Meet Bailey a Canadian designer in Paris
Today’s interview is a story of long distance love, “aha” moments and postitive thinking . Let me introduce you to Bailey, a Canadian Book Designer in Paris.
Hi Bailey, please tell us where are you from?
Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
Where are you currently located?
Tell us a little bit about you and what made you start travelling in the first place?
I moved to Paris seven years ago to work as a fille au pair (nanny) for a wonderful family. I wanted to see more of the world, but I chose to settle in France to learn a new language. It’s a little embarrassing to be Canadian and not speak 1 of the 2 national languages. It seemed important.
Towards the end of my six month nannying stint I met Nicolas, my partner. I moved back to Canada to finish my degree and he moved to San Francisco for work. We did long distance for three and a half years. I’d spend summers in SF, I did a semester at a school in Paris when eventually he moved back. When I graduated I hopped over the pond and made my official move to Paris. That was two and a half years ago. Today we live in Montmartre which, as an artist, is pretty damn cool.
Tell us 3 things you love about your new lifestyle in Paris and what do you miss from Canada.
1. The food! I don’t know how I’d ever live without direct access to boulangeries, fromageries, wine…
2. Biking in Paris. Even when rushing through everyday life to get from A-B you can be hit by magical moments of realisation that you’re casually biking over the Seine, past Notre Dame…
3. Paris is a very sociable city, you’re out at restaurants, in bars at least a few times a week
Miss from home:
1. My family (of course)
2. Canadian warmth. I love the French and respect our differences, but I do miss the natural kindness of of strangers in Canada.
3. The snow. I say this now with romantic sentiment, I’m sure upon returning to Canada I’d be missing the grey Paris winter.
Tell us about your current business – how did that come about?
I was working for a design agency in Paris and I was miserable, so I quit. My first degree was in English literature and my second in graphic design so I decided (or rather had an “ah ha!” moment) to work as a book designer. I feel like I’ve found my place. I love working with authors and I’m not limited to one design style. It has been a natural fit and I can’t tell you how great it feels to finally love my job.
my website: www.baileydesignsbooks.com
(my social accounts are a fairly recent addition)
As a foreigner, was it easy to settle down in Paris and start your own business?
I would say working remotely in a foreign city is certainly easier than working in a formal setting in a foreign city. I’m working with clients that speak my language from the comfort of my home office. I do have to make an effort to get out of the house from time to time; it’s important to not turn into a recluse! The other big challenge is bureaucracy. France is notorious for their convoluted system of catch-22s. I’m happy to say after two and a half years, I finally feel secure in my paperwork (well, almost).
What advice would you give to anyone willing to become a digital nomad or set up his or her own business overseas?
From a work perspective, It is very important to set limits. It can be very easy to let your work interfere with your evenings and weekends. Set office hours for yourself and make them clear to your clients. My exception to this rule is allowing myself to take time away from the office when it feels do-able. I have coffee during the week with friends, go for walks…it is important to take advantage of the freedom of freelance.
Visit your new city, meet new friends and other expats.
Do not move to a new city and close yourself off from the world.
Navigating a new culture can be very challenging, and at times makes you feel quite isolated. It is all too easy to find the negative in cultural differences. Making comparisons between how you do things at home and how things go about in your new country is wonderful if you look at it from a perspective of curiosity. However, if you choose to see different as negative you’re setting yourself up to lose. Be open, make an effort to learn and you’ll find that you can make a home in a new country.
When Bailey isn’t hanging out on her professional social media accounts, you will find her on her blog for Paris expats – www.beephonkgo.com and this IG account – https://www.instagram.com/beephonkgo/
Thank you very much Bailey for participating in this interview series. I am sure your story and how you handled your career switch will inspire many other Expat aspirants around the world.
Looking for Inspirations? Head over to this section of my blog to get more inspiration from women and men who decided to start their own location independent business while enjoying their life abroad.
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