Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Abandoning my native land...maybe

If there's one thing I "regret," it's not taking the opportunity to live abroad while I had it it in college.

I say regret lightly, because at the time I really didn't want to.  I was happy in New York--which was nearly as much of a foreign country to this suburban Pittsburgh girl as Italy or Spain or anywhere else would have been.  I know I'll probably never move back to New York--it's prohibitively expensive, even to someone who is making decent money like I am--so I'm glad I enjoyed the time I had there.

But the fact remains: I would like, at some point, to live in a country other than my own.

Australia, a country that has always appealed to me, has a visa program called the Work and Holiday Visa (or something like that).  It allows people under the age of 30--which I still am, for another 2 1/2 years or so--to travel to Australia and work part time while they're there.  I've been thinking about this for awhile now, and it sounds awesome.  It would be a great chance for me to spend some time in another country.  I have a friend who's Australian (though he lives in the UK now), so I know someone who could, at least remotely, give me the lay of the land.  And a part-time work schedule would give me an opportunity to travel and experience the country more, and also ample writing time.  It sounds like a win-win.

It also scares the shit out of me!

All my rage-against-the-machine protestations to the country, I've actually been very much a play-it-safe girl for most of my life.  I've had jobs since I was 16.  When I got out of college, I took a steady government job rather than hunting for something that appealed to me more (but might be less stable).  I have always had some measure of stability and security.

And if I leave--the visas run from 3-12 months--it would mean quitting that job.  It would mean going to a strange place where I don't know anyone.  (Like I said, my Australian friend lives in the UK now.)  It would mean trying life for the first time without a safety net--something I've never done before.

I'm in the perfect position to try something like this right now.  I'm single.  I don't have a boyfriend.  My friends all have lives and careers of their own, and many of them will probably leave the DC area within the next few years.  I rent an apartment.  I don't even have a car.

The only thing I have that involves any sort of committment, on my part, is my cat.  What the hell would I do about my cat?

As the years pass by, I will likely have more commitments and obligations holding me here.  But right now, there's nothing--well, not much, anyway.  Will I spend the rest of my life regretting that I didn't do something--just one thing--crazy in my 20s?

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