After a few days in Wilmington, North Caroline, I flew to Houston, Texas, to see one of my dearest friends from my days in the Oil & Gas Industry.
Some cities are famous in the Oil & Gas Industry as they welcome many expatriates from all around the world and from major companies. Houston is one of them, and many people and friends I have worked with have, at some point in their career, traveled to or lived for a while in this city. Because I could move there one day if I wished to leave France and find a job abroad, I decided that it was a good occasion to check it out and see how I could fit in.
Maybe it was not the best period to go there as it rained half of the time, and the other half it was extremely hot and humid and full of mosquitos! However I got a pretty good idea about the place, especially because I visited it with French people who have been living there for almost a year and who were able to point out easily for me the main differences between Paris and Houston.
My days there were spent following my friend in her daily activities to promote her very new business. Part of the reason why I know that you can change life is because people around me are doing it, and she is one of them. She used to have the same position I had but after getting married and having her first kid she realized that the corporate world did not fit her life expectations anymore. Because she could (she has a successful husband and money of her own) she decided to quit the company and live her dream, and committed herself into creating her own brand of “espadrilles”, a flat shoe with a rope sole made and very famous in the South of France.
First she has designed the limited edition models all by herself. Secondly she has prospected many potential suppliers in the South of France to find the best eco-friendly companies that still create quality hand-made shoes. Thirdly she has shipped all the models to the United States where they are sold online or in selected stores. Anyways, since her launch she is getting a lot of attention in Houston and in local magazines because she sells eco-friendly items ans because honestly, the shoes are gorgeous.
“As if you needed any more excuses to shop for ethical fashion and sustainably sourced homewares, July’s LUST LIST, is jam-packed with sustainable fashion brands, organic and vegan friendly products and everyday essentials that will make any life just that little bit greener. Oh and they all look awesome too.” from July’s Lust List of Pebble Magazine
“Atelier Aliénor brings a luxuriously modern take on a classic sandal.” from article Discover Houston’s New, Authentically French Espadrilles, from Houstonia Magazine
Obviously, her growing success has made me think about my plans for the future. Of course everything would be easier and funnier if I had saved some money or if I had a companion I could rely on financially while launching my business. But I don’t, and in fact I want to succeed on my own as I know now that without struggle I am lazy. All I have done in these past months has come from necessity: if I had the choice to stay at home without trying to make a business, it probably would take me years, if I ever achieved anything. For the moment my creation is this blog, and at times I am not even disciplined enough to write my articles. So it remains a work in progress, being in Houston and tasting what a different life I could be living with a few changes made me dream big instead of depressing me, as some might think. Things will come in time and for the moment I am enjoying the journey towards my career change.
Anyways, I had time to wonder around the city while modeling for the shoes, which gave me a good sense of how Houstonian live. It is said Texas is a state of freedom. And Houston combines this freedom with an international Hipster touch which reminds me in some ways of Europe for its refinement.
Also, while in Paris people live in extremely small apartments until they are rich enough to afford anything decent to raise their children, in Houston, for the same price, you can rent a 3 floor mansion, with a swimming pool and a garage (parking is one of the biggest problems from Parisian drivers).
In addition, everything is organized to make your life easy and stress-less. Roads are big, houses and malls are big, there is never any problem to find a parking spot anywhere (yes I insist on this point), everything works and your daily life is crowd-free. Although I would miss the cultural life and the diversity of restaurants and bars we have in Paris, and mostly the fact that Houston is not a city made for walking or biking, I could definitely see myself living there for a couple of years. To relax and live the expat life.
Anyways, no plans for the moment so we’ll see what happens in the future. In the meantime here is my little contribution to the espadrille business.