I’d like to just lie in my bedroom. Not this one. I fantasize about the one that I’ll be in – above some bar where I’ll wash dishes on Main Street in a small town no one has heard of in one of the less interesting United States – right after I run away from it all.

SACRAMENTO, CA-

For the first time in my life I’m leaving without running away.

It’s making me a bit nervous actually.

Most of my traveling has been panic-driven.

“I hate my life. I have to get out of here,” I’d say.

Then I’d begin a frantic search for the cheapest flight to anywhere.

Failing that, I’d jump in my car and drive. Drive 12 hours to Vancouver for the weekend. Head north on Interstate 5, stopping only when the panic subsided.

For years I blamed my unhappiness on this city.

I’d tell myself it was all because I was stuck here in Sacramento. It gave me that small-town feeling. The there’s-nothing-to-do-in-this-town, I’m-going-nowhere-with-my-life, I-have-to-get-out-of-here feeling.

I was one of those people who thought escaping this town meant escaping my life.

What I learned is that I needed a better life before I could be anywhere without looking for my next escape route.

Sacramento wasn’t the problem. And I only know that now because for the last couple of years I’ve been really happy here.

How do I know?

Because now when it’s time to leave I ask, “Why do I have to leave? What made me decide to do this?”

I’m nervous about going now because I don’t have dreams about finding something bigger and better somewhere else. I’m not romanticizing my trip the way I would have before.

People keep saying, “Moving to France? Wow, aren’t you so excited?” And I want to say yes, but the truth is I’m really anxious. I feel like I’m making a big mistake. What if I’m leaving something really great and I end up being miserable there? I’ve never had these types of what-ifs before. It’s giving me a nervous stomach.

“I’m sure everything will be fine.” This is my new mantra.

The more I think about it, the more I think it will be great, really.

It will be. I know it. Because this time I’m going without the idea that Paris will save me from myself.

Besides, if Paris sucks I know Sacramento will be waiting right here where I left her.

Leaving3


Rebecca Adler is moving to Paris this week. There she will continue to write while posing as an au pair. She can be reached on myspace or on the comment board.