FROM THE BOOK OF QUESTIONS #13

Another question from Gregory Stock’s book is this:

Which of the following restrictions could you best tolerate:  leaving the country permanently, or never leaving the state in which you now live?

This is one of my favorite questions in the book–it’s ingenious!  And it’s one of the toughest!

Florida is a beautiful state (though no more beautiful than my home state of Alabama–or any other state in this country, for that matter).  But I wouldn’t want to be trapped here.  So I could best tolerate leaving the United States permanently.

So where would I go?  Though ancestry is as unimportant to me as race, it still has special meaning in my life.  On my father’s side, my ancestry is primarily Irish, and secondarily Cherokee.  On my mother’s side, my ancestry is primarily English, and secondarily German.  It would make sense for me to begin my worldwide odyssey in my ancestral homelands–in order to understand and better connect with my ancestors.

Unfortunately, I wouldn’t be able to visit the Cherokee Reservation in North Carolina again–but at least I’d have the memory of previous visits there.

So I’d sell whatever I couldn’t take with me, and set out for Ireland.  I’d especially want to touch the ancient stone monuments there–it would probably be quite a transcendental experience.  Then I’d move to England–where I’d also touch the ancient stones, particularly visiting Stonehenge.  And finally I’d travel to Germany.  I understand there’s a very good job market there right now, and I could possibly teach English as a second language–while learning as much German as I could, of course (I just took one semester in high school).

There is one question that must be considered–would any of these three countries take me in?  And I could only explain my situation, and hope they’d accept it.  Further, there is the problem of climate.  I’ve only lived in three places all my life–Mobile and Auburn, Alabama, and Pensacola, Florida.  The one year I lived in Auburn (my first year of college), I found it quite cold in the winter.  It’s not very far north, but it’s far inland from the Gulf of Mexico, so it’s still colder than Mobile or Pensacola.  Imagine, then, how cold Ireland, England, and Germany would be!  I don’t know if I could possibly adapt to the winters in any of those countries.  But I would try.  And if it didn’t work out, I’d have hundreds of other, warmer places to go.

What if none of those European countries would allow me to stay and work?  Then I’d try Canada.  And if Canada refused me, I’d try Mexico.  From Mexico, I could travel all the way to Argentina, if I so desired.  And I would definitely want to see most of Latin America before choosing a long-term residence.

What if neither Canada nor Mexico would take me?  I don’t know where I’d go then.  And I have no living relatives outside the United States.

There are some countries I would not even visit, let alone live in–even if they welcomed me.  I wouldn’t go to a Communist state like Cuba, a theocracy like Iran, or a nation in the midst of war like Afghanistan.  And I would absolutely refuse to set foot in the Zionist State (“Israel”), on principle.  (The establishment and continued support of the Zionist State (“Israel”) is an ongoing atrocity against the Arab People and against Muslims, in general.)

But hopefully I would find a suitable country in which to live–I’d have many from which to choose.

Of course I’d miss my family members in this country.  But we could keep in contact–perhaps they could even visit me (my parents have always wanted to visit Ireland anyway).

Gregory Stock’s question seems to ask something deeper:  How much do you love your state (or region or territory)?  Do you love it enough to never leave it again?  And the answer, for me, would be “no”, even if I resided in Alabama.  Yet more significantly, the question seems to give this option–whether the reader would rather be restricted to a particular place, or from a particular place.  And I’d much rather be restricted from a particular place, no matter how much I liked it.

2 Responses to “FROM THE BOOK OF QUESTIONS #13”


  1. 1 Abby March 22, 2012 at 10:12 am

    Hoo boy, that is a good question. I think your answer mirrors mine. I would much rather be restricted “from” something or someplace. As much as I appreciate what we have in the U.S., I could see myself being an expatriot. ESL teacher somewhere in Europe? And I also like your reasons against the places you would not choose!


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