I spent much of my childhood trapped in hotel rooms (most TCKs can relate to this experience). Months at a time, while my father was working on projects in Brazil, Switzerland, or Germany, my mother had the very daunting task of keeping her son (me) occupied in a relatively boring environment. So she did what most South Asian parents would do (am I stereotyping here?). She made me read and write.
Since I had an affinity for science fiction, I started my first novel at the Caesar Park Hotel in Sāo Paulo, Brazil. It was called “First Solar System War” (I anticipated a second one, I mean, they always come in twos and threes, right?). It was 1983 and I was 10 years old. Every day I was expected to write five pages of whatever I wanted, so I started crafting my novel, many times exceeding my mother’s minimum.
By the time I was a 6th grader, my fellow classmate Jerome Wiley decided to start our very own newspaper. It was called the ACA Bugle (ACA for our school, the Asunción Christian Academy). Our first issue was a smashing success, but our second issue was a complete fiasco. After having printed the copies, Jerome got himself sick and did not come to school, but sent the papers to be delivered to me by his sister.
I spent my recess selling papers, only to have a very concerned administrator find me right after recess and demand an explanation for the articles critical of the current military dictatorship in Paraguay. And thus I spent the rest of my day retrieving these papers and paying back our customers for this unexpected “recall”. Needless to say, I got the hollering of a lifetime from my father that night. Expats are always careful not to disturb the local authorities as their livelihoods (and sometimes even their lives) can depend on this.
Of course, this experience did not stop us from further endeavors in the the field of journalism. Throughout Middle School, and then High School, Jerome and I ran many newspapers both together and independently. In most cases, even in school sanctioned journalism classes it would be the two of us writing the bulk of the articles in the paper. It really was a simple task for us, as we found writing to be easy and fun.
By the time I got to college, I had to shift my writing to papers and topics I was not as keen about. It sounds strange to say this, but college and then grad school sort of killed my joy in writing. So after finishing up with my Masters degree, I stopped writing pretty much altogether.
It was just a couple of years ago that I decided to journal. It was all part of the revolution that was happening in my life at that point, and I call it a revolution because my life changed in every way as a result of it. My pet name for it is the “Deliberate Revolution” because I learned to live my life deliberately. I has become my War for Independence. And writing, as I mentioned, became a part of it. If the French Revolution had Jean-Paul Marat, and the American Revolution had Thomas Jefferson, then my revolution had my journals. These helped me to refocus, and gave me points of reference to look back upon and thus gage some form of progress (or stagnation).
Yet at the end of the day, it was this very blog that returned me to my roots of writing. It was a Sunday in February of 2018 when I took my eldest daughter to Starbucks and proposed a deal to her. We would together write about our experiences as TCKs and Global Nomads on this website I had bought a domain name for a year or so ago. Being a pretty good writer herself, Zenia got quite excited about the idea, and I thought I would enjoy this myself as well.
In these last few weeks, both of us have found ourselves writing essays even when it was not our designated “once a week Starbucks writing trip”. Every time I think of a topic, I create a draft on the blog so that I can return to it when I have more time. The result has been that I have well over a dozen topics just waiting for me to write out. Just today, this is my third blog post. By the end of this one, I will have written about 3000 words. And it isn’t a chore or a task to be done, it is something I am thoroughly enjoying. Writing allows me to get my thoughts on “paper”, gives me a chance to internalize what is happening in my life, and brings up new ideas and concepts I would like to explore. In a very strange way, it is a form of meditation and it gives me further direction as I live a more deliberate life. The Revolution, after all, has not ended and should never end. And writing provides context to the changes in my life, allows me to analyze, and inspires me to continue becoming a more fulfilled individual.