My book group met to talk about Eat Pray Love -- my book pick. This was such a wildly popular book that I was interested to hear what my friends thought. (I read it in January and didn't read it again for book group, if that tells you anything. The book I wanted to pick wasn't out in time.)
The conversation turned to the idea: if you could take a year or four months or four days for that matter to disappear and do what you want, wherever you wanted, to completely indulge in YOU, where would you go and would you go?
Which led to the conversation that only one person in the room had the luxury to pick up and go like that -- and they all look at me. "You're a writer," they said. "She's a writer. You guys can do things like that."
Hm. I know someone personally who did one of those types of retreats from the real world and wrote about it. And this person and Elizabeth Gilbert had two words in common before they left.
Look, if a publisher wants to pay me to do my dream retreat -- follow the life path of David Copperfield (the Dickens character, not the magician) -- I'm all for going. Or to attend Mass at all the great Cathedrals of Europe, I'm up for that, too.
But without the book contract in hand, I've got to still come up with a way to pay the bills, and that's with my regular freelance work. And I can't do that if I'm ignoring the real world.
The real world doesn't go away, either, as the people I know found out. The whole family went on that retreat away from the world, except they had to rush home at one point when a family member died in a plane crash.
Anyway, that discussion at book group was one more reminder that freelancing is a real job, even if there is flexibility to it. Yes, I can do it from anywhere, kind of. I was able to write an article in a friend's spare bedroom in Alabama and did interviews from hotel rooms in Maryland, and who knew but me? But seeing how hard it was to juggle interviews with people traveling in China and how spotty the internet connection was in my one hotel room, freelancing wouldn't be easy to do from the road for long periods of time.
Besides, I'd miss my husband . . .