July 5, 2013

the real world

I’m at the moment I’ve been dreading since I left. Stillness. Not literally, but sometimes, it feels like nothing is happening. I’m home in Halifax, the city I spent years seven to seventeen, a place of scary familiarity. Soon after 2012 stopped and 2013 started, I took a plane to anywhere but familiar—Thailand, Laos, Borneo, Italy—and I’d never felt more, how embarrassing to say, alive. It’s so cliché to say, and it’s even more cliché to say the next thing, but it was the most amazing experience of my life, something I can look back on and say, “I am one motherfucking sorcerer!” Because:

I rode an elephant. I fought an entire city with water guns. I got massaged by a prisoner, and wrote about it. I found out about magic monks, and wrote about it. I met the greatest people, and the grossest. I crashed a scooter into a wire fence and flipped it over. I sucked at meditating and quit the retreat. I stepped on a sea urchin and the spikes are still lodged in my foot. I puked into a squat toilet and then danced until closing time. I bought MDMA from a problem addict and then danced until forever. I climbed a mountain and cried. I fell in love and cried harder.

Now I’m home, in my girlhood room where I can still smell the nineties. I’m drinking expensive wine I stole from my parent’s liquor cabinet, listening to Aimee Mann over and over, pondering really dumb questions like, “Where do I go from here?” and “How do I live?” Because if I make a list of the facts, I could cry again. I’m broke. I’m jobless. I’m making lists of bleakness. Then I realized, I’m the freest I’ve ever been, probably.

I'm finally ready to do what I’d always been scared to do: write for a living. That's the whole reason I travelled in the first place. To fill my tanks with creativity and inspiration (oh Joss Whedon would be real proud). I thought I travelled to go away, but travellers don't go away to go away. Maybe some do, but they mostly go away to come back with something.

So that's my next adventure, I'm going to move back to Toronto and dive right into full-time freelancing. I still think it’s pretty stupid to try given that the value of the word has not changed, maybe dwindled, but I’m going to try it anyway because I think it could make me happy (naïve?) and because caution is boring. Besides, I’m in a prime time to try. I only need to feed myself and I still have a couple more years of foolish optimism to waste away. I'm going to drink watery beer, I'm going to eat oatmeal for dinner, and I'm going to smile. If it fails, well, that’s just another story to tell and sell, right?

I may have returned from the best time ever. That’s fine. I may be slipping back into what travellers and grownups keep calling the “real world.” That’s fine. Honestly, I wouldn't know what other kind of world to be in.