I’ve done my fair share of international traveling, and ever since meeting my wife four years ago, her and I have been a pair of nomads roaming around this country. Not only is travel one of my passions, ever since moving from Puerto Rico to Miami over 20 years ago I’ve lost the fear of moving to a brand new place to start a life. Over the last four years I have lived in three different states, and I know that I’m not quite done yet.
There was a time when I couldn’t have fathomed living anywhere other than the east coast, or anywhere but a city. During the last four years, however, I lived in the Midwest, far from the sea that had been a perennial presence in my life, and I lived in small towns, even if they were still close to the city. I learned that I like a lot of things about small town living, and that there is vibrant life away from the coast. In many ways I miss all that. When I think about where I want to lay down roots and raise my family, small town living (with a nearby urban center) sounds very appealing.
I have been thinking a lot about this topic because my daughter is now two, and both my wife and I are feeling that the time to settle down is near. We both yearn for a home where our girl can grow over the years, a community where we can build relationships, a place of stability in an uncertain world. The fact that we’ve both been nomads means we are very open to relocating in order to find what we want. When it comes to moving, I don’t have a fear of the unknown.
You know what I do fear? I fear what this country has become, slowly over the years, and especially lately under the current administration. I can think of a handful of places in different states with potential for settling down, but they all have the same issue in common: they’re all in the US. I hate to think this way, but I can’t help it, not when every day there’s news of a new mass shooting, of a new abuse of power over minorities, of a new concession to the rich at the expense of the working poor, of a new bonus to corporations by politicians lining their pockets, of a new dismantling of a basic social safety net by people in suits who will never be affected by their actions.
I have friends in various countries around the world, both born citizens and emigrants. They view our country from afar with a more objective eye, and they cringe at the events we get to live through every day. Neither I nor they are saying that their countries are without problems, but they simply don’t compare to the shenanigans going on in the US of A.
There are days when I envy my international friends, especially those who emigrated and have managed to make a living in another land. There are days when I wish I could take my family away from this country, away from the circus that we seem to have accepted as normal life. There are days when I wish, but most days I face reality.
I understand the hard and complex facts of what an international move entails, so while I keep the dream alive, I also live in the here and now. My wife and I will continue to research what our settling down location will eventually be, trying to make the best of our situation living in what is truly a wondrous country currently hijacked by ignorance, fearmongering, and intolerance.
(Post title paraphrased from Smashing Pumpkin’s Bullet With Butterfly Wings.)
(For the record, my number one choice of country to move to is Ireland.)