A common question in San Miguel is “do you live here or are you just visiting?” That’s usually followed by “so what is it that you do?” I’ve met quite a few people since I come here and so get hit with these questions all the time. And I still don’t have good answers. Which is a little scary.
When I made the decision to leave Cheskin to take a “short” sabbatical, my idea was to shake up my routine and open myself up to new experiences, people and places. In my imagination, I’d reemerge inspired and with a whole new network of opportunities. My travels, work and studies in Morocco and Mexico would build character (I’m a big believer that no matter what age, we can all benefit from a little character building) and a couple nice paragraphs on my resume. The unknown possibilities were intoxicating.
Well, it’s been almost a year since I made the decision to change course and 9 months since I got on a plane to Casablanca. Shouldn’t I be entrenched in my new career as Global Children’s Ambassador for Peace? What have I been doing for the last 9 months??
Fortunately, I just read two articles in the New York Times today that have calmed my anxiety a little. The first, about Making Vacation Last for Months, profiled a few “work-travelers” who spend summers collecting enough cash to see the world on a really limited budget the rest of the year.
What interested my wasn’t the lifestyle of these travel addicts or even the article itself, but the rash of conflicting (and sometimes rather hostile) reader commentary. Clearly we’re divided between those who equate status and value with 9-5 jobs and 2 weeks vacation, and those who value the experience and personal creative challenge that extended travel brings. (Guess which side I’m on.)
The second, by Michelle Slatalla, A Play Date With My Imagination, examined creativity as we age – why some of us keep coming up with new ideas while others essentially run out. The important thing is to keep imagining and creating, even if it’s not radically different from your current skill set. An interview quote in her piece nailed it for me –
“Usually the people who keep going are the ones who are open to new experiences. Do something different. Take a risk. Try to believe in the future tense.”
Perhaps I just need to be a little more content with “recreating” – refreshing and renewing my imagination and inspiration, rather than “re-creating” myself totally anew.
I feel better already.