Living as an Expatriate (ExPat) outside of my own country forces me to explore who I am and stretch. That is one of the positive advantages of becoming an ExPat; you have to leave your shadow because you stick out.
I stick out. I can count the number of chocolate brown women from any nation that drive all over Germany–the European Country, where I presently reside. In fact, I have had the privilege of driving in many of the European Countries and most of my trips have been without someone accompanying me. Just me , with my CD player blasting, and me singing as I whiz down the autobahn (interstate) to Switzerland, Austria, Luxembourg, France, The Netherlands, Belgium, or Italy or whiz to a harbor in Germany to catch a ferry that takes me to the United Kingdom.
What does this have to do with writing? Well, I’ve discovered the Women’s Fiction Festival, in Matera, Italy. I didn’t know they existed until I started combing the internet for possible English speaking writing support groups because I was grumpy about not having enough exposure to agents and publishers in a non-English speaking environment.
So, I will stretch again when I drive to Matera, which is in Southern Italy and about fifteen hours away from where I live. I will drive because I want to see the Adriatic Coastline and soak in some of the Italian Culture. Again, I’ll probably stick out. It is my first writer’s conference with this association and my third writer’s conference overall.
I can’t wait until September comes. Then, I’ll get in White Eagle (my beetle), and we’ll hit the Autobahn singing, Country roads, take me home, to that place, I belong, West Virginia, mountain mamas, take me home, country roads. But instead of country roads, it will be the interstate, instead of West Virginia, it’ll be Matera, Italy, and instead of mountain mamas, it’ll be one ever-loving writing gal jazzing down the interstate to be with people who love writing just as much as she does.