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Emily People vs. Chicago Guy People. Or, Wanted: Fellow Wanderers

I recently started watching Emily in Paris, a show on Netflix from the creator of Sex and the City. It’s pretty terrible, but it’s about what I can handle right now, as we are still in a pandemic, still in an election year, and heading into winter—a winter that has me wondering if there is a spring on the other end.

Yeah. Dark. That’s where I’m at. Hence, needing light—specifically from the City of Lights, and television shows that don’t ask too much from me. Is Emily in Paris groundbreaking work? It’s not. It’s your typical young woman abroad story—girl goes on adventure, makes silly mistakes, falls in love, etc. There’s almost nothing realistic about it (at my company at least, junior brand managers—or even brand managers—don’t get to go live in Paris for a year) but I can suspend my disbelief for a few 26-minute breaks from our reality.

As Emily walks around Paris (in her stilettos—one of my many pet peeves, but I digress), I can imagine myself there. I remember walking next to the Seine when I was 22, and again when I was 34. I remember the food. The people. The sense that anything was possible, and that it could be just around the corner. I may not be able to leave my country right now, to go to Paris, but Paris is still in me.

So is Ireland, Switzerland, England, Scotland, Costa Rica, Mexico, Italy, Greece, Belgium, and Germany. And I can’t forget San Francisco, Los Angeles, Portland, Seattle, Washington D.C. Kauai, Boston and all the other places I’ve traveled in and walked around in the U.S. and abroad.

The point here is not to humble brag, but to say that I think there are Emily people and there are Chicago guy people.

Early in the show, Emily (spoiler alert) breaks up with her boyfriend back in Chicago because he won’t come visit her. He can’t see the value of being somewhere other than Chicago and is fine if he never leaves. His life is laid out for him in a tidy formation. Get a promotion at work. Get engaged, get married, have babies. Continue watching Cubs games at the same local bar into infinity. This is Chicago guy.

Emily is the opposite. The thought of going back to her pre-planned life in Chicago equals a soul death. In Paris, Emily struggles—to gain a foothold at work, to understand the language, to make friends, but anything can happen there. She can meet new and interesting people. She can be wowed by the culture. The future is full of possibility.

I am an Emily person. I will never be content so long as I am confined to one space, one routine. This is why I travel—for the chance to see anew. To have my perspective broadened and challenged. To step out of my comfort zones. For the sense that something new and different could happen at any time. I am never more alive than when I am traveling.

That’s why Kateri and I are starting this venture. We are seeking fellow travelers, fellow seekers, and fellow writers to wander around the earth with and put words on the page with. That’s also why we are building this community. We want to fill our lives with people who want the same.

We plan to be on a plane the second this pandemic is over. And eventually, we want to take you with us. In the meantime, we hope to create a space that acts as our bat signal, summoning our you, and waiting for the all clear sign. Check back (or follow us on Instagram) for more posts, inspiration, prompts, and hopefully soon, details on our first retreat offering.


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