Ping Pong

I've always romanticized the digital nomad lifestyle. The perfect setup: hopping around different cultures, stopping a few hours a day to get some work done, exploring and meeting new people on the way.

And it is great: if you have a home to go back to.

I left Ukraine last week to hunker down in Turkey until things (hopefully) cool off. Can't complain, obviously; many Ukrainians don't have the means or opportunity to leave, even if they wanted to. I'm working out of a hotel lobby, feeling safe but homesick, wanting to distract myself with busywork but struggling to concentrate. (An aside: I'm always hesitant to call Ukraine "home." It's where I live, work, have friends and family, etc. But obviously I can never lay claim to it the way Ukrainians can. So I use that term delicately.)

The question "When are you leaving?" has been replaced with "Where are you going next?" and, if anything, this one is harder to answer. This could (I desperately tell myself) blow over in a week; or, it could carry on indefinitely, either erupting or staying in this weird, agonizing waiting room of hell. Decisions are harder to make when you don't know whether I need to plan for a month or a year. (Can I have two asides in such a short post? Because speaking of decisions: we're all doing what we think is best for our families. Some have decided to stay, some stay because they have to; some leave because they want to protect their families, or for the good of their mental health. At the end of the day, doesn't really matter. There's no right answer, and there's also no answer that's going to meet with everyone's approval. Biggest thing I've learned in the past few months: just live your life the best way you know how.)

All that to say: any situation, even one as romantic as bouncing around the world like a pingpong ball, loses its appeal when it's a forced one.

But. We'll manage. In the meantime, we're checking in on our friends and family who are still in Kyiv; we're following the news religiously; and we're wishing for the best. Maybe we'll head to Georgia next, or Albania or Poland or Slovakia. Maybe we'll chill in Turkey for awhile. I don't know. I'll try to see it as an adventure along the way, but wherever we are, I'll be thinking of Ukraine.

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