When you tell your friends and family that you’re going on vacation, they can react differently, but they mostly say, “Oh, that’s so great!” and then move on with their lives because you’ll be coming back.
Tell them that you’re thinking of moving and let the shit storms begin.
When I first looked into going on this trip, I had only been in the cities for about a year. I typically wait two years before I can’t stand the itch of needing a change, but always feel it and ignore it for a time far before I can’t stand it anymore. And I do as much as I can to quell the need to do something else somewhere else.
Hearing about an adventure that would take a month in another country, and maybe longer if we decided to backpack around Europe for a bit after, perked my interests for many reasons, but one of them was definitely: Maybe it will squish the need to move for a bit longer.
As much as it can be irritating to pack and unpack your life, I actually don’t mind it too much. I always realize that I keep things I never need to keep.
For instance, growing up, girls seemed to think it was super important to have an exuberant amount of body lotions and perfumes. And then remember that there are several occasions during the year in which you receive gifts: birthday, Christmas (for me), Valentine’s Day, party favors… Instead of receiving manga, video games, or a book that I wanted, I would instead receive travel sized lotions from Body Works. You know, for the purse I didn’t own. To make matters worse, I have a particularly sensitive nose and pretty much don’t like any artificial smell (except this one Smucker’s cotton candy perfume for some reason–and I was apparently completely cool with incense?). This meant that by the time I was sixteen years old, I had a huge cabinet filled with tiny bottles of old smelly moisturizer and cheap perfumes that I never used.
My last two years of high school were spent in a dormitory at an arts high school, so when I came home to pack up my room for moving when I was 18, I looked in that drawer and wasn’t quite sure what to do with myself.
And I didn’t know what I was thinking. Why would I keep five years worth of things I absolutely don’t need or use? And didn’t like in the first place?
My first purging of these items felt weird because they had all been gifts, and we are taught to never throw those things away. But I hated the idea of unpacking them all and not using them in another household.
After several moves, you start to get used to these things. You begin to realize what you honestly do want to deal with in your space. You may think you want to open that thing wrapped in old newspaper, but how will you feel when you open it and not only don’t have a place to set it, but also think it’d look good in the garbage at your last house? Or that your friend would probably enjoy it more than you? Or that some poor soul would leap for joy at it at a thrift shop while you said, “Meh.” and placed it in a corner to gather dust?
So, when I came to the point where I needed to move out of my current house to find another place to live, my first thought was, “Shit. This place is perfect because it is between my two best buddies. It’s the perfect landsmeet. Now what?”
And then a brilliant plan formed in my head: Why not just use this time to move somewhere crazy instead?
Since then, I’ve been researching places like crazy. One day, I was on the plan to Canada. I’d move to Toronto, be made fun of because of my accent (Minnesotans don’t talk like they do on Fargo, don’t cha know), and live the life as an editor.
Another day, it was all about NYC. I looked up apartments, living costs, and fashion (because I see Hollywood films–NYC doesn’t wear jeans and a TeeFury shirt).
For a week it was San Diego. I have an aunt who lives there, so I could crash at her place until I got on my feet. Or just stay there forever since it is so close to the beach. Comic Con is there, I could get into script writing, and I could be the only redhead with a tan. Plus, I haven’t been to Disney World, yet. Unless it is Disneyland there. I haven’t been to either of them, so, both work.
Then it hit me. If I were to go to Spain, why don’t I move to a country for a few years that is, I don’t know, closer to Spain? OPPORTUNITY.
Now I’m thinking Ireland. I’m thinking Scotland. I’m thinking New Zealand (which isn’t necessarily closer, but I want to move there so get out of my face). And I’m not thinking forever, but at least for a good few years to explore outside of what is becoming more and more of a drag. And, why not? I have nothing holding me back.
Last night, I filled two boxes of things I’d be getting rid of from my bedroom, not even with my clothes (and, shockingly, no lotion). I thought that perhaps some friends would enjoy some things, so I came up with a plan to have a Friends Come and Take My Shit Party. And maybe they could have a suggested donation of $5 if they wanted to support the best plan in all the land.
But then an interesting thing happened from there, and since before then. Remember when I said that when you’re going on vacation, people are happy but don’t really care because you’re coming back? Try telling them you’re going to leave the country for an indefinite amount of time.
I’ve found there are three different types of friends thus far:
1) The Supportive Friend
“Holy shit, you’re going to move out of the country? Where? Oh, I am so jealous! I’m going to miss you so much, but now I get to visit you and <enter place where you are moving>!”
There is no mistaking it, this friend is super supportive, excited for you, and can’t wait to hear details of everything. You can tell they are genuinely sad that they won’t be seeing your face as frequently, but they are also genuinely happy because they can tell that you’re happy. All this does is make you more excited to leave, and to make a mental note to bring them something back…if you ever decide to come back. You know what, just send it in the mail to be safe.
2) The Dismissive Friend
“Overseas, eh? Cool. Can you pass the salt?”
This is odd because you weren’t expecting this sort of answer from a friend you thought you were close with. You try to bring up the subject again at a later date, about some cool fact about the said place you’re moving, but they repeat the words they said earlier and ask you to pass the pepper, too. You know they’ll miss you, but they are so indifferent to your leaving that you’re unsure if you’ll miss them. Moving sounds better and easier, now.
3) The Lobster Friend
“Moving? But won’t you miss your friends? What about your job? Did you save enough money? I thought you were going to try and write for that one website thing? If it were me, I wouldn’t be able to do what you’re doing.”
This is disheartening and, if a really good friend, you begin to second guess your decision making since you’ve placed so much trust in their opinion. Or, as it has happened with me, you get severely pissed at the 20 questions they have no right asking. When I told one friend that I was going to leave the country, he straight up said, “Are you sure you’re just not nostalgic for when you traveled to New Zealand? A lot of people are disappointed when they go back because it is just a vacation high.” When I explained that this was more than just me going on vacation (I had been there for six months and had to force myself to not live there because I was still finishing school–I almost didn’t get on my plane), he then proceeded to tell me that I should be chalking that up to being whimsical.
If you haven’t caught on yet, this is the technique lobsters use when they are in a crate together. They huddle and are smushed together in a situation. When one realizes they can leave and seek something new, the other lobsters decide for that lobster that they aren’t going anywhere by using their claw to grab and drag the lobster back into a crate where they are taken from to be boiled alive and eaten.
Yep. I went there.
There are mixtures of these three, and sometimes they are just a stage of a friend who simply didn’t know how to deal with you deciding to jump ship and see what it was like to swim to the nearby island instead of reaching the original destination–one of my best friends seemed so indifferent that I had to point it out until she admitted it was because she couldn’t handle the sadness.
The point of it all is, don’t be a lobster, people. Let us fellow nomad-wannabes do what we need to do. You’ll get a gift if you do, and a place to stay if you want to visit.