Sometimes I fell like I am in Edward Norton in Fight Club—you know, when he’s asleep and wakes up in a different spot. The morning commute is difficult for everyone. I guarantee my dad can drive his over 2 hour commute with his eyes shut (although not recommended!). Sometimes I arrive at work, sit down to check my mail, and realize I have no recollection of my morning.
Going through the motions. Métro-Boulot-Dodo.
When I was back home, I frequently was asked what a typical day for me was like. I know it seems glamorous that I am in Paris, and yes, sometimes it is. I do in fact see the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, and Sacre Couer everyday. I realize that these are all different sights from the everyday commute in southern California, but I also cannot boost that I see the beautiful Pacific Ocean everyday. The point is—it is all in how you see it.
I love my life in Paris because it is a challenge and allows me to experience new things daily. Because I work full-time, I have the option to travel frequently using the money I save. I am learning a new language and always find myself trying to overcome new situations. However, take the Paris thing away and you still have me at a desk from 9 to 6.
I am not complaining. I realize that my occasional weekend in Loire Valley or a business trip to London does make my job a bit more pleasant but the matter of fact is—my typical day consists of sitting at a desk behind a computer for 8 hours. I work to get to do what I really love. C’est la vie. And I don’t mind it. There are days that I stare outside the window in my office and day dream of my next adventure, asking myself why I am at a desk. But it is reality. Until I can make a decent living as a writer, I have to earn money somewhere to fund my travels. Sacrifice. I am fortunate because I like my job and work in a field I am interested in but I too am jealous of those who are “backpacking through Europe.” I wish everyday I could drop everything and just travel. But I don’t have the means to so I found something to make it work.
So myth buster time… “I don’t have the money to travel.” Well, if you want it bad enough you will find a way. Save up and take time off. Or suffer through foreign administration and find a job. You are young. You have so many opportunities. And I am a true believer you can get what you want if you try hard enough. The road was not easy to get where I am and I am thankful for it everyday—even when I blackout during my commute 🙂
I have grown to hate the phrase, “You are so lucky.” I am in a sense but in reality, I created my own “luck.” I am sick of people wishing they could do what I do or wishing they could travel or wishing they could move. Stop wishing and get off your butt. There are risks, but there is also great success. You just need to re-evaluate your priorities. Most people you hear quitting their jobs to travel took a lot of preparation in doing so. They gave up everything—sold their belongings, their house, quit their jobs. It was all a sacrifice to get to what they really wanted.
You can’t have it all sadly. I don’t buy new clothes or eat at nice restaurants all the time. I wait to download the new film on movie25.com instead of going to the cinema. I live in a flat easily comparable to a shoebox and frequently find myself choosing Cup of Noodles to eat just because it is so cheap. I know which grocery stores are the cheapest and make it a habit to shop there even if they are not conveniently located.
I make a good salary so why do I still live like I am in college? Because this month I will be going to Venice. And next month Thailand. And in May, I get to explore Prague and Budapest.
I have grown to love my little flat. I have learned to cook healthy meals with cheap ingredients. I realize I already have way more clothes than I should so I have cut back. This all used to be a sacrifice but now I am happy with how things are. I don’t need more space or more things. What I need more experiences.
So although we all want to break out of the métro-boulot-dodo routine, sometimes you have to tweak things a bit and compromise. Maybe one day this will be possible (and I am too hoping my travel writing career kicks off sooner rather than later!).
Look at things positively. Métro-boulot-dodo so you can enjoy-experience-grow.