Guest Post: A Stretch of Unemployment and What I Learned in Paris Along The Way

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Guest Post: A Stretch of Unemployment and What I Learned in Paris Along The Way

Frantzie Bazile waving hi from Paris!

Frantzie Bazile waving hi from Paris!

A Stretch of Unemployment and What I Learned in Paris Along The Way by Frantzie Bazile

Giving yourself the freedom of adventure allows you to experience things you would never imagine or wouldn’t try otherwise. You can learn much more about yourself, another person, or an experience than you could have should you have planned everything out. When I was laid off from my job in June, I felt resentful and lost, but eventually (very quickly) I felt like a 1000-pound weight had finally been unshackled from my ankles. For the first time, I wasn’t dragging and I didn’t have to meet anyone’s expectations but my own. The pressure of job searching, when I had no idea what I wanted to do next, the idea of encountering another boss I might not quite get along with, or finding a job that I’m not passionate about felt crushing. My stomach often twisted into knots at the thought.

I began sharing my apartment on the apartment-sharing website, Airbnb. I shared my plight with one of my guests. She shared that many times in her life she didn’t know what she wanted to do. In her experience, what helped the most in those moments was doing exactly what made her happy (like dance) or whatever you dreamed of doing. If you go that way, you’ll find answers, she explained to me. I took her advice and started thinking about what made me happy.

I often found myself Googling stories of people who quit their jobs and traveled the world with nothing but a backpack, while I was working full-time. I fantasized about how I could do that. One evening, my friend, Lyneka, told me about her plans to give up her address for a few short months to travel. With a little coercing, I realized this was that exact opportunity I fantasized about. I was trying to fit myself into a job title and job function and failing. I didn’t save any money. I didn’t have any real plans except searching for clarity. So, I decided that I was going to join Lyneka on her travels for one month. In that time, I set off for Europe and visited Paris for approximately four weeks, while stopping in London, Dusseldorf, and Geneva. Those four weeks became a process of re-inventing my mindset and re-discovering myself.

Before I left, I had preconceived ideas of what kinds of answers that trip might produce for me. It turned out to be so much better than anything I could have imagined. I spent most of my entire time walking in Paris and it was amazing. Since, I visited after the tourist season, the city wasn’t swarming with tourists giving me the opportunity to live like a Parisian boheme. Despite the resentment for American tourists I was told of, every single local I spoke to was friendly and willing to help. Along with eating the most delicious pastries, food, and drinking wine, I came across the most interesting people. I had no idea the people I met would inspire, motivate, and some would leave me completely enamored.

I was abroad for exactly 34 days and that was the most exciting, most important, and most interesting four weeks of my life. I already feel some changes in my demeanor, attitude and philosophy in life. I think that’s what some good time away is supposed to do. I’m easing back into my ordinary (which is still pretty awesome), but not feeling any less romanticism for Brooklyn or New York as a whole. I’ve finally accepted that I’m a super extrovert and I’m “on” when I’m around great people. I stayed open to new experiences like walking along the Seine after midnight with a stranger and said yes when I often thought I should say no. Each person and experience that I encountered made me realize something new and different about myself.

I didn’t come back with a job or answer to what I should do with my life, but I came back with new perspective. I’ve stopped stressing about not making progress on my life-long career goals. I recognize I’m making small steps in the right direction. In the bigger picture, I understand it’s better to take a little longer than to push myself into something I absolutely despise and be miserable and I’m committed to the process of my discovery and I’m enjoying myself along the way.

A bike ride on a nice day in Paris!

Do you think what Frantzie did was inspiring? What would you have done if you were in her situation? Comment below!

Let’s keep the contributor momentum going! Do you have a photo, video or story you would like to share on Imported Chocolate? Email your contribution to me at jennifer@imported-chocolate.com and I’ll post it on the blog!

15 Comments

  1. Such an inspiring post from a beautiful woman inside and out. So glad to hear living abroad had such a positive impact. Now I want to read more about those magical 34 days! 🙂

  2. I love that Frantzie seized the opportunity of being in between careers to travel. She did not allow money or uncertainty of her future to get in the way. Awesome!

  3. Nailah says:

    Loved reading this as I’m so going through the same thing right now! After my cubicle escape and 5 months of traveling, I’m still feeling a bit lost as to “what’s next”…but I wouldn’t trade those 5 months in for anything. Excited for whatever will be next! Can’t wait to hear more from Frantzie!

  4. Great story! I love to hear about others taking the plunge to go for their long held dreams. My step of faith of quitting my job was only supposed to be for 6 months. Fast forward to over 3 years and more than 30 countries later, I am still in awe at the wonderful experiences and blessings God has amazed me with during my sabbatical. The “what’s next” feeling subsided with continued prayer, faith, trust, and action for me. In spite of the naysayers, I just started working again — and I didn’t miss a beat!

    Excited to hear about the rest of your journey Frantzie!! Such an inspiration!!

    Blessings!
    ~A

  5. Rhonda says:

    Thank you Jennifer for sharing Frantzie’s inspiring story. A student moments ago told me if working in this computer education environment is not my passion then find something else. I’ve been at my job for 10 years. I thought I would only be here for 1, maybe two years at the Max. I’m now realizing I’m not an office person and it’s so hard to tell contract/part-time employees we have to cut their hours due to the budget. So heartbreaking for me.

    Another student asked me yesterday if I could live anywhere in the world where would it be and I said “Africa”. Why? I don’t know. It was the first country that came to my mind. Maybe I was still debating about the Dubai and Cape Town (South Africa) trip my twin sister and I found online recently for $3200 (11 days).

    I’m still learning, money shouldn’t be the holdback.

    • Jennifer says:

      Beautiful, Rhonda! Thank you for sharing! This is what I wanted: the story of one woman to inspire others. I hope you take your Africa trip with Sharee. I say go for it! I know it will change your life! 🙂

  6. This was such a refreshing read this morning!! It takes guts to carry out as Frantzie has done, and as the saying goes, “no guts, no glory”. Yet, I’m sure Frantzie will have a glorious life because of it!! Inspiring!!

  7. Zipporah Slaughter says:

    Frantzie, I loved your story and that you came back with a new perspective! I so appreciated hearing of your courage to step out during an in-between time. Thank you for sharing. I want to hear more!

  8. Robin Mitchell says:

    I lived and loved in Paris for three years. It was the most important time in my life, and I am forever changed by my experiences there. You wrote: “Despite the resentment for American tourists I was told of, every single local I spoke to was friendly and willing to help. Along with eating the most delicious pastries, food, and drinking wine, I came across the most interesting people. I had no idea the people I met would inspire, motivate, and some would leave me completely enamored.” I’m so happy you saw the Paris I experienced. Please take time to be proud of this trip and all the things it taught (and will continue to teach) you. Peace.

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