(the misadventures of an expatriate corporate dropout)

Friday, June 3, 2011

life is cool.

the season has yet to commence and still, I am a bit exhausted! the shop needed some major clean-up and refreshing and this year I am doing more vide-greniers to generate more awareness of the shop and also more revenue ... but that old adage remains true about it being different if you are working for yourself and not someone else (particularly if that someone else is a huge corporation )

all in all life IS cool!

let me tell you about a guy I met. it all seems slightly coincidental. not long after I had painted over Salle de Vente on my door and replaced it with my overall philosophy ... a youngish guy comes walking up the road and, having read the new sign, sees Henry and strikes up a conversation. in English. american english.

I am in back in the garden and here comes Henry and this tall young fellow. "Kim, this is Tyler" .... hmmmm, tyler is my son's middle name. "I invited him to have an apero with us" ... (my favorite time of day by the way) Tyler is from California... ok curious, I go and grab three cold ones given it is a very warm day. how did tyler from california happen to find me?

well tyler is walking across Europe. he started at Berlin with the smallest bag imaginable for such a journey. no he really isn't like the myriad of 20somethings you see barely able to lift those huge backpacks. Tyler is early 30s in hightop converse and is walking/hitching his way to the southern tip of spain. he is a photographer. he is on an extraordinary journey which may last for life.

see, tyler graduated from prestigious Georgetown University and went straight into investment banking. tall and handsome, I can only imagine the tenor of his life back then. after a period of a year or two, (yup much smarter than me) he realized how pointless, how absolutely soulless this profession was that he chose and determined to leave. he remained a while longer, saving for his escape. and then he walked away. He loved photography and went to LA and got work there in the television and film industry. after some time, he left that to pursue individual projects. last year he was in morocco and lived with a berber family; photodocumenting their lives. he had some funny anecdotes to share ... including how eventually he bought a rickety vespa in morocco for 300 bucks and ended up riding it all the back from Morocco to London ... imagine the tales!

this year he is taking 3 months to walk across Europe ... and then will be spending several months back in Morocco, hopefully finding the family he was with and finsihing up his work with them ... with the goal of maybe doing a book about the experience. I am witholding his full name to respect his privacy at the moment.

he has his own internal "rules" for his trip ... no buses or trains or airplanes ... just walking or hitchiking. He hitches quite a bit and leaves it up to the drivers to somewhat determine his path. that is how he ended up being dropped off down the road from me. as long as it is comfortable, he takes a photo of each driver.

I ended up telling him my own escape story. he had lots of questions about living abroad. I confess I am surprised I didn't frighten him off xith my enthusiasm and ardor for France. after about 20 minutes or so, we invited him to stay with us. we shared a wonderful, impromptu meal and I finally left him and Henry gabbing on at midnight. I was too exhausted to do dishes, I had our first vide grenier the next day. we rose early and tiptoed out for the event, the kitchen looked like a war zone.

I had offered tyler the use of my bike to toodle around and when I returned, he was gone but the kitchen was spotless!!

tyler stayed 2 nights, enjoying our big guest bed and few comforts of home. he told us more about his life and his family and we shared more about life here in France. another coincidence ... tyler's sister's name is Paige. which is my middle name. and the middle name of my daughter. just sayin' ... by the second morning, I could sense he was getting the itch to go ... he declined offers of rides and help, I think he was longing for the solitude of his journey. he gave us a small bottle of wine, collected from another journey, as a token of thanks. later that day, I also discovered a small gift to me of delicious handmade soap. I pictured his small stash of goodies in his bag that he collects and then proffers as he moves along.

he shared with us he is seeking a way to leave the US and live abroad somewhere. who knows, maybe he will end up in Europe somewhere. his family sounds amazing and meeting him was a wonderful coincidence, a reaffirming coincidence that there are indeed other seekers out there, other crazy folks like me, stumbling around on the road less travelled ... trying to find our place in this world.

yes indeed, life is cool.


Kathleen said...

This past week, a quote keeps coming up in my mind that your writing reminds me of. It's for the poet Mary Oliver and it says, "what are you going to do with your one wild and precious life?" Good for Tyler... when I compare him to our step-son Tyler who is traveling 5 days a week for a big corporate job and trying to help raise 2 sons under 6 yrs. old, I wonder?? the choices we make along the way become the fabric of our lives.

Maureen said...

Tyler is a smart boy - wish I had been. I admire both of you for walking away.

Sois bien.

P.S. You do know that there are NO coincidences......

Anonymous said...

Perhaps Tyler was delivered to your door to breathe a bit of fresh air into your own journey. Lovely post, Kimberly.


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