For a long time Minnesota was this mythic place for me, particularly for the year or so before I moved here. San Francisco usually serves this role for me since I moved to Minnesota. What I mean is that when I'm feeling antsy or frustrated or even a little weary because of the inevitable frustrations of daily life, I start to focus on a place that feels comfortable and fun and happy for me. It's a total fantasy of a situation, a place to imagine running away to. I think Boston was this place when I was in high school (and visited my aunt there a couple of time -- interestingly enough, I wound up living in the very Cambridge apartment she lived in, where I first stayed in 1969 or so).
About 10 years ago I found myself in a situation where I could have left my job in Minnesota on a Friday and gone to work in the bay area the next Monday and the only difference it would have made to my company was finding me a cubicle (my work group and every one of my work projects was evenly split between Minnesota and California). That's the point I realized that I didn't really want to move to Shangri-la, because it would immediately become the everyday that I was fantasizing about escaping. Besides, I'm not leaving Minnesota and I know it.
Still, during my first week at my new job, when I was feeling uncertain about everything, I started to question what it was I was looking for. I realized I was starting to romanticize my situation at SGI, in retrospect. I found myself drawn to the thought of Australia. Yeah, I was happy there. It felt so right.
I mentioned to my parents when I was in New Jersey the other week that the thought of moving to Austalia had started to tickle at me and they said no. It occurs to me that it's been thirty years since my parents actually told me I couldn't do something, so I had to give that some credence. Of course within a matter of seconds my father started to consider what it would take for him to make the trip out there. But no, I'm not moving to Australia, just because it feels like home. Minnesota also feels like home, and I already have a job and an apartment here. I also know perfectly well that my times in Australia were special magic circumstances and not everyday life at all, despite the sense that I had all the trappings of everyday life including old friends to hang out with and a Morris dance team.
So instead I just relax into these fantasies. I think about my room in the b&b in Sydney. I think about the department stores in Melbourne. I think about the commute to Camberwell. The other day kasinik posted a picture of himself at Darling Harbour in Sydney, and in my head I was there so vividly that it was almost spooky. The other day I was taking a break and thinking about the day I walked to the Sydney Opera House and then circumnavigated the botanical gardens and it was almost as if I'd had a little Aussie vacation without the horrific intolerable torturous flight.
I don't know how I'll manage to get back. At the moment I'm thinking of trying to conserve my pennies to attend the SAGE-AU conference next year if I can convince my current employer to give me the days off if I pay my own way (and then I can make a side trip to Brisbane and actually meet my boss). Sadly, although that was absolutely par for the course at SGI and they even felt bad when they couldn't help me with my expenses, it may not be possible here. We'll see. I know I'll be back somehow, and I hope sooner rather than later.
But on the whole it doesn't matter. I've still got Australia in my brain, as a full and rich place. I remember every meal I ate there, and every day I spent, and all the people I had fun with. It's nice to have a runaway destination, even when you are 40 years past the age of running away and joining the other Lost Boys.