How on earth do people ever decide where to move when the world is your oyster? Choosing the place that you’ll call home truly affects every aspect of your life: how often you’ll see family and friends, what job opportunities you’ll have, what you’ll do for entertainment, how much money you’ll be able to put away for retirement, and so. much. more. Perhaps that’s why I’ve been dragging my heels, but the clock is literally ticking down to June 30 when my Italian visa will expire.
If you don’t follow us on Facebook (um, why the heck not? Get over there and give us a like!), then you have no idea what I’m rambling on about. I’ve hinted at an impending move a few times now and inquiring minds want to know. So since I recognize all the same signs of freaking out – crying, mood swings, completely stressed out and worried beyond belief – like I did when we moved to Italy seven years ago, I thought dishing it out might be cathartic and you loyal readers could help me decide where the right place to go is.
That pesky day job Tim has is taking him to South Korea for a year and the fur kids and I can’t go. Emma, Angel and I need to find a new place to call home for a year-ish. And no, I have absolutely zero desire to stay in Italy.
Oddly, I spent years wishing, hoping and dreaming of living in Italy. And it was a wonderful experience…mostly. But for the last year or so, I’ve just become tired. The things we Americans take for granted everyday that are so easy back home are often the most frustrating parts of living in Italy. Things like paying the internet bill, which you can do with a click of button in your online bill pay at home in the US, leave me feeling like I’ve just limped out of a battle. Or my recent fiasco with the pharmacist over Angel’s medication simply because the pharmacist doesn’t speak any English and asking how refills work isn’t in my Italian vocabulary.
Traveling in Italy and living in Italy are so not the same thing.
So sometime in June I’ll leave Italy. That’s not to say I won’t still travel here, but I won’t call Italia home any longer. Where am I going, you ask? That’s a really, really good question.
I’ve lived in Italy for seven years now and it is home, currently. I left the childhood home I grew up in 16 years ago, when I moved away to college in Las Vegas. That’s half of my entire lifetime ago! Sorry Mom and Dad, America’s snowiest city has little appeal, even if you do still live there. Cleveland Hopkins International Airport is just too far a drive to make as often as I travel as professional travel writer and I can’t risk not being able to “get to work” (aka catch a flight to a project) because I’m snowed in.
Ruling out my childhood home, if I were to return to the US I guess Phoenix, Arizona makes the most sense. I have two close friends and a handful of others I’ve seen regularly since I made regular trips to Phoenix when I was telecommuting to my university job. Familiarity and some friendships have a ton of appeal, particularly after I spent the last year feeling the loneliest I’ve ever felt in my entire life with Tim away for six months.
There’s a lot to do right there in Phoenix when I’m not traveling. I wasn’t travel writing when we lived there, so while we’ve written a few things like the 10 Best Things to Do in Summer in Arizona and the Top 10 Arizona Hikes, it would give me the opportunity to bring you guys all new content from Phoenix and Arizona. I might also have more opportunities for projects in the US if I were actually based in the US, so I could write about a lot more trip ideas right within our own borders.
Last spring I was invited on a Viking River Cruises Bordeaux cruise and the city of Bordeaux was like love at first sight. It’s a bit like Paris, but smaller. On the perpetual search for where Tim and I will someday choose to live, I did think Bordeaux could maybe be that place.
I’ve contacted a realtor about finding an apartment, since a rental contract is just one of the things in a mountain of paperwork I need to apply for a French visa. And Tim and I have been looking at apartments online now for a few months. I can get a 1-bedroom in the center for far less than I’d be paying in the US.
If I do move to Bordeaux, I don’t want the apartment I’ll need to furnish to be one very expensive storage locker for my stuff. I envision spending the majority of my year actually discovering Bordeaux, both the city and the wine region. I know I’ll be visiting Tim in South Korea and opportunities always come up, but I’d be scaling back the international travel in order to focus on my new home and more travel within France. I’ve even already got some ideas (aspirations) to turn the year into a book.
Maybe a book that is part travel memoir and part guide book with a focus on wine tourism? Titles have been running through my head. Bordeaux in 365 Bottles…or something like that. There are 65 different appellations and over 7000 wineries in Bordeaux and plenty of bucket list ways to discover them like touring in true French style on a French classic car tour or biking through the hilly vineyards around Saint-Emilion.
I’ve also been toying with taking classes to get my sommelier certification, essentially to up my ante when it comes to wine writing and for personal growth and ongoing education. The École du Vin de Bordeaux offers seminars (in English) so I could get an idea if I’m truly interested in pursuing an education in wine before I make such a costly investment in wine school. At the very least, the courses in oenotourism should benefit me and you, since this website incorporates wine tourism in to just about every destination we partner with.
I’m Scared of Making the Wrong Decision…
I haven’t actually made a decision to pick up and move since I chose a college. After I chose UNLV and living in Las Vegas, life (Tim’s job) has just sort of carried me to Phoenix and then to Italy. I made both of those work because I didn’t have a choice about living in those places.
Having a girlfriend to grab dinner with and just have some girl talk is important to me. It wasn’t easy, but I eventually made friends in Phoenix mostly from when I started a book club on Craigslist that really just turned in to a drink wine and chat club. I never really did make friends here in Italy, though, and it’s often just been incredibly lonely. What if I choose Bordeaux and I don’t make friends there either?
Aside from that, I’m mostly worried about how the decision affects this blog. Which decision is the right one for our readers? Which decision will afford the most work opportunities? Which one will help grow this blog to the next level? After all, I quit my job to turn this blog in to a business.
So help me choose! I really want to hear from you. Leave a comment and tell me if I should choose Bordeaux or Phoenix.