Sunday, November 4, 2012

If I could live anywhere in the world . . .

I love this question. And I have no idea how to answer it. 

I haven't travelled much and I've never really had a travel bug (which is lucky because I've never really had a travel budget). I hear people talk about their indulgent tropical vacations, epic backpack journeys across multiple countries, or deeply cultural explorations of little-known nations and I think, that's nice, but I have never set a date or booked a ticket for myself. 

A nurse I worked with once spent weeks in Thailand and Cambodia and said it changed her life. Another nurse I knew used to volunteer with MSF and went on several trips, to places I can't even recall, where she had very meaningful experiences and inconsistent access to things like running water and the internet. Her stories made me envious of her sense of adventure and commitment to a cause, but never inspired me to sign up. Two years ago, we made plans with our best friends (two other couples) to go to South Africa in 2012 to celebrate one of their 30th birthdays (as that is where she is from). Instead we all had babies this year. 

See, I like the idea of doing these sort of things - I want to want to travel - but in all honesty, I'm kind of a homebody. While I can camp and hike and even (in my day) canoe with great pleasure, I like a warm bed and a flush toilet at the end of most days. And since I don't have the money to vacation in the kind of comfort I would prefer, I haven't ventured very far. I have, in fact, never been beyond North America. So it is difficult for me to say where in the world I would live without basing the decision on pictures and other people's recommendations. 

What I do know is that, in the end, if you actually move to a new country - not just vacation there - you eventually have to work to pay the bills, send the kids to school, clean your house, and do all the other life chores and maintenance that you are doing where you live now. So the only thing that changes is the view. And after a while that becomes commonplace too. When we first moved to BC from Ontario, we were awestruck by the mountains and the ocean. I remember saying to David that the day we glance flippantly at those mountains, take them for granted, is the day this place has become home. It's been 12 years and while the season's first snowfall on the North Shore mountains is still breathtaking, most days - if I can see them through the rain clouds at all - I don't give them a passing thought. 

Having said that, the Lower Mainland is a beautiful place to live in so many ways, and you would be hard pressed to convince me to move anywhere else. As far as travel goes, the idea of a motorcycle road trip across Canada and the Northern U.S. is on my bucket list, but I'm not sure I'd roll much farther South than New York on the East and Oregon on the West. Maybe that makes me boring, or maybe it makes me appreciative of how lucky I am to have been born in such a wonderful country and how satisfied I am with where I have chosen to settle within it. 

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