If you were independently wealthy, where in the world would you live and how would you spend your time?
This is easy. I currently live in Utah for various reasons (education, work, family), though I don't necessarily love it here. I mean, I grew up here. I have roots here. A lot of who I am and what I believe stems from my years in Utah, but I don't really love it here. The winters are long and sucktastic. There are strange liquor laws. Once you venture out of Salt Lake City, you're entering a strange no-man's land, where everything closes at 8 on the weeknights, and nothing is open at all on Sunday. Of course, there are good things, too. But I usually joke that I hope my exile is temporary.
Due to that joke, most people probably think I would live in California if I could live anywhere. That makes sense. I love Los Angeles. Vivien lives in California. My husband is from California, and a good number of my family lives in California, too. I love the convenience, I love the variety, I love the sheer number of, well, everything and anything. Not that California is perfect. It's too hot half the year. The freeway system and traffic is really frightening. Oh, and it's expensive. Everything is expensive.
But I don't want to live in California.
I want to go back to Rome.
I spent three weeks there three years ago. For about six months after I returned, Rome was all I could talk about. I love every single thing about that place. Yeah, I nearly got mugged there. Yeah, sometimes I got lost and it was scary. But it was so beautiful. So perfect. And I felt like I really, really belonged. I periodically get "Rome sick." I want to go back there with my sister next year, and we've discussed the logistics of living there for a few months, because she feels the same way I do. Watching movies set in Rome is difficult--I had a hard time with Roman Holiday!
As for what I'd do there, I would write. I would visit churches. I would watch the sun set from the Spanish Steps. I would go to museums. I would sit in cafes and drink cappuccinos and smoke Camels. I would go to concerts at the Coliseum. I would go out and walk every morning at 6, so I could watch the city wake up. I would take the train to Florence and Napoli. I'd go to Venice and Tuscany. I'd drink wine with every meal. I would absorb the history of Rome through my skin and my tongue. I'd get by on a little bit of Spanish and learn Italian. I'd watch MTV Europe, and movies dubbed in Italian. I'd take trips to Spain, to France, maybe even Greece. I would eat McDonalds when I got homesick, and have pizza every day for lunch. I'd take a nap every afternoon during siesta. I'd go out on Saturday nights and risk the pickpockets to wander the streets with the rest of Rome. I'd go to soccer games. I'd buy cheap sunglasses and cheaper purses from street vendors.
Incidentally, I wrote The Streets of Florence while I was staying in Florence. I'm not good with photographs or journaling. It's the postcard I wrote to myself.