How becoming an expat helped me meet life goals


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Moving to a foreign country is a lot like writing a book. It’s something most people would like to do but most never will. It’s challenging, inspiring, scary as hell, and requires the loyal grit and determination of a cat chasing a laser beam.

You can be the most beautiful, emotive writer, spinning streams of golden prose that dance gracefully across a page––and in the same moment be a terrible storyteller with no sense of character development or narrative structure. Then, there are born storytellers. People gifted at crafting tales that intoxicate readers with just the right amount of complexity, soul, and intrigue. A twist here, a turn there. Literary origami. Often, these people are not great at prose.

Then, there are the experts––we cannot forget factual accuracy. So many specialists, historians, sci-fi nerds, and PHDs write books leaning on the near-religious grasp they have of a subject matter. But gripping facts and accurate situational dialogue do not, alone, make a good book. It’s incredibly rare to find that all the qualities of true authorship embodied by a single person. What being an expat has taught me is, life is a game of playing your strengths.

Many people, myself included, dream of writing a book. Like living abroad, where does one begin? What if I don’t have the brain I need to do this right? The key is, don’t think—just do. In the expat life, this mentality has led me through painful challenges, up volcanoes, off cliffs, and through new and dangerous situations. Why should life goals be any different? Creative expression can transport you from the passive condition of thought to the active condition of sensation and there is nothing more sensual or full of flavor than the experience of another place, people, and culture.

 

Inspiration attacks with Titanic force


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My favorite comedian Jack Handy once said, “I hope some animal never bores a hole in my head and lays it’s eggs in my brain, because later you might think you’re having a good idea but it’s just eggs hatching.

Good for you, Jack, for figuring out how to put what that feels like into words.

Have you ever walked into an art gallery or seen a really good film and thought “Why didn’t I think of that first?”

It’s the schizophrenic rush of inspiration, the feeling that the demonic heat of your own creative potential might actually set you on fire.

And then you see the gelato shop across the road and the idea that was so fresh and clear in your mind crawls back to the larval sack of ambivalence from whence it came.

For me, this moment came yesterday after watching Titanic for the 10,000 time.

Although many fans ‘abandoned ship’ in an effort to distance themselves from the poisonous haze of romantic stereotypes and pre-teen obsession, my loyalty has never wavered.

Before Titanic, nobody had the tools to communicate the shock, terror, and devastation of this infamous night. By definition, history is removed from our sense of reality and is therefore inaccessible.

Since April 14th 1912, people have relied on written accounts and imagination to connect with the horror of this legendary disaster.

Then came James Cameron’s Titanic, a sensual tsunami that allows people to experience the sinking for themselves through the eyes of authentic, relatable characters.

The story is communicated with such flawless accuracy, counting a plot laced with faithful depictions of true passengers.

The stark class differences and political dissension of the era are meticulously represented in every dialogue. The boundary between present and past is shattered for 194 minutes.

All I can think is, why didn’t I do it first? Never mind that I was 10.