Friday, 16 December 2011

An itinerant decade

I came to a startling realization yesterday. 2011 will be the first year in a decade that I have not moved to a different city during the course of the year. Since 2001 I have packed up and moved to a new city at least once each year. And there has actually never been a year in my adult life where I haven’t moved to a new apartment! 2001 and 2011 have the exception of being years where I moved to a new apartment, but in the same city.

I say ‘startling’ because it’s a kind of bizarre way to live one’s life, constantly moving to new cities. Of course not all of those moves were to unfamiliar cities I had never lived in before – a lot of this was moving away from New York, then returning, then leaving again. But now that I’ve managed to stay in one city for an entire calendar year, does it mean I’m settled here in Belgium? If it does, I don’t feel it. I’m in a good place in my life here – I’m enjoying what I’m doing, have an interesting job, good friends and a good apartment. So I think I’ll be here at least another couple years. But could I live the rest of my life in Belgium? Absolutely not. So when will I know when it’s time to leave?

Just for fun, here’s my moving history over the past ten years – with links to the blog entries at the time where available:
1999    ===>   Boston
2000    ===>   New York
2001    ===>   No move
2002    ===>   Prague
2003    ===>   New York
2004    ===>   Chicago
2005    ===>   Washington
2006    ===>   New York
2007    ===>   London
2008    ===>   Paris
2009    ===>   London
2010    ===>   Brussels
2011    ===>   No move
It’s been an itinerant decade! It’s been great fun and incredibly interesting, but obviously there are trade-offs to all this moving about. Friendships become more abbreviated, culture and language become confused and you can end up with a sort of permanent feeling of alienation. I think I’m done moving for awhile. The thought of moving to a new city right now is very unappealing to me, even as much as I complain about Belgium. For better or worse, this is where I’ve ended up – and this is where I’ll be for awhile. Because looking at this past decade, I really need a break!


Anonymous said...

woow, you do have great friends in Brussels, you should just invite them to dinner in some fancy resto and get them kindles from the US for xmas!

Beartooth-Travellers said...

This is how it starts... and before you know it you've spent 5 years in brussels even though you never wanted to settle there...
10 years and counting here...