Today’s story of significance comes from a woman who is near and dear to my heart. I met Caro years ago in college – she was my teacher in French 101. Although she’s a few years older than me, we hit it off immediately, and over the years have visited each other in multiple continents – including a 5-week backpacking trip together in Peru. She was even in my wedding party 2 years ago! Read on to hear how her philosophy on life has taken her all over the world.
I am Caroline, a French 32-year-old woman. I was born and raised in a small town surrounded by vineyards, one hour South of Bordeaux, in the southwest corner of France.
I consider myself a very passionate person. I’m passionate about almost everything I do! I became passionate about traveling after my first backpack trip. I am also passionate about music. I love reading song lyrics and trying to understand or feel what the singer wants to say. I’m often able to apply the lyrics to my own life.
I love the outdoors and pretty much any outdoor activity you can think of.
I love contemplating nature, or laying on the grass with the sun shining on my face.
I love meeting new people and learning about their story and culture. I especially love when their culture and country is a total clash with mine.
I love laughing.
I love love – I love hearing about other people’s love stories.
I love that feeling of complete happiness that we sometimes get.
I love true friendship, honesty and loyalty.
I love taking risks, surpassing myself and taking on new challenges.
I love smiling people.
I love watching movies and TV shows.
I love photography – it’s the best way to keep your memories sharp about the most meaningful moments in your life.
I love teaching French to foreigners. I love the questions they come up with, their (facial) expressions upon discovering a new language and culture.
I try to live my life simply – or maybe it would be better to say I go with the flow.
I like to keep my mind open, to observe where my dreams might take me. I don’t plan my life out very far in advance, but if I have a dream or a wish, I try as hard as I can to make it a reality. I think that’s what makes me, me.
The first time I left France for an extended period really helped me to understand myself better.
Being far away from home, in a country I had never been to before, speaking a foreign language that I had not mastered, and dealing with all the other challenges being in a foreign country brings really taught me a lot about who I really was. I realized that I love being able to confront and conquer challenges of all kinds, something which I never would have realized about myself if I hadn’t been willing to go.
I never would have thought that just one year would have changed me so much, but it did. That year abroad really helped define me as a person. Because of it, I found the courage to travel all over the world.
One of my best memories from my time traveling came from India. I was volunteering at a work camp there with about 25 other volunteers. I was very happy to be there, but also quite shy. I was nervous to talk to people, but I was so excited that I couldn’t stop smiling.
Then a girl on the team from South Korea, Nami, came up to me and started talking to me. She said that when she arrived she felt so lost. She was in a new place, surrounded by lots of people she didn’t know, and unable to speak English (the common language of the team) very well. But, she told me, seeing my constant smile made her feel happy and confident instead of overwhelmed.
Nami and I became wonderful friends. In fact, we consider each other more like family. It’s been years since we first met, but we still keep in touch, send each other care packages, etc.
I’ve found it so amazing to have such a deep, honest and true connection with somebody so different from myself. I think that’s what all relationships between people should be like.
I’m not sure what’s next for me since I like to go with the flow. But I’m sure whatever it is, it will be beautiful and exciting! 🙂