Pic: Ula Blocksage in Le Gers, France
It's been a month since I last wrote, life kind of got away from me and this blog tends to go with it when that happens. In that time I self-published my first zine, went on a roadtrip to Le Gers in France with some of my favourite friends, worked like crazy most nights, had some articles published on one of my favourite travel sites and hosted Christmas dinner on the 25th for my dear friends at my Paris apartment.
I've always wanted to have my own independent publishing house, it's the reason I started this blog in the first place, eventually I wanted to print travel guides. I'd kind of put that dream in the back of the cupboard in my mind until I did my exhibition in August here in Paris. The feeling of having something tangible in my hands with the printed photos and to have another way of communicating and connecting with people, it felt good.
A trip to an independent publishing fair in Paris last month finally gave me the fire I needed to launch my first publishing project, the opportunity to offer the printed book at Bliss Studio Paris' Market of Light last month gave me a deadline, a tight one but doable.
I like to manifest change, to create, and I get easily frustrated when things in reality don't move as fast as the ideas in my head. I remember talking to my spiritual counsellor, Kevin, a few months ago, feeling frustrated at not 'doing' the things I wanted to do, not creating the things I wanted to create, feeling like things were moving too slowly. And he reminded me that change and creation happens only when you're truly ready for it, it's mysterious like that I guess.
He told me not to worry and that the true expression of these things I wanted to create would come through when they were supposed to. I had to let go of the need to control and the logic-based ideas I had of how and when it would happen and trust. He said I wouldn't be able to miss it when I was ready to bring these things into being because I'd feel so inspired, I couldn't not do it. It's the difference between forcing things to happen versus trusting the moment will come when you feel so naturally pulled to do something, you ride the wave rather effortlessly. That's how this publishing project felt, everything started to fall into place all of a sudden.
That's not to say the process of creating this was without effort or struggle. As with my exhibition, I felt a lot of resistance to getting it finished. Doing the layout in InDesign, that was joyful, fun and done in half a day. Deciding on a cover, going to the printer, choosing the paper, printing the proofs, paying the printing bill and announcing the zine online, that became heavy and difficult to push through. But I knew it was emotional blocks, limiting beliefs, rather than any difficulty with the actual things I had to do, I'd been through this before with the exhibition.
The finished product is a 60-page zine printed on recycled paper that I love so much. I hope it'll serve as a tangible expression of this blog and its mission, to inspire others to travel, seek, find the light in the world and in everything. It's something you can hold in your hands that will hopefully connect you with the light that's always there. I'm working on getting the zine online on my site to sell in the first week in January 2018 for anyone who'd like a copy anywhere out there in the world.
Last month, Fathom published two of my articles on their site. I've always been excited to write for them because theirs was one of the websites that inspired me to start my blog. I've always loved what they do so much, creating travel content with a difference, telling the truth about travel in a beautiful way, digging a little deeper than the more mainstream travel sites.
The Tata Harper room at Le Bristol Spa, Paris
Read my articles on the Tata Harper room at Le Bristol Spa, Paris and on my Moroccan Weekend with G&T Weekends.
Outside Marrakech with G&T Weekends in Morocco
We took off for a last-minute road trip down to my friend Ula's family home in Le Gers earlier in the month, read the story and see all the photos here.
We left the suburbs outside Paris at 7 in the morning in the dark. We shared the nine hour drive down to the tiny town to Ula's family's house complete with fireplaces to warm the rooms.
We played cards until the early hours of the morning every night, cooked meals for each other, took our cameras out into nature to capture the beauty we felt there, did a little work and started planning our return in Spring next year before we'd even left.
Pic: Sun-Young Park
With my trip back to Australia for my French visa scheduled for January/February 2018, flying all the way across the world to home and back for Christmas was kind of out of the question for me. Left with nothing planned for the big day, I invited all the other stragglers in Paris for a Christmas dinner at my apartment on the night of the 25th, we called it Friendsmas.
11 of us squeezed around a round table with little to no elbow room between us. The nationalities seated around the table ranged from Australian to American to Russian, Colombian, Korean, Swedish and Dominican and everyone brought a dish from their home country to share. We tried to remember each of our national anthems to sing and in the end Feliz Navidad was what really brought everyone together. I know that there's something bigger that's brought us all together here in Paris to be friends, all these people from all these different places across the world.
Pics: Sun-Young Park
With Christmas celebrations typically happening on the night of the 24th, Christmas Eve, in France, everyone was itching to celebrate by Christmas night. Over-excited might be the word I'd use to describe the general mood. Lots of champagne was drunk and we danced until late, mostly to Abba at the request of the Swedes. This Friendsmas was a pretty good consolation prize to missing my family Christmas back home. This was my third Christmas spent here in France and the more time I spend here, the more it feels like my natural home, there's less and less doubt every day that this is the place where I am home.
Pics: Sun-Young Park + Juan Rojas
Celebrating Juan + Sun-Young's birthdays in the lead-up to Christmas, pics by Sun-Young Park
This holiday season – the lead-up to Christmas, the day of, and that weird period between Christmas and New Year where you have little to no structure – I spent it with my friends here in Paris instead of with my family this year. And it made me think about how you do become so close with your friends living in your city as an expat.
Sign-hunting around Paris' Gare du Nord
Whatever you're going through, from love problems to plumbing ones, you let your friends in more because you kind of have to. You need each other. Without your family right there by your side in person, you have to rely on your friends more than you would if your Mum could just come over and talk to the plumber with you or if your sister could give you a hug when you get ghosted by someone. I love and miss my family and talk to them all the time, I'm lucky I get to spend a few months every year with them in person somewhere in the world each year. But they don't live where I live all year round and these friendships I'm forming here are close ones.
Christmas Eve Eve with Ula in the 12th.
My roommates have both flown home for Christmas, to Canada and New Zealand, leaving me all alone here in our apartment for 10 days. I remember one of my roommates told me about a term twenty-somethings in Canada were using for the holidays called 'cuffing', where you find a boyfriend/girlfriend and cuff them for the holidays, for the winter. They escort you to all your holiday parties, meet your family and cuddle up with you to watch Netflix when it's too cold and dark to go outside. I prefer to think of myself as 'cocooning' this Christmas season, staying inside my place, being quiet, cooking, reading, meditating, doing yoga, working strange hours, taking baths at odd times and watching Netflix when it's too cold and dark to go outside. I think I was definitely meant to live alone at some point in my life so next year might include a move to a studio apartment for me.
I'll write again next week ❤
p.s. This song came on the radio long after our portable speaker had died on our 9+ hour car journey back to Paris from Le Gers, we resorted to flipping between stations in the car and found this ❤