116: Isabelle Gelot, illustrator & designer, on thirsting for life, putting down roots in Maine, launching dreams and what it means to belong

Episode 116 May 19, 2021 01:13:30
116: Isabelle Gelot, illustrator & designer, on thirsting for life, putting down roots in Maine, launching dreams and what it means to belong
Humanitou: Exploring Humanness + Creativity
116: Isabelle Gelot, illustrator & designer, on thirsting for life, putting down roots in Maine, launching dreams and what it means to belong

May 19 2021 | 01:13:30


Show Notes

Isabelle Gelot, a French illustrator and designer, and the heart of Isatopia, has shifted, at least for the time being, from a world traveling, semi-nomadic flow of life to one of home renovation and growing a vegetable garden, from light-filled cultural capitals to small-town life in Maine. We talk about this new kind of adventure and the phases of life, the gift -- and sometimes burden -- of curiosity, and what it means to belong. It turns out there's no word for "belonging" in French. But that doesn't stop us from trying to figure it out anyway. We also talk about the call Isabelle felt from the city to the ocean. Among other things. More at humanitou.com.


Humanitou is created, produced and hosted by Adam Williams.

Show notes and transcript of this episode at humanitou.com/isabelle-gelot.

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Episode Transcript

Speaker 0 00:00:09 Hi, this is Adam Williams creator and host of the humanity podcast. I am talking with Isabel jello, Speaker 1 00:00:15 A French illustrator and designer who last year moved with her husband will hunt a writer from Brooklyn, New York, to a new adventure on the Rocky coast of Maine. The move is a notable shift for Isabelle from a world, traveling semi-nomadic flow of life to one in which she and will have bought a historic house. And we're in the midst of a full-on renovation project, not to mention finally getting to grow a vegetable garden. Isabel indulge is my TV based home renovation, curiosities about this new phase of life that they have dived into, including for Isabel, that shift from cultural centers of life in Paris, London, Berlin, New York, and other places to the relatively slow and quiet pace of small town, Maine going deeper. We also talk about being thirsty for life experience and how curiosity sometimes can feel like a gift and sometimes like a burden. Speaker 1 00:01:09 We explore the meaning of home and what it means to belong. It turns out that in French, there is no word for belonging, but that doesn't stop us from trying to figure it out from digging into the nuances of language and culture. We talk about shadow careers and we feel out what really matters in our lives. And I really get to appreciate how Isabelle finds happiness in her life. We share in our common connection with nature and just maybe why it is that the ocean called Isabelle to me, given her broad roving experiences, including opening her own online shop isotope BIA for what Isabelle playfully calls, fun illustrated products made by French hands in the USA. I asked her for advice. We all can take heart in when following our dreams. Speaker 0 00:01:56 So here we go. My conversation with Isabel Jill. Hi, Isabel. Welcome to humanity. Hi Adam. How are you doing? I'm good. Thank you. How are you? Speaker 1 00:02:14 I'm great. I'm great. And I'm glad we get a chance to talk. Now I have a lot of things I want to ask you about and I'm going to jump right in doing that with what to me seems like a pretty big adventure that you're on right now with this huge house renovation and in the last, well, less than a year, having moved to where you are an uncosted Maine. And I just want to, I want to hear about that. I think there's so much there. You might get tired of talking about it by the time we're done, but how long had you been living in New York city before you made this move? Speaker 2 00:02:46 So, yes. It's interesting that you start with that. Um, I lived as my husband in New York for only a year, um, before we moved to Maine. So yeah, I had, I had kind of moved out of Europe two years, so I spent two years out of Europe in the us and around because first we were traveling and then we settled in Brooklyn, in New York for a year and yeah. And then, um, moved to Maine first. We spent a little bit of time in Vermont, um, just when the pandemic hit and, um, and then just decided that we didn't really want to go back to New York, uh, which was actually a lady to our heads. Um, I had already shifted a little bit in my career and I think we both wanted different lives outside of big cities. So it wasn't really necessarily connected only to pandemic it just accelerated, which I think has been the case for those people. Speaker 1 00:03:42 Yeah. I definitely understand that. Uh, my family, my wife and I, and our two young sons, we recently made a move a few months ago, further into the mountains. We live in Colorado and yeah, it's one of those things that we're happy to do, but also there's something about the pandemic experience and having already been about a year into that when we made the move that helped kind of precipitate and motivate that, that kind of change in life. And I do think that a lot of changes are happening for a lot of people like that. Speaker 2 00:04:13 Yes, I agree. And I think suddenly a lot of things that you didn't think were possible become possible of the way you work, the way you leave, realizing that maybe being at home is not so bad. And I mean, can be good if you make it the way you want it to be. Yeah. So I think it it's, it's, it's pretty going towards that direction. Speaker 1 00:04:36 You started to kind of set the stage. I want to add to this, that before these moves, it, it wasn't just that you had been in New York and you know, this huge city, this, um, cultural center center for art, for business, for fashion, for food, for all kinds of huge, amazing busy things. And then you go to small town, coastal, Maine, but you had been living for years, what you've described as kind of a, a somewhat nomadic, you know, sort of adventuring existence, I think. And you for, so people understand some more context here and that you are French. You grew up in France, lived in Paris at times in London, in Berlin, in Norway. You know, that's again, huge cities with cultural food, art business differences than where you are in small town Maine. So I'm wondering if there's more to what drew you out of all of that past history to live, where you are and then how that transition has, has been going for you. Speaker 2 00:05:37 Yeah, so I think it's interesting, um, the CD life versus, um, different, smaller town or even countryside life, I guess I always thought I was a city person and I was told a lot that I was a city person. Um, I grew up in the suburb of Paris and then I studied in London and baleen, and I think I was just drawn to city and I love cities. I really, I do. I love architecture and museums and the buzz of the city. And, but already when I was a Berlin made me discover a little bit different type of city because it's very big green. You can go from the city, you take a trauma and you're at a lake like already discovered it knows a version of a city, which I didn't really know in London and in Paris, just more aired out and, and just, just more space in green, lots of green. Speaker 2 00:06:30 So I think I was already realizing, oh, that's, that's really nice. And then I'd studied in no way. And that was already, well, first of all, no way has much less people in general in the country. And it was a smaller town, but it's small for a country like Germany or England. And it was on the coast too. It was in the Fjord and suddenly I was in complete different. I was in the mountains. Like I could walk out of my house and just go for a hike. And that was a huge change for me. And I studied to work with nature to connect my work to the natural environment. And I think that really something shifted in me then. And after that, I went back to Paris a little bit because I didn't know where else to go. I slept, well now maybe it's time to go back home in a way, but I always had this weird feeling that I didn't really know where I belonged. Speaker 2 00:07:24 Um, and I spent, um, I think four or five years in Paris and it was great. I mean, it's an amazing city and I, I really, um, I was cycling everywhere and I was very busy and I always had things to do and, and it was great, but I was always thinking, okay, what's going to be next. Like I just, I think I knew I wanted new adventure and I was, I dreamt of living in Rome and I just still wanted something different. Um, yeah. And then I just, life happened and I met, we am an <inaudible> and we really didn't know where to leave. These are Alice had these kind of situation where I'm like, okay, where should I go? And I don't know how to make that decision. Sometimes I even went for no reason, which I didn't want to do anymore. Cause it's really hard to arrive in a country and you don't know the language and scenario neutral way you're here. Speaker 2 00:08:15 So I knew that if I made a movie would be for his or her job or for like a reason, so that I'm anchored for at least one reason. And I did find an opportunity in New York. So we spent a year in New York and I think we both realized we had lived in New York for a really long time. And even before meeting me was already thinking he wanted out in a way. So I think we were both a little bit excited at the same time knowing that this wasn't going to be a long-term thing. I think Maine just made sense because I always wanted to live a dream, was to live by the ocean. So we started there, we sort, okay. So if it's going to be by the ocean, where could it be? And I think we just, it was just a journey when looking for another place. Speaker 2 00:08:59 First, we looked outside of New York and it was just even too expensive and kind of, I was thinking if we're going to not be in New York and rather be really somewhere different and then will told me about Maine and how specialties and how there's an artistic community. I mean this artistic community everywhere, I guess, but the ocean and I don't know, it's a little bit for me, it's the Brittany of, of the U S I mean the equivalent of the Brittany in France, which is one of my favorite region. It's, it's very kind of Romanesque and it has like low tide, high tide rocks and yeah, and then you just start looking for houses to rent and there isn't that many, and we just had a crush on this house and we said, okay, let's go see it. So it was very weird during pandemic time, we drove nine hours in a day to go back and forth cause we couldn't even sleep. And we just walked around the city and we really loved the fisherman house and it was sort, okay, maybe let's try this for a year and we see how it goes. And then we kind of fell in love with Maine. I have to say, which I don't think is difficult because it's really, it is really special. Speaker 1 00:10:05 It's beautiful. I love the Rocky beach, Rocky cliff kind of coastline. And you said, try it for a year, but you, you bought the house. Speaker 2 00:10:15 Oh, sorry. So first we rented a house, um, that we live in now and it was, it was a one-year lease. So we said, well, you know, we have to be somewhere. Um, and we sublet it our flat in New York, um, and came here and just, just moved there from New York. And, but we knew it was probably only going to be for a year. We, we kind of knew we weren't going to be able to renew the lease. So then it was about, do we want to stay in Maine or not? And we just started to look at buying a house and again, had a crash. I never thought this would happen so fast. Like we only sold like a couple of houses and then that house was where we wanted, how we wanted. So it was kind of just, it just happened. We're like, okay, well we're doing this. Um, yes. So we bought the house, but we not living there yet. We're doing renovations Speaker 1 00:11:05 And the renovations. That's really where I want to kind of dig into some stuff here with these questions, because, well, I see that. I mean, and, and by the photos that people can go look at on your Instagram page and what you're sharing of that process, you're doing a huge full lawn renovation project here. And I see literal and metaphorical layers to this work right on the literal side. You're peeling off history in wallpaper, you know, layers over the years and all these things, whatever else you're uncovering. And then on the more metaphorical level, you've talked about this sort of nomadism, this, all these possibilities, which I totally understand, right. There's the whole world out there. How do you choose? Where is it that you, and what are the reasons that really anchor that decision and how long might you stay? Where do you feel like you belong? And so through this process with your husband will, uh, now you're also kind of establishing roots of some kind when really you've been moving around, but now you are buying this house and renovating it. And there's just a lot here, I think, to unpack. So first, I mean with this house, how old is this house? And, and what is the length of time you're looking at for this huge renovation project? So Speaker 2 00:12:29 The house, um, th there's only been two different parts of the house. It's like the main original house, which is probably, uh, we think we thought from the 1870s, but maybe even older than that, it's, it's kind of hard to tell. And then there's been an addition to house, which is much more modern. Um, so I think so we took on the project. Um, we, we loved the house. There's really something to that house that we just fell in love with. And the fact that he was in a city Belfast, that we, I had a crush on Belfast. The first time I went there, we were looking into different little town, but I really loved Belfast. And one of the things we wanted was a house where we can walk to the town, to the center of the town. We didn't want, because here you have a lot of houses that are amazing with land and it's beautiful, but you have to take your car every time. Speaker 2 00:13:21 So maybe I'm still a little bit of a CD person. I like to be able to cycle a walk. Um, I don't want to use my car every single time I go out of the house. That's just, that's just me. So, so that was actually a big, uh, restraint. It, it really sort of guided where we couldn't couldn't choose and that house kind of had everything. And we just wanted a garden, even though we wanted to, we had our, um, so we were little bit, we were aware that there was a lot of work and we had immediately a builder come and goes through the house with us to see everything that would have to be done. And I think everybody was very optimistic. Oh yeah, of course, like two months of work. And, um, and then suddenly you dig in and, um, we wanted a project that we could renovate, first of all, because that's, that's what I, I used to do and still do. Speaker 2 00:14:10 I'm an interior designer. Um, um, and I've worked a lot on, on renovation projects. Um, so I really, I was so excited about designing our own house and I, I wanted something that we could really make ours. So kitchen, bathroom, everything is ridden. Um, but the bones of the house, um, had to be good enough. So we only the big, what seems like the big, big work is that some of the foundation had to be rebuilt. And it's true that the day we arrived at the house was half open. And I could see, we am on the other side of the house throughout the basement. We started to think, oh, wow, that is serious. And the vendor says, well, we'll patch up. Yeah. I'm sure you will. But, so that was a little scary, but in the end, um, the project, so we got the keys in February and we're gonna move in, uh, beginning of July, the 1st of July. Speaker 2 00:15:05 So yeah, I guess it's, uh, w what's that five months, six months, um, work. Um, we did some of it ourselves, especially the demolition cause that doesn't require too much, uh, actual professional skills. We could just sort of get on with it and we'll be doing some of the finishes, um, the painting and we're doing it a bit of plaster work and, um, yeah. And I've been drawing and designing everything and it's, it's super exciting. Um, so yeah, so I think there is regarding the more metaphorical, uh, it is really interesting also because when I arrived in the U S um, we had a little bit of immigration things to sort out, which meant that for year, I couldn't get out of the country, so I couldn't travel yet. Um, I could, I started my own company, so I could work as a freelance, which I'm very thankful that the us allows you to do that because otherwise I couldn't work here. Speaker 2 00:16:00 So that would have started it to be really complicated. But so we had these kind of life where I was thinking, okay, so in a year we can travel. So we can start singing about what we do, but then even when I could travel, I I'm still, I still have to live in the us because of immigration. I can't, we can just go to Europe tomorrow, you have those roles and I'm not going to get into it. It's pretty kind of boring, but I live for a little bit ruled by, by that. And then the pandemic. So when I could travel, we went once back to Europe and then we couldn't travel again. And I said, okay, I can't let myself or ourselves will. And I project our life depending on those rooms, because you need to have actual plans and you need to still be able to have projects. Speaker 2 00:16:43 And I think that's when I started to think, okay, we're here now. And we have to make this work for us. We have to just accept that. You know, I can't seem, I haven't seen my family for a while and sometimes it's really hard, but also you can just be like, well, because we know what's going to happen, we don't do anything. Um, so I think there is something about the pandemic that has sort of forced me to accept and be here, make the most out of it and not always think so next month we could do this. And we could go that because weird is like that too. We would just be traveling. We would want to do a project together and go to UTA. And we always think about going to Japan. And so I think it also made us realize, okay, why do we want to do he want to have a vegetable garden? Speaker 2 00:17:26 You want to have chicken? We want to have bees. Well, that's great. Let's do that, um, for now. And, and it was interesting to call my family and be like, okay, so actually we're buying a house. So we actually got to be here longer than maybe we thought, but yeah, I think it's really about being here now. I still see it as a, like four or five year project. And maybe then we want to go back to rep, like, I still need to have this kind of open door, but for me, that's projecting myself much like wafer though that I usually do. I'm usually like a six months kind of, you know, I can plan up to six months, but don't ask me where I'll be in six months. So I feel that I'm a, I'm growing a little bit there. Speaker 1 00:18:09 Okay. So now I'm curious, cause I do understand these, these feelings, at least on some level and these ideas, so you're saying four or five years. Okay. Do you see at that point, like, well, let's, let's put it this way is thinking about it that way that you really feel like, okay, we're only going to have this house for four or five years, then I'm going to be ready to sell it because I absolutely know that I want to move on. Or is that sort of more of an emotional and psychological thing for you that you might feel trapped or suffocated even by your own choices if you're committing to something just indefinitely. Speaker 2 00:18:44 Yes. Yes. I think I'm just that I don't want to say I'm not good with commitments because I got married and we bought a house. I mean, it doesn't look that way, but I have been very independent and, and, and preaching independence for a really long time. And so a lot of things are new to me and I realized also how great it is to have commitment and to feel that this is a decision you make and you stick to it. And, but I do think that I have a problem with thinking this is going to be like this until forever. Like I need to use my imagination for future projects. So I love to think about, you know, yes, maybe we love this house. It really it's like it becomes our Haven. So maybe we keep that house and maybe we rented for awhile, but we keep it for a it's our house forever. Speaker 2 00:19:37 But then maybe we do want to spend five years in France or in Greece or anywhere. I don't know. Um, after that, I wouldn't be surprised if we really, if, if this house in Maine became some parts of our roots, because it's our first house we deny and it's first time we're doing this kind of renovation project. So it's really, I think it's a really big thing for both of us. So he might stay with us forever, but I don't want to sing that. That means we have to live there and only there forever. I think I really need a sort of a wider perspective. Speaker 1 00:20:10 I completely understand that. And it's interesting how this jives with some of the conversations for my wife and I over the years, she and I are actually about to mark our 18th year, uh, together. And we have brought some different personality things into this, where that adventuring side is, is much more natural and, and things for her. And I've had to over the years learn how to loosen up a bit more and more to not necessarily have, um, to where I don't have to have things pinned down to where I don't have to always know. You know, if she says, this is what I want to do in six, that I've had to learn how to loosen up and be like, okay, or it might be something different in six months or, you know, so that free, that free flow for me has been a growth, uh, you know, practice for many years. Speaker 1 00:20:58 I do get it. And it is funny when we're married and when we have something like the purchase of property, like a house, uh, to use the word commitment and being found, not so sure about that kind of a funny idea, but I, but I do get it. And so what I'm curious about again, with the renovation part, I don't know if you watch the home renovation, TV shows that are so popular. There are so many of them out there. Okay. Well, it sure seems to me by the prevalence of so many of these house buying and house renovating TV shows that an awful lot of people, probably many, many millions of Americans are interested in this idea. We personally have not done a renovation project like that, but to talk about the popularity, my eight year old son is into them. He wants to watch the shows with us. Speaker 1 00:21:51 In fact, he drives us at this point to watch them because I think we're kind of watched out, but the point is it's. So it's a really fascinating idea to know that somebody else is doing it going through those ups and downs and hassles and expenses and all of that, all that long-winded furnace to bring me to this. I'm curious about two things. What in the process has been particularly joyful and dreamy like you might've hoped. And then on the flip side, have you run into anything that has just really tested your patience, maybe for you personally, maybe in the dynamics between you and will going through this big project together? Speaker 2 00:22:34 Um, yeah, so, like I said, I think I have a notion of what it is to, um, have a construction site and I've been, I've been coordinating some and I've been following work from like plans to like, uh, the final space. And so, you know, I sold well, I'm, I'm prepared. Uh, first of all, it's very different when it's your space, it's your home, you're attached. You have it's, it makes things very different, but I didn't know how to find my way through when and meet the team of builders and work with them. And so that's been really helpful even for me, because I know exactly what's going on when it's going on. Um, you know, I know the electrician, the plumber, I speak to the entire team, the carpenters. So I, I don't have the fear of how is this going to be and how is this going to look now, I drew that and we're going to make it look like that. Speaker 2 00:23:32 So I say it must be really hard for people who are in the dark, you know, who don't really know what's happening. So for me, that has been really wonderful. And, and again, I mean, I already mentioned that, but designing a space for myself and not for someone else, um, I guess, was it a bit of a, of a dream, um, and, and thinking about it was well and, and just making it ours, because we're basically getting rid of, of everything that exists. We just keeping the, the walls. And so that, that's amazing. Now we've had set backs and, um, ready for much more to come. Yeah. I mean, there's always things and, and, you know, everything has to be done in its own time until now I feel we've been, you know, there's delays and that's, you have to accept that's part really, really part of the game, the weather is bad, so we can, you know, cause of the foundation that there's lots of things happens along the way. Speaker 2 00:24:26 Um, I was really happy cause we, I suppose we're going to have to wait till next year to start in the garden. And we actually, because we had the extra excavator for the foundation, we actually managed to clear out the garden. So that was amazing news. And I was so happy to think I could start going to things much sooner, so good things happen. And then sometimes for two weeks nothing's happening and you're like, oh my God, this is why nothing is happening. And so, yeah, I think you just have to be flexible and ready that somethings are going to change. This hole is going to be wider. So my counter doesn't have the same size anymore. So like, yeah, you have to adapt and not possibly not freak out. Speaker 1 00:25:05 This is part of the new adventure that I started off our conversation talking about. Right. Is that, to me, this is, it's a different kind of adventure than when you're traveling in the world. It's an adventure that is all in this one place. And like you said, you are much more attached to it. It's very much more personal when it is your house. You're not just watching it on TV and you're not just doing it for a client, uh, that, that vegetable garden, you, I think that is something that you had wanted for quite some time. Right. But with all this other moving and not with having your own space in this way, weren't really able to do before. Is that right? Speaker 2 00:25:40 Yeah. So it's interesting in Brooklyn, we had the maximum amount of plants you can have in the smallest space. We started to just every week have new plants and plant baby plan. We were obsessed and we realize, okay, I think we need the garden. Um, and then when we arrived here, it was already July in this house, we're renting. Uh, but we sold, you know what, nevermind, we still, we hadn't even impact that. We started to build a raised bed, small one and we just planted seeds. And I was actually never going to work it's too late in the year, but it doesn't matter. We ha I have to do it. And he actually worked, we had a few vegetables. I was so proud and so happy. So we had, let's say, uh, so my, uh, vegetable garden, but now we really, we have plants. And I hope we can, again, we're going to start a little bit late in the season, but I think we're going to try to start this summer. So that's exciting. Speaker 1 00:26:35 I think it's ideas like that, those, those things that you can spend a lot of years, I'm thinking about in my own story that maybe in my twenties, there were certain things that important. And part of that was getting out and experiencing things in the world. And it wasn't necessarily to have my own space and to literally cultivate and grow something, you know, like in soil, like a garden, but then over time, our ideas and dreams kind of shift, and you could say that's a little dream to have a garden to have enough space, but it kind of fuels like it's a big dream. Speaker 2 00:27:07 Yes. And, and yeah, first of all, it's amazing to have the opportunity to actually do it. Um, and I agree. I think there is something about, um, I guess if I, if I look back, I was always wanting to grow experience. I wanted to see everything I wanted to know better to learn. I mean, I still want to learn a lot, but I mean, that was really more trying to collect all these memories and these friends and different culture. I was always fascinated by like traveling and the differences and learning from it. And I'm sure I like to think that I was nomadic in a way, but I mean far from it, because I'm still, I still kind of, um, made a home everywhere. I went and I think, I mean, I did travel for six months, really with a backpack in Asia. And that was really amazing. Speaker 2 00:28:03 And I learned so much. Um, but it was a wise, I mean, I lived in Berlin. I had always a room I had, but I wasn't. So moving constantly with my bags and I was always like, um, just making a home, but it could be anywhere. But I feel that, yeah, it was really more about collecting things that I could always keep with me and go anywhere with. And now, and I guess that's what growing old is, even though I don't feel old, but I mean, you reach different stages, I think in your life. And now I feel that just being outdoors in the garden, hands in the soil is just such an amazing feeling. And I'm sending to understand why my mom spent so much time on her knees and, you know, planting and doing flowers when your kid is just like, yeah, whatever. Yeah. So I think it's really phases of life. And now just, I remember it was really waking up and just running to vegetable garden, staring at the tiny presenters, see if anything had grown and it just made us so happy. So, yeah, I think it's just, I mean, I still love traveling and I would never stop doing that, but I think you do want different things a little bit, um, and appreciate different things too. Speaker 1 00:29:14 That has been fascinating to me to, I guess, move through some of those stages of life. Right? Like you mentioned it when we're kids and we see some of those things that maybe our parents are doing and we're like, well, that's kind of boring, but then you get older and you're like, wow, that's really amazing. And you know, for me, it just to have quietness I'm sure is, is something that matters more to me now than it used to, to have a dedicated space where I can do something like this, this, or to create, make art, those sorts of things. And when we're moving and we're roving around and we don't really have the physical space and we can't do all of those things, like have a garden. And so I it's, it's kind of amusing to me to notice these things in these stages and the way that our perspectives change. Speaker 1 00:30:01 But I want to ask you about something you said there with collecting memories in those cultural experiences. And I, that definitely rings very true to me and the reasons that I want her to go out and travel and to, to learn and experience things firsthand, to feel like I'm taking in knowledge firsthand, not just reading about it in a book or watching something in a documentary. And I'm wondering what, if you know, what the, what the seed was and how that was put into you to want to travel. And was that something that came from your family? Was that something that came from being European where there's already so many cultures, at least nearby compared to what it's like for me growing up as a kid in the middle of the U S Speaker 2 00:30:48 Yeah. That's, that's a very good, very good point. Um, so I'm not sure where it started. Uh, one thing that happened is that my parents moved to the south of France. So we were around Paris. Um, and I was 16 and I think I stayed, um, in Paris with my brothers. I was, I was going to boarding school, which is very different from, uh, American boarding school. But you sleep at school during the school days, and then the weekend you're at home. So it's, it's kind of different, but it was in the countryside. So I wasn't, I didn't feel provision at all. That's my point, but still, I didn't want to, at 16, I just, I didn't want to follow my parents, you know, how you are when you're doing later. So at that stage, I was a little bit of a free agent. Um, and I think I started to think, okay, so where do I go? Speaker 2 00:31:37 You know, because I don't live with my friends anymore and I can study anywhere. I won't. And I already wanted to go to London. I don't know. It just, it just happened. And I got this school that I suppose, amazing this art school. And I just went there and from then I think it just, it just unfolds. Like, you'll meet the Spanish. When you meet a Greek friend, you meet any Italian friends, so you want to go. And it just keeps growing like that. And I spoke London was my home for four years. I loved it. I went everywhere. It's huge. At first it was really, it was kind of intimidating. And because Paris is really small people don't always realize London is, it was 10 times Paris. I was there a bit lost at first, but I embraced it and I loved it. And, you know, yeah. Speaker 2 00:32:23 I was just kept being so thirsty for more. And that's when then I decided, oh, I'm going to do residency in Berlin. I went two months to Berlin, then I didn't want to come back. So I stayed in Berlin. I don't have a job. I didn't speak German. I was just like, why am I doing this again? I'm not sure. Um, so I think it's something that you taste and then it's hard to just leave and be content to just be where you are, like you just think about the next adventure. Um, and so that may be interesting. So after, at the end of my bachelor in London, I went to a chef for six months and my mom did that probably 20 years prior. And she spoke to us a lot about her big. And during her time, it was even more, you know, going around for six months was a big thing. Like her parents were worried like, hell, we don't have internet nothing. So she was really going a little wild. I think she might have gone even for a year. And she kept telling us about this big journey. And I think it probably made its way through, um, my curiosity too. And I did a little bit the same thing. So, you know, I guess we reproduce some of those patterns. It's interesting. Speaker 1 00:33:30 I like that. And I am hopeful about that with my sons, my, my wife and I both had traveled a good amount, had different, um, international experiences before we even got together. And then we have together. And then before the pandemic, we were able to, uh, of course we didn't know that was coming. And now we're so grateful that we were able to take a couple of trips with our boys and start getting them into other countries and to experience other cultures and to do these things. And it's always been my hope and probably our hope that when they hear these stories and they see photos and they understand that at least for us, it's just a natural, normal part of, of, of our lives to care about other cultures and have that curiosity and go out there so that, I hope that when they are young adults, that they are going out and doing this and finding their own way too. So I love that your mom was doing that because I do think that that's important. Speaker 2 00:34:29 Yeah. I really think it opens up, you know, when you're kidding, you hear your memes being about the Philippine, you know, you're like, oh, wow. What, what is this? This is exotic. You know, I think it really opens up a little window there where you're saying, oh, they are all these places where I can go. And I want to go back to what you said about the U S and Europe. And that's, I think that's a really good point because, um, being American, I mean, it's such a huge country for me. I'm so curious. I want to, I keep telling wheel, I want to go to Indiana. I want to go to New Mexico. Like, for me, it's like, it's almost like different countries because the accent, the country, the food, the, the landscapes, I mean, I mean, Maine, and then I think about the desert and the, you know, it's just for, for us your print, that's, what's kind of amazing also about the us, but I can understand that for an American it's like, I have to do this big journey to Europe. Speaker 2 00:35:26 And, and I remember meeting American in Europe being like, oh yeah, I'm, I'm going through, you know, they would go through like 10 countries in like three weeks. And I'm like, what are you crazy? But because we had the facility to take a train and go to Germany, and then even if we're a push, we go to, you know, all the way to Australia and for us, it's like a weekend trip. So we don't realize, yeah, it's, it's, it's a very interesting student, two separate worlds, a little bit. Um, and the way of traveling is very different to that. That's true. Speaker 1 00:35:59 Definitely because we don't have that kind of train system for most of the U S to really effectively be able to work with that. Even if you were to take Amtrak and go across the U S wherever it dumps you out, might very likely be a small town. If you were to try to explore the in-betweens in between the big cities, right. And then we don't have great transportation to deal with, well, how do I get around this town? Unless maybe you took a bike or something, but if you're in a big city, you know, you have more options, but it is very different. That's, that's the point. And I agree that, so when I was younger, Europe was especially a focus for me. I was interested in a lot of things in the world, but Europe, especially. So that was a big trip that I had it in mind for me. Speaker 1 00:36:47 And it took me until I was willing to adulthood. I had actually gone through college. I'd gone through army, had gone through grad school, and I had taken extra loans, student loans to pay for grad school and then put away several thousand dollars for a summer to spend in Europe. So I'm already in my mid going into late twenties at this point, but it was something that I'd had to do for so long and hadn't been able to do. And then it was only after that, that I could settle that down a little bit to say, okay, let me go see more of America in the way that I want to and explore. And from that, I gained a lot more appreciation of those differences within my own country that you're talking about. So I can drive through Kansas and appreciate, despite it being really flat. And you might say, there's not a whole lot there to look at. I can still find a lot of value, no matter what state I'm in, no matter what the landscape, no matter what's going on, you know, what's different. So, yeah, it's, I hope that you get a chance to do that, um, to, to hit the road and, and see more of the U S then if that's a curiosity you have. Speaker 2 00:37:57 Yeah. And I think that's also another really interesting thing is that when you were younger, I didn't care about going to like the wine region in France. I didn't, I wanted to go to Germany or, or Italy, like I had, it had to be somewhere else. And you forget that right. Next door, there is so much to see. And even, even different time of the day, the other day, we had to wake up at four. Um, and, and we took it, we drove and we realized the sun sunset was just, I felt, oh my God, I haven't seen that since I was in Asia, it was like purple red. And I realized, wow, there's also just this passivity to, you're waking up two hours earlier and discovering a complete different, it just felt magical. And I think with growing up, you understand that too, that you don't have to take a plane and go that far away to discover so much. Um, and that's kind of comforting to, especially these days, um, knowing that is, is, is great. But yes, I do plan on visiting more of the U S definitely. Speaker 1 00:39:03 So with this idea in mind of the traveling, and we've already well covered this idea that you have lived in some different places, which by the way, when you're talking about being a nomad or not, and that you would set down for say six months somewhere, I have always thought that that's an excellent way to do that. Not just pass through with a backpack, if you can help it, but to actually sort of become part of that urban landscape that flow to, maybe you learn a little bit more than just, if you're only spending a weekend there as, you know, somebody who's there to see the highlights, you know, to go see the Eiffel tower, but then not actually go hang out, you know, in cafes, know something local. Right. But yeah, it makes me, you know, it brings to mind a question that somehow has been in me, I think for quite some years, which is what really is it that we can define as home? Speaker 1 00:39:53 What feels like home, like where we really belong, what it is. We really want to have that relationship with, because somewhere in there's this balance of, oh, but in three months, I want to go travel to this place and I want to go live in this place. And there's only so much time in life. And also I want to have this idea of home and comfort. It's like, it's, there's a push pull that goes on there. Have you figured out that idea of what it, what it means to you to really have that sense of home and where you might belong or does that really not matter because you just want to see the whole world. Speaker 2 00:40:28 So, yeah, I wish I had a appropriate answer. That question. I, uh, I truly believe it's a, it takes a lifetime to figure it out. I think, I think there's different kinds of hope. There are some people who have a family home, which could be a house or land, or even a town or, and for them, it's going back there is going back home. I don't have that feeling with any, uh, particular place. Um, so then it opens up a lot of, of questions and possibilities, where do I belong? And what's particularly interesting for me is that the feeling of belonging I learned by learning, not by learning English, but when I learned, when I started to speak English, because we don't have a word in French for belonging, I'm sure we have 10 words that could say that. But I have tried when I tried to explain to people, I don't know where I belong. Speaker 2 00:41:26 If I try to say that in French, I don't know how to say it, which maybe is why I haven't felt that I belonged somewhere. Um, it's really, it's a really interesting for me in, in German, they have Heimat, which is a special name for home, which I discovered their nurse also because I was a little obsessed with actually that matter the home, what's a home. How do you make a home? How do you feel at home? Um, and I remember those terms and that's what makes, makes language so fascinating too. So for me, belonging, for a long time, it was actually part of, of a little bit, um, a worry I had or if I was sad or if I felt depressed, I was wondering, where should I be? Like, I don't, I don't know where I belong. It was really a question for me. Speaker 2 00:42:13 And, um, I think today I lost a little bit, this fear of, and I think so it connects her. So with, am I where I should be in my life? How am I doing what I want to do? You know, all these questions that just unraveled from that one question, where do I belong? And it might sound cheesy, but meeting well, for me was a little bit a sense of belonging. Like I feel that I belong where he is. It sounds, it's just, it's, it's very simple, but it's true now. I'm not afraid of thinking in five years. Maybe we actually, I love now thinking in five years, maybe we can be wherever we want, but we're going to be together. So I feel that's where I belong. And I have to say, I feel everyday extremely lucky that I get that part figured, figure it out in a way. Um, but it's not geographical, which, you know, maybe that's the whole point. Speaker 1 00:43:06 I absolutely feel that, uh, in fact, the only way that I've come to that answer for myself still at this point is that where my wife, Becca and where our sons are, where we are together as a family, that's, that's the best or closest I've come to having an answer of where is home, because, and I've said as much with our sons at times, they get a little anxious, maybe when we're out traveling or we're out, even if it's just a day trip from home, but we're hours from home. And, and they really, I think, want to know the comfort of that schedule. Well, how long until we get back to our comfortable spaces or whatever it is, where are we going to get food to eat? And these questions that they have that, of course we have, we have in hand it's, you know, it's okay. Speaker 1 00:43:50 And so what I have at times reminded them of over the years is, but wherever we're together, we're good. You know, we don't need to worry we're in this together. So it almost doesn't matter what comes ahead. If it means getting home tonight, if it means staying at a hotel, if it means going to a restaurant or whatever it is, we're in it together. And to me, that's, he might struggle to understand that concept at 10 years old. But for me, that's what I've realized that sense of home and where I belong is, is just where my family is. So I totally get that. It's not cheesy to me at all. Um, it makes sense. I want to go back to this idea of belonging and belonging, not being a translatable in French, because it makes me wonder then is this idea of belonging? Is that just not a French thing? Is it not? Is that too sentimental or is, it may be that belonging is inherent. And so it's just not a question that gets asked. Do you have, do you have a sense for that? Why there's not that really equivalent? No, Speaker 2 00:44:55 It's funny because why we're speaking about this, I'm thinking, how would I say it in French if I'm really trying to figure out how would I, and I remember that once I tried to explain it to my mum who speaks English and who gave me a word that wasn't to me satisfactory, but that was closest to what you're trying to say. I can't find it right now, which is silly. Um, but I think there is a, um, there's a word which is more a Patagonia, which is more, which means more it's belonging, but more in a little bit more in a material kind of way, like having something. Um, and you could, I can't, it's really hard. And I wonder why, and I wonder if it's because Y w okay, so the real question I think is why does the English language has such a specific word for, for belonging and something belong to someone, someone belongs to a place like it's, it can be used in different ways and yeah. Did French people didn't need to feel like they belong? So it's, it is really, it, it, it would be worth looking into that. Why, why don't we have a, uh, a particular word for that? Speaker 1 00:46:11 I think it's an interesting question, which makes me wonder if it's more like, is that something that, and this, this probably is rhetorical, probably not something that you can answer, but I'm am, while we're thinking about it, wondering, is this something that came about, we'll say in English and, and in the U S then the use of it as say, mindfulness practices or going to therapists and where we start really kind of digging into ourselves in these meanings. So whatever the history of all that is, and maybe has been just in recent decades, maybe that's a newer kind of let's, let's see how we think about ourselves. Let's have some self inquiry and ask some questions of ourselves and somehow this idea of, well, where do I belong? Cause we're talking about emotions here emotionally, spiritually, psychologically, and maybe that's just not been a thing so much where it's evolved in the language for French people with really a much longer history than we have. Speaker 2 00:47:06 Yeah. It's, it's really interesting, especially because I often, so language is really interesting and will, and I, we kind of, we joke a lot about our languages and what's missing in your language and what's missing in mind. And usually I find that there are not enough words in English to say all the things I want to say. And I find that some words you can use, like, you go with you, go ahead, you go forward, you go, like, there's a lot of words. It's just the same verb. And you just, if it's declined a lot, and she was in a lot of different ways and in French, I feel that we have a word for everything. Like, this is the differently from this, and that's not the same and a hat. What does a hat mean? We have 10, 10 names for all different kinds of hat, you know? So we laugh a lot about that. Otherwise they are, there's not enough words, but then we don't have the word belonging. So, you know, that's, that's interesting. Speaker 1 00:47:59 Let's, we've talked some about your youth a little bit, but I'd like to go into that a little more if you don't mind, because I'm often curious about where we all come from and what those shaping experiences were. You said you grew up outside of Paris, at least in a suburb. Um, for part of that time, what else was going on there? What, what were the influences maybe that was family, or maybe it was the environment around you? Are there particular memories from that time that you really hold onto for, for better or worse? Maybe. Speaker 2 00:48:35 Yeah. So I was actually born in Masi in, in the south, on the Mediterranean. Um, my parents lived there for, I think, seven or eight years and I was born while they were there and then they moved back. So my dad is from Paris, so he's a proper city Parisian born. And my mom was from a small village, Northern France and, and studied in Paris. And yeah, so, so we lived in the suburb of Paris in a very nice house with a garden. Um, and I think, um, yeah, we, so when I was about 12, so I have two older brothers, um, we went into this boarding school, which is different from American boarding school, but so it was outside of, it was in the countryside. Um, it knows her. So I guess somehow we connected a little bit to more like my mom's origin. Speaker 2 00:49:32 Um, and it's really interesting how these things impact different, um, kids, because my older brother, the first one for me is still really a city person. And my second brother has become by this experience of going a little bit more in the countryside. I'm much more of a nature person. And, um, he loves fishing and hunting and he's in the woods and he has become very, very nature oriented, um, because of that. And then would never tell anyone he's from Paris, because for him, it's like, you know, it's like saying you're from New York city when you come to Maine, he's just like, oh, okay. You're from their city. There's already some kind of idea of who you might be. Um, so I think it really shapes. Yeah. And it comes again to like having this experience and traveling and sort of this all sort of makes, makes you understand, I guess, who you are and, and how you want to move to. Speaker 2 00:50:27 Um, so, so I had, uh, I had, uh, uh, childhoods, um, maybe a bit mixed between city. And I think for a long time I was very city oriented, but I would also go to this village where now my family have a house. Um, and we would go in the Swan then do end. You know, I wonder if some kids don't love doing that. So, so I also discovered that I liked being outdoors and doing things like that. Um, yeah, and I think I wanted to be independent. I can remember being a kid and telling my mom when I, we have my own flat. I was always thinking about having my own place. I don't, I don't know why. I think some kids want to stay living at their parents' home. Uh, and that's where they, they want to be. I always wanting to have my own place and I dreamt of having a job. Speaker 2 00:51:21 So I, soon as I had my, uh, back LOL, which is like the exam after high school, I was studying and I had a part-time job as a sales woman. And I thought it was the coolest thing and I just really wanted to do. Um, so I always had a job on the side and luckily it's not even because I had to, because my parents have been so supportive and I feel like an extremely lucky person, but I just wanted that. So I think I was just really thirsty for any kind of experience. I loved being a waitress so much that even later in life, I was like, maybe I should just be waitress again. It was just like, you know, I knew what I had to do. And it was so efficient. I felt helpful. So I think I just wanted all the experiences I could get, which sometimes also gets confusing because a lot of time I felt confused. I was like, everybody seemed to have figured out everything. I don't know what I'm doing. Why do I want to do? Um, so I think this curiosity is a gift and can also be a little bit of a, a burden to carry. Speaker 1 00:52:25 I understand that fully as well. Uh, it, you have this question of what is it I am meant to do with my life, maybe what is it I want to do with my life? And when you feel open to so many possibilities, well, yeah, I would take that job. If that were an option, I would take that one. They're completely dissimilar. And at some point I started asking, you know, myself, well, am I actually choosing things or am I just being too flexible to allow life, to choose for me, allow other people to choose for me. And I still don't have an answer to that question, um, other than to be able to sit with it a little more comfortably and accept that I have different interests and that that is okay, but it is tough to, to have that. And so in your environment and part of that shaping thing, you're saying city, we're saying country, the reason I ask some of this is I'm also fascinated in general with how environments factor into shaping people's worldviews their experiences, how they live life, and maybe you're from, um, you know, a desolate urban sort of environment. Speaker 1 00:53:35 One that's kind of beat down, maybe you're from a desolate rural environment, one that's just pastoral and full of beautiful greenery and plants in nature and solitude. And of course, that's going to have an impact. And now here you have gone from these city experiences, again, most recently living in New York city and you move to a small town, coastal Maine, where there's tons of nature. So I'm curious how that has influenced this collection of you that started back in your youth. It sounds like how that has influenced you as a creative being and what you're doing with that, in that connection in nature now in Maine. Speaker 2 00:54:16 So yeah, that's, that's actually, it's a really interesting, uh, thing to, to, to reflect upon. Um, I wonder why I have this thing about the ocean. Um, so my parents now live by the ocean and it's so that, I guess I, I did realize that that was wonderful. Uh, but I think more than that, and it's funny because I've never actually really thought about it, but it has crossed my mind as a kid. We would go in vacation since almost I was born since I was a tiny baby. My parents saw an ad in the newspaper for a house in Brittany, which so it's the arm of friends. So in the Atlantic ocean, um, they were in Masisi. So they were literally, I mean, I know Francis notes country as big as he was, but it's still like literally the other side of the country. Speaker 2 00:55:05 And they saw this ad in the newspaper for a little house and they saw that looks wonderful. We just go there. And then when there for vacation and completely fell in love with the house and the Seville edge, it's a wonderful place that really, I hold in my heart and they went there again and again and again, every summer since I was probably, I don't know, 14, and we kept going after that, it got more complicated cause everybody has different lives and everything. So you don't do family vacation that much, but we kept going back every, went back around with my brother just for four days, but we just, we had to see it's called eat two deeds. It's beautiful. Um, and I wonder if somehow this hasn't always been within me that I just wanted some kind of center me like that. Cause Britain is really, it's kind of special, but it's also can be terrible weather. Speaker 2 00:55:52 It's very capricious. It's not, you know, it's not like the Mediterranean, it's, it's really a different feel and there's something very, um, there's some solitude to it. I think people who go there so like to be by themselves and in nature and are not afraid of like bad weather and sort of grumpy people in their way. Um, and I think maybe Maine, somehow touch the string there, um, without little bit unconsciously, but now that I'm here, I keep thinking, oh my God, this is, it reminds me so much of Britain. Even the smell, you know, that there was a smell at low tide. And I was like, oh my God, this is like being back. So I think that might have played a part. And I think that relates to what you just said. There are things that shapes along your, your life that you don't even maybe realize. Um, and then being there, just there just show up. And I think that might be, and, and also I think we had a call a little bit with me into, so I think it's, it's, uh, both of us, but yeah, it might be, it might be connected to that Speaker 1 00:57:00 And that nature it, I think from what I see that you make in your illustrations, from things that I see you post on Instagram and share, I, I think that you and I both share this love and connection with nature. Is that, is that a fair guess there? Speaker 2 00:57:17 Yeah. And I think that weirdly came back into my work still being in the city. I was, so I worked in, in, uh, I did some set design and then space design and I was obsessed with natural architecture, vernacular architecture, and I did this big master. So that sorts of why I decided to go to Norway because I thought, wait, this is going to be complete different setting. And I think it's going to be really interesting for my work to be in the mountains. Um, and I did these installations that I called more for space and there were some, uh, I, I imagined that there was some emotional platform. So for example, a platform sitting on a lake and if it's raining the water pours into the space or is this kind of poetic, uh, spaces. And the idea was that this space has no purpose except you sit there and you're in connection with nature. Speaker 2 00:58:07 So one space was about the wind. So you had this sort of, um, fabric that would bring the wind inside the space. One was about filtering the light. And I think I just had this kind of realization that I didn't necessarily want to design space, uh, for purpose. And I wanted to rediscover, what does it mean to be in nature only you and your instinct. And then I made the Emmanuel about how do you build your own space? So it's almost like a shelter, I guess you could call it a shelter. Um, so I think there started something really intense for me. And it was so weird because no way was, I was kind of lonely. It was a little bit hard to conditioning. I mean, it was wonderful, but, um, it's like when it's so beautiful that it's also sad. Um, so it was also, yeah, it was hard, but he made me so creative. Speaker 2 00:58:56 And so, so now I want to touch the way you were saying about creativity. I have realized that I have really bursts of creativity when I'm either in nature or traveling when I'm sort of on the move and seeing new places. So a lot of my illustrations are either about places I've been to or just, yeah, I guess being in nature can give you room for creativity and new places. Um, can also just, yeah, this it's so much easier to trigger your creativity when you're in these kind of situations. Then when you're in your daily routine, like when I was in Paris, suddenly I had a job that was the reverse of what I was doing in no way I was designing commercial space. And there was wonderful things about it, of course, because building whatever you build, I think there's a lot of, um, of happiness comes out of building something, but I was getting further and further away from things that really mattered to me. Um, and that's just, you know, how life is sometimes, but every time I would go there for a weekend or go in in the country, I would have this need to create and draw and just, yeah. Speaker 1 01:00:05 W what is it that matters to you? If there's one or two or even three or whatever things, what, what have you decided that when those things take you farther away and you recognize it, you're like, wow, this is what really matters. I need to move back toward that. Speaker 2 01:00:18 That's, that's a very good question. I think I'm still figuring it out because I'm in New York, I was again being a designer for, um, commercial space for restaurants. And there was some great things about it because restaurants are wonderful. Um, but there was also, there's something about design that's becoming really, um, commercial and that's hard on me. It's the, it's the moment where you realize you're not building for, for any, for good reasons you're building for style or you've been in for, for money. And, and it's just, I just, I just felt it, wasn't making me happy to be, to be drawing and it's beautiful places, but it's just not, it just wasn't in agreement with me. So I think what I'm trying to figure out is how do you do something that aligns with the things you love and what are they? And I think just trying to set that step back, um, and giving myself a chance for, for doing something that makes me happy. Speaker 2 01:01:24 Um, and I think those things are making things that make people happy if that makes sense. So, so I would like to think that people can get from me any major or, or an object or something that just bring them a little bit of magic. So that's where I'm going. And I'm still really finding my way because I've been working, giving my creativity to other people for as long as I can remember. Um, and now I'm really doing it for myself. I mean, and then hopefully putting it out there in the world, uh, but I'm still figuring out how does it live? How does it yeah. Go out there? Speaker 1 01:02:05 I think figuring it out is, is a lifelong thing, whatever that it is. Right. And so you're talking about commercial design and I'm thinking about shadow careers, these careers that we have, that sort of these shadows, they're similar to what it is we want to do if it's being creative in a certain way, but we're not quite doing it that way instead. We're like, well, I can get a job using my creativity in this way. That's not necessarily the way I would dream about, but it's cool and I can make a living. And I think we all for a lot of us, especially who enjoy those creative fields, we, we end up with that and those shadow careers can be fulfilling in certain ways, but it keeps at least for me nagging that the purposes of my doing this, aren't quite in alignment with what I'm really after and what I've come to on this is that we can only feel what that answer is. And by going in nature, for example, is when we get quiet and we have a better chance to connect with that. But it's, it's almost like this nearly perpetually elusive idea. Um, but I'm going to guess that you're really on it. You're onto it. You're feeling it out. You move to, you're doing this thing and you opened up your own online shop for the work that you're doing. Right. Isotopes. Tell, tell us about that. Speaker 2 01:03:25 Yeah. So, um, I totally agree. And I liked the term of, of, um, shadow career. And I think that's also how you learned, um, how you learn, where you want to go. Uh, and for me, I think, uh, uh, uh, borrow meter away of knowing when I'm stepping out of where I, I want to be, even if I don't know where it is, is when you wake up in the morning, are you excited about simple as that? Are you excited about going to work or are you excited about your next task? Are you excited? And when you start dragging your feet, because I'm not a person who dragged my feet, I'm usually like, I, I really, I'm very active. And when I start dragging my feet, something's off and I've tried in the past to switch completely, leave my job, try new things. And it's just, it takes time to figure it out. Speaker 2 01:04:14 That's exactly what you said. So I think, um, having again, having wheel is really helpful because when you're doing it by yourself, which I did the fear of just not making it at the end of the month, often made me take on a nose job, hoping, you know, that that might be better. And then three months later being like, okay, that wasn't it. So, um, having Willie being very supportive in telling me you should do it, but what I did is that I started again drawing. So I moved to the us was when we went to Mexico for eight weeks and I thought I have to be doing something. And even before that, we traveled in the us for a month and then Mexico and I, so I have to be doing something and not the kind of person who can just like, oh, you know, we'll, we'll see what happens. Speaker 2 01:05:01 So I started drawing and I studied this atopy. I was like, I'm just going to Georgia, draw, uh, whatever, where we're going and I'm going to share it. Then I made a platform online website. And then when we're in Brooklyn, we often work during the weekends. So we would work on his writing and I would draw. Um, so I was a designer during the week and I would do an illustration during the weekend. So that was kind of my transition. And then when I studied dragging my feet in the morning, I said, okay, I need, this is not working. And it wasn't even going to Maine. That made me, it was a decision beforehand, even before the pandemic really hit, where I kind of told my job that I wasn't going to be full time anymore and then wanted to try to be, is that Topia full-time wherever that was going to lead me. Speaker 2 01:05:47 And then everything happened that we moved and I sort of get it now, that's my chance, because it's much easier to do what I do being in a small town Maine than in New York city, where you have the pressure of money, rent lifestyle. Um, and I think that was also the big change for me is I realized we don't have to do that if we want to, we can, you know, make, make enough money to live in a city like New York or Paris, or, but we can also have different lives, um, where suddenly I don't even want to buy things anymore because my life is not really about that. Um, and I don't know, it's been a complete game game changer for me, um, to just change my lifestyle and realize that this allows me to try and build my own profession to try and make. Speaker 2 01:06:33 And it's funny, cause I think about this really, really different of mine who so many times has heard me say, I don't know what I'm doing. What is it that I really want to do? I don't know where I'm going. And she was like, listen, if you can't find the right job, make your own job, what is your own like just invented. And I was like, yeah, that doesn't really mean anything. And I think that's what I'm trying to do now. And I haven't figured that at all, is that uptight is growing. I'm taking classes and I'm happy because I'm making and I love the different hats and I'm never bored and it's always exciting. It's very scary. I'm not going to lie. There's a lot of scary things, but it's a real adventure. And I think, yeah, I'm figuring out what's my own. Uh, what's my invented job. Speaker 1 01:07:20 I often ask people what they've learned, um, you know, from their experiences or from all these, these shaping formative things, right? What have you learned so far in life, but the way I want to ask you about that is if there's something that you've kind of been able to boil down or feel like for now, you really have maybe figured out about following your dreams in general, right? Because you've traveled a lot, you've done a lot of these things. You've now started isotopes Pia. And just, what have you learned about following those dreams in your life, following your heart? Speaker 2 01:07:51 Um, I'm afraid step's going to be the most exciting answer, but I think I've learned that and I'm still working on it, but that you have to be patient that being frustrated because you're not where you are. Uh, you're not where you want to be because you haven't done that travel. You really want to do because you've always wanted to live in this city and not where you're living now is not actually helping. Um, so being, having face in the fact that sinks come in their own time too, and that having dreams is amazing. And I have planners filled with axing that want to do and dreams. And I love telling, well, we should, you know, have this cabin in Greece and like just crazy dreams. And I encourage dreaming. Always. I think that the most dangerous thing is to stop having dreams. And, but I do think that feeling frustrated because those are not happening is, is even worse than having the dream. So I think having patients, and I'm not a patient person, which is why I allow myself to say that it's very hard for me to think it's going to take time, you know, just have face. So I would say, yeah, keeping in mind that being patients and that it's never too late for things to change or for, for, for changing things yourselves even, uh, and maybe it's not today, maybe it's tomorrow, but keeping an eye on your dreams and also not letting them frustrate you, I think is important. Speaker 1 01:09:22 I think that is good to remember. I also, I would not say that I am so patient, but when I am in that more optimistic place and I'm, and I'm kind of practicing and taking that view, I like to remember remind myself at any moment could come a phone call could come an email could come an idea. You could run across something on the internet or reading a book or meeting a person. And so many things can ripple off from that and just change and it can lead to something great. And you just never know what's really right around the corner at any given moment. So patience is important. Speaker 2 01:09:57 Oh yeah. And actually I'm actually realizing, yes, I totally agree with you. And I'm realizing I might change my answer. Being patient being patient, I think is the answer to a lot of things, even professionally and personally, but there is another thing. And it's an advice that was given by. Those are amazing friends and lucky to have. One of her friends is to formulate what you want for a very long time. I was really afraid to say out loud, the things I really wanted in my life. I don't know if I was afraid. It wasn't going to happen because I said it. Or if I felt that I shouldn't say that out. But one day she told me this and just formulate, say it out loud to yourself, sing about it, visualize it. And she told me to do that. And it happened that it really, the fact that suddenly, I don't know if it's because I, so what I really dreamed of having, um, or even just having happening to me or if it's, because I said it out loud and the universe heard it, I don't know, but I am still thanking her. Speaker 2 01:10:57 I'm telling her you were right. And she even told me, that's exactly what you told me. You want it to happen. And it did happen to you. So it's true that putting words on those things, not being afraid of, of thinking, I would really love to have this kind job or mid this kind of person or, or that's, that's what I want to see happening saying it out loud. Uh it's like facing your dreams and, and it, it's amazing. It really is. Speaker 1 01:11:27 I think that's wonderful too. And I will agree with that because that has been a great attitude shift for me again, another practice trying to do, I think in the past, I've been afraid to say things in part, because I would be embarrassed if I, if I kind of bare myself, I'm vulnerable. I say, this is what I want, and then it doesn't happen. And then I'm afraid people are going to feel bad for me. Look at me weird. I have to kind of, it's just sort of that, that weird quirky thing, maybe for me that then I want to hide from it. So instead I keep it to myself. And what I've learned is to let go of that and to do, like you're saying, so that is, that's great to bring up to thank you for that. And thank you for everything that you've shared here about your, your story and just everything in this whole hour. Plus, I love having this conversation with you, Isabelle. Speaker 2 01:12:16 Thank you for having me with wonderful to chat. Thanks. Speaker 0 01:12:30 That was my conversation with the illustrator and designer. Isabel jello, Speaker 1 01:12:34 You can learn more about Isabelle in the show notes, published on the [email protected], where I've also published a show transcript. You also can connect with Isabel on her website, isotope.com. That's I S a T O P I a.com. If something you heard in this conversation today, especially resonates with you. I would love it. If you take a moment to go and rate and review the humanity podcast on your player, if it's one that has that functionality, I also appreciate when listeners spread the word on their social media pages and by word of mouth with family, friends, coworkers, everyone, anyone together, we shape a more caring, thoughtful and creative. Speaker 0 01:13:13 I'm Adam Williams creator and host of the humanity podcast. Thanks for being here.

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