This week we booked our next visit to New Orleans.
We haven’t missed a Jazz Fest since Katrina, we’ve been for Halloween and Voodoo Fest and Fourth of July, but we’ve never experienced the one thing most people probably picture when they hear “New Orleans.”
Since 2011, we’ve done three long stays in New Orleans and spent a month in San Francisco.
We’ve been lucky enough to create a life with geographic flexibility — I can do my work from anywhere with a laptop and a cellphone, and similarly John can do his artwork almost anywhere.
Further, every time we’ve booked one of these mini-sabbaticals, some kind of great gig has landed in John’s lap, like a painting commission he didn’t see coming. I think of it as the universe’s reward for doing something a little risky, making sure we don’t get financially intimidated out of these life adventures.
Another thing that happens every time we book one of these trips is someone will say, “I wish I/we could do that.”
You can! But it doesn’t just happen, it’s about choices you make.
Years ago, I heard a speaker at the NAFDMA conference talk about how he and his wife pulled their kids out of school for the year to go live in Mexico. It wasn’t easy — one of their daughters struggled with being the outsider away from her friends back home, and they all had to work hard at language and culture — but it ended up being tremendously rewarding.
It’s easier to just stay put here in Brooklyn. It takes effort to uproot ourselves, everything from finding a place to forwarding our mail to settling in to a strange home. We have to adjust to a different culture with different friends and a different climate. And we could probably make more money if we both had the kinds of jobs that demanded we be physically there 40 or 60 or 80 hours a week.
But I place great value in getting away. It gives me a creative recharge and incredible life experience to not just vacation in but really live life someplace so different. So we have made choices that are consistent with doing that, including being willing to make that extra effort.
Friends we know who travel or split their time living in more than one city say similar things about the choices they’ve made. Maybe they choose their work to be conducive to mobility or they live in a smaller place so they have more discretionary income for travel or they don’t have kids so the school year doesn’t matter. Ultimately, your life is a reflection of the choices you make and what you value most.
Now to begin work on our Mardi Gras costumes …
Some related blog posts about the merits of geographic flexibility and adventure:
- Living someplace else temporarily leads to discoveries in that new place and back home
- Making our own luck by being open to possibility
- I no longer pledge allegiance to the time … all the time
- New Orleans teaches me that Plan B might even be better
- Goin’ to New Orleans: sinking in to a city we love
- My goal in New Orleans: soaking up creativity like a sponge
- In sickness and in health
- On hosting regular dinner parties, inspired by NOLA red beans and rice
- Lauree Ostrofsky’s next adventure, feeling the fear and doing it anyway
- 6 reasons to stop explaining yourself