Why go abroad? I’ve had many people question why I’ve decided to leave my 9-5 job behind and live in the unknown for a year in France. I don’t want you to get the wrong impression, I wasn’t unhappy with my life in Canada, in fact I really did love it. I worked in a high-end design firm, had an incredible roommate and had (and still have) an array of best friends in Canada, you know who you are. I have a loving family, a great sister and a university degree behind me. But something wasn’t right, I wasn’t happy with the routine of it all, and the complacency I was feeling. I’ve always been an adventurous soul, in grade 10 when I was 14, I left for 3 months to go to France, where I lived with a family in Brittany, in the north west of France. This experience sparked my desire and passion to travel. Since then I have travelled to Kenya with Free the Children, done a semester exchange to Auckland New Zealand, and have travelled to Thailand, Hawaii and the US. The list is getting longer now as I am in Europe! I graduated from Interior Design in the spring, and thought what would be a better idea than to go to Europe, the hub of architecture and design, and do a year long working holiday visa? This idea sparked my soul, and I instantly began to research into the visa. It is surprisingly easy for a Canadian to obtain a French WH visa, minus the strictness of the consulate. So, all within the span of 2 months, while working as a designer, bought my flight and insurance and left my life behind for an adventure in France. This thought didn’t just come on a whim, my sister was already in France studying in Lyon, so to start off I really had a crutch to lean on. We found a long-term Airbnb to rent while she was here for the first 5 months, and then I would find something else for the remainder of my time. When I first got here I was a little overwhelmed, since I didn’t know anyone, but I know that everything will always work out, so I didn’t worry. I worked on my French resume, disclosure I do speak a bit of French, and then in the first week I managed to secure a job at a small café in the centre of Lyon in the beautiful financial district on the rue de la république. The job is stressful, and I am responsible for a lot during the day: the opening, restocking all of the desserts and salads, while also working the cash machine, making all the barista coffees and also maintaining a cheery attitude all while speaking French. The hardest thing about the job aren’t the actual tasks, it’s the act of speaking French the entire day is so tiring, and by the end of the day I am completely exhausted. On the flip side, I have noticed in less than 2 months my French has drastically improved, and I understand a lot more than I did when I arrived. It’s hard going from an office job where I make $20/hour to a café job where I am making 8 euros/hour, but I have to keep telling myself that this is just part of the journey. The benefits of my café job are that I get to work mon-thus and have fri/sat/sun off of working. This means that I can TRAVEL! Since arriving, I have taken advantage and have travelled to Annecy, Grenoble, Aix-les-bains, Barcelona, Marseilles and soon London, Amsterdam and Copenhagen! As great as this is, I knew I needed to find another job that would fulfill me a little more than just learning the French language, so I started to apply online to jobs in the French alps. I have always loved to ski, and I try every winter in Canada to ski on weekend and to take a trip out west. I have never had the opportunity to live close the any mountains, or to a large ski field. So I thought why not try to get a job in the mountains, so I started to apply online to jobs as waitress, hostess, cleaner, anything. Then one day I get a phone call, from a wonderful Scottish man, asking me about my application as a waitress for his chalet and restaurant. He tells me that there are not more spots available for this position, but he wanted to hire me as the restaurant manager with all of my previous experience in the restaurant industry. I could not believe it, how did this fall into my lap?! I instantly agreed, and knew that this was the best decision I could make. I would be able to live on the mountain, be working a fulfilling managerial role that would test me and make me a stronger person. So here I am, sitting at my Airbnb in Lyon, 3 weeks away from heading to the mountains, and I cannot wait! Sometimes you can’t plan everything in your life, you just have to take that leap of faith and just do it, go and see how it goes!