So, there I was in Atlanta, sitting in an immense Desperate Housewives-style villa, on a long-awaited summer holiday from my all-consuming job as a London lawyer.
Ten years before, when my friend’s husband was dying of cancer, I had written some poems for her here in her house.
But then I had firmly shut that door and opened the one marked ‘safe career as lawyer with a steady income’. I was doing a job in which, for me, passion, desire and fulfillment were all alien words, as if someone was speaking a long forgotten language.
In the first week of my holiday I reread those old poems. I realised that I had never felt so happy as I did when I was writing all the time, my imagination in overdrive.
By the end of my holiday, I was grateful for the reminder of what I was passionate about. Putting some much-needed space between myself and the noise of London meant I could finally see clearly what I wanted for my life: to accomplish my dream of being a full-time writer.
Arriving back in London, I pondered how I could make the change. Could I start writing at home? What if I failed and how would I face everyone? What about my reputation? In one way this was a laughable thought since I didn’t have the desire to be a partner in a City law firm but still, I had my pride. I worried that it might be daft to change course in my mid-thirties, a time when people often settle down and buy a house.
But what if settling down was just settling?
I posted my CV on a recruitment website. Would I consider a move to a different country the recruitment consultant asked? Why not, I thought. What about Paris? I left London with two bags, £1,400 and a sackful of hope.