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I Went to France to Find My Heart

Treasure Aamayah at Jardin du Palais Royal Treasure Aamayah

I had always felt like I was searching for somewhere to belong.

I had always felt like I was searching for somewhere to belong— a place where I was alive again, not merely existing. Somewhere that I didn’t need to drown out the mundane by becoming numb to it, courtesy of one to many glasses of vino.

So, I took the leap by quitting my job to fly across the ocean and I found myself in France enjoying the amazing architecture, sights, food and feeling more lost than I have ever felt. I thought that after moving to France, I would understand why I felt so out of step everywhere else. I thought I would arrive and everything would make sense and I would know that I found it. A place where my home had more than four walls and a roof.

The irony is that I ran away to France because I was craving somewhere that I didn’t want to run away from. Up till this point, my life has been lived in constant motion—always knowing things are temporary, even relationships. I constantly created a life to escape from and so I found myself in love with running away to a “better” place. Like a hamster on a wheel I've been stuck in a never-ending loop of my own creation.

When I envisioned my life in France, I envisioned the best version of me living this dream reality. The motivated, high-achieving, super fashionable, speaking-fluent-French version of me. I imagined that somehow by moving to the other side of the globe, this version of me would just magically appear. But that’s not how life works. If you don’t put in the work to mould yourself into the person you dream of becoming, then that person is only present in your dreams. Simply a figment of your own imagination.

The fact is I took me with me. And this fact was one that led me to misplaced disappointment. I travelled through 25 cities, searching for a home and each one left me wanting in some way. At some point, one needs to be brutally honest with oneself and recognize when they are the problem. The disappointment I felt stemmed from a dark place within. Annoyance that I didn’t become this shapeshifter by flying for 30 hours and landing in a new country.

I had always felt that travel changed you and I guess I got confused with exactly what those changes would be. Travel is meant to stretch you and open your soul to a whole new reality. Travel isn’t easy; in fact, long-term travel hurts. But I now know that this pain is necessary, just like growing pains. Like a snake, you outgrow your skin and shed a version of yourself that no longer serves you.

I went to France to find my missing heartbeat but what I found first were answers to questions I didn't know I was asking. I realized that for years I'd lived with a broken version of myself. But within the cracks that threatened to split me into pieces I found strength, like muscles that must tear to become stronger. I travelled to France to learn something new about myself and by default, I ended up at the edge of my comfort zone, staring out into the unknown ocean of possibilities.

Like an arrow that must be pulled backwards in a bow, this adventure revealed that sometimes you must go backwards in order to go onwards. So, I am presently writing this back in Australia, trying to piece together a life I masterfully dismantled. I will never regret moving to France. The best thing I ever did was buy the plane ticket and lose myself wandering throughout various new cities because I now know that clarity is easier found when one is most lost.

Thankfully, I found what I was looking for: my heartbeat. Like a newly lit match, at some point I felt my heart flicker again. I did not find it in Paris, or Bordeaux or Marseilles. I found it where it has been for the last 30 years—within me.

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Published in Work Abroad Blogs
Treasure Aamayah

Treasure Aamayah is an Aussie living the dream in the south of France. She is a storyteller, lover of engaging conversations with strangers and known for being a perpetual nomad, with her current move to France on a working holiday being her fifth international move. Follow her at @treasureaamayah.

Website: www.coddiwompleandco.com

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