There's No Place Like Home

" That's the scary part. I don't know if i should smile, crack up, scream or run."

" Are you a good witch or a bad witch?"
"Oh i'm not a witch at all! I am Dorothy, from Kansas!"

And so a behavioural pattern creeps around again. I am moving! After just 1 year in Paris I have decided to contemplate departure and the seeking of adventures elsewhere.
Ok, admittedly not quite adventures this time around but more of a financial and experiential step up the nanny career ladder so I may be able to move onto ‘said’ adventures in the future with the freedom I so desperately desire, such as volunteering with orphans  in Ghana, visiting more of the world, writing and teaching piano full time, and continuing with my studies (with some financial security behind me in lieu of anxiety). Hoping to achieve at least some of these goals before I am thirty!
Yet I find myself at a bit of a peculiar crossroads.
I adore Paris. Am completely head over heels smitten with this city, and most of the time, my life here. Paris is a city of dreams and somehow nowhere else quite compares. I knew this as I flew home from somewhere else last Thursday, wholly energised after a day of travelling, new sights and meeting new people. I knew this as I cried tears of longing the whole flight home, and didn’t stop until I stepped off the train at Gare du Nord and felt that uncanny and familiar warmth.

Paris has that effect on me; lightness and homeliness. Like being wrapped in a security blanket just out the dryer on Christmas Eve, and curling up with a good book and a slight high knowing that magic is just around the corner.
I am comfortable here. So comfortable in fact, that I have to move. Have to for the sake of my sanity, now I have fulfilled my obligations even though leaving Paris is going to be wrenching. But I have to move for my next 'fix'.
I am a classic addict.
I am driven by a preceding feeling of helplessness (in this case feeling stuck in a routine and frustrated with that), experiencing states of helplessness such as grief or anger (or in my case fear and frustration), and then going on to displace these emotions and related behaviours elsewhere by throwing myself into seeking out new pastures and new challenges in order to keep myself motivated and interested in life, in more control, ignoring the fact that the constant change in fact causes in itself anxiety at times.
The odd thing about my particular addiction is that I am in fact addicted to change, when the classic definition of addiction incorporates the assumption that a person can't, or won't, change.
So since my addiction is change in itself, is my addiction destructive? And if it is not destructive, then shouldn’t the term addiction be in some way redefined?
They say that repeating the same pattern of behavior over and over again expecting a different result is the definitive definition of madness. Having some experience with this myself and knowing some people with some fairly serious addiction problems that perpetuate year after year leaving wreckage in their shadows, I entirely agree with this notion.
But I keep moving, hoping that one day I will move somewhere I feel I can rest longer than a few years. Hoping I will find somewhere and in that somewhere, something and some people that nourish me so that I don’t feel the urge to keep moving, but instead content to stay still, to have a base to call home, travelling only for shorter periods of time 'inbetween'.

Will it be where I am moving next?

Is this a mad notion?
In this current social and economic climate, is it destructive to be constantly altering ones environment, ones lifestyle, ones social group, never really sticking to any one thing, place or person long enough to get too attached?
Or is it valuable in terms of developing adaptive life and social skills, a broad understanding of others and other cultures and a strong sense of autonomy?
Am I genetically predisposed to nomadic tendencies?
Was I a voyager in a past life?
Does the fact that my family moved from place to place when I was a child make this lifestyle simply habit?
Is it emotion driven, from fear of losing time again like I did when I was sick for all those years?
Are we as a generation so spoiled for choice I simply cannot make a decision?
Is a higher energy pushing me towards my purpose?
Who knows!
There are many theories of addiction out there, one of which interests me is that of incentive sensitization. This has only been studied in terms of chemical addictions thus far however I believe it applies. The term describes a change in the properties of the motivational processes that underlie additive behaviour. The change is induced by a drug (in my case perhaps serotonin or adrenaline release) and in such this comes to induce an excessively high motivational pull towards related incentives. Such as travel, as this encompasses all kinds of change. Like with drug taking (alcohol, and cigarettes included), ones first experiences with ones addiction may be negative. I for example used to be a terrible traveller and I viewed travel with disdain! Yet, over the years I have sought to repeat the experience.  Wanting increased with exposure. The more one experiences something perhaps the less one gains pleasure or any extreme reaction, so the wanting increases and the addiction becomes more serious.
Perhaps it is even more abstractly like homeostasis. If there is a basic imbalance in ones life one seeks change in order to correct that balance; between love of a place, financial security, culture, study and relationships or whatever the inbalance may be.
And I am not the only one moving onto new pastures, or back onto older well loved ones. There have been many drinks drunk in celebration of this in the last month!
It is clear anyway that I am in an experimenting phase of my life. Experimenting with a kind of energetic free association that allows my brain to create its own high.
And isn't this what our twenties are for? Living experimentally and intentionally? And the getting away with the kind of freestyling hippy living that is simply frowned upon once you hit your thirties. Not that that will stop some of us!
It also occurs to me at times that it could even be a frontal lobe/ personality issue related to all those head bashing horse riding accidents!
Nevertheless is probably an incredibly complex transactional relationship between all of these things. And should I ever be able to speak to my Guardian Angels I am sure they will have some answers. But for now...
I shall cherish my last weeks in Paris. Promise with 100% knowledge that I shall return at least for visits, not being nearly done with this lover that has gotten deep into my bones, and that I shall never stop pining over.

I look forward to new challenges and new discoveries in a new land and new job and also those in retrospect. All the while understanding that although I feel happiness where I currently reside in Paris, this is in need of modification in order for my goals to be continually achieved, keeping a close eye on my fear and escapist nature that strolls alongside, viewing the bigger picture (and some ruby slippers in case of emergencies!) in my mind’s eye.

The world is my country, but for now, Paris is my hometown.

Just click three times and say ...


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