Today is an anniversary of sorts as it is ten years since I boarded an airplane in Perth, Australia and set out to make a new life in Europe.
On the afternoon on 11 March 2006 I left Australia and, after connecting to another flight in Malaysia, arrived early the next morning in Paris, France. I think even then I knew I would not be returning to Australia any time soon and, indeed, it has been a full ten years today since I have been back to the Great Southern Land.
That’s not to say I haven’t traveled elsewhere in the meantime. In fact, I’ve done a lot of traveling over the last ten years including:
- Asia: China, Malaysia
- Western Europe: France, Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland, Spain, Italy, Luxembourg, UK
- Central Europe: Germany, Austria, Czech Republic, Hungary
- The Balkans/Mediterranean: Slovenia, Croatia, Greece
- Eastern Europe: Romania, Bulgaria
- Middle East: Israel
- North America: USA, Mexico
Professionally, things have been pretty interesting. When I arrived in Europe I was a humble PhD student hoping to write something interesting in the field of international relations theory. I did, and later managed to transition into an academic career of sorts. I taught in business schools in France, lectured in a few different countries on the invitation of schools, universities, student groups, and at conferences and professional meetings, and I managed a couple of programs, too. Last year I made the jump back into the non-academic world and started marketing and content creation full time, the job I continue to hold and enjoy today.
Personally, lots has changed in the last ten years, too. I arrived in France with a fiancee in tow, got married, got divorced, then fell in love all over again. I also had a son who is a joy to behold and the thing in this world I am most proud of.
Honestly, I don’t see myself returning to Australia anytime soon, or even ever. My life is in France, I love the culture here even if it infuriates me sometimes, and I just don’t imagine how things would work for me elsewhere. Maybe it has to do with everything most important to me being either French or in France, but I think it also has a little something to do with just learning to love the place, the space, and the way I feel when I am here.
But if I had to move?
I think there are only two other places where I have felt like I could really fit in outside of France. If I was to stay in Europe but move away from France then Slovenia would be my choice. It’s simply marvelous and I always look forward to spending time there. And if I was to leave Europe? Well the US would be the number one choice for me.
For the moment, though, I’m happy in France, and happy to be celebrating ten years in a city I can honestly call home.