Growing up as a South African born female with dual citizenship, my Swiss passport has always stirred the DRD4-7R gene -also known as the “wanderlust gene”- within me. Restless anticipation ensured my head was always dreamily adrift in the clouds, and my feet never planted firmly on the ground. By age 15, I had already moved to 10 different locations, had been a pupil of 8 schools and had 0 sense of stability.
This was not a life; this was a lifestyle, a choice I had consciously made and with every passing year, with every bad decision and worse outcome my Swiss citizenship seemed more like the traveling lottery ticket I had won at birth, assuring salvation from a land that was little more than broken promises and shattered dreams. By 22, I finally cashed out and although it had never been my intention to live in the United Kingdom I somehow found myself, hopes barely intact and a future as unpredictable as the demons from my past, on English soil… And here I am.
Now, a year and a half later, my DRD4-7R gene remains the only constant in my life. I have not outgrown it, but I have grown attached to the country I am in. In stark contrast to the third-world hellhole (of astounding natural beauty, and ever-missed idyllic climate), I am in first-world heaven. The inhabitants are, for the most part, both well-educated and well-spoken, their cultural norm of social pubbing not only coincides with, but encourages, my binge drinking, their economy goes from strength to strength and their currency holds the security that has always eluded me. And yet I find myself battling the urge of upheaval. Having initiated my Hospitality Management Diploma course, an opportunity to spend time in the United States of America has never been more imminent: it is possible for me to be employed as a waitress on golf courses in America, gaining valuable work experience and satiating my hunger for adventure, if this is the path I decided to pursue. In one of the 8 schools I attended, I was taught the method of creating lists to detail the benefits of differing options. This post is my personal list for each, so that I may reflect upon, ponder over and inevitably conclude an appropriate course of action.
- The prospect of gratifying my wanderlust-urge, of exploring another continent and indulging in their culture and customs, integrating myself into a contrasting system to that which I am accustomed to.
- Improving my CV by working internationally, and having it be in the field I am actually studying towards.
- The agency will assist in handling ALL aspects of my employment, guaranteeing a smooth transition, definite employment and secured accommodation.
- I will be staying with colleagues in my age range, sharing a home, a life. For so long I have been dependent on the hospitality and housing of those who employ me, those who befriend me or those who are concerned about me. To have a place I can call my own, albeit temporarily, will be a relief. The happiest I have ever been was when living independently, forging a life for myself unaided my the roof of my elders. It would be a shame not to relive that feeling in the near future.
- Being able to make new acquaintances, and potentially friends. Well is it known (by those I let in) that I am often alone, though seldom lonely. I seek deep, meaningful connections and crave emotional intimacy, but struggle to form and maintain bonds as I rarely seek what I yearn for, and am finicky with whom I am willing to tie myself to. If forced into not only a working but living situation with people in my age group (and with similar interests), it is safe to assume that it is probable solid connections will be made. Due to my nature, the majority of them will be superficial but it stands to reason that I should make at least one friend I will hold dear throughout my life, even in spite of the distance that will follow once our contracts end.
- The currency. At present, this is my primary motivating force as the British Pound is so strong, I would basically earn double the amount of money here than I would for the same amount of hours clocked in anywhere else.
- Being a resident, in my own abstract way, means that this is now “my place”, if ever there was one for me.
- The familiarity. This is both a pro and a con. I am comfortable here, and have become accustomed to the country and the way in which it functions. I feel a sense of acceptance, of belonging -and yet, as always, wherever I go and whoever I am with, an outsider. However, nothing ever grows when stagnant. Except moss. And I’d rather be a rolling stone…
I don’t think I even need to go on; if money is my main motivating factor, then my decision should be made already. I have always advocated experience over monetary gain, and replacing the enriching experience of a brief international stint for financial security would be hypocritical. Besides, the UK has felt homely, and like a bird in migration I will always instinctively know when -and where- to return…