Originally I am from Nashville, but the drawl has been mostly lost, and I prefer the beach life anyway. Last summer I moved back to the US from England where I lived and traveled for the past seven years, so now I sound British when I ask questions.
In the UK, I lived in the sea-side town of Brighton – famed for its hippy and alternative atmosphere. Brighton is a haven for musicians and artists and circus performers across the spectrum. In the tangled narrow lanes of Brighton, hundreds of gigs were performed weekly, some in squares, some in dingy, sticky-floored bars, and some in grand ballrooms of an Indian Palace. I preferred the acoustic gigs, folk and indie – but once found myself in a Karaoke bar with a glam-rock theme. Most in the audience were Goths, or Axyl Rose look-a-likes. But I digress.
In the UK I lived in a 15th Century castle and terrorized Canadian college students with ghosts stories. Then chaperoned them on visits to London. The following year I studied for my masters, while tending bar in a 16th century pub, where I terrorized myself with ghost stories. The last 4 years I taught secondary school – an American teaching English to the English. They loved it. I chaperoned them on visits to London.
I spent my holidays and weekends traveling when I could, making it as far north as Stockholm, as far south as Crete, as far east as Sofia, and as far west as Dublin, or the Isle of Scilly, depending on how bothered you are to check the latitude.
In 2008, I decided to jump ship, and return to North America. Not because the ship was sinking, but because I didn’t like the food. I packed up every single thing I owned and wanted to keep forever into 7 cardboard tea chests and 1 bicycle box, and sent it across the Atlantic. I decided to walk the Camino de Santiago before hitting California, so I hopped on a plane to Spain, where I had nothing to lose, and all to gain. The very first day I walked in the rain. Never in my life had my feet felt so much pain. But I climbed the mountains and walked the plains. Then flew to Toronto.
This last year, back in the states, I taught writing as a Lecturer of Basic Academic Writing at UCR. As California has decided not to employ teachers anymore, I have had to find other forms of employment. I spent three insane winter months in North and South Carolina, Virginia, and Georgia living out of cheap hotels and my rental car while recruiting student volunteers to participate in summer programs for an international organization. It was very cold. But I did meet a bee man in a honey store in Savannah who was intent on using his research to study the declining bee population, and how he could discover the source of the bees’ failing health, and save them all – and save the world by default. We’ll see how he goes.
Currently I am working, but I’m in a temporary lull, and not doing what I am. I am a teacher, a writer, a traveler. Just no students at the moment, can’t see my readers, and budget is limited to be able to fly away just now.
I’ve been called a gypsy, a hippy, a transient, crazy and uptight. I’ve been told I’m lovely and that I’m a pain in the ass. To that, I can answer: yes, kind of, sometimes, lately, and try not to be. Yes and Yes.
I just know this: there is nothing more rewarding than loving what you do, no matter how difficult the task. Whatever that job is, it’s an enviable occupation – so I’m out looking for students, readers, in pretty much any location. Then I can update this blog with far more interesting content than my recent past . . . . . are you ready to read?