Jen Ciesielski Exploring the Towns in Alsace France

About Me

Hi, I’m Jen!

I started traveling in 2012 when I left the USA to work abroad and live in Switzerland. This was my first overseas experience, and since then, I have traveled to over 50 countries and lived in France, the UK, Switzerland, and the USA.

I, currently, live in France and have lived here for more than six years. I’ve also traveled extensively throughout the country. So, it’s safe to say I’m an expert on the topics of living and traveling in France.

Every month I help thousands of people plan their trips to France, overcome their fear of moving abroad, and live out their travel dreams. And I can help you do the same. After all, that’s why I started blogging – to help you, my readers.

Jen Ciesielski Exploring the Towns in Alsace France
Exploring the Towns in Alsace!

Why I Blog

This list is endless and I could go on for hours, but the main reasons I blog are listed below:

To show you that you don’t have to wait for the “perfect” moment to live your dreams.

To prove to you that living an expat life is possible, even if you have no idea how to get started.

To show you that you are not alone in your uncertainties. We all have moments of doubt and make mistakes, and this blog is here to help you learn from mine!

To help you move abroad and start exploring now!

To inspire 10-year-old Jen and everyone like her. The standard “American dream” with a huge house and 2.5 kids, isn’t the only version of happiness.

What You Can Expect from This Blog

If you’ve ever wanted to learn how to move abroad, get off the typical tourist path, and turn your travel dreams into a reality, you’re in the right place.

I will always give honest reviews. I won’t recommend something that I don’t think is worth your time.

I visit every place I write about. So, you can guarantee my guides are written from my own experiences.

Tested travel tips and advice from years of experience.

There is no sponsored content on this website. I pay for everything myself so I can give you unbiased opinions and advice.

All photos are my own. I’m a travel blogger AND a photographer so I don’t use photos that are not mine. (It’s also how you can be sure I’ve been somewhere!)

I will always work to make sure this site is the best it can be FOR YOU. And I’m open to suggestions, comments, and feedback. Is there something you want to see? Don’t hesitate to let me know! I’M HERE TO HELP YOU.

As Seen In

These is a list of the top publications that Jen has been featured in. There are eight different logos.

Testimonials from Readers

Here’s what other readers are saying about my advice and help:

Reader testimonials for Dabbling in Jet Lag. These are emails that Jen received from her readers. Each one is thanking her for how much she helped them in planning their trips to France.
Testimonials from readers of Dabbling in Jet Lag. These are emails that Jen received from her people who read her blog. Each one is thanking her for how much she helped them in planning their trips to France.

My Expat Story

I spent my childhood in Naperville, a suburb of Chicago, Illinois. Growing up, I dreamed of traveling. I played games like “Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego,” and I would learn as much as I could about faraway places. In high school, I traveled to neighboring states for sports, but somehow that was not enough.

During my Ph.D., I began watching travel documentaries, particularly stories about climbing Everest. I think this is when I knew I had to start traveling. I guess my postponement was a question of money. Traveling seemed so expensive and out of reach.

After my Ph.D., a job in Switzerland popped up. I applied and somehow I got the job. I have to admit, I was scared. I had never left the United States, much less lived in another country. Let’s just say that all the things you should think about before moving abroad did not even enter my mind.

I, actually, showed up at the Swiss Embassy, without an appointment, and asked, “Can I have my visa please?”

Needless to say, I didn’t do that again.

While living in Switzerland, I visited every corner of the country and began to explore Europe. After a year, I moved to Paris.

Jen Ciesielski the creator of Dabbling in Jet Lag on a hike in Switzerland
Hiking in Switzerland

Life as an expat in France was a lot harder than in Switzerland. The language barrier was more challenging and the bureaucracy was nothing shy of a nightmare. I barely knew how to greet someone. There was even a brief period where I would constantly mutter, “I hate France.

But, as I learned more about the culture, my opinion began to change. Then, I started speaking French and this is when I saw the biggest difference in myself. Not only could I say “hi,” but I could confidently introduce myself.

And, within six months, I was completely fluent in French.

My negative attitude vanished and I was able to say, “I love France!”

As my confidence grew, I knew it was time to venture outside of Europe. And I took my first big trip – a month in Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia. It was at this moment that I realized that travel can be affordable, and I could see the world without emptying my wallet.

Sadly, after 2.5 years, my time in France had come to an end. My researcher visa was expiring and jobs in my field were few and far between. So, I found a job in the UK and began my next adventure.

I lived in the UK for 3.5 years and worked for a big pharmaceutical company.

Of the places I’ve lived, the UK was not my favorite. I struggled with my identity as an expat and I never really seemed to fit in. And I really missed France. So, after a series of long discussions with my then-boyfriend, I decided to move back to France.

But, before moving, we got married and I entered France with a spouse of French citizen visa.

A Career Break

At the end of 2019, after I got married and moved back to France, I took a career break.

I had been working in research for more than 10 years, and I wanted a change. I also thought it would be a good time to travel for a few months.

So, I decided to go backpacking in South America for four months. I started in Argentina and made my way up to Colombia.

Jen Ciesielski on an ATV adventure in Peru
I Love Adventure

During that time, I trekked to Colombia’s Lost City, spent three days in Salento, explored Sucre, climbed Chachani – a 6000-meter (19685-foot) mountain, gained confidence in my Spanish, and had a ton of fun.

Jen Ciesielski hiking to the Maragua Crater in Bolivia
Hiking in Bolivia

This experience helped me grow personally, and discover the world in a way I never thought possible.

The Start of Dabbling in Jet Lag

I came back from South America and moved to Strasbourg. It was then that I realized I needed a flexible job, so I took a position as a project manager.

This is a photo of me, Jen Ciesielski, in Strasbourg's La Petite France District. I'm standing on Pont du Faisan wearing a black shirt and cream colored shorts. Behind me is Quai de la Petite France and you can see the Ill River and several half-timbered houses.
Exploring Strasbourg’s La Petite France

I also started this blog, as a hobby. I wanted to share my experiences as an expat as well as the lesser-known destinations that I discovered, like the medieval towns in Alsace.

But blogging as a hobby wasn’t enough, I wanted to do it full-time. So, I studied web design and travel writing. I also worked on improving my photography skills and filling my camera bag.

Where Am I Now?

I’m currently living in Strasbourg, France, and working as a blogger full-time. I decided to follow my happiness and dive in. I opened my shop, where I sell Lightroom presets. I’m also working on a few guidebooks, mostly focused on traveling in France.

Check out my latest blogs here!

Jen at Lac de Longemer after hiking in the Vosges mountains
Hiking in France

Any Questions?

Do you have questions? Sign up for my newsletter and send me an email! I’m here to help.

Free Lightroom Presets

Sign up and get 3 Lightroom Mobile Presets from my Jet Lag Collection and start editing like a pro today!

This is a before and after shot of a street in Eguisheim using my Lightroom Mobile Presets. Sign up to get 3 free presets from my Jet Lag Collection.