On 3 April 2011, I left Chevy Chase MD for Austin TX, the first leg of a 1,520 mile return drive, after a 4-week reconnaissance to Washington DC in search of a new life. I had 14 meetings in DC, VA and MD with theatre managers, artistic directors, arts' organizers, actors, writers, and storytellers. I attended a storytelling conference, performed a few gigs and was offered others, should I return. I visited old friends, made new ones. There were 3 considerations, (a) weather, (b) career potential, (c) cost of living. I could live with the cold, and there were work opportunities even for an old bag like me as long as I moved there first. And there it was: "as long as I moved there first," bringing us to the cost of living. I couldn't afford a small apartment for 6 months without cashing in my itsy bitsy, teeny weeny, yellow polka dot IRA.
Should I "go wild," sell my house and possessions, leave all the friends I've made in the past 19 years and make a fresh start in a capital city? Wait a minute...didn't I do that at 22 when I moved to London? At 26 when I moved to Tripoli? At 30 to Dubai? At 35 to Austin? Did I really want to do it again at 54?
Through Maryland, Virginia, Tennessee, Arkansas and then Texas -- from full-length wool coat/mittens to cotton frock/sandals -- pondering, contemplating, cogitating (she's at the Thesaurus again). Then it dawned on me. Why not have 14 meetings in Austin? How long was it since I'd kick-started my life in Austin, a city I love? Could I re-shape and re-vitalize what I already had? If I could promote myself in a place where I'm nobody, couldn't I do it where I'm not completely unknown? What was stopping me? Could it be... FEAR?
Hey! Perhaps I'd been spouting the truth after all: "Wherever you go, there you are." Could I be the best of me right where I am? Hm. I arranged 14 meetings, actually 13 + 1 swim at Barton Springs (this is Austin, y'all). By December 2011, I'd run bar/box office for a favorite theatre company, learned an American dialect and a new acting style for another I'd longed to work with; written/produced/performed my own show; adapted/produced/performed a second; even received a few nominations. No bragging here; I made mistakes, lost LOTS of money, and often looked a fool but lessons were learned. I might be proving something I always believed but for which I needed hard evidence. You don't have to run away to the other side of the world to get a different perspective. You can just sit in a different chair at a different window on the other side of the house.