But eventually I start to feel institutionalized. My anxiety deepens into depression, then evolves into irrational fear. I envision freak accidents, viruses attacking my brain, or violent deaths ? the detectives of the Law and Order TV-series zipping my body bag, calling me the “Vic.”
Worst of all, I start to fear traveling. But in a new country, I breathe easier. The challenges are exciting. The frustrations all make sense. And I learn something every day. I feel, well, normal.
So I stopped worrying, and started reorganizing. I studied travel writing and travel photography. I computerized my teaching files, for portability, and invested in good luggage. I stopped saying, “I’ll do this awhile, and then start my real life.” And I started saying, “This is my life.”
And now, they’re listening to me.