see where and how we all make our mark on 2014.