going international: the next big adventure



"We can, if we choose, recreate our identities based on the things that matter to us: work, lifestyle, personal interests, or activities. It might not be conscious, but we seek out places that fit our psychological needs in order to establish ownership over our lives."

- Richard Florida, Who's your City?

...

It was definitely a long shot, we were told.

Last fall, I sat in my favourite bookstore at my friend Peter's book launch. A few of my favourite professors from grad school were there, and while I was catching up with my former supervisor, she explained to me that Brian's chances of getting the grant he'd applied for were pretty slim.

"It's becoming more competitive every year," she noted.

And yet, many months later, an envelope arrived.

When Brian opened it and tip-toed into our bedroom to tell me the news, I sat on the edge of the bed, gripped the edge of the quilt in my hands, and had a moment. I was a bit taken aback and upset, partly because I was afraid of all the change to come, and the sharp turn off the course I'd been charting for us. But what really overwhelmed me was the crazy pride I felt for him. It had been a long shot, and the most competitive year yet for these prestigious fellowships, but he had been fortunate and worked hard enough to earn one.

So, for the two of us, it was time to re-think what the next couple of years might look like. One thing was for certain: we would be leaving Montreal, our beloved, adopted home for the past six years.

...

Now October is here and plans have amazingly started to take shape. As of January, we are going international! It's really quite incredible how a new life can begin to be pieced together, one decision at a time. In less than three months, we will be living in a house on a lake in another country.

This means that I will be leaving one of my full-time jobs. After three and a half years of working -- first in marketing and design, and more recently as a writer -- at McGill University, I will be stepping away from the work and my amazing colleagues.As of January, I will be dedicating myself entirely to photography.

We will spend the first part of 2013 living in Madison, Wisconsin, then will spend the rest of the year travelling between Madison and various Canadian cities to photograph weddings and portraits. I still plan to work mainly in Canada, but am looking forward to also expanding my horizons internationally.

...

I've thought for so long about what it would be like to work for myself full-time. Despite how much I've enjoyed working elsewhere, balancing two jobs has been challenging, particularly this year as both have become considerably busier. Although I had initial reservations about this move, I've made peace with the change, and am at the point now where I couldn't be more excited. I look at this as an incredible opportunity to build something real while starting fresh in a brand new place.

The place you choose to live shapes not only your lifestyle, but really your life itself. The way you move about a place and exist within it, enjoy it and explore it is part of who you are. Before I moved to Montreal, my supervisor told me over the phone, "there really is no better place to live in your twenties." For us, she was remarkably right. We were 22 and 23 respectively when we moved here and have grown up together, with our friends, and the adults we've become have been greatly defined by Montreal. I owe this place a debt of gratitude, as it has given us a life that is rich with love.

When Brian applied to do research in Madison, I know he also chose it because he suspected we might be happy there, and that it might give us a chance to step into our thirties while reinventing ourselves a little bit in the process.

...

A note to my current and prospective clients: I am available for a limited number of bookings until the end of November, so please be in touch as soon as possible if you would like to book a session before I move! And, although my 2013 wedding season is booking up quickly, I do still have dates open and will be travelling back to Canada to photograph weddings and portraits as of mid-April.

...

These last few months are devoted to enjoying every possible moment with my favourite people, in my favourite places. You can expect a lot of posts devoted to Montreal, and a lot of exciting changes in my business in the coming months. I'm so excited to share this journey with all of you.

Photo above taken on the Great Glen Way in Fort William, Scotland in the summer of 2006, one month before we moved to Montreal.