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Belonging Somewhere Else

October 8, 2003 |

Mr. Keillor,
I just left high school and am off to college and wondering about my future. I haven't travelled too far from home yet, but I'm thinking about it. I'd really like to go live in England after college. Maybe Australia. Somewhere that wouldn't take too much effort, linguistically. Is it disloyal to feel like you belong somewhere else? When you come back, is it the same?

Dear Restless,
No, and no. But for a really big experience, you could try getting outside of English. How's your Spanish? Go to a college that gives you credit for a year abroad and get your Spanish up to speed and haul off to Barcelona for nine months. Find people who don't speak English and live with them. You'll find an almost mystical sort of friendship that crosses language barriers and you'll also get to learn how to deal with excruciating loneliness and this will do you a world of good. You'll learn about self-reliance and how to be good company to yourself. This will free you from ever needing television, and that will give you about 20% more of your own life to live. With this 20% bonus, you can write books or raise kids or become a tycoon or do anything else you want to in this life. No kidding.

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