"I would like to spend the whole of my life traveling, if I could anywhere borrow another life to spend at home."
– William Hazlitt
I’ve owed you this post for a long time. When the first wheels were set in motion many months ago I assumed it would come out naturally, that I would even share more nitty-gritty details about the whole thing than you’d probably care to know. But then the days kept slipping past; I kept saying soon, I’ll write about it soon, but there were always too many other things to do, too many tasks higher on the ever-expanding to-do list. And then before we knew it, it took over our lives completely, consumed every waking minute with planning and details and endless preparation until all of a sudden here we are, seven short days away, and not only have I not found the time to continue the normal food-related programming, I still haven’t told you the news.
So, enough procrastinating; it’s time to come clean. Next Saturday Manuel and I are putting ourselves and the few belongings that are not currently deep in the bowels of a transatlantic freighter on a one-way flight to the other side of the world. We’re going to the land of spruce trees and salmon, the wild and tumultuous Pacific and the stately city on Puget Sound called Seattle. We’re going home, and this time we’re staying.
To be honest, it still hasn’t sunk in. For the life of me I can’t fathom that a week from tomorrow I will no longer be able to say I live in Scotland. I can’t believe that medieval castles and cobblestones will no longer be part of my daily commute, and that I won’t be instantly distinguished by my accent anymore. I can’t imagine being so far from Europe, the continent I’ve called home for a third of my life, and which I know I will miss so intensely that at times it will seem like physical pain. I have no idea what it will actually feel like to celebrate Thanksgiving again, to not have to start thinking about Christmas plans eight months in advance, to talk to my family on the phone and know their clocks are reading the same time as mine. Above all, I can’t imagine what it will be like to not be homesick anymore.
We’ve been actively planning this move for about ten months, and dreaming of it for longer than that, but it’s still big, scary and uncertain. We’ll have no guaranteed employment or income on arrival; just the savings we’ve set aside to see us through the first few months. We’ll have no car, no furniture, no place to live. We’ll have no experience with the maze that is the American healthcare system. Poor Manuel will have to learn things like pounds, gallons and temperatures in Farenheit. And both of us will have to learn to cope with living in a city where not everything is a fifteen-minute walk away.
What we do know is that there will be mountains and ferries and sushi and blackberries. There will be Trader Joe’s and Uwajimaya and more farmer’s markets than we can shake a stick at. There will be a whole new country, continent and hemisphere to explore. There will be a clean slate, new lives, new freelance careers, and almost certainly more time to devote to this site. There will also be family nearby, my mother and stepfather, my father and stepmother, and my three younger brothers who have grown from boys to men in my absence. There will hopefully be a dog, and a garden, and a kitchen big enough to invite someone else in for a drink while I chop the onions.
Most importantly, we know that we’re ready for change, and that we’ve made this decision with the best compass we own: not our heads, but our hearts.
So cross your fingers and wish us luck on the first stage of this crazy, terrifying, exhilarating adventure. There’s probably going to be a few weeks of radio silence while we begin to settle into our new surroundings, but I promise to be back with an update just as soon as I can.
See you on the other side, friends.