I think that when some people are young and fairly unencumbered, sharp changes in their lives can become habituating. For instance, Chris had never lived outside of West Virginia, and I had only ever lived on the East Coast. We moved to the Northwest…and now we are thinking of moving to China to teach English for a year or so.

We would make good money–we’d come out of it with about $40,000, give or take. We would be given an apartment, and would only have to pay utilities and food. Our return flight would be covered, and depending on the program, so would traveler’s insurance, plus we might get a domestic travel stipend for holidays. When you join a program, you are guaranteed a job. Most programs also include Chinese lessons

We are thinking that we would use part of the money to pay off our student loans, first and foremost. Then we take part of it and travel: I am desperate to show Chris France. The rest we would save, and get an apartment in Prague, probably. That way I could write or teach English, and Chris would be close to the sources he needs to write his Mucha book.

Perhaps this yen to travel is less a habit-to-be, and more a taste…I feel very strongly that the most meaningful experiences life has to offer are the ones that take you completely out of yourself and your accustomed locus–mentally, emotionally, linguistically, you name it. Stability of the middle-class variety has little to offer in the way of discovery–think of it as a lifestyle version of “Well-behaved women seldom make history.” Besides, traveling and changing your circumstance teach you to carry your stability in your head, and I think that’s a good thing.

Even if it is unpopular with my family (and it isn’t with many of them), I truly believe these things. It would probably surprise anyone looking at me to hear it, but I am much more interested in expanding my experience and learning about other ways of being in the world than I am in being merely comfortable.

We started this journey with the idea of accompanying Monkey west. He hasn’t appeared on this page for several posts, but without a doubt the spirit of his quest remains strong in our hearts and minds.