Photo by Helminadia Ranford
I never thought of my ability to live abroad as a skill, but according to Elizabeth Gilbert, it’s something that some people are better suited for than others.
The following is an exert from Elizabeth Gilbert’s book Committed. Committed is the follow-up book to her memoir Eat Pray Love (which has been described as “self-realization and travel porn for the thinking woman”). In the exert, Elizabeth suggests that foreigners overseas fall into two distinct categories: those who were born to travel and those who were born to live abroad.
Which one are you?
From the book, Committed by Elizabeth Gilbert (pages 216-221):
“Like a fussy baby who can fall asleep in a moving car, I have always been comforted with the tempo of travel. I’d always assumed that Felipe operated on the same principle; since he was the most widely traveled person I’ve ever met. But he didn’t seem to enjoy any of this drifting.
…The reality about Felipe, as I was beginning to realize, is that he’s both the best traveler I’ve ever met and by far the worst. He hates strange bathrooms and dirty restaurants and uncomfortable trains and foreign beds—all of which pretty much define the act of traveling. Given a choice, he will always select a lifestyle of routine, familiarity, and reassuringly boring everyday practices. All of which might make you assume that the man is not fit to be a traveler at all.
But you would be wrong to assume that, for here is Felipe’s traveling gift, his superpower, the secret weapon that renders him peerless: He can create a familiar habitat of reassuringly boring everyday practices for himself anyplace, if you just let him stay in one spot. He can assimilate absolutely anywhere on the planet in the space of about three days, and then he’s capable of staying put in that place for the next decade or so without complaint.
This is why Felipe has been able to live all over the world. Not merely travel, but live. Over the years, he has folded himself into societies from South American to Europe, from the Middle East to the South Pacific. He arrives somewhere utterly new, decides he likes the place, moves right in, learns the language, and instantly becomes a local.”
I can relate to Felipe so well! I was definitely born to live abroad. What about you?