Wednesday, January 18, 2012

A Vicarious Escape

With bitterly cold weather and shorter, darker days for the next few months, and no set getaways planned for the near future, I escape into books, good movies, and television when I can. My new favorite television show that helps me escape when I want to is House Hunters International. There is an American version of the series, but I prefer seeing how people from all over the world buy or rent properties from countries other than their own. The locations can be beautiful, mediocre, or horrible, but none of these details deter me; I am interested in what motivates people to live outside of their comfort zones.

I know what it is like to live outside of my comfort zone; living in Indonesia in a rented house was definitely a challenge. I became accustomed to the extremely hot climate, mosquitoes, and battled food poisoning on and off for the first six months of my stay there. When I rented the house, I had to pay my rent for one year in advance, which was something I had never heard of before. I remembered this when I saw an episode of House Hunters International based in Indonesia, when a very uninformed expatriate grappled with the inevitability of paying all of her rent up front. Of course, the rent for one year tends to be much lower than in the United States; as an ESL teacher, I was given a housing allowance that equaled $10,000 US dollars, and paid $2,000 extra of my own money to rent the house I wanted that was walking distance from the school. The advantages and disadvantages of living in another country unlike my own made me more open-minded, even more so than I was before. House Hunters International reminds me of the education I received about these matters.

Of course, I will not be satisfied with “arm chair” escape only. These distractions sustain me while I get used to 2012 and make plans for it. I am definitely getting many ideas!

What are your favorite vicarious escapes from the daily grind?

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