I earn my living as a novelist (literary-fiction). My secondary profession for the past 20 years has been that of an Adventurer. Because I am a novelist, I have not introduced myself to anyone in the first-person for years, (this InterNations introduction will be a unique exception). It is that we novelists have this shameful tendency towards hubristic self-idolatry. Combine that with the pleasure we derive from grandiose storytelling, and it makes for a portrait of an exceptionally heroic, yet truly ridiculous, person. Thus, it’s safer for novelists to refer to themselves in the third person.
I’ve earned good money from my novels. While my first five books merely gave me the reputation as an excellent poet, my sixth novel (a travel adventure and love story called The Wanderess, which took me five years to write and made me travel around the world to researched it), finally brought me considerable financial gain and inspired thousands of readers—mostly young women with wanderlust.
My travel quotes and short inspirational poems have influenced everyone from NASA explorers, to Bollywood fashion designers, to European movie stars and famous American pop singers: A couple examples of these quotes are:
I wandered everywhere
through cities and countries wide,
and everywhere I went
the world was on my side.
She was free in her wildness.
She was a wanderess,
a drop of free water.
She belonged to no man
and to no city.
In my errant life I roamed
To learn the secrets of women and men,
Of gods and dreams.
I’ve known all the countries of our world,
I’ve lived a thousand lives:
Many lives I lived in love,
Other lives I squandered.
For in my life I never traveled,
All I did was wander.
This last quote offers a glimpse into my 20-year career as an Adventurer. Although I was born and raised in Seattle, USA, I have not returned to this beautiful city since I was 18 (I am now 39). After living in New York City, New Orleans, and on the Big Island of Hawaii, I moved to Paris and lived there for 15 years. Thus, I became an “expat” at the age of 21 and have never repatriated, either body or soul. Having lived my life from age 21 to 39 entirely in French (except for writing my books, which are in my mother-tongue of English), I can say with a little pride, and some embarrassment, that today I speak more comfortably in French than in English. I dream in French; and the strange English dialect which I alone speak—an English heavily influenced by Latin—often annoys my family and English-speaking friends, although it intrigues my readers.
After 15 years in Paris, I felt myself growing old and stagnant—similar to stagnant water sitting in a bowl; cats have a survival instinct not to drink this water. They can sense when it’s old and may be carrying air-borne germs. After 15 years in Paris, I no longer felt drinkable.
And so I moved around restlessly, living in Greece for a while, Spain, the Canary Islands, and so on. With the sudden success of The Wanderess, I invested in February of 2016 in a small Arab palace (known as a “riad”), located in the ancient Medina (the medieval centre-ville) of Marrakech—a vibrant city in southern Morocco. I wasn’t intentionally trying to be like Humphrey Bogart, although “Casablanca” has been my favorite film for years. Today, nobody goes to Casablanca, everyone goes to Marrakech. And so I bought this riad with the idea of creating a boutique hotel with a restaurant on the rooftop. I named it “Riad Calypso,” after the nymph who lives in paradise in my favorite work of literature: Homer’s Odyssey.
Being a hotelier, I quickly found out, is strenuous work that leaves no time for literature; and so this summer I am redesigning my little oasis in the Sahara Desert to be a place for parties and social events (catering to up-scale expats and travelers, as well as to upper-class Moroccans. I had proven to myself in Paris that I could earn a profit from making parties, have fun, meet interesting people, and still find time for literature. So now (Inch’Allah), I will use my talent as a social butterfly to bring joy to other people, and to create a nice life for myself in this exotic country of Morocco. Δ