First Alaska, then the World

by Britta on 7 July 2009

in The Freelancing Life,Travel

Eiffel Tower

I’ve been an Alaska resident now for about 16 years, minus the time I spent in Portland, Oregon, in college, and some time spent traveling, plus that 3-year stint in Hawaii, when I officially changed my residency. But despite my location changes, my heart has lived here, and though I’ll probably always have the travel bug, I’ll probably also always think of Alaska as home. In Chile after college, I tried to tell people I was from Oregon, but it never came out sounding sincere. Oregon was just the place I had most recently lived, not the place the molded and shaped me into the person I was then, and am now. (It also didn’t inspire as much awe as Alaska always does!) And though I lived in California until I was in junior high, when people ask, I say I grew up in Alaska. From my perspective, that’s the truth. I feel Alaskan; I am Alaskan. California is where I got older, Alaska is where I discovered how to thrive.

Which is why it’s ironic that I am so excited about my next trip, though I hesitate to use that word. It’s also ironic that I plan to extend this period of travel  indefinitely, trying my hand at the “location-independent” lifestyle. The idea is that my freelancing will fund my travels, and because I design for a medium that has no set location—the web—I’ll be free to follow my heart’s desire, provided my heart leads me to a town with an internet connection.

I’ll be starting in Minnesota/North Dakota, visiting family, then Vermont to visit some friends. Then, off to Paris to officially start my nomadic adventures. I’ll stay in Paris for a few months, and then I’ll move on, though I have yet to decide that. Norway, to visit some long-lost relatives (preferably in winter, because I understand Norwegians are as serious (or crazy!) as Alaskans about winter), and Christmas in the Alps. Oh, the possibilities!

I’ll head to Minnesota at the very end of July, to Vermont in early August, and hope to be living in a short-term apartment in Paris by September. Of course Paris is snooty, and expensive, and cliche, but I was only there once, for two days more than 10 years ago, and I loved it. I’m not sure why, I didn’t even expect to like it, just sort of considered it an obligatory stop on the European tour. But my friend and I stayed an extra day, and might have stayed our whole French week if we hadn’t wanted to see the Riviera, too.

There is also the flip side of the coin to consider, that I won’t like it after more than two days, or that I’ll get tired of it. I did tire of Santiago, Chile, after I had been there a while—the magic of the history and the foreign-ness wore off and it became another congested city. At heart, I’m really just not a city girl. And therein lies the beauty of my newly chosen lifestyle: If I don’t like it, I’ll leave, and find somewhere else to go!

Eiffel Tower Photo by ny156uk.

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