Last night a friend told me she’s thinking of moving to Australia. Since I spent a good deal of my time thinking about and planning to expatriate myself between 1995 and 2002, I sympathized with her struggle.
I started traveling in 1994 when I first visited the UK. I had always been an Anglophile and loved all things English, but once I actually visited, I made it my goal to live there. Initially I got a student work visa to stay in the country and work for six months. When that expired, I returned to the U.S. and applied for an internship, taking me back to England for another six months. After that, I traveled to Australia on three separate occasions, once with a work visa and two other times in the hopes of living there. In 2002, I returned home for good.My husband traveled with me to England and Scotland this past summer, and it was wonderful to show him my “old stomping ground” and all the sights I had fallen in love with when I lived there. Just this past weekend, he asked me where I wanted to go next. “I want to go back to England and Scotland,” I told him. He was surprised that I didn’t want to go somewhere new—somewhere I’d never been, and it made me realize something about the way I travel. In the past, I traveled to look for a place to live; nowadays, I travel to recreate feelings I once experienced. My ties to England are strong, and if I could buy a summer home there and return every year, I would do so. I’m not someone that needs to see new places all the time; instead, I would prefer to travel to the familiar—to places where I once experienced strong emotions and lifelong attachments. I guess I'm just a sentimental sojourner.