At the end of 2016, as the election season was coming to a – to be honest, unanticipated – end, there was a lot of talk about moving. Google searches for “moving to Canada” skyrocketed. Ancestry dot com subscriptions increased, as people tried to figure out if they could claim European citizenship. Airfare websites were scoured for “get me out of here” ticket prices.
And this started me thinking. Not about the travesty that is the political and societal situation in America right now (there are about 14 or 15 blogs that we could write about THAT mess), but about the fact that when (not if) I win the lottery, my first purchase (after paying off my college loans, obviously) would be an apartment in Spain.
But would it?
I started thinking about travel, and vacation, and living somewhere else.
But would I?
Travel is wonderful. It allows people to come into contact with new thoughts, new situations, new people, new conversations, that they may never have experienced before. It allows people to have scary, unnerving, exciting, unexplained, wonderful interactions with people, places, and things. But it usually has an end. Can I really say, “I love Barcelona?” I mean, I’ve been there for three days. In three days I was able to see some of the highlights (and lowlights) of what the city has to offer. But I didn’t get the daily grind. I was on the Metro, but not at rush hour. I visited a school, but didn’t have to teach a class. I went out to restaurants and cafes and didn’t worry about bringing home food to make and serve at a dinner table. I wasn’t there when there were 1,000,000 people in the street protesting over governmental issues shutting down most of the city. It was like a dream. A fancy dream. Don’t get me wrong – it’s a dream I would love to have over and over again. But when it comes down to it, it was really only three days.
There is a huge gamble that comes with moving somewhere else. New neighbors, new jobs, and for some people, new school systems, new babysitters. Hell, for a lot of people just finding a new take out/delivery is a huge imposition and stress. I am in awe of people who can move from one place to another. People who have fallen in love with a place, or who want/need the “fresh start” make me incredibly jealous. I would love that opportunity. But where would I go? Where would I go that I could feel comfortable in daily life? Where could I find a good Irish pub? (RIP James’s Gate in Jamaica Plain) Where would I get groceries? What kind of groceries could/would I get? Who would I be friends with? Would there be places to play music? Would I need a car? What side of the road would I drive on?
And when it comes down to it, three days here in Boston can seem like four seconds or four years depending on what is going on that week. Maybe if I had been in Barcelona for a month, or two, or a year, and had to experience “regular life” instead of that whirlwind of joy, frustration, and excitement that comes when traveling, I would have a better grasp on the city. Would I still love it? Very possibly. I would start to see the cracks, and the concerns and issues would become a little clearer. But who knows – it might make me love it more.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that I’m willing to take that chance, lottery gods.