Paris has served as a longstanding muse for poets, artists and writers for centuries. To pursue his dreams of being a writer young Earnest Hemingway moved to Paris from Chicago in his early twenties. He was advised to live with a community of artists, poets and writers, so he could travel and pursue his dream of writing. Hemingway was inspired to write “A Moveable Feast” among other works while his time in France.
Csikszentmihalyi said it’s better to move somewhere new than it is to will yourself to be more creative.
This has been a year of big change and transition for me. Earlier this year I imagined myself to be packing for sunny LA by December. And here I am writing this post sharing my love for Paris. A city that has stolen my heart and soul. I truly feel I am cheating on LA, but sometimes one needs to take big risks, specially when your calling is more of an artistic nature. An artist cannot will himself to be inspired.
There is something special, divine and mystical about Paris that calls artists and dreamers.
Eiffel Tower in the Fall by Stephane Guillot
So as I write this, I may as well share I’m working towards making Paris home for a year. Something in my heart has been aching for a change of scenery and more adventure and excitement, and also simplicity.
If you asked me six months ago that I would be making this decision, – packing up selling everything, giving up my acting career well putting it on hold, along with my LA dreams and really pushing myself out of my comfort zone, I’d say you were absolutely out of your mind.
2017 has been an interesting year, A very challenging, painful, rewarding, adventurous, a year of growth in every way possible. I lost my mother to oral cancer after a year-long battle. I lived in the hospital with her for a month during her last days along with making the decision to remove her from IV which was pretty much her life-support since she had lost her ability to swallow. Anyone who has lost a parent will tell you the pain is unbearable, specially if it’s a single parent, and specially if they’re young. My mom celebrated Mother’s Day, then a week later her 52nd birthday and three days after she passed away peacefully surrounded by her children. I started making funeral arrangements a month and a half prior just so I was prepared when the time came. And I will tell you nothing can prepare you for this experience. There have been many nights of crying, and questioning life, and the purpose of it all.
The aftermath of this experience was I realized I wanted to passionately commit to living my life in a bigger more fulfilling way than ever before. That also meant that I needed to commit to my happiness, to really looking inwards and deciding and asking myself what is it that I truly want. Seeing my beautiful mother vanish away as the cancer ate her up, I knew I wanted to have the experiences that she had always desired. At a young age I remember my mother’s passion for France and Italy. We traveled throughout Southeast Asia, literally country hopping, seeing if it was somehow possible for us to enter Europe through our Pakistani passport. I know one of the reasons I’m even in Canada today is because of my mothers wish to see me live a life filled with opportunities and possibilities and to use my God-given talents.
Jardin de Tuileries by Stephane Guillot
On my recent trip to Europe I went with the intention of speaking to clients to see if it was somehow possible for me to live and work in Europe. The last few months made me realize sometimes we have to give up who we think we are in order to really become who we need to be. And death of a loved one can make you question your own life, and where it’s headed. For the last three years I’ve had an inward obsession, a strong desire to go to Europe and I could not explain it but there was just something pulling me towards that part of the world. On my second last day in Paris one of my girlfriends mentioned how the French government had extended the age of the work holiday visa program at Canada. I came back to Vancouver with a stomach filled with butterflies and my head filled with dreams that I could be living in Paris – the city for artists, lovers, and dreamers. Three weeks ago my visa was approved, and I purchased my one-way ticket and booked my apartment the very same day. And I’m not gonna lie right after that I started freaking out wondering if I had made the right decision.Since coming back to Vancouver on October 15 I obsessively started looking at apartments and flights and budgeting how soon I could get Paris.
In Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist when the boy is on the right path and following his heart the entire universe seemed to conspire to support him on his journey. I feel very much the same way. I had done a pop up earlier this year after my mothers passing to do something creative to help me with the grieving process. So I got the idea to do another consignment pop up out of my apartment in Yaletown. And instead of renting a location this time I was saving on the overhead cost. And this way I figured all the ladies coming would get more of a personalized styling session. My pop-up was a huge success and I’ve been able to pretty much sell everything with great ease including my furniture.
I would’ve loved more time to prep before this big move but I want to be in Paris for fashion week, when the world comes to Paris to get inspired. But there is no right time to follow your heart, and sometimes when you know you just, know – whether is with lovers, career choices, or cities. Sometimes we need to jump into the ocean and trust we will swim gracefully and with ease and be support on that journey. The biggest growth only happens when we push ourselves out of our comfort zones, that’s when we find out what we are really made of.
“A walk about Paris will provide lessons in history, beauty, and in the point of Life.”
Pont Alexandre iii by Stephane Guillot