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American living in Europe, college dropout, hungry for the next step! Nice to meet you guys!


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Jun 10, 2024
Hi gang! I'm Mariko, I'm 25, American, and I live in Southern France where I work as a shepherd. I grew up in a very studious Asian immigrant family, where getting a masters, PhD, and becoming a doctor/ engineer is not only expected, but required. I'm a two time college dropout. I don’t have any family ties or family friends here. My family didn’t support me on my European endeavor, and to this day they are still salty about me being an “uneducated” bad Asian daughter. I’m probably the least likely worthy candidate you’d imagine given that criteria to get sponsored for a French work visa. Yet despite it all, managed to get sponsored and secure a CDI (permanent contract) and the visa. I dropped out of college twice, while I was on a study abroad program in France, and have gone back and forth between France and the USA job hopping. I ate cheap food and worked odd jobs to stay afloat. I also used that time to build a network of friends and other professional connections, as well as find out for myself what makes me happy. My French network was primarily built through the many herding dog classes, training sessions, and stages. I discovered the discipline when I took on a little border collie puppy while I was studying. My idea of a good time is my dog’s idea of a good time. We tried all sorts of activities, agility, obedience, etc, but it was the work on sheep that we both enjoyed the most. I found myself coming in more frequently. When my instructor asked if I was interested in seeing how they shear, vaccinate, etc, I kept coming in. My interest and dedication basically kept snowballing from there. This allowed me to enter the workforce with own two trained herding dogs. My best friends and only family on the continent. I was deeply touched by the rich pastoral mountain culture here, which doesn’t exist in the US (this is also one of the main points I mentioned in my motivation letter). Not only did I gain valuable experience, but when you compare the cost of study programs with the price of two trained sheepdogs, I definitely got my time and money’s worth in my eyes.

Fast forward to today, I’ll get to continue working with cool people and take my pups to work all year round, in some of the most beautiful places in the country. I’m officially now in France as a bergère transhumante! This coming summer will be the first big estive season for my girls and I! For a few months in spring and fall we graze on lowland pastures or as they call it, garde en colline. During wintertime, the sheep are mostly kept indoors. Savoie gets a lot of snow. It’s not a super fun period for anyone but it’s important nonetheless. At least we’ve got the newborn lambs to make us smile! Lucky folks further south are often able to keep this period to a minimum and have their animals outside a lot longer.

I'm halfway into The Millionaire Fastlane book and am hungry for the next step to my financial future. I just read a great French book about real estate and just started another one that I am reading alongside Millionaire Fastlane . I had the drive to break free, move abroad, build connections, and land a permanent contract working in one of the most beautiful areas in Europe, so I know that I am more than capable of getting into the fastlane. The way I see its, I managed to accomplish step 1, which was break free from my family's expectations and get honest with myself about what I enjoy and who I am. Then step 2, which is now, I have not only a steady source of decent income through my job, but I also pay no rent, water, or electricity, ( I live in a compny owned studio) and as a result am able to save more than half of what I earn. Another big flipside is that in France, unless I do something extremely serious or downright criminal, it's nearly impossible to get fired here. I see this as an absolute golden opportunity to use my current resources to begin changing roadmaps. And let's state the obvious. While I definitely don't hate my job, the hours are tough. Spending whole days out in crappy weather so I can cash in are things I can obviously do without. I want to be able to enjoy these things on my own terms (ex: have a small homestead with lots of land and my own small flock to do with as I please.)

What hit me hardest was MJ talking about divorcing time from money. I also run a small Ebay store flipping toys that I enjoyed as a kid and know the value of, but on top of my already very busy job, I've found myself losing a lot of time filling in customs forms, packaging products, and constantly scouring online for deals. Some friends have advised that I write a book about my story, but I'm still unsure if that's an idea I am commited to pursuing.

Thanks so much to anyone who took the time read! Looking forward to learning and growing with you all.
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Feb 8, 2019
Southeast Asia

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