In Chapter 3 of 15 in her 2012 Capture Your Flag interview, entrepreneur Audrey Parker French answers "What Did Traveling Abroad This Past Year Teach You About Yourself?" She travels abroad with her new husband and discovers quirks about each other, including experiencing stress when things happen outside your control. She learns to be more accepting of both unexpected situations and behaviors that happen in those moments.
Audrey Parker French returns to CYF for her Year 3 interview after a one-year sabbatical from work and getting married. She co-founded CLEAResult, an energy management consulting firm. In 2010, CLEAResult ranked #144 in the Inc. 500 list of fastest-growing private companies. In late 2010, CLEAResult was sold to General Catalyst Partners. She graduated from Wake Forest University.
Erik Michielsen: What did travelling abroad this past year teach you about yourself?
Audrey Parker French: Well, that I get really grumpy when I haven’t have a good night sleep, and I’m hungry, and I don’t speak the language, and we might miss the train. My husband and I both learned our – some little quirks about each other. We learned about where we get tense and how we get tense, things about, you know, having something be out of our control, where a train stops, the announcement is happening and we don’t understand the language to know why the train just stopped or if we’re gonna make our connecting train and we got to really experience, you know, how each other are under those really stressful circumstances, and we could be both really hard on ourselves and beat ourselves up, ‘Oh I really – that was terrible of me to get so angry and frustrated’ and then later we could be like, “Well, I guess we can just keep in mind that if I ever am over tired, hungry, about to miss a train, and can’t speak the language, that I’ll probably be a little grumpy.” You know?
Just having more of an understanding that you know sometimes you throw in a lot of different variables and a person is gonna react a certain way, so just learning our limits and learning how to be more flexible. We definitely noticed at the end of our 6-week European kind of tour and experience, we found ourselves being a lot more relaxed in circumstances that initially had us feel very uncomfortable, by the end, we realized that we might be offending people unintentionally because we don’t know the culture and we don’t know what we – the taboos and we finally just started letting that be okay and just being like, “Well, that happened again.”
As opposed to early on, we felt very, you know, “Oh, I’m so sorry.” We just offended someone and, “Oh, we have to make sure we don’t do that again.” But the rules change everywhere, so finally we just really relaxed, so it helped us become more comfortable with the unknown and with difficult circumstances.