London artist and illustrator
I always fantasised as a child about running off on adventures by myself to foreign countries. I think I can attribute this to obsessively reading Enid Blyton fiction, but I think I always knew that I craved independence and experiences of the unknown. I was fiercely and at times annoyingly stubborn when growing up; I insisted I knew exactly what I wanted for myself, what I wanted to wear, where I wanted to go. I was lucky that I had parents who not only allowed this behaviour but encouraged it. The first time I went on a plane without them I was just 6, and it was an 8 hour trip to Canada. Similarly, the first time I travelled to a country to stay with strangers I was just 12, and on an exchange trip to Germany. Travelling gave me the sense of independence I craved so badly, in a world controlled by rules. To this day I still get a childish satisfaction when I check-in my bag – the feeling that I have this, and can trust in my own knowledge of myself.
Travelling gave me the sense of independence I craved so badly, in a world controlled by rules.
The sense of travelling is often coupled with the sense of returning home, and to be completely honest, when I was on the Eurostar in April with all of my most important and precious belongings in an overly sized suitcase hurtling towards Paris I suddenly realised that this journey didn’t have a set return and I felt scared. I had decided to move my life, indefinitely, to a city I had only visited a handful of times and in whose language I was far from fluent. As a child I would often feel the butterflies in my stomach as I waved goodbye to my parents at departures, but I would act nonchalant and casual to assert confidence in my independence. However this ‘trip’ had the overtone of permanency, and no one was there on the other side to make sure everything was going to be ok. I had chosen to move to Paris 9 months after I graduated with my degree in Illustration from Brighton, and I think a big part of this decision came from wanting to prove to myself that I actually could just pack up and go like I had wanted to as a kid. Just to show that I could be the most independent Beau, who could choose where she wanted to lead her life. I would be lying if I didn’t admit that I had been naive in believing that everything would be romance and roses, and I’m glad that this experience has thrown some challenges my way because I really have had to overcome them completely solo – although it also has proved to me that its ok to not be a one woman island, and that talking and relying on your loved ones when you need them is actually an asset not a weakness. And now that I’ve taken the risk in the first move, I feel like endless doors have been opened. When I was sat on that Eurostar, I felt fear, but also an overwhelming sense of freedom and pride in myself for actually doing what I had always wanted to do.