Book Review: Paris Letters by Janice MacLeod

I have never been so inspired to quit my 9-5 Monday through Friday job as I do after reading this book. Janice takes you through her journey of living the 9-5 life as an advertising agency copywriter and associate creative director, and hating every second of it. She spent her days dreaming about her next vacation and about what she could do to never step foot in another advertising agency again. She made decent money but always felt like there was so much more to life than what she was getting.

Paris Letters is a memoir all about a young woman trying to find her way through life by spending a year writing in a journal and saving money to travel around Europe for a year. After hard work and determination, Janice found that if she stopped spending money, found ways to earn a little extra cash, and sold what she currently owned, she could afford her lengthy adventure abroad. She thought it was impossible, but she decided to go for it anyway; she stopped buying new clothes and items for her home, she stopped going out to dinner every time she was invited because the cost added up so quickly, she painted new paintings to sell, give as gifts, or give to charity to auction off instead of just selling her art supplies, and instead of going to salad bars she cut up her own vegetables and made her own. After doing all of this, she ended up being able to fit most of her belongings in one suitcase before taking off on her trip of a lifetime.

Janice’s first stop on her venture was Paris, where she ends up falling in love with Christophe, the local butcher (you will find this funny once you read a bit more into who Janice becomes before her travels). She spends her days in Paris falling more and more in love through Franglish and charades trying to communicate with one another. Nonetheless, they enjoyed each other without saying much of anything; they formed a relationship based on simple conversation and a lot of love.

Janice found that her funds she worked so hard to save up were almost gone, so she went into a panic because she had no idea what she was going to do. She knew she that going back to Los Angeles or Canada and slipping back into the 9 to 5 life was simply not an option. With a little inspiration and a lot of creativity, Janice fulfilled her dream of becoming an artist in Paris through a painted letter series that turns into a subscription service. Each month, Janice paints and writes a letter and sends a customized (just by name) copy to each subscriber. By continuing to explore Paris, she  was able to find the best scenes to use for her next letter. Janice found that she was not only falling further in love with Christophe, but she was also falling more in love with art and the City of Love.

Janice made her dreams a reality with dedication, and she made it look so easy! I found myself dreaming about my own escape to achieve my life goals. I could not put this book down as it was the perfect combination of everything that I enjoy in a book; humor, adventure, love, and dreaming. She made what feels like the impossible seem more than possible all while falling in love, traveling around Europe, and achieving a goal that made her truly happy. She found her Mona Lisa smile.

Book Review: What I Was Doing While You Were Breeding: A Memoir by Kristin Newman

I’ve discovered that travel books based on real stories are far and few so I wanted to give this one some credit. What I Was Doing While You Were Breeding: A Memoir by Kristin Newman is good for a laugh, giving you the travel bug, and reminding you that it is okay to make your own decisions regardless of what is expected of you.

A little background on Kristin Newman first; she was a writer for shows like That 70s Show & How I Met Your Mother (you see where the comedy aspect of this book comes in already). She spent her work breaks traveling the globe rather than sitting at home and preparing for next season of writing.

I am not going to give too much away but this memoir is about a woman who thought she had her life figured out in her early 20s until life happened and flipped everything upside down. She traveled the world and found herself a bit older and still not married or with kids. She accepted that she wasn’t meant to be that person…at least not for awhile.

Even in today’s society, women are expected to have children. Period.

I will be the first to admit that I don’t want what a lot of women my age want; kids. The thought of having someone solely depend on me does not sound appealing, it is actually terrifying. I feel I am still a kid and I have so much to see and do before the time to have one of my own comes. Kristin really put my feelings into perspective. My passion in life is to love and to travel. Traveling with kids is not impossible but trust me, I have seen those parents in airports and on the city streets. They look nothing short of stressed and overwhelmed.

This book is all about Kristin living life without children and having the time of her life traveling around the world sleeping with whomever she wanted and doing whatever she wanted. Through her story, she proves you can live the life you want and still end up exactly where you belong. Your story is your story for a reason. You are in control of the end result.

Not every woman is going to want kids and this books proves that is OKAY. Women should not be shamed for being selfish and wanting to travel the world instead of reproducing. Having or not having kids is a decision every woman should be able to make on her own without judgement. She can always change her mind down the road but that should always be her decision.

Regardless or whether or not you think her lifestyle is the one you have chosen for yourself, the book is well worth the read. You can be married or single. You may love to travel or stay home. I happened to read this book as me and my very new (like a week) fiancé were flying back to the US after a two week trip in New Zealand. Kristin made me giggle through the entire story and made me feel like I am not crazy for not wanting kids just yet. She takes you to Amsterdam, Argentina, Brazil, Paris, Iceland, New Zealand, and even a few more destinations. Kristin lets you you into some of the deepest secrets of her life. I am not going to say anymore, now it’s your turn to read it!

You can pick up a copy of the book at your local bookstore, download it to your tablet, or purchase it from Amazon. *I have no affiliations with Amazon and any of its content (I’m just a huge fan of Amazon Prime)

Credit to The EveryGirl for the featured photo