I have been living in the United States for just over 10 years. That’s 10 consecutive years. In other words, I’ve now lived in the U.S. longer than I’ve lived in any other country (previous record: 8 years in Kenya). Though I happily anticipated my move to California in 2006 to begin my Master’s degree, I fashioned myself a world traveler and California felt stifling. International flights were much costlier than I had ever paid in my globetrotting adult life and road-tripping necessitated owning a car, an object I saw as an anchor. The happiest version of myself included perpetually living around the world with little to hold me or my bank account down.
Recently, I sold my car after putting in over 200,000 miles of fuel-efficient driving to 13 states – the entire West and Southwest – and two countries (Mexico and Canada). What I had seen as an anchor had freed me in a way no airplane ticket could have. There was so much to see that I realized I had been reductive in my earlier views on travel. The world had always been there, waiting for me in a supermarket, a language class, a house of worship, or on the road. All I had to do was look. Continue reading