Arriving somewhere has always been a bit magical for me.  Overnight trains or flights seem extraordinary when you think about going to sleep in one country and arriving in another.  Even a mere 7 day boat trip transports you across the ocean on the QM2. You step off into a new journey, a new experience, a new adventure.

In exactly 5 months we arrive at the Southampton docks on the QM2.  It seems funny when I think back to the exact moment I decided to take the leap to expat over to the UK (which will be just about the time we dock in England).  I was in my car sometime in the summer of 2010, waiting at a stoplight to turn left onto the street where I live.  The Canadian had a job offer from a new company (who'd actually contacted him a year previously -- more on that here) and they wanted us to move to England in 2011, should the Canadian accept the offer. And as I sat at the stoplight, I was thinking about what it would mean if we moved to England, what we would give up and what we would gain.

I'd been mildly panicked ever since we'd received the job offer.  I had a life here in Austin.  A fabulous network I'd built over the 10 years I'd been here.  I was heavily involved in several nonprofits. I had a job and was in the middle of my Ph.D.  My dearest friends in the world were all a 10 minute drive away and a few more were a couple hours away in Houston.  I was only an 8 hour drive from west Texas -- Marfa, Terlingua, and Big Bend National Park--where I would go when I was exhausted and needed rejuvenation.

Please understand, I'm not someone who's never left her hometown.  On the contrary, I've made many moves and traveled all over the world, but I'd finally settled down, bought a house, tried to be 'normal', or so I thought (or told myself).  I guess I've always had sort of itchy feet (as Sara in Le Petite Village says...) and as I sat at that stoplight, staring at it, waiting for it to turn green, I thought "How many times are you going to sit here at this stoplight?  Aren't you bored with sitting at the same stoplight, going to the same place?"  And I realized I was.  I was so bored. 

I LOVE Austin.  I adore it.  It will always be my home over Houston where I was raised.  I'm restless by nature, though, and when most people get bored, they remodel a bathroom, but that just doesn't cut it for me. Living in New Orleans for the last year sort of underscored my boredom when I re-awakened to how extraordinary it was to get out of your comfort zone and do something different.  Something to shake your beliefs a little, rattle your everyday (in a good way).  I knew I was on the verge of becoming extremely complacent with my life and that is something I swore I'd never do. 

So, I called the Canadian at that stoplight and when he answered the phone I said "Let's do it.  Take the job.  Let's move to England."  And so we are. In five months from today, we arrive to the next adventure. 
Queen Mary 2 arriving in Southampton. (Click photo for attribution)
1/17/2011 06:36:10 pm

Now that is an AWESOME way to expatriate! Talk about doing it in style... And it was great reading your thought process. I felt right there--I felt the buzz from being so brave. Very cool.

1/18/2011 05:34:07 pm

Only five more months! It's going to fly by! And I'm so envious of your method of travel :-)
And in eight months I'll be back in Texas on holiday!

1/20/2011 04:19:41 am

Just popped over from Michelloui's blog. About 20 years ago I did the reverse from what you're doing. Moved from England to Texas that is. (Now in Chicago.)
Good luck. You'll love it.

1/20/2011 04:21:42 am

PS. I'm the Pond Parleys Brit. Thanks for the link!


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