This is the start of a journey both written and realistic. I’m Kristyn Potter and I’m a hedonist.
I’m sat on the train headed to meet a stranger to discuss a photo-journalism project, with “Tropic of Cancer” in my lap, Duolingo queued up on my phone, and a WhatsApp conversation with one of my close girlfriends in London paused on my phone, next to an unread message from a Scottish guy that I have an unbelievably unrealistic crush on.
Since I was about 25, I wanted to move to Europe — to Paris, or back to London where I spent a summer during graduate school at 22. I’ve spent the past five years learning French — sometimes on my own or through books I’ve picked up in Montreal or Paris — and a few times through classes in New York. There was a moment when I was in Montreal for the first time, about five years ago, when I looked at adverts on the metro (or whatever the hell it’s called in Montreal) and thought, “why can I understand this?” The whole trip went like that. My mind took to French in a way that it never has to other things, except maybe love and unrealistic expectations in dating. Because my mind also loves that shit.
So, why am I writing about this? A few months ago I went back to London and Paris and decided that I was going to finally make the move. My friends in London were also pretty damn convincing, as anyone who has spent a long time in New York will tell you that finding real, honest to goodness, ride-or-die friends is something that rarely happens. I poured over immigration sites, and Masters programs while laying in my Airbnb in Montmartre. I cried to a friend of mine on text, explaining to him that my heart, mind, and body no longer belonged in New York and it both scared me and made me uncomfortable. It was at that moment I also couldn’t have been surer that it was time to leave.
I extended my stay in Paris another few days, had a few cheeky dates with French men (my fave), and sat at many a restaurant with my good friend Vincent discussing the France Entrepreneur visa. I prayed at Sacre Cœur begging God to help me find a way to Europe. I had a drunken night out til 6 am where I had back-to-back dates — the first with a guy who looked like Napoleon, the second with a ginger called Laurent. I had another lovely date at Centre Pompidou with a tall, quintessential Frenchman. And, I went home.
About a month ago I got accepted to a university in London to study French in a three-year degree program. I also got accepted to a French language program in Paris. And, as recent as yesterday morning I had an interview for a full-time copywriting job in Paris.
This column will be a lot of things that many of you will find useless and unimportant, albeit entertaining. For me, it will be cathartic. I’m finding that the more I try to date as a distraction, or endlessly buy books I never pick up again, the harder I’m making things on myself. The fact is, in as little as two months or in as much as one year, I will be moving to a new home, one that I’ve wanted for as long as I can remember. And transitions, even the best kind, come with a price. One day it may be realizing that the guy you want to date is just a bandaid for what’s really happening (or maybe it’s actually a really good thing that you’ve totally ruined because your mind is a minefield), one day it might be wanting to continue working at your kickass job in New York to evade the inevitable. Most days, it will be a mixture of both.
I go back to my WhatsApp message to my friend who tells me she can’t wait for me to get to London. I respond:
“The whole universe can’t wait til I’m there. The universe is giving me the biggest damn hug, I’m just too caught up in my anxieties to realize it.”
This isn’t a travel column and it sure as hell isn’t self-help. But, it’s a little way for me to escape as I gear up for the next chapter of my life. Stay tuned.
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Founder of Left Bank Media. I write about music, and New York mostly. MA Creative Writing at Birkbeck, University of London.