The Return


This time next week I’m going to be flying over the Atlantic towards Paris. I spent four months in London and Paris last summer and it was great. I didn’t do much of anything, which is why it was so great, but I did start jogging and I read more and I got to know my camera a lot better. Ever since my Canadian return I’ve sworn that I would go back and I’ve been working hard over the last couple of months, perhaps a little too hard, to pay for it. Next week I fulfill that promise.

Last year I was there on a tourist visa. I was required to have a return ticket, I was limited to a short stay, and I was not permitted to work. This year there’s a subtle, but significant, difference: I am traveling on a European passport. More to the point, my flight to Paris next week is one way.

I’d like to say that I have it all planned out, but I really don’t. Apart from a three month commitment with a 150 square foot apartment in the upper 16e, I have no expectations. I hope to continue freelance web work for Toronto companies while I’m there — I’m taking two computers with me; this will be interesting during airport security screenings — which should sustain me for a while, but locally I have no idea what’s going to happen. Will I find freelance work for European agencies? Will I find a job? Will I move to other cities or countries? Will I have any shred of a social life as a foreigner? Or will I burn through all my money accomplishing nothing? Will I be found floating in the Senne one winter day? I don’t know.

That’s the fun of it though; it’s a grand adventure. A great send-off to my long dark twenties. When I will celebrate my thirtieth early next year, wherever I’ll be, it will be with a kind freshness that I could never have in a place that I’ve spent most of my life. I’ve been in a rut for so long I need something drastic in my life to kickstart a new decade. Leaving everything behind to go to another continent is high on the list of “drastic things to do,” so, that.

But the internet will persist wherever I go so, in the end, probably nothing will change. At least I’ll have some nice photos to show for it.

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