Moving Motivations

I’ve decided to move. In itself the news is not exactly shocking–after all, isn’t this the American way? It seems like everyone I know is from somewhere else and likely to go somewhere else from where they are today. Are we Americans obsessed, and if we are, how did we get this way? Maybe it’s the pioneer sprit that preceded us all.

Or perhaps it’s just me. I grew up with a father who was also the father of adventure–maybe not on as large a scale as Indiana Jones, but still ranking 9 on a more normal scale of 10. When I was six months old, he took me on my first private plane ride–on a plane that he was piloting–so that I could see the sights. This must have made an imprinted me with the passion for risk taking for the pure pleasure of it. It imprinted my mother with complete mistrust of my father as a babysitter.

When I was six, my father bought a moving van and moved us all (my mother, brother, cat, dog, and me) to Colorado from New York State. His motivation was the adventure of potential new business–in the form of a uranium mine. That didn’t pan out in the end, and we moved back east a year later. From that point on, where we would move next was a frequent dinner table discussion. The fact that we never moved again, at least out of the town where we were, was irrelevant. The idea–and the possibility–were always there.

When I went away to college I wanted, more than anything else, to go “out of state” and where no one I knew would be. To me, that insured some kind of freedom that I thought I wouldn’t have if I stayed within the confines of New York. I eventually just crossed the border into Vermont, but that worked for me.

I stayed in Vermont for quite some time after college, but one day when my brain actually thawed enough to qualify as functional, I moved to Atlanta to get warm. I didn’t know anyone there either—more freedom.

In the nearly twenty-four years since leaving Vermont, I’ve moved four times again–twice out of the country, and twice back, landing again in Atlanta on each of the moves back. When I went to France–to have the experience of a long term stay in another country and culture–I moved to Toulouse, a city I had never seen until the day I arrived with my suitcase and cat. Lots of freedom there.

And now, having been back in Atlanta for ten years since returning from France, I’m moving again,this time to the proverbial land of milk and honey–more accurately, the land of grapes and olives–the wine country of northern California.

What’s my motivation this time? It’s definitely not the grapes or the olives. Even after five years in France, and being totally immersed in the wine culture, I never really got hooked on wine. And olives are one of two things I just can’t stand in the food department (the other being cilantro).

Most people I know either move for money or family. Neither of those things have been before or are what prompt me now. With me it’s the adventure of a new place, but it can’t be just any new place. It has to feel right–both a matter of place and timing. This time it has taken me a long time to get to the point of decision. For almost two years I just couldn’t figure it out. I knew I wanted to move, but couldn’t decide where to. I was beginning to think critical brain cells had melted in an Atlanta heat wave a few years back, and so was relieved to finally discover this to not be the case.

I knew that when it was right, it would feel right–and that’s only come about in this past month. At least I knew the feeling from before, and therefore knew what I was waiting for. Napa and Sonoma have been floating around in my head in some form for more than thirty years, and now, finally, their time has come.

Some people would say I’m crazy to move to that part of California just when The Big One is more than a bit overdue, and also, just after Napa and Sonoma nearly floated away a couple of weeks ago. So, if it’s not earthquakes and floods in California, it’s tornadoes and falling trees here in Atlanta (two years ago six people were killed in separate tree falling incidents). One way or another, there is always a hazard about to happen, regardless of where anyone of us is. Might as well enjoy where I am for the moment than to wait it out in some ‘safe’ but boring B-list place.

I have set a deadline for myself–to be out of Atlanta before the heat hits. That means that in four months from today, or less, I’ll be into my next incarnation. I’ll be in California next week to lay the groundwork.

Now all that’s left is finding that just right place to move into. That takes persistence, patience, and luck, and as all three have been there each time for me before, I know they will be this time too. As it is with everything, it’s all just a matter of timing.

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