Sometimes I watch House Hunters International and think who the hell does that?
But I know who does that. Alex and Jordan and their two kids and scrappy dog who want a “simpler lifestyle.” They pack up their house in [INSERT EXTREMELY COLD AND/OR FAST-PACED CITY] and move to a beach in Nicaragua. They conveniently have jobs where they can work remotely with just their laptop and a cup of coffee, while the kids run in the sand and learn 10 different languages. And of course their new house is big enough for “entertaining” even though they know no one in their new country.
It sounds all kinds of amazing.
While most times I feel perfectly content with life and this show is nothing more than a chance to expand my geographical acumen, other times I watch it with longing.
Just like the people house hunting, I am exhilarated by the fantasy of taking my family somewhere and starting fresh. And I imagine the success of shows like these hinge somewhat on a vast majority of their audience feeling this way (in addition to the voyeuristic pleasure of seeing inside someone’s house).
I’m not exactly someone you would describe as an adventure-chaser, so what is it about this fantasy that is so alluring?
It’s the possibility of reinvention.
I could move and not go back to a full-time job. And no one would know I used to work but that I struggled immensely with the balancing act of work and family.
Or I could waltz into town with my laptop and writing journal firmly in hand and proclaim “I AM A WRITER!” and no one would stare at me strangely and say, “No you’re not, you work down the street at the university.”
I could even learn to cook, which somehow seems only a possibility if I move to a new country (go figure).
For some reason, the idea of settling in a place where no one knows me or my family releases me from all of the second-guessing, doubt and self-imposed barriers I fall back on when faced with certain life decisions. It’s as if the new scenery on the stage demands you to play a different role.
I’m not moving halfway across the world*, the country or even the street anytime soon, so I know the key is to find ways (and the courage) to incorporate changes where I am right this second. And I am forever grateful for the gift of choice, something so many others do not have.
There is no beach where I live, but that is for the best because I get sunburned wearing a parka. Though not big, our house already has a nice layout for entertaining, even though I don’t really care to (luckily my husband makes me so we still have friends). I have a loving support system, captained by a wonderful partner and two toddlers who think my worst fault is not being tall enough to lift them to reach the ceiling fan.
All of the ingredients are here to take risks, go after goals or even pick up a recipe book.
Just like the house hunters, who must decide among their must-haves knowing they will never get everything they want, the only thing missing is the courage to say, “I’ll take it.”
*Pending 2016 presidential election results.
8 thoughts on “House Hunters and Reinvention”
Haha…I love this! I think I literally was on a beach in Nicaragua when you wrote/posted this.
When I lived in Dubai, we used to talk about how crazy all expats were (ourselves included) and that picking up and moving basically was a good indication that something in the previous life was not right (not necessarily in a crazy dramatic way but everyone had varying levels of discontent in their former lives). Don’t get me wrong, I loved it and would do it again in a Hong Kong second! I’ve embraced my crazy!
But, my conclusion is that staying put doesn’t equal not adventurous or not brave (apologies for all those double negatives…I know that’s grammatically all sorts of wrong) and in fact may be the bravest thing you can do. Leave the “adventuring” or the illusion of adventure to the crazies. I wonder how many of those HH families ended up going home after 6 months! 😀
Tammy, I love your comment, thank you! I’m pretty sure you were my inspiration for half of this post (in a good way!). I’ve always admired the way you live life completely on your terms — I think that is the true adventurous spirit! And I do love your question about the HH families leaving their new spot after 6 months — I find an odd level of enjoyment in picturing Alex, Jordan, the kids and Fido heading back to snowy Wisconsin 🙂 Thanks for reading!
I can relate to this! Like you, I’m not a big adventurer, so I’m not always fantasizing about moving. And actually, the thought of packing up my entire house gives me major anxiety. But there is something appealing about going somewhere completely new and setting up shop and experiencing things I haven’t done before. There’s definitely an appeal to that.
Yes, it is probably one of those things that is much better in theory (or fantasy), than practice! I’d probably miss my “old life” after about 12 minutes 🙂 Thanks for reading Leah!
Yes there is really something to that “what if” and “in a new place” idea that we would be somehow so different in a new surrounding. I loved coming on this mental journey of moving and not moving and choices, etc.
Thanks Nina! It’s always interesting to see what “what if’s” end up playing out which ones stay fantasy (sometimes for the best!). I appreciate you commenting.
One of the traps of my annual summer road trip is that I always fantasize about starting over in X,Y, and Z NEW Town. I have that fantasy all the time. And I reinvent myself, as well. I wish it wasn’t so hard to make a new Allie, right here at home:)!
I’m glad I’m not alone! I know there are some subtle, mild reinventions, but they don’t quite fulfill that fantasy! Thanks for reading.