I leave in a few days for the U.K. and Wales specifically. I am getting nervous in a way I don’t remember being nervous about travel in some time. Perhaps never, in fact. This time, I am traveling alone; I am leaving my family; I am going somewhere completely new and foreign.
I have had interesting pushback and questioning over the choice to take part in an overseas residency. Some have asked me why I don’t just take part in a residency here in the U.S. Is it for my sanity, perhaps? Maybe. I fear our country right now, on so many levels. One friend told me that he hopes it will bring me some peace, or a break from our insanity here.
Others ask who will take care of my children while I am gone. I respond that they have a father, and he is very supportive of this trip. I know this surprises many people, as it is rare that a woman with children is allowed to go anywhere or do anything outside of the structure and responsibilities of motherhood. As a society, we ask women to stop the clock on their lives, their needs for peace and space, and, at times, their careers, so that they can raise their children. Has any artist father who leaves for 3 weeks for a residency overseas ever been questioned? I doubt it.
While I am there, I will make art, but I will also try to be in the present moment, much as I did when I studied abroad in France or went to New York for graduate school. There was no Facebook or texting back in those days, so I was forced to be alone and in the moment. As a result I had amazing experiences that there is literally no record of. Not a photo, not a post, nothing. It is just memories.
I also have to be open to what this adventure brings. I cannot plan it down to the minute, much as my control freak-self would like to. She would like to know exactly how every moment will be spent, so that it is either not wasted, or so that nothing goes wrong. But my luggage could get lost and I could miss the train and any number of things could happen that I cannot control. I could decide I want to spend a day hiking instead of painting. I could get sick. Anything can happen.
We will see, won’t we?