Moving To The End of the World Part One

May 14, 2014

Part 1: First Stop: ARGENTINA

            In July, 2011, I was a person in crisis, broken, burnt-out and defeated. I am stuck with two smashed bloody legs under a derailed carriage in a train wreck somewhere in a remote mountainous region . . . and nobody is coming to rescue me. Thank God for that.

            I had thrown in my partnership at a midtown Manhattan law firm, and fled with my dog, to an isolated cabin in the woods of northern Connecticut. If you’re going to have a major break-down -- do it alone, and quietly, if you can.

            Nowadays, society allows us to break down but for a limited time only, about seven days. After that first week, I started to get calls and emails from well-meaning friends and family, all pretty much asking the same question, “WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO???

            “I was thinking that maybe tomorrow I’d have some toast,” I typically replied.

            I wasn’t joking. That was as far as my plan went. I’d like to have sounded cool and confident and said, “THE PLAN IS . . . THERE IS NO PLAN.”  But that didn’t sound cool to me, just scary and kind of stupid. 

            What if some oracle had appeared in my cabin and told me that in less than three years, I would be making my first television appearance in connection with my newly published series of children’s books?

            Hmm, that’s a tough one. I had written a novel before and it went absolutely nowhere. But yes, I think that way deep deep deep down inside, I might have believed her.

            If she had added that I’d be making that appearance in a dress that cost £30 ($41), I’d have called her a liar and told her to take a hike.

            But so it came to pass. I was on Elev8 on RTE 2 last week. You can catch the show on RTE player

            Everyone on the programme was super professional and generous. My dress did the job just fine. I had fun. But when the producer motioned at me and said, “You’re on now,” for the briefest of moments, I was back in that cabin in the woods.

            I thought that I might blog for a few weeks about my travels over the past 34 months, from that cabin to here, because so very many of us are interested in dodging the rat race. A lot happened: GREAT and not-so-great and often very funny. To write the posts, I can use the emails that I sent to my Norwegian uncle, Anders, back in New York, who was terminally ill. He told me:

            "I don’t care about the colours of the sunsets or the dead things in the museums. Write to me from your new life. Tell me about the amusing things people do and say, that’s the good stuff."

            I tried to do that. I met very many wonderful people. To respect their privacy, I’ve changed their names. If by tweaking here and there, I could add to my Uncle’s amusement, you can bet I did that.  

            After I’d been living in the cabin for about a month, I checked my email one morning by typing in my password “Argentina31.” Something clicked. I looked up from my computer. I knew what to do. I’d been typing it every single day for years, whenever I checked my email. Argentina! Don’t You Dare Cry for Me! I would move to the end of the world.

            “Dear Anders,

            I’ve arrived in Buenos Aires …”

I’ll fill you in next week.  

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