I started this blog a little bit more than a month ago with a post on the importance of doing what you LOVE. It was my strategy to change my thought track from work-work-work, to reboot and to take a moment to appreciate all the beautiful things that were passing by with the speed of light. In a way, it was my own happiness project. Since then, I was keeping a promise I gave to myself to post at least once a week, usually on Mondays.
A lot of amazing things have happened. I have started taking pictures again. Not only that, I was actually going though them afterwards: editing, arranging, uploading here. With my edits, I wanted to do something more tailored than Picasa, my usual editing app, could offer, and I have downloaded Lightroom. I have played with my DSLR camera to see what it was capable of outside of the comfort zone of the auto mode. I got so excited about it that I have bought a new lens and upgraded my camera. Sharing my travel experiences made me live through them again, to my delight. Taking time to write and post pictures gave me this space for reflection which I was missing.
Most importantly, I have appreciated the beautiful things that make up my life. And I am very, very grateful for:
- My friend Daria, who told me about the book “The Happiness Project” by Gretchen Rubin, and Gretchen Rubin. For a comforting confirmation that it’s ok to strive to be happier without a major drama as a trigger event. Even if your life is good enough already. In fact, when I shared my observation that this blog improves my life with a close friend, she was genuinely surprised. “What do you mean? You already have a life that most people could only dream of. You live in Paris. You travel all the time. What else do you want?” Now, my life might be good. It does not mean, however, that it can not be better. (It also does not mean that I am happy all the time, by the way: people have an amazing ability to get used to great things once they have them, and to dwell on things which do no match their picture of happy).
- All the people who have subscribed to this blog, shared it on social media, added my to their blogroll and left comments (and likes!). When I started A Girl with Geography, I did not have an ambition for it to be a popular blog. It was more a life-improving strategy. I think I intended to mostly write about work-life balance, my key topic of interest at the time, and then veered off piste with my travel posts. And remembered that travelling (and taking pictures) is my passion. Even then, there are many great travel blogs out there. Thank you so much for stopping by to read mine.
- My work, as funny as it sounds, given the context. There are times of the year when travelling every week for months takes all the life out of me. But then, when the fiscal year is (almost) over, there are beautiful quiet weeks, when I can stay home, go to the office once in 15 days, sleep until 8.50, do sports, watch movies and see my friends. At low times, I can work from everywhere in the world, and I go and work from my parents’ in South Korea, from 4 pm to 1 am local time. I work in tech, the most, in my humble view, exciting industry of this century. I work with brilliant people. I travel to the countries I would probably never travel to for fun, and I am fascinated by them. And most important of all, my work allows me to live in Paris.
- Being in Paris. Every moment I spend in this city invariably makes me happy. I go out to buy some fruit at the Poncelet market around the corner, and I am happy. I carve out some time to walk home from the office, instead of taking an imperfect combination or metro and RER, and I am happy. I line up at the post office with the midieval processing times, and I am happy. It rains, and I am happy. Whatever happens in Paris, I am happy. And I am so glad I didn’t give up on it after all the countries I had to change to get here.
- My parents. My best supporters, friends, photo- and travel buddies. I don’t want it to sound like one of the thank-you awards speeches, but it is true. Things I have accomplished in my life would never be possible without my family being there for me. In large, because I would not have dreamt about the most things I dreamt of and would not go about achieving them without the values I learnt at home.
- Louveteau, the love I found at the moment when I was least looking for it. My best partner and betise friend.
- My friends. My extended family, my support network, my inspiration, shopping advisors and European capitals guides. The siblings I’ve never had.
- A luck to have visited all the places I have been to, and a luck to do so often. I do one big travel in a year with Louveteau (to far away lands) and one with my parents (in Europe). To that, I often add weekends in the countries where I travel for work (or where Louveteau travels for work, this way we only need to pay for one ticket). Often times, my Air France miles are enough for a bonus weekend ticket. The hotel points usually buy us accommodation. And clearly, I gladly take the invites of my friends to enjoy their hospitality when I go to Vienna, Rome, Ljubliana and Munich.
- Having had a chance to study at Hanken, Dauphine, LSE and INSEAD. It has led me to so many beautiful things.
- My cleaning lady. Yes, almost everyone in Paris (and in Western Europe, for this matter) today has a cleaning lady, but I still remember doing her job on my own and I am very, very grateful for the luck to have a (relatively) clean house without killing myself and my not-so-abundant free time. Plus, she is fun.
- A sense of humour and an attitude to life which help me out when nothing else works.
- My health and, in particular, my metabolism that allow me still to look decent (I would hope) despite my crazy plane-hopping, time-zone-changing, chronically-under-sleeping life style. Laugh as much as you want, I am grateful for the energy I have and for all the things my body allows me to do, especially after my accident in the Moroccan desert.
- Mostly, I am grateful to the life itself, the way it unfolds. I have been saying for years that life has a better sense of direction than we do, and that trusting it would lead us to places we haven’t even dreamt of. I live excited to see what it has in store for me at the next turn.
Starting this blog was one of my best decisions. This year, at the very least. Now what? Next steps:
- Do to-do lists
- Make a plan
I have already started decluttering – and it feels great!