The picture in my head of the life I want:
Writing full time and making enough money at it to be more than comfortable. Not being tied down to any one spot so I can travel around the world and see all the things I want to see.
Except, it’s not quite right and it was only recently that I realized what’s wrong with it. The problem, you see, is that while I want to see the world, I don’t want to do so as a tourist. I don’t want to roll into a city, plop into a hotel, run around from tourist trap to tourist trap and then a few days or a week or two weeks later move on to the next place to do the same.
No. That isn’t what I want at all. That wouldn’t be fulfilling. That wouldn’t give me what I want.
I realized only in the last week that while I want the writing career, I don’t want to be a tourist. I want to live in the places I want to visit. I want the freedom of such a career and I want to use that freedom to go live first in England for a year or more before moving on. I don’t want to do the tourist things. I want to immerse in the culture. I want to be English, French, Italian at least for a little while.
I don’t hate the United States. I love it. I love being American — not because I think it makes me better than someone who isn’t but because of the opportunities Americans have, even if many of us don’t realize what they we have. So, this isn’t about relinquishing my citizenship or adopting another. I don’t need that. But I want to experience the world in a deeper way than simple traveling allows.
I know a lot about American history. I know a lot about British history. I learned a lot of 20th century Argentinian history when my high school produced Evita my junior year. I know a hodge-podge of history of other countries. But I’m learning more and more these days how much more there is to learn.
I never had much interest in visiting France. I wanted to see the Louvre and Versailles and that was it. I love art, after all, and there’s some amazing art in those places. But I had no other interest in that country.
Then I read Les Misérables and found that Victor Hugo’s contemporary portrayal of that country’s history fascinated me. I googled left and right to try and soak up knowledge that I didn’t have before, and found out that France’s history
is almost as rich as England’s. And I already knew, from reading Eleanor of Aquitaine by Alison Weir that the two are pretty seriously linked, anyway. You can’t get the full picture of British history without learning about France.
And so that’s the conclusion I’ve reached. That’s my life goal. That’s what I want. I want years in each place. I want to exist every day as a citizen of a town and not a visitor. I want to learn the streets and the public transportation schedules and why something’s important, not just that it is. I want to discover a favorite spot and return to it over and over. I want to be able to take a day or two to lounge at the beach in Spain without feeling as though I’m wasting time I could be seeing something.
In the end, really, I’m a homebody. I like to go places, but I don’t like the temporariness of it. I don’t like feeling like a guest or having to think about when it’s time to leave. If I make each place my home, I can leave when I’m ready and not when my plane ticket says to.