Today one of the people at my new job who knows me best suggested I should line myself up for a transfer to Japan. “You would love it,” he said. “The culture,the experience! Living overseas is life-changing. And the most beautiful women in the world are in the Tokyo subway.”
“No, in Venezuela,” his compatriot interjected. The two of them mention international cities the way you might refer to local restaurants. Caracas, Shanghai, Mexico City; wherever.
“I already turned down an opportunity to live in Charlotte,” I said. He stared at me in wonderment, as his compatriot had when learning the same thing earlier.
“Why would you not go?” he asked.
“I didn’t want to be that far from my family.”
“Nothing lasts forever!” he said.
“I know,” I said. “That’s why you should enjoy it while it lasts.”
The world is wide and rich, so rich; you can never have it all. True wealth is not having so much, but appreciating what you have. By this measure I am still poor; but I doubt traveling would help. It is a kind of counterfeit. You experience so much, but then you know so little. I am using that archaic, Biblical sense of knowing, which is much the same as loving. Can you love a place because you showed up there and had your picture taken? Both these gentlemen, my friends and mentors, are far more cosmopolitan than I. And there are different aptitudes. But I cannot reconcile a fondness for everything with a love for anything.