The Next Chapter Of My Life | Thoughts On Expatriation #1

It’s all about opportunities” … or character. In a couple months I will turn 25, aka a ‘quarter of a century‘. Here are my thoughts on how I’ve always intended to live my life and how I’ve been able to fulfill my dream: living an expatriate life.


I’m that annoying person who’s always claimed:

If you want, you can

This French saying basically reminds you that if you really want something, you can get it, or do it. Nobody or nothing should ever stop you from reaching your goals. And I’m the living proof that that motto isn’t only motivational talk. So, when it comes to my love of travelling, I always knew where I was going.

Getting Out Of Your Comfort Zone Is The Hardest Part

As a kid, who did you find most inspiring? Astronauts? Scientists? F1 drivers? Firefighters? For me it was travelers. You know, real backpackers, wanderers, international reporters, professional translators travelling around the world… really anyone that could travel full time, either through their work or on savings, allowing them to discover new cultures, customs and languages.

This seemed like the dream life to me.

I don’t remember exactly when I first discovered it was actually possible not only to visit other countries but actually live there, as an expatriate. But it must have been when I was 7 or 8, through a movie or a book. What I do remember is what I thought to myself that day: I would give anything to live this kind of life.

Little did I know at that moment what my future life would be like.

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Me then, quietly enjoying the Irish landscapes – © Gilles Gautier

Pretty soon, life answered me.

Right after finishing high school, when I was only seventeen years-old, I got accepted into a very selective university program, allowing me to study law in Dublin, Ireland for two years.

Those two years were absolutely incredible, but to be honest, I didn’t enjoy them as much as I should have, because at the time, I struggled with my anxiety a lot: getting out of my comfort zone wasn’t easy at first, but I’ve learned then to enjoy and control it.

The Courage To Lose Sight Of The Shore

Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore. – André Gide

This perfectly sums up the most important lessons I’ve learned from life so far: you will never do anything in life, unless you make a leap of faith.

I’m not saying you should take such leaps every minute of every hour of every day of your life. What I’m saying is to take a leap from time to time, when you want and are able to take it. And this does not only apply to travelling: the same goes for everything in life.

Your life can radically change from one minute to the next, so why not control those changes as much as you can?

Why wait to experience new things when you don’t know how much time is on your hands?

Think about what you’ll say to your children and grandchildren: do you want to say “I’ve always wanted to do it, but I never found the time and the courage“? Or do you want them to know you’ve done everything in your power to live your dreams and always come up with new ones?

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Me now, living my best life in Japan.

We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us.

Defying All Odds

My main point here is this: I was not predetermined to live the life I’m currently living.

I’m a only child. My whole family is French and doesn’t speak any other language than French, except my father who speaks English in his work. I’m from a rather small city in Southeast France, Lyon. My father is an IT consultant, my mother’s an accountant. I didn’t learn any English before I was 11 years old, and even then it was only through school. I never went to any prep schools, or took international classes. I never traveled outside France during my childhood.

But: I doubled my efforts to learn English by myself. In high school, I worked much harder to get into a selective university program. Then I worked harder to stay in the university path I’d chosen. Then I worked even harder to pass the French bar exam. And for the last 4 years, I worked my a** off to be the best intern possible.

So today, I’m almost 25. I’ll be graduating as a lawyer in a month. I’ve lived in Ireland for 2 years and I’ve traveled to 3 continents and more than 10 countries. I’m learning Japanese, Chinese and Korean, and I’m getting ready to expatriate myself in Asia to work for a multinational company.

What were the chances? You tell me!

If I hadn’t doubled my efforts, I would not be where I am today in my life, but I was willing to put everything I had into it to follow my dream!

So stay tuned to my blog to follow me on my next adventures, because let me tell you right away: there will be a lot more!


This is one of the most personal blog posts I’ve written on this blog. This subject was not easy to write about. I’ve carefully chosen every single one of my words here, and I hope it inspires you to take a leap of faith, just like me!

Signing off,

Lilly, aka The French Hat

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The French Hat

Hey there! Nice to meet you, my name is Lilly, I'm 25 and I currently live as a french expat' in Singapore. Here on my blog I talk about everything and anything related to travel and expatriation, and also the things I like and anything in between. Don't forget to subscribe to follow my adventures!

14 thoughts on “The Next Chapter Of My Life | Thoughts On Expatriation #1”

    1. Thank you so very much for your kind words, and I do hope to inspire you to get out of your comfort zone, because I truly believe everyone should do so: you never know where it will lead you, but it will lead somewhere new and rewarding I can assure you 🙂 Bonne journée Valentine !

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Je suis déjà un peu sortie de ma zone de confort en partant étudier 6 mois à l’autre bout du monde (le Japon du coup), je vais essayer de trouver un stage dans le coin pour prolonger encore cette expérience de 6 mois supplémentaires ! 😊
        En tout cas c’est avec plaisir, bonne journée 😙

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Très très bien, mais pour l’instant j’ai seulement visité Tokyo et Beppu, où je vis dans une résidence étudiante internationale 😊 je rencontre plein de gens avec des cultures différentes, des Japonais aussi, ça me permet de poser plein de questions sur les us et coutumes de chacun et c’est franchement super enrichissant !

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Tu prêches une convaincue ^^ moi c’est ce que je préfère dans la vie, m’enrichir des cultures des autres 🙂 ravie que tu sois bien installée, c’est déjà un bon point ! Tokyo est l’une des plus grandes capitales gastronomiques du monde, avec New York et Paris, donc je te conseille de bien explorer pour trouver de super adresses food ! Quand tu y seras depuis quelques mois, tu pourras répondre à mon interview alors ?! 😀

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Je réside à Beppu et pas à Tokyo ! Désolée, je n’ai pas été très claire ^^ En tout cas oui, ça m’intéresse ! Et puis je cherche du coup un stage au Japon, ça me fera un an d’expat’ ^^

        Like

      5. waaaah okay je suis fan *-* une petite ville bien jap’ j’adore ! Si tu veux trouver un stage là-bas, je peux t’aiguiller sur des tas de ressources pour t’aider si tu le souhaites 🙂 ce serait peut-être mieux qu’on parle par mail ^^

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Bonjour Sylvie, merci de ton commentaire ! Je suis ravie que mon article t’ait plu ! Ma série “Pensées sur l’expatriation” a effectivement vocation à être très personnelle, et à véritablement amener mes lecteurs à l’introspection 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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