From 2000 to 2008, I lived in 8 different places.
Here’s where I went-
1. From 2000-2001- I went to journalism school in Montreal. This was my first time away and I loved it. I fell in love with Montreal the way you fall in love with a person. I was an adventurer. I only lived there for a year, but I went to almost every museum and saw and did A LOT. It was hard, but a huge learning experience for me.
2. I moved home for a few months. Then from 2001-2002, I lived in Wainwright, Alberta, where I worked as a newspaper reporter. Wainwright had a population of 5,300, which was challenging for me. I learned that I’m not really suited to living in small towns, although I think I could do a better job of living in one now then I did back then. I’ve grown up a lot.
3. After Wainwright and Montreal, I wanted to get out of the country. So I applied for internships and got one with the Canadian Cooperative Association. I went to Indonesia for 2 months. Then after the Bali bombing, I had to return to Saskatoon. Then I was sent to Ottawa, and eventually, I ended up in Mongolia for 4 months. From there, it was back to Saskatoon, where I stayed for almost a year.
4. In August 2004, I moved to Vancouver, which was my home for 2.5 years. (You’re getting the short version of things now.)
5. In January 2007, I moved to Grande Prairie, Alberta for a journalism job.
6. In August 2008, I moved to Edmonton for my current job. I’ve been here ever since.
I have only lived in Edmonton for about 3.5 years, but it’s the longest that I’ve lived anywhere other than Saskatoon. In the past three weeks, one friend sent me job postings for jobs in BC, someone else thought that I had moved to Calgary, and a friend asked me when I was planning to move. From 2000 until about 2010, I would occasionally get emails that read “Where are you?” or “Are you still in Vancouver (or Saskatoon or Grande Prairie or Edmonton)?”
I always knew that I would need to leave my hometown. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a beautiful city, and I love it dearly, but I always wanted to explore, to travel, to see new things. I love cities that are over a million people. I love the diversity, the arts and the range of events one can experience in a larger centre. I love feeling that a lot of different things are happening in the place where I live.
In January, I read an article in The Globe and Mail about “neophilia”, which is the love of novelty or anything new. I’ve always called myself a “seeker”, but hearing this new term was like looking in a mirror for the first time. Yes, I thought to myself, “This makes perfect sense.”. It was like someone had given me a word that described my identity. I had a name for it.
This concept of “neophilia” describes my restlessness, my constant need to learn, and even says a little about the type of men that I’m attracted to.
I was not at all surprised when I took a quiz to determine my level of neophilia and scored extremely high.
The article that I initially read is
I’ve got the book “New, understanding our need for novelty and change” on hold at the Edmonton Public Library.
So I have that need for novelty and I always will. But right now, I know that I’m not going anywhere, at least not physically. I have no current plans to leave Edmonton. I like my job. I have a good network of friends, but I seem to meet new people (or at least one new person) about every week. The city is cheaper than other places I’ve lived and there’s lots to do. And I feel that there are so many opportunities here for me. Doors open and I barely even have to knock on them. My writing career has advanced a lot in the 3.5 years that I’ve been here.
My current writing project is based in Edmonton and I have plans for another one after that and it’s Alberta specific. So even though I do dream of travelling or even living in another location, I have let myself develop some small roots on my feet. It is nice to have a sense of community, to randomly run into friends while I’m walking around my neighbourhood, to be able to wave at people when I go to a concert.
Am I going to stay here forever? Who knows? I might go somewhere else for a while, eventually. My desire to see new things is so strong that sometimes I can’t even read the travel section of a newspaper. I hope to travel again.
But right now, I’m not going anywhere. This has been a strange process for me. After a year in Edmonton, I felt restless and ready to move, because it had been such a huge part of my routine. A couple days ago, I was sitting in my apartment, and counted all the pieces of furniture I’d purchased in the past 3.5 years. I actually own a few things now.
To fit with the theme of this post, I’ll gift you with Keren Ann’s song Not going anywhere (She’s Eurasian too- (Russian/Jewish and Dutch Javanese)
I’ve been singing this song to myself a lot lately.