The first great travel novel I ever read could have been , “Go, Dog, Go!” We all start somewhere. My parents attest that I was running before walking, and they’ve chased me everywhere from gymnastics practice as a kid to various countries around the world. Go, Cat, Go!
I devour every travel memoir I can get my hands on in my town’s public library, savoring every page with that old-library-book smell and imagining a life where I could paint, cook regional dishes and befriend the locals. I am barely artistic, a disaster in the kitchen, and sometimes stick to my expat enclave in Seville, but I’m getting there, one decision at a time.
I adore Frances Mayes – her story, her prose, her outlook on living in Tuscany – and feel this quote summarizes my travel philosophy:
“There are many crux marks in one’s life, small ones and large. To take a decision, my friend Fulvio says, his usage much more precise than the grammatical make. To take a decision also takes you. Even when I stepped out of the car, I did not know how my life would change, I did not sense something at that moment. I wanted an aperture, an opportunity to merge with something limitless. I, in the fullness of my ignorance, was willing (Every Day in Tuscany, 8).”
I’ve made my decisions: To move to Spain to try teaching English. To fill up my passport. To risk heartbreak with a Latin lover. To stray a little away from my chosen career to teach. To befriend all types of people. To stay in Spain a little longer than the planned eight months. To fall in love with a culture, a city, a people.
I’ve made my decisions, and I’ve somehow ended up exactly where I was meant to be taken.