Hello. My name is Charlie and I am addict.
I have an addiction problem. I am addicted to the road. I’ve been around the world and back many a times…and all I want is more. The craving is so intense, I’ve turned my world upside and inside out so I may get a fix as often as possible.
Don’t get me wrong. New York City is home, I live in one of the greatest cities in the world. The addiction does not steam from living in the middle of the cornfields and lacking in stimulations. Oh no! Like all cravings, the need is inexplicable. It takes on its own personality and makes demands of you; make you do crazy things like drive a clunker 1/3 around the world. I can’t seem to stop. When I am back in NYC, at home, where most people relish being, at home, I think about where to go next, how to line up my work schedule, the next project, so I can leave again. Constantly.
Tonight, I was using Google Maps to find the restaurant location for my dinner date, when I fond myself hitting the zoom out button, zooming out of NYC, out, and out, until I could see the world. I scanned each continent and thought about where I want to go next. Next thing you know, I’m Googling for visa requirements for Nepal, Indonesia and Sierra Leone and am late for dinner.
On the subway, when I spot backpackers and travelers, I would give up my seat under the pretense of the elderly and disabled, squeeze next to them for a little contact high. I secretly wish they would ask me for directions, how to get to Central Park or which stop the Hostelling International.
“I know what you need. Ask me ask me!” I want to shout at them. “I too am a traveler. I’m just in between trips right now. I have my passport here. I don’t leave home without it! See!” They would immediately recognize me as one of their own and feed me tales from the road. Their stories would be enough to sustain me until the next trip. Instead, I ease drop on their conversation and try to decipher where they’ve been, where they are going and be satisfied with the whiff of travel.
What is the problem you ask… If you’ve tailored made your life so travel is part of it, then why can’t you just buy a ticket and go?
Well…you see, it’s like this. I can only travel if there is an element of work involved. I’ve actually only traveled for work in these last 15 years. Except the next phase of work involves staying put, a decent Internet connection and a lot computer time. I need to stay still somewhere and finish writing two different books I’ve been working on. Staying put in NYC is the obvious option, except the craving is too strong. I would either spend most of my days running all over the city in meetings and or Googling for visa requirements for foreign countries. The city won’t let me write in peace. It is the greatest city in the world because it demands your participation. The only way I can finish writing either books here would be if I faked my own death.
Aside from terminating a lot of valuable relationships abruptly and upsetting friends and families…how would I explain myself when it is time to resurface and come back from the dead? Do I start with a Facebook status update? Or do I email friends individually? Hi! Sorry to have upset you, you see, I’m not really dead. Thank you for sending such a lovely flower arrangement. It was such a lovely euology you gave. I never knew you felt that way. No. Faking my own death is not a good idea.
How can I feed this addiction, stay still long enough to finish the writing and not have to fake my own death?
I would be in a foreign country where the addiction is sated. Yet I could stay still long enough to finish at least one of the books if not both.
With that in mind, I started to shop for apartments. From 17 different European cities I narrowed it down to Amsterdam, Paris, Barcelona and Florence. Since the mission of this trip is to finish writing, the apartment played an utmost importance. It has to be just right. It has to be the place where one can create a masterpiece! This charming apartment with balcony and views over Paris on the left bank is just perfect.
The skylight in the living room will be a washed in sunlight from first light to dusk. Even on overcast days there will be great daylight in the apartment, critical for mood stability and mental stimulation. It is small enough to be cozy but big enough to not feel cramped. I can already see myself cooking lovely meals from the simple kitchen. The produce, meat, cheese…well all things food related really…are so good in Paris. Oh my tapeworm and I will eat well! The dinning table will double as the office and distance from the office to coffee is mercilessly short. In the evenings, there would be short rib and fresh figs slowly braising in red wine and thyme on the stove, I could get up, stir, and return to the writing without losing track.
The left bank of Paris was a favorite haunt for many literary greats, Hemingway and Fitzgerald, Henry Miller and Andre Breton. The famous Shakespeare and Co bookstore is near by along with endless cafes and bars. I would never need to go far for inspiration.
The apartment is on the top level with a view of the city. When I was young, The Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett was one of my favorite books. I read it over and over it again. When I saw the view from this charming apartment, I thought of Sara Crewe living in the attic of Miss Minchin’s boarding school. To finish my first books in a charming apartment that reminds me of a favorite childhood book in one of the most literary neighborhoods in Paris instead of faking my own death! Oh what a splendid plan!