I am in the funkiest mood today.

I started writing a sort of round-up about our European vacation, but the only thing I could get to come out of my brain was a sort of lame critique on how incongruous it was to be overseas at Christmas, using Skype to talk to family back in Texas, and listening to "No Woman No Cry" in the taxi back from the train station. I know all that sounds like it might have been interesting, but trust me it wasn't.

I think I may not have been ready to jump back into America. I'm still in a kind of European headspace, craving bread at all times, and longing to hop on a train instead of negotiating my usual route in my usual car, making Starbucks a primary destination instead of a stopover on the way to Strasbourg or Brugge or Brussels. I think I'm suffering from Vacation's Over Blues.

Happens to the best of us, I know. One of the dangers of travel is that, oddly, you might actually like the experience. Yeah, I know there was a rough patch right there at the beginning, what with the flight being cancelled and all. But even that was somehow new and energizing. It was outside of "the routine."

I think I'd like to live overseas.

Up until about a year ago, I don't think I could say that and mean it, but right now I do. Of course, a year ago I was edging toward a dirt nap due to a slowing heart, and on an inevitable intercept course with a pacemaker. I was a different person, a year ago. Hell, I was a different person six months ago (when the actual pacemaker surgery happened). If you asked me if I wanted to live overseas, I might have said yes, but I wouldn't have meant it. I mean it now.

I can't remember the exact quote, and I have no chance of remembering who said it, but I heard once a little ditty that went something like this: "Travel ruins you for staying home."

Maybe I said it. I don't remember.

When I was a kid, growing up in Wild Peach and kicking crawdad holes and cow patties across the pasture behind my house, the furthest I could imagine going in the world was Houston. Or, as we of the country call it, "The big city."

Scratch that. I could imagine going to Louisiana, which we did frequently. But that was different. There wasn't much of a difference between my family's home in Louisiana and my family's home in Wild Peach. Both were small-town flavors with sides of comfort. No one thought about going anywhere else, really. Why would you? You had your grocery store, your gas station, your TV with "Nightline" and "60-Minutes," and your route to and from work, day in and day out, never wavering. Everything you could possibly need was right there.

That was then. Now, it's more complicated. Now that I've been out in the world a bit, stretching my legs, feeling my self expand a bit, I've gotten used to the idea. I see that the world has a lot more to offer than crawdad holes and "Nightline." There's a whole lot of experience to be had out there. And I want in.

Of course, I have conflicting goals. I want a house, and a workshop where I can tool around with things. I want a little home office just off of the living room. I want a couple of rooms crammed with kids.

I also want a loft apartment right in the heart of it all. I want to slip down to the street for a cup of coffee in the authentic Italian place that's on the ground floor of my building. I want to own a bike and be close enough to ride it to wherever I need to go, hopping in my car only rarely.

I want to live on a Federation Starship, and have my own personal holodeck ...

Hey, I said they were conflicting goals.

Hell, maybe I can have all of that, but I just have to choose an order for it. Maybe I snag some kind of gig that takes me and Kara overseas. Maybe we find a nice loft-like place in Belgium or Italy or France. Maybe, down the road, we decide we've had enough and come back to the States, buy a house, cram rooms with kids, tinker in the workshop, watch "Nightline."

All I know is, I'm getting a little restless, and I want to get moving. I think I can finally overcome the fears I've had, those that kept me tethered to one place for most of my life. And instead of traveling for vacation, I can travel for a living. I think I can manage that.

If anyone knows of someone looking for an American author with a pop culture addiction, send them my way, huh?

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Kevin Tumlinson is the author of numerous novels, novellas, and non-fiction books, and the host of the Wordslinger Podcast. Try three of his best books for free when you download his starter library at kevintumlinson.com/starterlibrary.


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