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Why I Want to Move to Mongolia

March 12, 2009

People often accuse me of being adrift or not having anything I “want to do”.  As if the current economy isn’t shedding some light on the follies of “doing what you love”.  I was just reading PastaQueen’s post about her grandmother who had 14 kids while her grandfather worked at Sears forever.  I’m not exactly itching to make pies and babies in a farmhouse while my husband worked a corporate gig for thirty years, but it blows my mind that our grandparents didn’t have to worry about their jobs.  Not only did they not have to be worried about their jobs, they could work, say, in accounting or middle-management, and buy a home and support a wife and 14 children!  

Contrast this with today, where both Mom and Dad are working two jobs a piece, maybe have one kid, lose their home, and end up living in motels or tents.  

So, yes, I wanted to be one of those people who work for Trader Joes and travel the globe sourcing new foods.  I also wanted to travel as a writer for Lonely Planet.  Finally, I wanted to work for a luxury hotel chain and help open new exotic hotels (still do.  Tablet Hotels, call me!)  I started on the path to food sourcing, but realized I’d have to pay upwards of $200k for a masters in food science and an MBA, all while working for Whole Foods for $13/hour.  Then, twenty years of suffering later, I’d be writing a report on the tastiness of Nepali Yam Chips when I’d get a notice that I was laid-off and I’d struggle to find work as a janitor.  I found out that Lonely Planet gives really crappy per diems and the gigs are too spotty to parlay in to a career.  (Seriously, Tablet Hotels, I will get a degree in hospitality management, just give me a call.)

Now, here I am, on the road to becoming a literary agent.  Except it doesn’t seem so much like a road, as much as a post-apocalyptic death train into a flaming barrier made out of iron spikes.  No one is buying books anymore and publishing is looking terrible, even next to other suffering industries.  I sometimes feel as though I’m in training to be a VCR repairperson or a coder for Friendster.  

All this makes me think of my persistent dream to move to Mongolia.  I can’t imagine a time where I could live day-to-day without constant worry that my heartless corporation is going to lay me off, or where my next paycheck is coming from, or how I can afford the $20k doctor’s bill if I ever wanted to give birth, etc., etc.  Sure, I’d have to worry about horse thieves and giving birth on the kitchen floor (I want easy access to snacks), but I think every day I forget about the possibility of living safe and serene.

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