Sitting in a tiny continental airport with a view of the sunny mountains I was about to leave, I wondered – as everyone has at least once – whether I could live there. But it wasn’t the living part (the markets, the food, the wine, where would I buy my clothes?) that I was thinking about; it was the working. I tried to imagine myself doing the work I do now in that beautiful part of the world.
The only tools I need are a computer with internet access, a phone and, occasionally, a printer. I’m sure all those could be had, although I’m not sure how reliable the broadband connection would be. I don’t live near most of my clients now, so probably wouldn’t have to travel any more often than I already do – although the journeys to Hampshire or Wales or elsewhere in Britain would be rather longer and more expensive. The view and the climate would be very much improved in comparison with today’s rooftops in the rain. And of course I’d drag the family along so that side of life would carry on as normal.
But there would be very little local demand for my services, I imagine. (If there are more than a handful of charities in the local area I’d be surprised.) And of course I’m missing a lot of local knowledge about grants availability, charitable giving habits, and how to use the language to do more than order a coffee. But those things could be learnt. It’s more than that; it’s a feeling of belonging. (However much I try to rationalise things, I find that more and more I rely on feelings and gut instinct to show me the way.)
No, I don’t think my life would translate into an overseas one. Even the rain is part of home. Just as I know that working from home is for me at this point in my life, I know that home is here.