The source of the river.


Only 4 months ago, I was comparing London to Paris in a “city-off” which saw Paris emerge as a clear winner. Today, I am 4 days away from leaving London for Paris. Who would’ve suspected things would turn out this way? Nobody. Not even I.

Living in Paris has been a dream for as long as I can remember yet somehow, I honestly never thought it would become true. I always thought if I left London, it would be to go do Masters Degree somewhere in Scandinavia. To go the traditional route. But as it often happens, life whisks you away and before you know it, the river changes its course and there you are, swimming upstream, reluctant to follow “the usual” career path, striving instead to find the source of that river, the “purpose”, as it were.

An old University tutor of mine, Gem Barton, is soon publishing a book entitled Don’t Get a Job… Make a Job and the title alone gives you enough food for thought. I got my BA in 2012 and even before I’d graduated, I knew I wasn’t going to follow the traditional route. I knew I didn’t want to become a fully qualified, RIBA-chartered architect with a Masters and a PhD. Hell, I didn’t even know what subject I wanted to do my Masters in.

I am currently reading The Witch of Portobello, a thought-provoking book by Paulo Coelho, one of my favourite authors when I want to question and reflect on life. In this book, we meet Athena, a woman whose life is told by the many people who knew her very well, or barely at all. Not a single chapter is told from Athena’s point of view. It’s simple really: she’s actually dead.

Once again, Coelho stirred my mind. What would people say of me if they were interviewed right now? Or more importantly, what would I like them to say in 2 years time? 10 years time? 20 years time?

By 2018, who do I want to be? Someone who can only, truly be successful if she gets a job in architecture? Or someone who, somehow, finds another way to happiness, another definition. Someone who can only define herself by her job title (or lack thereof)? Or someone who finds the strength and patience and focus to finish her cherished novel with no distractions, no procrastination and no self-sabotaging.

In July 2015, I took on the challenge to come up with 101 things to do in 1001 days. I should be proud. I have achieved many of them in less than a year, the most recent of which were to “Quit my job at the World Duty Free, Gatwick & never look back” and “update my architectural website“. But I still have a lot of work to do. From Tuesday onwards, it’ll just have to be done from Paris.

By 2018, who do you want be?


Thanks for reading.
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30 responses to “The source of the river.

  1. Best of luck!! Things don´t always go as planned but as long as you keep moving, things turn out to be good. Here I am in Spain, writing. Who would have thought!


  2. Congratulations and best of luck with the move to Paris! May you find your path there – and what a wonderful place to search for something new! I never thought I’d come back to live in the UK (though I desperately wanted to). Now here I am and writing, a truer realisation of my dreams than I ever imagined! I’m sad we never got to meet for coffee, but I’ll just have to look you up in Paris one day :-)

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Chills up my spine at the thought of your move and all the questions your post raises, for me as well as for you. I love your daring and cutting loose. Good luck as you make a job. I’ve cut loose once in my life, but I had a pretty hefty shove, and I was going to a job. You’ve been the agent in your own change. I so much admire that.

    Who do I want to be in 2018 is a question that will generate a mind map in a minute I suspect. Off the top of my head? Someone who speaks a bit of comprehensible Polish would do!


    • Thank you. Meg. I hoped this post would encourage others to think beyond my world and about theirs too. I don’t know if I’ll quite “make” a job but I’m sure slowly reinventing myself here.
      I really should try playing with mind maps. They sounds productive!
      Yes! Improving your Polish would be a nice start! It’s not an easy language to learn from what I’ve heard…


      • Elissaveta, I am following a blog, which recently has been highlighting the cultural and historical attractions of Morocco. The blog goes by the name of panhirsch. He said he will look you up, since I mentioned your close connection to Morocco. I thought you might be interested. Greetings from Canada to Paris!


      • Thanks for the tip, Peter. I just tried to find him but can’t seem to find anything with that name via Google. Would you have a link to his blog?


      • Elissaveta, panhirsch is a running a side-by-side English-Polish blog under the name of narescziurlop. When you google it, you will find his WordPress website. Please mention my name, when you contact him. Thanks!


  4. Another thoughtful post. I believe you are actually opening up. I won’t wish you good luck, because I know you will make things happen. So I send only my best wishes for you and look forward to hearing all about how your life develops in Paris


  5. I was wondering from your other post if it would be Paris? Well here I have the answer.
    We are neighbors now in a way. Maybe we’ll find some time to meet for a real weekend coffee chat (not necessarily on the weekend).
    I wish you a lot of success in Paris with your new projects.


  6. I guess it’s easy for me to say, as I got as far as I wanted to in my career. Although I fell into it when I was in my early 20s, and it was nothing I ever imagined myself doing. I thought I was a family person, but there was no sign of that happening any time soon, so I resigned myself to being a career girl. And immediately met my husband and soon after had my first child.

    The reason I’m telling you this, is that life takes us in unexpected directions, and sometimes we just have to give in and ride that wave. Don’t always be hankering after what you think you want, so that you never have the chance to enjoy what you actually have.

    Paris will be amazing. You will have a wonderful experience. You will grow in ways you have not imagined. And I hope I see you at the BB in June and you get to make me jealous by telling me all about it! 😁😂😄

    All the best to you. Xxx


    • Thank you for your inspiring comment, Ali. I guess the process of “falling into things” is more and more common and we should all embrace it instead of complaining or worse, feeling like a failure.
      Hehehe, I hope I make it and I promise to have a few stories to tell and make you jealous!!! :D xxx


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